Shopping is quite easy on the Eat to Live plan. You need only fresh veggies, fruit, beans, nuts and seeds. And a few other items like seasonings, spices, and dried/canned items for those need-to-eat-quick meals. The only downside is that you need to shop OFTEN – like every 2-3 days often.
Fruit & Veggies
Obviously go to town on these. If your new diet is to be successful, you need a fridge stocked full. I am really surprised by how empty my pantry is (all those preservatives and processed stuff) and how overflowing my refrigerator is! Fresh stuff is like that – it needs fridge space!! It was a sign of change when the fridge started to be stacked high with vegetables instead of cheese and deli meat.
Ideas of fruits (especially for lunch boxes):
- oranges (especially mandarins – the sweeter the better, right?)
- different colors and textures of apples
- bananas (a staple – used for sweetening your baking and shakes too)
- lemons & limes (for salad dressings)
- passion fruits, guava, pomegranate, mango, papaya – go crazy! (Check youtube for videos on how to slice, peel and serve it!)
- blueberries, strawberries, raspberries (some berries every day is recommended)
- dates (lots of dates for baking – oh yes! You can bake!! Yummy)
Ideas for Veggies (these I keep on hand for my mainstay recipes). You’ll need enough to fill you (and whoever you’re feeding) for 2-3 days. But remember you’re each eating TWO POUNDS of this!
- sweet potato/yam
- green leafy lettuce/romaine/ spring mix – whatever appeals to you
- red, yellow and orange peppers
- sprouts (I love them for some interest on my salads occasionally)
- mushrooms (cooked mushrooms every day is recommended too)
- blueberries (when not in season)
I started with several different cans of beans. One of each flavor. Every day I opened one or two to find out which ones I like. Optimally you’ll eat a variety of beans. And its easy to hide them in stews, chili, casseroles, etc. But if you’re dousing your salad with a cup of them, you’d better like the taste.
It turns out that my favorite are pinto, brown, black, black eyed peas, and red kidney beans. And I didn’t realize this but pink beans (which are actually white – weird) taste really different and I definitely do NOT like them!
- Find the beans you like by purchasing the cans (save yourself the hassle of cooking them and then not liking them!) Look for low sodium or no-salt added varieties.
- Buy bags of the dried beans that you DO like, as well as lentils.
- Soak beans and water with a ratio of 1:2 overnight.
- Rinse. Add beans to slow cooker and cover with water. Cook until done. I’ve found this varies from 2 hours to 6 hours.
- I cook an entire bag of beans and freeze them in 2 cup containers.
Nuts and Seeds
Since I need the girls to eat lots and lots of nuts and seed for their growth and development, we had a tasting party. I laid out a bowl of each: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds. (Yes, I totally kept the pecans for myself.) We talked about and rated each one. Now the girls actually like putting together their trail mix for after school snacks.
A lot of recipes call for:
- cashews (pieces are fine)
- sunflower seeds
- flax seeds
- Tahini (sesame seed paste)
- nut butters (pure, without added sugar or salt) These are expensive. I started with peanut butter and my girls are adjusted to the taste. Now I’ll get cashew butter for the recipes.
NOTE: 1 Tbsp of flax seeds is mandatory on a vegan / vegetarian diet.
I simply buy whole flax seeds in the cereal aisle (its cheap) and grind it in my trusty coffee grinder.
Spice & Seasoning
You will have most of these things in your cupboards already but to be thorough I’ll list my favorite ones.
- chili powder
- cumin powder
- onion powder
- poultry seasoning
Use a quality vinegar because you can’t put oil with it. The quality ones don’t have so much bite. Then mix with ground nuts/seeds for a milder flavor. I will post a few recipes as I can. But mostly I use seasoned rice vinegar. I know it has a tiny bit of sugar and salt in it, but I have actually grown to eat SALAD, so I’ll just take it as improvement!
- seasoned rice vinegar
- balsamic vinegar (good quality)
- white vinegar
Unfortunately if you want prepared foods, you’ll have to prepare them yourself and put them in the freezer! There are a few shortcuts that I’ve found – I’ll update this list as I find more!
- no-salt added tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes
- carrot juice as a base for soups
- beans already cooked, as long as no-sodium
- some ‘energy bars’ are actually just simply dried fruits and nuts which are great for a snack, if you’re not needing to lose weight.
- Whole wheat pita pockets (they seem to have the least fat)
- Whole wheat wraps
- Sprouted grain and whole grain bread (for the kids)
- Whole grain brown rice pasta.
- Wild rice
I have unsuccessfully to date tried to get the kids to drink almond milk. At the moment, I’m diluting their cow’s milk with it to see if they’ll find it palatable. But they forgo my jug marked “milk” in favor of the actual milk. Smart kids. So far they’ll forgo the cow’s milk when I use almond milk in their shakes. Next I’ll try ice cream with almond milk, who won’t like that, right?
- almond milk
- cocoa powder
- vanilla extract