Meal

What To Eat When Grief Is Eating You

Healing is hard work. If you’re not taking care of your body with a nutritious diet, it’s even harder.

When you’re grieving – particularly after the death of a loved one – you might experience decision fatigue. This happens in response to the number of decisions you’ve been forced to make over a very short period of time, deteriorating the quality of those decisions.

As you can imagine, what you eat – the result of small decisions we make throughout each day – is a common victim of decision fatigue. Suddenly, making “good” choices about what you eat seems strenuous and even debilitating. So you opt out of the decision altogether and forgo eating, or make the easiest and most comforting decision and gulp down an unhealthy meal of French fries and donut holes.

Grieving and your weight

If you’re like many of us, you’ve spent much of your life concerned (or at least conscious) about your weight. Surely when you’re grieving, you can put your health on the back burner, right? No way. Unfortunately, those unhealthy food decisions are doing more than packing on pounds – they’re exacerbating your grief by sapping any energy you still have, releasing heavy amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone that contributes to weight gain, and leading to blood sugar shifts that make you feel worse.

My experience

I wish I could say I knew exactly how to handle my grief when I was confronted with it a few years ago. But after my husband Bill’s suicide, I completely neglected my health and body. As a fitness professional, I had practiced healthy diet and exercise for years. But faced…

31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill

Americans are spending more on food now than they have over the past decade, according to the Food Institute. That doesn’t mean buying groceries has to break your budget. Here are over 30 ways to cut costs at the supermarket.

1. Use the best credit card

One often overlooked but simple way to cut costs is by using the right credit card for your groceries. Imagine getting 6 percent of your purchases back as cash back, without a single coupon. (See also: Use These Credit Cards at the Supermarket)

2. Set a budget

Take a look at all of your grocery expenses over the past few months — or even the past year, if you have the records — and figure out how those expenses mesh with your other financial goals. Could you cut back and make more room for other items in your budget, including savings? Come up with a target grocery budget and then track (and adjust) your spending to make sure that you stick to that budget each week.

3. Shop at home first

Purchasing items that you already have at home can be a waste of both time and money. Be sure to quickly inventory your pantry and refrigerator before you hit the supermarket so you haven’t forgotten about purchases you’ve already made.

4. Plan your meals

Once you’ve taken stock of the ingredients you have at home, come up with a few meals that make use of them with the addition of as few ingredients as possible. Then you can pick up only the items that you need, and reduce weekday stress of figuring out what’s for dinner.

5. Shop the circular

Look through the weekly deal list put out by most supermarkets (you can typically find them online) to see what’s on sale and plan your meals around those items. Typically the items on the front page of the circular are “loss leaders,” or merchandise that’s offered at an extra discount in order to lure customers into the store.

6. Make a list

Once you’ve got a meal plan, it’s easy to make a list of exactly what you need for the week. Shopping from a list also reduces impulse purchases and insures that you won’t forget items, which could require another trip to the store and present another opportunity to overspend.

7. Play the coupon game

Whether you’re clipping them from newspapers or downloading them online, coupons are an easy way to find savings on items that you’re purchasing anyway. Keep an eye on expiration dates, and look for stores that will double coupons for extra savings. But don’t get tempted to buy things you don’t need, just because you’ve got a coupon. It’s not a bargain if it’s unnecessary.

8. Switch up stores

Different grocery stores offer better discounts on different categories of purchases. Over time you may have come to know where to get the best deals on different items. But make sure you keep an eye on changing prices and sales. Once you’ve planned your list, look through the various circulars to figure out which store is offering the most compelling deals for you this week and shop there. Next week, you may find it worth trying your luck somewhere else. (See also: 10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store)

9. But show some loyalty to all of them

Join the loyalty programs of the various supermarkets where you shop to get additional discounts and coupons at the register. Follow them on social media, too, for notice of special sales or discounts.

10. Stock up on deals

Pay close attention to the prices of nonperishable items you purchase often. Then, when you see a good deal, purchase as many as you have room for.

11. Ask for a rain check

If you see a great deal advertised in the circular or the store but the item is sold out, you can still get that sale price. Most stores will give you a “rain check,” or a voucher to purchase the item at the sale price at a later date.

12. Cut back on meat

Meat is one of the most expensive items that you put in your grocery cart each…

Toss and Slap — How Dolphins Disarm a Dangerous Meal

octopus dolphin
octopus dolphin

Eating octopus can be dangerous. Some dolphins in Australia, though, have figured out how to do this safely. They shake or toss their prey over and over until it goes limp and becomes safe to swallow.

A group of hungry dolphins off the coast of Western Australia have figured out how to eat a dangerous meal. It’s octopus. And if eaten alive, it can stick in the throat. The dolphins, though, know how to immobilize their prey, a new study finds. They shake and toss it until the head falls off, the animal is in pieces and its arms are tender and no longer wiggling.

dolphin octopus
In this sequence, an adult male dolphin shakes an octopus and slams it into the surface of the water.

Most people who dine on octopus also prefer it immobile. We cut it into pieces and grill or otherwise cook it. Some people do eat live octopus. They may consider the wiggly, armed entree a treat. But this isn’t a meal to be eaten carelessly. Those sucker-covered arms can stick to the throat and suffocate the diner if the entree has not first been chopped into small pieces.

Dolphins risk the same fate. “Octopus is a dangerous meal,” notes Kate Sprogis. She’s an ecologist at Murdoch University in Australia….

Cure Your Craving Without Feeling Guilty! A List of Low Calories Snacks to Keep You Full!

There is nobody that does not love good snacks. It 1curbs hunger between meals and also keeps the body fueled from early morning until late night dinners.

For anyone trying to curb weight, snacks can become quite a challenge. Small tempting bites can trap nutrition boosts as they have loads of unnecessary calories and provide a lack of sufficient nutrients. Calorie intake in turn becomes nutritionally void.

Snacks have developed a negative link to them , but no worries there is no need to fade mid morning nibbles. Bite size snacks are important in diets because they provide midday energy. Also healthy snacks resolve hunger pangs and prevent over eating at meal times.

Not all snacks are healthy. Ensure you do not keep unhealthy snacks nearby to steer away mindless nibbling. Avoid all snacks in the ‘junk-food’ categories – candy, chips, ice-cream and cookies. The best way to keep from eating junk food or other unhealthy snacks is to not have these foods stored in your home.

There are many benefits to healthy snacking:

Healthy snacking stabilises blood sugar levels.

Healthy snacking balances blood sugar levels if a consistent intake of carbs is kept. It is helpful as diabetes can cause heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity

Healthy snacks meets daily nutrition requirements . The best options that are dense in nutrients include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy.

Parmeson Carrot Fries

French fries are a worldwide guilty pleasure. Swapping carrots for the spuds leaves you with a scrumptious alternative of the deep fried temptations. Roast carrots allow natural sweetness to emerge and makes a combination of a crispy finish with a soft interior, sure to tantalize the taste buds. Every serving of carrot fries comes with a healthy dose of beta carotene, fiber and vitamin A, promoting a healthy vision and skin. Top up with some basil and Parmesan sprinkles and make a sweet,savory treat.

Sweet Potato Wedges

Another way to break free from greasy deep fried french fries that cause upset stomachs are these sweet potato wedges. Seasoned with a flavor of spices with limited oil to make them crispy. Paired with a garlic and avocado mix that is packed with a healthy chunk of omega-3 fats. Drool on.

Collard Wraps

This raw green…

Gym People Alert! Here Are 10 Amazing Meal Prep Ideas For all of you to Enjoy!

No matter if you are a regular gym goer or just an occasional pre-summer visitor like myself, you are probably aware of the fact that only 20% of your results have to do with your workout efforts, while the remaining 80% of your fitness is dependent upon your nutrition. Eating healthy is not only crucial to our physical appearance, but it makes up the majority of our overall health as well, a fact we are all very familiar with, yet, for most of us the frustration comes as a result of not always being able to follow a steady healthy eating regimen. Fortunately, there is solution to all of our troubles, and it is called meal prep. Meal prep has been around for some time allowing athletes, fitness enthusiasts, families and children to stick to their healthy meals of choice, and not to get into a downward spiral of eating out and adding unnecessary calories.

Basic principles of meal prep

Tupperware

Make sure to set out the Tupperware according to the number of days you are going to meal prep for. Be careful with meat, as it usually goes bad after 2-3 days.

Carbs

As carbs take the longest to cook, meal prep best practices show that it is best if you start cooking them first. This way, you will be able to prepare the rest of the food while it is cooked. Best choices for nutrient rich carbs include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and yams.

Vegetables

Vegetables provide most nutrients to your every meal. It is best if you steam them avoiding seasoning that are rich in sodium. You can experiment with different kinds of vegetables to find you most enjoyable combination. By now, the carbs should be cooked, so make sure to leave them to cool as you continue with protein.

Protein

You can prepare your proteins in a number of ways, you can bake, barbecue,…

You Won’t Believe How Easy Meal Prep Could Be! And how Much Money It Can Help You Save!

Dealing with getting lunch at work can be a real downer. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be stuck with the often unhealthy and unnaturally large portions available at fast food joints and other restaurants.

If you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ll find limited options, and expensive ones at that.Leave your days of $12 salads behind by doing meal prep in advance so you can bring your own healthy — and delicious — lunch to work every day.

How to Meal Prep Like a Pro

The key to getting started with meal prepping is to not try to do too much too fast. If you’re accustomed to never packing a lunch, start with prepping a couple of days a week. Once it becomes a habit you can work on packing lunches every day.

Think about what kinds of foods you like to eat that can be eaten cold or easily reheated. Because we’re talking healthy lunches, think about salads, soups, grain dishes, beans, sandwiches and wraps. We’ve got 10 great recipes to get you started below, but you’ll definitely do better sticking to your healthy lunch plan if you’re making things you like.

Another great idea is to choose items that will freeze well. Many soups, grains and beans do well in the freezer, so you can make a big batch and freeze it in lunch-sized portions to be pulled out in future weeks. Score!

Check your kitchen for supplies you can repurpose to help with your meal prep. You’ll need small plastic or glass food storage containers (Mason jars are excellent for this purpose). You may also want a bento box or divided lunch box if your meal will consist of multiple items. They’re also adorable.

Prepping once for the whole week of healthy lunches is a great habit to get into, and a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon or evening. But be aware of food safety and don’t keep foods for too long after you prepare them.

How long can you keep your food?

Salads will be best in the day or two after you make them. Meat can hold in the fridge for three or four days. Vegetarian items can go longer, and things that have been kept in the freezer are good for at least six months in cold storage and for a few days after thawing.

Here are some great starter recipes to get you excited about meal prep and healthy eating.

Maybe the classic meal prep lunch is the Mason jar salad. There’s a good reason for that: they are cute, easy to make and you can make a great variety of salads, both with greens and with pasta, by following this same basic structure.

Organize Yourself Skinny has the lowdown on what makes a Mason jar salad work — basically, you put the dressing on the bottom, then some hard-vegetable barrier between the dressing and the greens or pasta — and links to more than a dozen ideas you can make yourself.

Her Greek Mason jar salad, pictured above, calls for chicken but you could also sub chickpeas to make it vegetarian and to save money, though either way these salads are only a couple of bucks a serving.

Homemade Instant Noodles

Ramen is a meal you might have left behind in your poor college student days (or not), but you can give that classic broke food a serious and healthy upgrade with the tips from Serious Eats.

This homemade instant noodle…

What’s Cooking? What Are Your Mother’s Day Meal Plans?

Photo by Jon Mountjoy.

Hello, and welcome back to to What’s Cooking?, the weekly open thread where you get to share all of your brilliant thoughts, advice, recipes, and opinions on all things edible. Mother’s Day is fast approaching, so we should probably talk about that.

“To brunch or not to brunch?” is always the big question. Literally everyone and their mother will be out trying to snag a table for fancy French toast and mimosas (momosas?) and it can get a little less than relaxing. Whenever I’ve lived in the same town as my mother or mother-in-law, I always opted for staying in and cooking, as I’d rather flip pancakes than fight crowds.

So now I’d like to know what you have planned to celebrate the maternal figures in your life, and I’d also like to talk about any and all recipes, tips, and kitchen wisdom the loving ladies in your life have bestowed upon you. As always, I have questions:

  • BIG QUESTION: Will you be going…

How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big

I’ve changed my grocery shopping habits quite dramatically, and it’s really paid off. First, I’ve saved several hundred dollars on food in a single month. And beyond that, I’ve saved a ton of time. What exactly did I do? Well, I started shopping for the majority of my groceries on just one day each month. It may sound overwhelming, but it’s definitely doable, and has worked well for my family.

Here’s how you can try this method, too.

Take stock

Before I even began meal planning or thinking about shopping, I took a look around my pantry and refrigerator shelves. We actually did a “use-it-up” meal week before the big shop. We ate the remaining pasta, cooked all the beans, and snacked on that rogue pudding cup in the back of the fridge. You know, just so we’d be down to basically nothing.

You don’t have to clear out all your food to get planning. Still, it’s a good idea to take stock of what you have before you start making grocery lists. That way you’ll avoid buying duplicates. Heck, you may also realize that you mindlessly pick up a can of salsa or jar of jam every week even though you don’t need them.

Begin meal planning

After you’ve assessed your situation, you can get to meal planning. This part of the process is the most important. It may even be the most time consuming. Taking time to plan your meals, though, is the key to success. You don’t want to buy a mega load of groceries and then not know what to do with them.

What I do is sort of old school. I have a regular notebook and I write down the number of weekdays and weekends for that month. From there, I’ll start planning the dinners. I write out how many we’ll cook at home and how many nights we might eat out (or be out of town, in meetings, etc.).

Last month, I ended up with a total of 23 dinners at home.

Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are a bit different. We tend to fall into habits with those. I’ll eat oatmeal every day, my daughter likes cereal, and my husband noshes on eggs and toast for breakfast. On weekends, we may do something like pancakes.

Lunches are pretty much the same: PBJ, pretzels, and applesauce for my daughter. My husband packs salads and big Greek yogurt creations. I usually eat leftovers. The baby eats bits of what we eat since she only just started eating solid foods.

How to plan your meals

So, how exactly can you plan meals efficiently? We have a running list of the dinners that have been hits in our house. I’d say there are 15-20 meals on this list. When I’m meal planning, I choose maybe six of these meals to incorporate into our month.

For example, we may…

Just viewing super-size meals can promote overeating

food huge
food huge

A girl sits down to a plate loaded with pizza. A boy gets a few baby carrots. Immediately, both kids’ brains start taking stock what’s in front of them. Consciously, the kids might be thinking “Yum” or “Yuck.” But their brains are also processing how much food is there — a feast, or just a nibble. And they’re cataloguing whether it contains a lot of calories per bite or just a little. Different parts of the brain are responsible for handling these two questions, a new study finds. The answers they come up with could limit the diner’s self-control.

Studies show that the more food there is on a plate, the more someone is likely to eat. Nutritionists call that the “portion size effect.” It doesn’t matter what kind of food it is. It also doesn’t matter whether the diner is young or old, male or female, alone or in a group. The bigger the portion, the bigger the appetite.

Laural English is a nutritionist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. She knows that many eating habits that kids pick up in early childhood will still be there when they are adults. So she and her colleagues wanted to find out what happens in the brain when a child sees a large portion of food. Knowing what drives kids’ eating habits might help families create healthier lifelong habits.

Calories are a measurement of the amount of energy contained in food. English and her team also wondered if it matters whether a large serving is packed with calories (such as pizza), or less energy dense (such as carrots).

“When you’re sitting down to eat a meal, you don’t appreciate all the different impacts or cues in front of you,” notes Kathleen Keller, who helped run the study. “Size, smell, taste, the way food is presented — all have an impact on what the brain perceives and also what you eat,” she says. The new study is the first to look separately at how the brain reacts to portion size and the calories in it, she says.

What happens when the brain perceives a meal?

The research team recruited 36 children to take part. All were aged 7 to 10. Half were boys, half were girls. Nearly all had a healthy weight. To make sure that all of them were hungry, the researchers asked the kids not to eat for two hours before the study began. When kids arrived, the researchers had them climb into a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. It looks like a giant donut standing on its side, with a bed sticking out of the center. It uses magnets and radio waves to map the flow of blood in someone’s body.

MRI images
While in a brain scanner, children viewed images large and small portions of both high-calorie and low-calorie foods.

Each child had to lay down on the bed with his or her head inside the donut. Staying very still was important. Moving one’s head more than the thickness of a dime would ruin the scan, notes Keller. To help avoid that,…

Ask the Readers: Do You Plan Your Meals?

Meal planning is a great practice for frugal families. When you plan your meals around ingredients that are on sale or that you already have, you end up wasting less food saving more money.

Do you plan your meals? What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered in meal planning? If you don’t meal plan, what other strategies do you use to save money on food?

Tell us if you plan your meals and we’ll enter you in…