5 ways to save on food without clipping coupons

5 ways to save on food without clipping coupons

Y’all, I just found out my boyfriend used to be a couponer! How awesome is that? I’m frugal too but in a different way. I’ve been joking for years that I’m actually a 90-year-old woman because I frequently wash and reuse Ziploc baggies, I save all the plastic soup containers from the Chinese restaurants, and I have no problem buying the store brand.

Recently, while talking with a client and learning about all the delicious fresh produce she has been throwing away, I decided it’s time to share some of my frugal secrets with the tribe. A major key to saving money is making the most of the food you buy and not letting it go to waste. Make your food bill stretch a little bit further by doing these 5 things.

1. Don’t throw away perfectly good leftovers! Some folks throw away leftovers 2 days after cooking them. According to the Mayo Clinic, we can keep leftovers up to 4 days. Cooking on Sunday? Eat it or freeze it by Thursday.

| In America, we throw away an average of $1,200 in groceries every year! Yikes! |

2. Make friends with your freezer. At one point I found 9 different kinds of cheese in the refrigerator and thought “that’s a little excessive.” I put a couple blocks in the freezer because then I don’t feel obligated to put cheese on everything – not there’s anything wrong with that. :-P. It’s not just cheese that can store well in the freezer until you need it. Here is a great list of all the things you can freeze. Another great freezer tip I love is how some folks buy meat in bulk at the local market, such as Kenyon’s Meat Market, in Mebane and then they pull out what they need for dinner each morning. Brilliant!
3. Buy in season. Have you noticed that asparagus gets to be really affordable in March? That’s because asparagus is an early Spring crop. Seasonal produce is not only more affordable, it tastes better too! And if you buy local produce from the farmer’s market, you will typically find the most nutritional value as those foods are picked when fully ripe. Check out what’s in season now.
4. Chop it up immediately. You know those sad green onions, celery stocks, or bags of lettuce you find wilted and juicy at the bottom of the refrigerator? Instead, we recommend designating one day to wash chop, and store in Ziploc baggies or other see-through containers all those delicious colorful foods you intend to eat that week. Doing so increases your chances of eating them, not wasting them.
5. Don’t put produce in the beer drawer! Seriously, the drawers in the refrigerator especially the old less fancy refrigerators aren’t doing you much good. When we hide our fruits and vegetables in drawers we tend to forget about them until it’s too late. Instead, let’s refer back to tip #4 and keep our washed and ready to eat fruits and vegetables on the top or middle shelf where we will see them and enjoy them regularly.

Food for thought
When you throw away food consider looking at that as throwing away $5 or $10 bills. That sounds crazy!

You can save money, time, and guilt by implementing one or two of these tips. Which one will you try this week? Tell us in the comments below!

3 healthy leadership tips for a more motivated team

3 healthy leadership tips for a more motivated team

Monday, May 1, 2017

Like many of you, Christina is a busy professional who is in a position of leadership. She was a pretty healthy gal before she started coming to see me, but she wanted to do even better, especially as a leader in the office. Her wellness WINS are highlighted below. Her story is a reminder of how our behaviors not only impact our own lives but also those with whom we work. 

Making self-care a priority

Christina hates running but she found that training for a 5K and 10K race last year kept her inspired to exercise consistently. She pushed herself because she knew being active was important for her health. To fuel her life she enjoys healthy vegetarian foods. She especially loves anything with chickpeas and fresh vegetables.

Inspiring and encouraging others

Not only do Christina’s coworkers notice and get inspired by her healthy meals she brings from home every day but they also see her taking an active role on the employee wellness team. Plus, after enjoying a fun well-balanced walking session with me around downtown Durham, she incorporated walking meetings with her staff. How fun is that!?

She also cares about her friends and encourages them to adopt healthy habits. One example includes suggesting busy professional friends invest in a meal delivery service, which can make it easier to prepare fresh and well-balanced meals at home. Click here if a meal delivery service sound interesting to you.

Now it’s your turn.

A healthy and happy team is a more motivated and productive team. Here are 3 healthy leadership tips we can all learn from Christina.

  1. Lead by example – It starts with you. Christina found an exercise strategy that worked for her. She also packs her lunch with leftovers and keeps healthy balanced options in her desk, like that can of chickpeas :-P. 
  2. Make it fun and do what you can – Would you rather sit windowless office for meetings or enjoy some sunshine? Take your team out for a walk like Christina or break up your long meeting with a fun mini activity break. It does not need to be a sweat session, just let everyone get up or get out and move their bodies. 
  3. Provide/create a nurturing environment– Donuts and candy dishes look fun but often leave people feeling guilty or sluggish after the sugar buzz wears off. Do you have sliced veggies and a fruit for an easy colorful side dish with lunch or dinner? To live healthy and happy we need to set ourselves (and others) up for success, y’all. Check out Kristen’s blog for a few more ideas.

Food for thought 

We have an opportunity to positively impact those around us, whether it’s our family, friends or coworkers. How are you leading yourself and others to healthy habits?

Which healthy leadership strategy are you already rocking?! Let us know in comments below or give a shout out to the healthy role model in your life!


Easy Morning Egg, Potato and Zucchini Cups

Easy Morning Egg, Potato and Zucchini Cups


Until recently, I have been eating upside down. No, not eating while standing on my head – that would be an interesting site. Ha.

I was starting my day off with too little calories and eating most of my calories toward the end of the day. That’s a bit upside down considering we need good fuel during the day when we are moving, thinking, working, walking, and doing all the things and at night we tend to slow down, relax and unwind – things that don’t require as much fuel.

When you are busy, it can feel hard to give breakfast the attention it deserves. For a while, it was the last thing on my mind in the morning (even though I was fixing my kids a good breakfast). I was just grabbing something small that would satisfy me for the moment. As Lucy explained a few weeks ago, eating too little early in the day can easily lead to overcompensating in the evening. This was definitely true in my case. I was feeling hungry and deprived by the afternoon. Then, my belly would start hurting. I’d eat too quickly at dinner time and then my belly would hurt even more. Ugh. It was not a good cycle. Can you relate?

Is breakfast that important?

In general, eating breakfast has been associated with lower body weight. Seventy-eight percent of those who have lost weight and kept it off for a year or longer are regular breakfast eaters. Breakfast has also been shown to increase fullness while reducing appetite, food cravings, and brain signals that regulate reward-driven eating behavior. Furthermore, studies show that eating a high-quality, high-protein breakfast decreases late-night snacking of foods high in sugar and fat.

So, if food cravings and late night snacking are things you struggle with, I highly recommend focusing on your breakfast. Perhaps you are eating upside down, too? Try a high-quality, high-protein breakfast.

What is a high-quality, high-protein breakfast?

Well, first, your breakfast should be made of real food. I know it’s super tempting to just grab a protein bar or granola bar on your way out the door, but those protein and granola bars often include a lot of artificial ingredients and added sugars and is far from what nature intended. This is not to say it’s never okay to have them. They should just be a backup breakfast instead of a go-to breakfast.

Secondly, you want to aim for a breakfast that contains between 20 and 30 grams of protein. Here are some examples of what that might look like:

  • Two Egg Omelet with leftover veggies, 1 oz of beef and cheese = 29 grams protein
  • Egg and Canadian Bacon Breakfast Sandwich on English Muffin = 26 grams protein
  • 8 oz Greek Yogurt with 1 oz Nuts = 26 grams protein
  • Peanut Butter Quinoa = 31 grams protein
  • Easy Morning, Egg, Potato and Zucchini Cups with fruit and yogurt = 30 grams protein

If you are like me and have busy mornings that can feel rushed, you may like this make-ahead option that works for me.

Easy Morning Egg, Potato and Zucchini Cups

These can make your morning easy-peasy and delicious! Make them on the weekend and reheat them each day. They go great with yogurt and fruit or avocado and fruit.

  • 1 medium zucchini (grated)
  • 1 cup frozen hashbrowns
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1-2 teaspoon Savory All-Purpose Seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease an extra large muffin tin with oil.
  3. Evenly distribute the hash-browns in each cup. Then the shredded zucchini and cheese.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and add in salt, pepper, turmeric and a savory all purpose blend (or use your favorite blend).
  5. Pour egg mixture into each cup Give each cup a little stir and bake for 20-25 minutes.

To reheat: Place on microwave safe plate and heat for 1 minute 15 seconds on 50% power. Add 10-15 more seconds as needed.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 312, Protein 16g, Carbohydrate 14 g, Dietary Fiber 1 g,
Total Sugars 2g, Total Fat 21g, Saturated Fat 7g, Monounsaturated Fat 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat 3g


Food for thought: Let me know if you try these and what you think! Or share with us your favorite make-ahead high-quality protein-packed breakfast.

Protein-Rich Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

Protein-Rich Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

I love eggs for breakfast. With just the right amount of protein and fat, they are satisfying and delicious until… the burnout. Have you ever grown tired of eggs? What about your family? Maybe you make a not-so-great batch of eggs one morning and your 4-year-old then declares that she no longer likes eggs. Sigh. Only later in the week to request that I make eggs like Denny’s does. Haha. Denny’s eggs coming right up! Okay, so maybe that only happens to me…

Anyhow, burnout happens. I hear from the tribe that you need more ideas. Great news! I’ve got the perfect alternative. These protein-rich pumpkin cookies have 8g of protein, 4g of fiber and only 2g of added sugar. They are made from real food ingredients and do not contain gluten, artificial sweeteners or protein powder. You can’t beat that. See complete NUTRITION FACTS here.

  • Great for little kids. Just one cookie will meet nearly the entire day’s worth of protein needs for your little one (based on myplate servings). It is also extremely rich in iron, an important nutrient for this age group.  Not to mention you’re squeezing in a tiny serving of vegetables without them noticing. Blending the pumpkin seeds and the oats really helps make these a kid-friendly texture.
  • Great for big kids. This can be an on-the-go breakfast or after school snack. Would also be great for replenishing after a sports game or practice.
  • Great for adults. Use it as an afternoon pick-me up, a breakfast paired with fruit, or a post-workout snack when you have a really strenuous session.

They are light, fluffy and will resemble more of a muffin top than a cookie. I’ve been enjoying them with my morning coffee and they hold me over very well.  How will you enjoy them? As a breakfast or a snack? Both?

Protein-Rich Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies pack in protein, iron, vitamin A and fiber – all from real, natural foods! Enjoy for breakfast or snack.

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (natural)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (processed into a powder)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (to make throw old fashioned oats into the food processor)
  • 1/4 cup Raisins
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. In a small bowl, beat the pumpkin and almond butter using a hand-held mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, and chia seeds. Add baking soda, oat flour and pumpkin seed powder mix until combine. Fold in raisins.
  2. Scoop onto lined cookie sheet making 12 large cookies.
  3. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

You can leave pumpkin seeds whole or blend them in a blender or food processor to form a flour.
To make oat flour: blend old fashioned oats in a blender or food processor until a flour consistency is reached.

This recipe was modified from a recipe by The Lean Green Bean. http://www.theleangreenbean.com/sweet-potato-protein-cookies/

What’s for dinner? 8 chicken-free dinner ideas

What’s for dinner? 8 chicken-free dinner ideas

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Because it was free range.

Hearing about people’s diets is one of my favorite parts of being a dietitian. I sure do hear about a lot of baked chicken! Of course, people tend to highlight what they consider to be the healthy parts of their diet when talking to me because they may think, “what would a dietitian want to hear?”

Perhaps, everyone is eating pounds and pounds of baked chicken every week?! If that’s you, and you are ready to eat something else, I have great news. There are a plethora of other healthy proteins besides the boneless skinless baked chicken breast. If you want to stick with chicken, that is your choice. After all, I really enjoy sardines.

Anyhow, for those of you looking for fun, delicious, simple, and well-balanced protein options that don’t include baked chicken, keep reading.

At Well Balanced Nutrition, we strongly encourage incorporating protein with every meal. Ideally, we recommend a happy and healthy protein source such as organically fed and free-range poultry and grass-fed locally raised beef or other meat. You might be thinking “oh my gosh, that stuff is so expensive!” It’s true. The good news is the protein should only be 1/4 of your plate. Ultimately, the price will even out because the rest of your plate will be covered with those yummy fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates .

Here are 8 ideas to get you started:

  1. Pork tenderloin: Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin from addapinch.com
  2. Shrimp: Easy Shrimp & Broccoli Stir-fry by skinnyfitalicious.com
  3. Grass fed beef: How to grill grass-fed burgers by heygrillhey.com (the Pro Tip: low and slow to preserve moisture!)
  4. 93/7 Ground Turkey:  Fast and Friendly Meatballs from allrecipes.com
  5. Eggs: Spring Vegetable Frittata by realsimple.com
  6. Lentils: Vegan Lentil Curry by simpleveganblog.com
  7. Tofu: Tofu with Peanut-Ginger Sauce from eatingwell.com
  8. Cod: Pan-Seared Cod with Preserved-Lemon Aioli out of Foodandwine.com