Farmer’s Markets – The Way to Go!

One of the most common things I hear from people hesitant to “reform” their eating habits is that it’s “too expensive” to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. A few years ago, I likely would have believed that. Anyone who goes into their local Publix to stock up on fresh staples knows that you can easily drop $50 on a week’s worth of fresh fruits and veggies – and that’s if you go for what’s on sale and/or in season.

Fortunately, most cities – big or small – feature a weekend Farmer’s Market which is the BEST place to go if you’re focus is to get healthy on a budget.

My grandmother stayed the weekend with me (she just turned 71 on 8/30 – wish that lady a Happy Birthday, would ya?!) and we made it a point to hit TWO Farmer’s Markets this morning.

The first market, featured at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando, I picked up the following:

  • One GIANT eggplant: $2
  • Yellow squash (5): $2.50
  • Carton of fresh cut, organic watermelon: $4
  • Fresh mango, skinned and sliced: $4
  • GIANT sweet onion: $1 (see picture below)
  • Poblano peppers (2): $1
  • Organic apples (4): $3
  • Organic pears (2): $1.50
That is one of the biggest onions I've ever seen. It must weigh two pounds.

That is one of the biggest onions I’ve ever seen. It must weigh two pounds.

At the second market, at the beautiful Lake Lily in Maitland, I was thrilled to discover the prices were EVEN LOWER:

  • Sweet potatoes (2): $1.25
  • Bunches of green onion (4): $2
  • Mixed peppers (4): $1 (what a steal!)
  • Fresh, chopped broccoli: $1.25
  • Limes (4): $1
  • Kale: $1.50
  • Bunch of Chives: $1

Seriously, look at this haul:

I forgot to take a picture BEFORE I started prepping the veggies, so don't judge the plastic baggies in the back corner.

I forgot to take a picture BEFORE I started prepping the veggies, so don’t judge the plastic baggies in the back corner.

This is EASILY enough fruit and veggies to last me a week (minimum) and I spent less than $30 in total for everything. To be honest, the pre-cut watermelon and mango were splurge items, as the Lake Lily market had whole mangoes for just $0.75 each. The same goes for watermelon: I could have purchased a WHOLE watermelon for just $3, but I know how lazy I am when it comes to preparation, so the $8 I spent on those two items was more out of expected apathy than thrift.

For less than it costs for a meal out for two (no cocktails, no appetizer), I literally have enough fresh fruits and veggies to eat for two weeks on my own. As a reformed vegetarian, I could happily live on veggies myself for weeks, but my husband, a die-hard carnivore, begs for steak, chicken, or fish as an accompaniment. Still, factoring in a package of organic chicken at Publix (currently on sale), a bag of wild Alaskan salmon, and the BOGO on baby back ribs at Fresh Market, I will literally feed my husband and I for less than $60 this week and it’ll all be fresh, mostly organic, and HEALTHY.

So… what’s your excuse for NOT eating well again?

I’m pretty sure this is significantly cheaper than dining out 3x per week and picking up fast food the other days.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

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Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax Oatmeal = YUMTASTIC

Nature's Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax Oatmeal = YUMTASTIC

OK, so I realize that this is NOT a Paleo-approved breakfast, but I happened to find this oatmeal on clearance at Whole Foods one day last week [it wasn’t old; I think the manufacturer changed their box design and Whole Foods HATES to be behind the times, you know], so I decided to pick up a box to try it out.

This stuff is AMAZING.

Not too sweet, extremely hearty, and packing only 160 calories per package. For the last two mornings, I’ve made myself two packets [320 calorie breakfast – nice and hearty] and had a cup of tea with it. I’m shocked to say it keeps me full for HOURS. I’m not exaggerating: HOURS.

Yesterday, I had my oatmeal around 10am and didn’t feel my first pang of hunger until almost 3:30pm. And I wasn’t trying to skip lunch – I was just that satisfied that I didn’t even notice the passing of the time.

This hot cereal boasts sweet blueberries, crunchy flax seeds, and the perfect balance of cinnamon and brown sugar. It’ll please the kids and the health nuts alike.

You know, one of my only gripes about the Paleo diet is the lack of breakfast options – you have to be PREPARED for breakfast with Paleo baked goods or time to spare to fry up some eggs – so this is the meal I most often find myself cheating.

If you’re going to cheat… might as well try to make it a healthy cheat and I think Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax oatmeal is the way to do it!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Laughing Giraffe Organics

Since I’m in approaching-birthday-diet-blitz mode right now, I’ve been seeking out healthy, Paleo snacks that I can grab whenever the sweets craving hits. I’m normally pretty good about making them, as I’m constantly posting recipes on here, but sometimes I just need something quick, tasty, and convenient.

Of all places, I happened to stumble upon this brand of Paleo snacks – Laughing Giraffe Organics – while in Marshalls.

A clothing store? Beats me.

I have a habit of roaming the aisles aimlessly when I go to Marshalls and I often find myself lingering in the food aisle, as they have unique spices, interesting sauces, and lots of [surprisingly] healthy snacks. Normally I end up picking up organic agave syrup, Indian spices, and a few bags of sweet potato chips, but this time I came across a bag of Laughing Giraffe Organic “snackaroons” and decided to give them a shot.

LaughingGiraffe

Holy crap.

They are AMAZING.

They are moist, chewy, and satisfying, but not too sweet. They pack a ton of fiber and are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and flour-free. To be honest, I was skeptical when I picked them up, as they sounded too good to be true. Cardboard cookies, anyone?

Boy, was I wrong. They are absolutely delicious and just the right texture – chewy, firm, and almost like an oatmeal cookie with hidden chunks of macadamia nuts and cacao nubs.

They pack a decent amount of calories – about 160 for 1 and a 1/2 snackaroons [who only eats a half of a snackaroon, in the first place?] – but they were incredibly satisfying. While I *wanted* to have more than one, I found that a single snackaroon was satisfying and I could walk away from the bag.

These are a bit costly, ranging between $7-12 a bag in most stores, but definitely a good go-to when you’re in a crunch for a healthy snack and don’t have time to prepare something for yourself. They certainly taste better than any of the Paleo treats I’ve made, but that’s likely because I’m not the best baker.

Whether you’re on a Paleo diet, gluten-free diet, or just trying to avoid processed foods as a whole, I would definitely suggest checking these out next time you’re at Whole Foods. Or Marshalls, in my case. 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori