Hiya! Right so it’s Saturday and for the first time in aaaaaages I don’t have work which is UHMAZING! I really didn’t want to do anything today apart from chill out on a proper pyjama day … and eating! I haven’t been able to do a proper shopping trip for ages because I’ve been so rushed so I was super-excited to hit the MAHOOSIVE Sainsbury’s down the road and see what they could offer.
Healthy eating is a million times easier when you have time to plan out what you’re going to eat in advance, where you’re going to be for each meal (at home, at your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s, out for a social meal, at your parents etc etc) and what you actually fancy this week. When I get the chance I normally plan about three or four days in advance because in reality if you’re shopping for fresh ingredients, that’s the absolute maximum you’re going to get out of a grocery shop anyway. Plus who knows what you’re going to feel like in five or six days right?! However, I didn’t really have a plan in mind today when I went shopping because I was really keen to get to the store early so I didn’t have time to make one!
Personally I don’t follow any particular “diet” because I hate being restricted. As soon as you tell me I can’t eat carbs or I can’t eat fat that’s all I think about until I go nuts and eat my own body weight in the forbidden food. Instead I really try to eat clean by eating a high proportion of whole foods and limit trans-fats and sugars. That could mean practically anything though, so as an example I thought I’d set out exactly what was in my shopping cart today and then in my next post, I’ll set out some of the things I made with it. So … let’s go!
The store I was in has the most amazing produce section and most things come in organic and conventionally grown options. I like to get organic if possible but if it’s not available then I will just get the conventional version.
Kicking off with vegetables, today I seem to have been in a green kinda mood! This is what I got from the vegetable section today …
Chillis: I love chillies but not toooooo much heat so I just got the standard red chilli which have a kick but not one that’ll knock me out.
Leeks: I love these – they go with practically everything and are super-quick to saute.
Spinach: I have a kind of love/hate relationship with spinach in that it’s easy to cook or you can eat it raw, it goes with everything and it is jam-packed with micronutrients (in particular, Vitamin K) However it’s just not that interesting in terms of taste … but I get it now and again to mix up my micronutrients.
Cauliflower: This is one of my all-time favourite vegetables! My mother doesn’t like it so we never had it as kids, but now I get to do my own shopping I have it a lot. It’s so versatile! You can eat it raw, boil it, steam it, roast it, substitute it for rice, smother it in cheese or sub it out for some of the pasta in mac’n’cheese just as a few options. My absolute favorite is to cut it into florets and roast it. YUMTASTIC.
Cavolo nero: I had never had this before so it was an experiment.
Butternut squash: Along with cauliflower this is my other favourite. I always have it roasted because I think it’s too delicious to mix up with anything other than its own flavour, to but you can also make amazing soups, risottos and pasta sauces with it.
Mange-tout: I had a vague idea of making a stirfry so I got this for that purpose, but I quite often get it because it’s another really easy vegetable to deal with and it takes literally five minutes to stir-fry or boil or steam.
Moving along to fruit! I love fruit and I eat loads of it. Since I do eat a lot I try and stick to lower-sugar fruits just to watch my sugar intake, but luckily I mainly like soft berries which are some of the lowest-fructose fruits anyway!
Today’s fruits included …
Berries: I almost always have berries with my weetbix for breakfast. Today I picked up strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. I also quite often make home made jam with these three types of berry because you can literally chuck the fruit into a pan with some water and wait for about 1/2 an hour and it all reduces down into the most amazing thick fruitiness. The high pectin content of the blueberries means that it gels well … but today I think I’m just going to eat the berries as they are!
Limes: I personally would not just eat a lime but knock yourself out if that’s your thing! However I use them in practically every meal I cook; I love the flavour. They’re my go-to flavour enhancer in any fish or chicken dish.
Oranges: I got these really because they were on sale and I thought they might come in handy for cooking although even if they didn’t, I like them as snacks! I got the unwaxed ones in case I decided I wanted to use the peel as well as the juice.
Rhubarb: I got this because it’s seasonal and you can’t always get it, so it’s a nice treat. I’m going to stew it up with some apples and some of the orange juice to add sweetness.
Apples: Mmm granny smiths! These are one of my favourite fruits, yum! I like to have them cut up with peanut butter, cinnamon and ginger on them.
I literally eat protein with every meal – I love it!
I had a massive craving for seafood today! That was all that was on my mind. This is what I found …
Crayfish tails: I almost never find these but they are delish! You can just eat them right out of the packet because they’re cooked already, or you can add them to something you’re cooking.
Scallops: I only just started cooking scallops about a year ago but I don’t know what took me so long! They’re so yum and they take literally two minutes to cook.
Free-range organic chicken thighs: I never buy anything other than free-range chicken because … gross. Chicken isn’t my favourite meat but I don’t mind the thighs.
Prawns: This was another experiment – I do love prawns but only the big ones. The little ones I find tasteless and frankly pointless … these shell-on ones are amazing though because cooking them in their shells (which takes four minutes in a frying pan) keeps them super sweet and juicy.
As well as the fish and meat I stocked up on eggs. I’m actually allergic to normal chicken eggs, but I seem to be able to handle Clarence Court eggs quite well so I like to have them included in my meals every now and again.
I love dairy but I only ever eat full-fat and organic …
… ahem, apart from my addiction to babybels (which obviously come in full-fat versions, which I normally get but they only had the light version today, but don’t have an organic version as far as I know).
For anyone who’s wondering why, it’s because there are no – no – reported benefits of eating low-fat dairy compared to full-fat (see for example this study reported in Time, which is just one of many). That includes on weight – in fact, full-fat dairy has been linked to lower body-fat! As to my choice to drink organic over non-organic, that is a matter of the significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and lower of omega-6 fatty acids and my general preference to avoid pesticides.
store cupboard groceries
Since I wasn’t sure what I was going to be cooking (oops no plan) I got a few backups. These included …
Sparkling water: This will last me about 3/4 of a day. I drink this ALL the time and Highland Spring is my favourite because it’s sourced on organic land and it’s super-sparkly.
Pad thai noodles: You can’t always get these in my little local stores but they’re great – 2 minutes in the pan and you’re sorted!
Green tea: I LOVE the Twinings range of green tea; they actually all taste like they say they will. My favourite is the mango/lychee but I have that all the time so I got pineapple and grapefruit and orange and lotus flower just to see what they were like.
Weetbix: I think I am literally the only person on the planet who LOVES weetbix. I know people who eat it because it’s healthy/easy/they have no better ideas but I don’t know anyone else who gets overexcited about it. I just found this banana flavour today – normally I get the organic one but they didn’t have it so I am giving this a whirl!
Red thai curry paste: I have no immediate plans to eat this but it was on sale!
Canned crabmeat: In keeping with the seafood theme I grabbed some of this; mixed up with some vegetables (and of course lime juice) it’s useful for a very quick and healthy pasta meal on a week night.
So that’s it! That was my whole shop and I reckon it’ll last me three days or so of full meals plus a bunch of snacks for a while – the babybels and the store-cupboard ingredients will hopefully last me a little longer than three days! Leave me a comment and let me know what you normally end up buying at the store and what you’d cook with the above.