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Eat Well

Stretch Your Budget and Fill Your Shopping Cart: Tips for Saving

If you’re feeling the heat at the checkout counter, you’re not alone. Rising costs of everyday staples have moms wondering how they can afford to leave the supermarket each week with enough food to feed their families. The Worldwatch Institute says that food prices rose 2.7% in 2012, and that population growth and extreme weather conditions are reasons to believe that prices will continue to rise over the next few decades. Here are some tips to help your family maximize your dollars in the grocery store and your time spent at the dinner table.

Pinch Pennies in the Pantry

Five minutes in your pantry can save you big bucks and time at the supermarket. Before your trip to the store, spend some time checking out what you already have in stock. That leftover can of veggies you bought last month could be a perfect side dish to your grilled chicken tenders!

Boost Budget Basics

It would be great if every mom had time to shop alone, but in reality, most moms need to take their kids along to the grocery store. Stay focused and on-budget while shopping with the kids by creating a learning experience. Before you set out, show them your list and explain that this is exactly what the family needs for the week. Divide the list and get the kids involved in hunting for the essentials, saving you time and sanity! Older children can put their math skills to real-world use, weighing apples, counting cans of peas and calculating sale prices.

Buying Bulk on a Budget

Buying in bulk is an art form. Splurge only on products that you know you will use so waste is minimal. Paper towels or toilet paper, for example, do not expire and are always handy. The same rule goes for canned foods, some dried packaged foods and meats that can be separated into family-portion sizes and properly frozen for extended periods.

Plan Ahead

Time is precious when you have a big family and busy schedule. Block off time on Sundays to plan a week’s worth of meals so you can spend more time with your family and less time in the grocery aisle. First check your pantry to see what you already have in stock. For a little inspiration, search online for quick and easy recipes you can reheat or repurpose throughout the week. Our Facebook and Pinterest pages are great places to start!

Let Your Green Gleam this Earth Week

In recent years, “going green” has grown from a suggested practice to a regular lifestyle for many families. If you haven’t yet adopted many environmentally friendly habits, Earth Week is a great time to start and get the whole family enthusiastic about the change. Here are some tips to help you own Earth Week today and beyond!

Minimize Your Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint calculates how much a person or household contributes to greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. To offset your own carbon footprint, use energy efficient light fixtures and heating systems, take advantage of public transportation, eat locally grown or organic ingredients, and separate recyclable materials from other waste. Encourage your children to get involved by drawing footprints that show what your family does to reduce your carbon footprint.

Eat Organic Ingredients

When organic is printed on labels in the grocery store, it means the food is grown and packaged without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetic modifications or growth hormones. Eating organic foods not only provides your body with more antioxidants, but also reduces exposure to pesticides that are harmful to the environment. While some organic foods are more expensive than the alternative, Libby’s offers a line of organic vegetables to help you practice healthy and green eating at while maintaining a manageable budget.

Limit Use of Paper Goods

So many aspects of our lives have converted to the digital realm, from emails to credit card payments to books. By taking advantage of digital conveniences, you contribute less paper waste to the environment. Libby’s helps you limit your use of hard copy cookbooks with our Digital Recipe Box and Pinterest Boards. Browse through our delicious and easy recipe ideas the whole family will love!

Cross Your Heart and Hope for Health

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, we’ve still got hearts on our minds. We dedicate February to heart health because many women are at high risk of cardiovascular disease [1]. At Libby’s, we love our customers and hope you will make a pact to live and eat in ways that are helpful to your hearts – starting now. Consume Legumes As the saying goes, beans are good for your heart! Varieties such as black and kidney beans are rich in soluble fiber and help to decrease cholesterol levels [2], thereby contributing to a healthy heart. Try to make a heart-healthy meal that includes beans at least once a week. We’ve got some great recipes on our website, like our Mexacali Turkey on a Bun and Chicken & Veggie Enchiladas with Spanish Rice! Vary your Exercise Regimen Do you often get bored of completing the same running path or attending the same aerobics class every week? Researchers at Louisiana State University [3] found that the best exercise regimen for your heart includes a varied routine of resistance and aerobic training. Not only will this type of program keep you interested, but it will also help you drop a few pounds and decrease your diastolic blood pressure to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Remember to consult a physician before beginning a new exercise program. Do What Makes You Happy The best way to keep your heart anxiety-free is to surround yourself with the things that make you relaxed and happy. Too much stress in your life can damage arterial linings that keep the heart working properly [4]. Whether you prefer to relax in a bubble bath or play outside with your children, block off time in your busy schedule for activities that help you wash away daily stress and allow you to enjoy life. How will you improve your heart health this month? LIKE Libby’s Table on Facebook and tell us! Sources: [1] [2] Huffington Post: [3] Reuters: [4]

Turn Mealtime into Learning Time

At school, children learn about topics ranging from the periodic table to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but you can turn your home into a place for education as well. Here are some tips to subtly turn mealtime into learning time.

  • Time to count those peas. Addition and subtraction are two of the most basic arithmetic skills, and the easiest to practice in a fun, at-home setting. While you enjoying your Libby’s Sweet Peas tonight, ask your kids to count how many peas are on their plate at the start of the meal. Ask again about halfway through, and see if they can calculate how many peas they ate!
  • Kitchens can be chemistry labs, too. There are two types of cooks: those who are precise and those who are intuitive. When you cook with your kids, take a chance at being the spontaneous chef – add a “pinch” of salt, a few “shakes” of pepper or “three seconds” of paprika. Your kids will love pretending to be scientists while they create a complex concoction. You can even get a few giggles by dressing in lab coats and goggles!
  • Four score and seven bites ago. Everyone has a favorite food, including our nation’s leaders. With Presidents’ Day still on our minds, conduct a lesson during dinnertime through that follows the history of presidential food. The Food Timeline says Barack Obama loves trail mix and chocolate, while George W. Bush prefers a hearty chicken potpie. Serve dishes your family and the First Family share in common as favorite food, and sneak some American history facts in there while you are on the subject. The kids are likely to remember historic facts if they have fun while learning.

Veg Out

Let’s face it. Whether we’re facing picky eaters or we’re in a salad rut, most of us could use a boost when it comes to enjoying more vegetables.

When serving veggies to kids, it’s very important to avoid setting veggies up as undesirable– as in “eat two more bites of broccoli and then you can have dessert.” Rather, serve them and then let the kids decide how much they want (you can suggest a “try it” bite.) And remember, they need to see you eating your veggies, too. Here are some ideas on how to do just that:

Serve Them For Breakfast
Vegetables are a morning staple for many cultures around the globe. A few basic ideas to start your day with a veggie serving:

  • Cook up a mini-omelet with eggs, chopped spinach or mixed veggies. Layer with cheese on a small bagel.
  • Grab a piece of leftover vegetable pizza
  • Sauté chopped onions, bell peppers and sweet peas with scrambled eggs. Wrap into whole wheat tortilla.
  • Pair raw, crunchy veggies with a peanut butter and lowfat vanilla yogurt dip.

Make Them Sweet With Heat
Roasting veggies brings out a natural sweetness – my go-to recipe is toss raw or canned veggies with a few tablespoons of olive oil, minced garlic, dash of salt & pepper. Herbs and spices also bring out the best in veggies. Some combos for the oven:

  • Carrots + cinnamon + nutmeg
  • Green beans + ginger + sesame seeds
  • Broccoli + tarragon + garlic
  • Cauliflower + cumin + lemon zest

Give Them a Whirl
While I’m not a big fan of hiding veggies in food (again, implies veggies are the bad guys,) pureeing cooked veggies can enhance a recipe both in taste and nutrition. It’s up to you whether or not you tell the family what’s in the dish!

  • Mix pureed butternut squash or pumpkin into homemade mac & cheese
  • Puree onions and carrots into tomato sauce for pasta or pizza
  • Blend root veggies like turnips or parsnips with potatoes for a rich, creamy soup base.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, blend spinach or kale into a fruit smoothie.

Libby's Continues Helping Habitat for Humanity Families

Libby’s Fruits and Vegetables continues its partnership with Habitat for Humanity to help less fortunate families get back to the dinner table. 

Since September, we’ve visited Pittsburgh and Kansas City where we provided 12 new Habitat home owners with everything they need to make family mealtime a reality – a dining set complete with place settings, as well as a stocked pantry. 

Later in the month, we’re off to Salt Lake City – the last stop in our Habitat partnership – where we will making the Libby’s donation to three deserving Habitat families. If you’re in the Salt Lake Valley, you can help out too by donating non-perishable food at one of 26 Fresh Market locations.

Anyone can help make a difference by visiting their  local Habitat chapter for volunteer opportunities. There’s no better way to celebrate the upcoming season of giving!