Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Grow Sprouts: For the Health of It!

Tips on raising bean, alfalfa and other nutritious sprouts right in your kitchen ... organically!

Indoor Gardens:




-Indoor Gardening

-Sprouts & Micro-Greens

Grow Sprouts: For the Health of It!

We get cravings for greens this time of year. Sure, you lucky gardeners with indoor growing systems or hot houses may be eating home-grown kale or lettuce or spinach here in the dead of winter. But what’s a renter without his own garden patch to do? Grow sprouts.


Sprouts are one of nature’s most nutritious foods, full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids as well as a great source of roughage. Lentil sprouts are 26% protein; soy bean sprouts, as you can guess, even higher. Radish sprouts contain large amounts of vitamins C and A as well as being a good source of calcium. Sunflower sprouts have lots of vitamin D. Clover sprouts are a good source of cancer-fighting isoflavones and alfalfa sprouts contain phytoestrogens needed for hormonal balance. If you’ve been scared away from sprouts because of contamination incidents with store -bought products, there’s a simple solution. Grow them yourself.


It’s easy to enjoy the health benefits of sprouts - whether it’s greens and grasses, beans, nuts or grains - in your own home with our seed sprouting kits and supplies. No more high grocery store prices! Need help? Visit our Sprouts & Micro-Greens Blog for tips on sprouting seeds - indoors or out!


Growing sprouts indoors is among the easiest things you can do. Don’t make it too hard. When we were young back in the early 19(garbled)s, we read a health store handout that said planting sprouts in soil significantly increased their nutritional content. This claim may have been only partially true, hinging on the meaning of the word “significantly.” But the planting, watering, and cleaning after harvest — not to mention replacing the soil — turned this easy task into a chore and for what? We decided that rather than go to all the muddy trouble of washing dirt from the spouts to gain 5% more mineral content we’d just eat more sprouts.


Of course, you’ll want to use the freshest seed you can find. And you’ll want to make sure it’s organic… you’ll be eating your sprouts seeds and all. If the seed isn’t designated “for sprouting” steer clear. Your germination rate — you want it as high as possible — and assurances that the seed hasn’t been treated will otherwise be suspect.


The glass jar technique is the easiest. You can buy screen lids that allow you to easily rinse your sprouts or use cheesecloth to cover the jars. Seeds must be soaked first; the larger the seed, the longer the soak. Alfalfa seeds can soak for as little as three hours. Soy beans should be soaked overnight. Make sure you give your sprouts plenty of room to grow. Two or three tablespoons of seed in the bottom of a jar will be sufficient. Once the seeds have soaked, drain and rinse. You’ll see the first sign of growth, depending on the seed, in a day or so. Rinse them every six hours and drain well.


Once they’ve all sprouted, put them in a sunny window to encourage the formation of chlorophyll, another healthy component for us humans. Don’t let them go too long. Sprouts are at their healthiest in the first day or so of growth. Once they’re well-sprouted, rinse and drain well and then put them in the refrigerator for storage. Most sprouts will keep two or three days. But they seldom last that long; we tend to eat them up right away. Put them on salads, sandwiches, and in stir fries (larger sprouts take especially well to cooking). Stagger your batches every two or three days to ensure an uninterrupted supply. And get your kids involved. We find they love watching seeds they’ve soaked sprout and develop. It might even make a good science project.

By E. Vinje https://www.planetnatural.com/grow-sprouts/

Thursday, September 10, 2020



On the road with Cats- the Dogs think they have all the fun but what about the Cats

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

7 Common Sense Hacks for Staying Cool When Working in the Heat

7 Common Sense Hacks for Staying Cool When Working in the Heat

How to Stay Cool Outside in Extreme Heat

1. Set up a shade canopy

The first summer on our property, we had absolutely no shade. Whether we were working on food preservation, making root beer or working on our DIY hot tub, we were in full-sun. All day long.

This year, we smartened up a bit.

Jesse already had a 10×10 shade canopy, so we set it up!

We also purchased a larger 10×20 canopy for the extra shade. Guests love it when they’re over for a visit.

Now, whether we’re milling lumber with our portable sawmill or fine-tuning our solar power system, we have a place to retreat to!

2. Reduce heat by setting up a misting system

In addition to the canopy, a tip for working in the sun is to try setting up a mist cooling system to keep the heat at bay.

We were able to build our system for $15 or so from a local garden store.

While this obviously doesn’t cool down the temperature of the air, it can help to moisten your skin and cool you down by evaporating.

You’d be amazed how a little mist to the face boosts morale on a hot summer day!


3. Get to know the shade schedule on your property or work site

For us, we have a lot of projects to do all around the property, so it pays to know what will be in the shade and when!

When we were finishing up our off grid water system, there were portions to do at the bottom of the hill (sunny in the day) and top of the hill (shaded most of the day)… so we chose to work in the shade, but never stopped working!

Work smarter to avoid heat exhaustion.



4. Wear hot weather clothing

This is something we’re passionate about – wear the right clothing for working in the heat. Chose clothing that’s lightweight, wicking, light in color and even long sleeve shirts that protect your skin from the sun.


Hot Weather Clothing for Men

Here are two of Jesse’s go-to clothing articles for the summer. Can you tell? He wears them daily! Proof is in the videos!

 Armachillo Sun Cape Hat – Jesse doesn’t like wide-brim hats (he feels they limit his vision), but a baseball cap doesn’t provide enough coverage. He was happy to find this cape hat to protect his next! The best of both worlds!

 Armachillo Long Sleeve Cooling Shirt – Jesse was skeptical about this shirt because it was so lightweight (usually means it’s not durable), but low and behold, it’s standing up to the test of time. Jesse’s been wearing this daily for almost two months, and even though the shirt has been abused, it’s holding up well! This is just ounces in weight, comfortable, flexible, and keeps the sun off Jesse’s skin

Hot Weather Clothing for Women

Finding quality work-wear for women has been a particular challenge. Luckily, we were introduced to Duluth Trading Company and Alyssa’s needs for the heat have been met!


What we love about Duluth is that not only is their clothing highly-functional (they take great care to incorporate their customers’ feedback into their designs), but dare I say, it’s even fashionable. I might even call it flattering which is a huge bonus in work-wear.

 Dry on the Fly Slim Leg Pants – I’ve previously had bad luck with these lightweight wicking pants, so I was hesitant to order these, but I’m in love with these. I love that these are slim leg (less bulk in the calves), they’re stretchy, ironically great to work in, lightweight and wicking. I have another pair of these on the way in khaki.

 Armachillo Cooling V-Neck T-Shirt – This is my favorite shirt to-date. Lightweight, synthetic, wicking, and flattering in all the right places. I love the v-neck, gusseted back and definition in the waist… all things that make otherwise boring work-wear flattering on the female body!

 Action UPF 50 Shirt – This is another summer favorite. I despite sunscreen, but by wearing this, I’m able to protect my precious skin from the rays of the sun. Duluth has more options in their summer lineup… check them out for a shirt that fits your needs and style.

 Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat – We’ve had these for over a year now and love them (me more so than Jesse)! Highly durable, UPF 50+, wide brim, ventilation and a draw string. What more could you possibly want?

5. Try products to stay cool in the heat

These things sounded gimmicky to us at first, but we’re happy to report that these things do feel good when on your body!

  Frogg Toggs The Original Chilly Pad Cooling Towel – We this thing once and it will stay cool for hours. We tested this out the other day and were surprised with how cool the towel gets and stays. It does have a cooling effect as the breeze moves over the towel, and it’s nice to just push against your check when you’re over-heating!

     Cooling Bandanas – A similar option to the chilly pad, cooling bandanas are reusable and provide a constant cooling effect.

6. Avoid working in the heat of the day all-together. Try to find indoor activities

Easier said than done when trying to build a house as we are, but use this free project management software to organize our lives. We have task lists for “evening work” and “heat of day work”.

We recently got an RV air conditioner and let’s just say it’s really upped our productivity.

For us, there’s ALWAYS work to be done whether it’s inside or outside work, so when the heat is really unbearable, or we’re not under a strict deadline, we try to take advantage of air conditioning!


7. Hydrate DAYS in advance

It’s a no-brainer to stay hydrated when you’re working in the heat. However, not everyone knows that to be adequately hydrated, you must drink plenty of water days before you’ll need it!

We try to drink copious amounts of water maybe three days before we’ll be working in the sun.

Also, be sure to have water next to where you’re working. If water is near you, you’re more likely to drink it!

If all else fails, throw in the towel to have some fun!



Thursday, August 27, 2020



Today I have a yummy fudge recipe for you.  It is so simple and foolproof plus it only takes 2 ingredients.  It is similar to the foolproof peanut butter fudge recipe I shared with you at Christmas.  That one used a tub of vanilla frosting and peanut butter.  This recipe uses strawberry or lemon frosting with a package of vanilla chips.


You can make it any flavor just based upon the flavor of frosting you use.  I thought lemon and strawberry flavors would be perfect for Mother’s Day.  You could even make a batch of each and swirl them together for a strawberry lemonade version.  Out of the two flavors lemon was my favorite.  To package the fudge, cut the pieces of fudge into small squares and place them in mini muffin liners.  Then place them all in a container tied with a bow.  This is another item that would be perfect to serve at a baby/wedding shower as a dessert or favor too!


-1 (12 oz) bag of white or vanilla chips

-1 tub (1 lb) Strawberry or Lemon Frosting

-Food coloring, if needed 

    (I add 2 drops of yellow to the lemon version for a brighter yellow color)


1. Line a 9 x 9 inch dish with foil and set aside.

2. In a microwave safe bowl, add the vanilla chips. Microwave for 30 seconds followed but 10 second intervals until smooth stirring each time.

3. Add the frosting to the melted chips and stir until well combined. Add food coloring if needed.

4. Pour into pan and spread until even. Allow to set for 30 minutes.

5. Remove fudge from the pan using foil and cut into squares.


-For long term storage, keep in the refrigerator. Then bring out of the fridge about 30 minutes before eating.


Tag @realmomkitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #realmomkitchen


©2007-2019 Real Mom Kitchen | Laura Powell. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, August 24, 2020

How to Grow Sprouts in Your Kitchen - and Why You Should

How to Grow Sprouts in Your Kitchen - and Why You Should

(Reading Time: 3 min)


“A total hippie food”… that was what I thought as I looked down at the turkey, sprouts, and avocado sandwich on flax bread that my friend had insisted I “had to try.

This was well before my transition to real food and I wasn’t enthralled with the rather dry sandwich, but I really liked the texture of the sprouts.

These days, if sprouts are hippie food, I must be a hippie because I have some growing on my counter right now.

Turns out, sprouts have a lot of health benefits and are an inexpensive and easy-to-grow local superfood.


Why Grow Sprouts at Home?

Sprouts are soaked and germinated seeds, nuts or grains that are full of beneficial enzymes, vitamins and amino acids. They are also incredibly easy to grow at home on a kitchen counter with plain water and minimal equipment.

I prefer to sprout any beans or grains that I consume to make the nutrients more bioavailable and to reduce lectins and phytic acid. I also like sprouting certain seeds and nuts for adding to salads and stir frys.

Sprouts are incredibly nutritious and inexpensive, and take only a few days to grow. Sprouting increases the nutrient content of seeds and legumes and makes them easier to digest. If you’ve never tried to grow sprouts at home, you are missing out on an easy way to have fresh food year round.


The most common seeds used to grow sprouts are:


-Broccoli Seeds

-Red Clover Seeds


-Mung Beans

-Pumpkin Seeds

-Sunflower Seeds

-Chia Seeds

Supplies to Grow Sprouts

There is equipment specifically designed for sprouting, like sprouting trays, which make sprouting easier and allow for more growth at once, but all that is really needed are:

-A wide-mouth quart size or half gallon size mason jar

-A Sprouting lid or a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band

-A bowl or box to help the jar stand upside-down at an angle

-Organic Sprouting seeds (I buy mine in bulk here) – Make sure they are specifically labeled “sprouting seeds” and “organic”


How to Grow Sprouts

1. Wash hands well and make sure that all equipment is clean and sterile.

2. Pour one type of seed into the jar. Use about 1 teaspoon of small seeds like alfalfa or broccoli or 1/4 cup of beans and lentils (for a quart size jar).

3. Cover with 1 cup of filtered water and put lid or cheesecloth over the jar.

4. Allow to soak for up to 12 hours. It is often easiest to do this at night and soak overnight.

5. In the morning, strain off the water. This is easily done with a sprouting lid. If you are using a cheesecloth, strain through a fine strainer and return to jar.

6. Rinse well with filtered water and drain again.

7. Place upside down at a slight angle so that excess water can drain off and air can get in. I find a dish rack or medium size bowl is perfect for this.

8. Re-rinse the sprouts several times a day with filtered water, returning to the tilted position each time.

9. You should see sprouting in a day or two and most sprouts are ready to harvest in 3-7 days.

10. When done sprouting, rinse thoroughly in cool, filtered water and store in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.

There are some important notes about growing sprouts. Please read this article for cautions and specific instructions. Some seeds (like walnuts and pecans) do not sprout and some beans (like Kidney beans) are dangerous and should never be eaten sprouted. Also, special care should be taken to avoid bacteria growth in sprouts.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020



A fat belly is linked to various diseases as it is the most harmful fat in your body. Aside from working out, avoiding junk food and alcohol are among the ways to get a flat belly. Additionally, check out these tips for how to burn belly fat in less than a week.



1. Include aerobic exercises in your daily routine

If you want to burn fat fast there is no getting around cardio training. Studies find that this is the most effective form of exercise to reduce belly fat. 

By burning many calories your general health will improve. Hence, start doing high-intensity workouts of running, swimming or aerobic classes, but keep in mind that frequency and duration are essential for satisfying results.



2. Reduce refined carbs 

One should avoid consuming refined carbs to lose fat around the abdominal area and have good metabolic health.

It is not necessary to stick to a strict low-carb diet, however it should be replaced with unprocessed carbs. Instead of white bread, white rice and sodas, eat more vegetables and whole grains.



3. Add fatty fish to your diet

Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines or tuna is a high-quality protein and rich in omega-3 acids. By eating 2 to 3 portions a week you can reduce the risk of illnesses like heart disease and also burn your belly fat.

Studies revealed that Omega-3 fats have the ability to reduce visceral fat that is around your abdomen.



4. Start the day with a high protein breakfast

Start your day with some Greek yogurt, protein smoothies, scrambled egg whites or porridge. After eating proteins in the morning, you will feel full until lunch without any hunger pangs.

Proteins increase your metabolic rate while retaining muscle mass during weight loss. You can also add proteins such as eggs, fish, chicken, beans or dairy in every other meal.



5. Drink enough water

Even if you don't want to lose weight, staying hydrated is important for your general health. Drinking 4 to 5 liters of water each day is recommended and will burn more calories.

Also, drinking right before eating reduces your appetite as well as calorie intake. Make sure to avoid any other beverages containing lots of sugars and calories.

Drinking warm water with lemon in the morning on an empty stomach helps kickstart your metabolism and digestive system as well.



6. Reduce your salt intake

Consumed salt retains water and makes your belly feels bloated. Before making a purchase always make sure the nutrition label does not mention high sodium levels since processed food consists of salt, added sugar and unhealthy fats.



7. Consume soluble fiber

Similar to proteins, soluble fibers make you feel full for a few hours so that you don't have to consume unneeded extra calories in your meal.

Soluble fibers absorb water and form a gel that lowers fat absorption -- a good thing for someone seeking to lose weight. You can find them in barley, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.




Friday, August 7, 2020



If you like Mango – you may like the following other smear-proof lip colors, lip stains,  face blush and eye shadow products that are related & that are close to that color:






Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Woman Consumes over 4 lbs of Lipstick in Her Lifetime

A Woman Consumes over 4 lbs of Lipstick in Her Lifetime

A woman may ingest more than four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime - even more if she wears it every day. Mainstream lipsticks are composed of synthetic oils, petroleum waxes and artificial colours. Coal tar dye colours are common allergens and also carcinogenic. Lipsticks also contain amyldimethylamino benzoic acid, ricinoleic acid, fragrance, ester gums and lanolin. Some dyes can cause photosensitivity and dermatitis.

Four to nine pounds of lipstick in a lifetime. According to a report in Glamour magazine, the average woman consumes four to nine pounds of lipstick in her lifetime.

 For Healthy Vegan Lip Products, Visit:

Get a Travel Size trial kit from LIP INK® or Waxless Vegan Lip balms

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Best Eyeliner Color for Your Eyes

The Best Eyeliner Color for Your Eyes

OK, so which eyeliner color is best for your eyes?

As a makeup artist, I am often asked this question. So today,  I’m going to help you find out which eyeliner to wear to rock your eye color!

Let me first say that I don’t believe in any strict rules for what you can and can’t wear. I believe that the most important thing is that you feel confident in whatever makeup choices you make.

However,  there are definitely certain shades of eyeliner that will enhance your individual eye color more than others. Today I’m going to share those choices with you. I hope these makeup tips will help you find the best eyeliner color for your eyes.

To get started, let’s think about the basics of color theory, and how that might relate to choosing eye liner colors. Below is a picture of the traditional artists’ color wheel, which is a representation of how colors appear in relation to each other.

The Color Wheel

Colors that lie directly near each other on the color wheel (orange and red for example) are called analogous. When used together, analogous colors create a combination of colors that are visually harmonious.

Complementary colors are those which lie opposite each other on the color wheel (yellow and purple for example). 

Pairing complementary colors together create the most striking color combinations. This is because of the dramatic visual contrast of the colors when placed next to each other. 

Think of how dramatic red and green look together, orange and blue, and so forth. Advertisers often use complementary colors for their products to get your attention. 

If you are thinking, this is great art theory and all, but where are the makeup tips, then stick with me here… 

Because here is the secret. 

Makeup artists use color theory to work with your skin and eye colors to bring more attention to your features and enhance them. 

To apply color theory when choosing an eyeliner, first establish where your eye color would lie on the color wheel. As our eyes have many different colors within them, choose the most dominant color in your eye to begin with.
Then find the opposite, complementary color on the color wheel, and choose this as your eyeliner color.

Wearing a complementary eyeliner color will bring out the color of your eyes more than other shades because of the striking visual contrast.

The Best Eyeliner Color for Green Eyes

 Here is a picture of a model with green eyes wearing three different eyeliner colors:

In the first photo, the model is wearing black eyeliner. Black eyeliner is dramatic because of its intensity, but it really does nothing to enhance eye color

In the second photo I have added green eyeliner to the model instead. There is nothing wrong with this choice, it’s just a softer look. Wearing eyeliner near the same color as your eyes just blends in more.

To really enhance green eyes, we need to use the complementary color of red. And since true red is not a very popular eyeliner color, we choose an eyeliner from the same red-violet color family instead.

The third photo shows a wine-colored eyeliner on the model. And because of its warm, red-violet undertone, the eyeliner provides the most contrast to her eyes.

This enhances her eye color more than the first two choices. Therefore, the best eyeliner color for green eyes is red violet.

The Best Eyeliner Color for Blue Eyes

Here is the same dynamic when working with blue eyes:

The first two photos are shown with the model wearing black eyeliner and then blue eyeliner. The third is of the model wearing a warm brown eyeliner.

As the complementary color for blue would be orange, choosing a brown eyeliner with a warm orange-brown undertone will bring out her blue eyes the most.

So, the best eyeliner color for blue eyes is warm brown.

The Best Eyeliner Color for Brown Eyes

To enhance brown eyes, we need to choose the closest color to brown on the color wheel, which would be gold. To contrast gold, I chose a violet eyeliner as the third color below, comparing with black and brown eyeliners again:

As you can see, the violet eyeliner draws the most attention to the model’s eye color. Because of this, the best eyeliner color for brown eyes is violet.

The Best Eyeliner Color for Hazel Eyes

I saved hazel eyes for last because there are so many different shades of hazel eyes. Some people have hazel green eyes, some hazel gold eyes and so forth.

For hazel eyes, pick one of the colors in your eyes that is either the most dominant, or one that you would like to enhance. Then, you can use the tips above to bring out that color.

So, for example, if you have hazel green eyes, then you would use a red-violet eyeliner to bring out the green. But if you want to enhance the gold in your eyes, then you would choose a violet or blue eyeliner.

A great way to test out new eyeliner looks is by using the Marie Claire Virtual Hairstyle and Makeup Makeover tool. I highly recommend this program because you can upload your own picture to the site. Then you can try out different makeup looks without having to purchase any cosmetics first.

This is just the beginning of an exploration into color theory and how it applies to choosing your makeup colors. I hope these tips give you a starting point and will help you find the best eyeliner color for your eyes.

Monday, July 13, 2020

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you consider changing your diet. It can help to focus on making one small change at a time. Don’t try to overhaul your family’s eating habits all at once — this is a recipe for failure. Instead, change one habit, food, or purchase a week and see how it goes.

1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 1 in 10 Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables is an essential part of a healthy diet.

The amount of fruits and vegetables you need depends on your age, sex, and physical activity level. However, the USDA recommends that adults need 1 to 2 cups of fruit per day and 1 to 3 cups of vegetables.

There are many ways you can up your fruit and vegetable consumption.

Snack More
Slip in more fruits and vegetables during the day by eating them as snacks. Instead of pulling out a bag of chips, eat some carrots, fresh broccoli with low-fat ranch dressing, or an apple.

Drink Your Veggies
Vegetable drinks, such as V8, provide two full servings of vegetables in every 11-ounce can. Drinking a can a day is an easy way to increase your veggie intake. If the taste of V8 doesn’t appeal to you, try adding some Tabasco sauce to spice it up.

V8 is more expensive than regular tomato juice, so wait for it to go on sale and stock up when it does, or look for coupons. You can also sometimes find lower prices online through Amazon or Walmart, or at warehouse stores like Costco.

Buy In-Season
In-season produce is less expensive than food that’s grown somewhere else and then shipped to the store. Epicurious has a useful map that shows in-season fruits and vegetables in your area. Refer to it before you head to the store.

Use Frozen Produce
According to a report by NPR, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh produce. They also have a much longer shelf-life, which is a huge benefit for busy families who don’t have time to make frequent trips to the store to buy fresh produce.

Another benefit is that frozen fruits and vegetables often go on sale. If you invest in a stand-alone freezer, you can stock up on frozen items when they go on sale and save even more.

You can also save money if you balance fresh and frozen produce around the seasons. For instance, it’s often less expensive to eat fresh produce in the summer because it’s in-season, and some stores source these foods from local farms. It’s usually cheaper to eat frozen vegetables in the winter because much of the fresh produce that’s in stock has to be shipped in from warmer climates.

Pro tip: You can also plan your meals ahead and freeze enough for the entire month. MyFreezEasy will give you meal plans and show you how to successfully cut meal prep time and cost.

Shop at a Farmers Market
Search for fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Typically, prices at farmers markets are lower than what you’d pay at the grocery store, but not always. Plus, locally grown produce is often healthier because it’s fresh and often organic.

You can find many unusual items at farmers markets that you can’t find in regular stores, like wasabi radishes or kohlrabi. Trying new fruits and vegetables is fun and can make eating healthy more interesting.

To save money, try shopping at the farmers market during the last 15 to 30 minutes before they close. Many vendors will be willing to sell unsold food at a discount simply so they don’t have to take it back home or risk it going to waste.

You can also use companies like Farm Fresh To You to have organic fruits and vegetables shipped to your door any time of the year. You can save $10 off your first four boxes when you use code EATFRESH40.

2. Eat More Whole Grains
According to the USDA, any food made with oats, cornmeal, wheat, rice, barley, or other cereal grain is considered a grain product. And grains are divided into two categories: refined grains and whole grains.

Refined grains are milled to remove the bran, germ, and endosperm. Milling gives the product a finer texture, but removing the bran and germ means the product has less fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Some examples of refined grains include:

-White rice
-White flour products such as breads and pastries
-Regular pasta

Whole grains are the complete grain, which includes the bran and germ. Whole grains are a great source of fiber, and they contain many other nutrients absent in refined grains. Some examples of whole grains include:

-Wild rice
-Brown rice
-Bulgar wheat
-Whole or rolled oats
-Whole wheat
-Whole-grain barley
-Whole-grain sorghum
-Whole-grain corn
-Whole rye

According to the Mayo Clinic, eating whole grains lowers your risk of heart disease. Whole grains are full of fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy and moving, and they expand once inside your stomach to help you feel full. The USDA recommends that each person consumes 3 to 8 ounces of grains every day, 50% of which should be whole grains.

Make Easy Switches
There are many ways to work more whole grains into your diet. For example:

-Instead of white rice, buy brown rice
-Instead of white bread, purchase whole grain bread
-Instead of regular pasta, try whole-grain pasta
-When making pancakes or bread, substitute 50% of the white flour with whole-wheat flour
-Use old-fashioned oats instead of quick one-minute oats for your morning oatmeal
-Buy whole-grain crackers instead of white flour crackers
-Make homemade popcorn

Buy In Bulk
Many supermarkets sell whole grains in bulk, and these can be significantly cheaper than buying them bagged. Next time you’re at the store, compare the price of a prepackaged whole-grain, such as oats, to the bulk variety to see how much you can save.

Pro tip: Before you head to the grocery store, make sure you download the Ibotta or Fetch Rewards app. With these, you’ll be able to scan your grocery receipt and earn cash back.

3. Eat Healthier Proteins
The World Economic Forum reports that Americans eat more meat than any other country in the world. Many people love sitting down to a steak dinner or biting into a juicy hamburger. However, these protein sources are not only unhealthy, but they’re also expensive.

According to the American Heart Association, red meat (from beef, pork, and lamb) has more saturated fat than chicken, fish, and vegetable proteins. And our meat comes at a premium price that only keeps rising. According to CNBC, April 2020 grocery store prices rose 2.6%, the highest increase since February 1974. This jump was led mostly by the price increase in meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 4.3%, in large part due to panic-buying and supply disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The amount of protein you need varies depending on your age, sex, and activity level. And, you need less protein than you probably think. The USDA states that the average adult needs just 2 to 6.5 ounces of protein each day, or, according to Harvard Health, you need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. See this protein calculator to figure out how much protein you need based on your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level.

While most Americans get enough protein each day, the USDA states that we need to choose leaner, healthier proteins, such as those found in fish, chicken, beans, dairy, and whole grains.

Protein hides in a lot of places you might not expect. For example:

-1 cup of milk: 8 grams of protein
-1 cup of dried beans: 16 grams of protein
-2 tablespoons of peanut butter: 8 grams of protein
-2 slices of whole-grain bread: 8 grams of protein
-1 ounce of walnuts: 4 grams of protein
-1/2 cup of cottage cheese: 16 grams of protein
-1 cup of tofu: 16 grams of protein
-5 ounces of Greek yogurt: 15 grams of protein
-1 cup of chicken: 38 grams of protein
-3 ounces of cod: 19 grams of protein

There are plenty of ways to sneak some cheaper, meatless protein into your diet and increase your daily total. You can also save money with these tips.

Go Whole
The more processed your meat is, the more expensive it’s going to be. A practical way to save money is to buy whole meats and trim them yourself.

For example, according to the USDA’s Retail Price Spreads, one pound of boneless chicken breasts cost $3.15, while a whole chicken costs $1.57 per pound. You could find an easy roast chicken recipe and have dinner on the table for half the price.

Learn What’s Lean
According to the USDA, the leanest cuts of beef are round steaks, roasts (which include eye of round, top round, bottom round, and round tip), top sirloin, and chuck shoulder. The leanest cuts of pork include pork tenderloin, tenderloin, ham, and center loin.

Check your grocery store’s sale flyer every week to see if any of these cuts are on sale.

Eat Tuna
Tuna is a good source of lean protein, and it costs less per ounce than many other meats. You can often save even more if you purchase canned tuna in bulk.

Eat More Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are affordable and high in protein. There are plenty of ways to incorporate more beans into your diet.

Add black beans or chickpeas to a salad.
Cook a great vegetarian chili recipe once a week.
Make black bean burgers instead of hamburgers. Pioneer Woman has a great recipe that’s delicious, cheap, and straightforward to make.
Grab your slow cooker and make some mean black bean enchiladas.
Roast chickpeas in the oven. These are an excellent replacement for chips.
For more ideas on incorporating non-meat protein into your diet, invest in a vegetarian or vegan cookbook or borrow one from the library. The classic “Veganomicon” by Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero is a great choice because most recipes are approachable and use ingredients found in most supermarkets. If you have an Instant Pot, “The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook” by Nisha Vora offers ethnic variety and plenty of delicious, approachable recipes.

Get Out Your Slow Cooker
Your slow cooker can be an invaluable companion in the kitchen because it allows you to turn inexpensive cuts of meat, like roasts and sirloins, into delicious and healthy meals for your family. You can also purchase less meat and stretch it farther by adding more beans, vegetables, and rice.

There are plenty of easy slow cooker recipes that will help you save money and eat a healthier diet.

4. Make Homemade Sauces
It’s relatively easy and affordable to make homemade dips, sauces, salad dressings, soups, and spreads for wraps and sandwiches. When you make these items at home, you can reduce or eliminate the sodium and fat and cut the calories found in prepackaged products.

Homemade sauces and dips are inexpensive to make, and they add spice to your healthy eating plan. When you make these items as you need them, they’re fresh and better tasting. It might also help you reduce food waste because you’ll only make as much as you need or as much as you can eat within a few days.

5. Make Homemade Popcorn
This popular whole-grain snack is low in calories, high in fiber, and cheap. The loose kernels cost much less than bagged popcorn, and buying them enables you to skip the extra calories from the butter as well as the high salt content of prepackaged popcorn.

Making stove-top popcorn at home is easy and fun. My family and I use coconut oil and sea salt on our popcorn at home, and it’s far more delicious than any popcorn I’ve purchased in a bag. Try this recipe from popular food blogger Cookie + Kate to start making stove-top popcorn.

6. Make Homemade Granola
Granola is full of heart-healthy whole grains and plenty of nuts and dried fruits, which makes it a perfect breakfast or snack.

Store-bought granola is incredibly expensive, and most of the time it’s loaded with plenty of added sugar. Fortunately, it’s easy and inexpensive to make granola at home. You can also customize the recipe to reduce your sugar intake and add whatever nuts and dried fruits you like. Most of the time, you can make granola using ingredients you already have in your pantry.

Cookie + Kate’s Healthy Granola Recipe is one of the best, and there are dozens of ways to customize it. You can change out the nuts, nix or mix the sweeteners, swap the dried fruits, change up the spices, and even add extras like chocolate chips or toasted coconut. Once you see how easy and affordable it is to make homemade granola, you’ll never go back to buying it in a bag.

Tips for Making Healthier Restaurant Choices
Everyone needs a break from cooking at home, and it’s fun to go out to eat with family and friends. However, the food you eat at restaurants is often higher in calories, sodium, and saturated fats. It’s also more expensive than what you’d pay to cook the same meal at home.

However, eating out is a treat. There are ways to save money and make healthier choices when you visit a restaurant.

1. Eat Before You Go Out
Before meeting friends or family at a restaurant, have a healthy snack at home. You can stave off cravings and reduce hunger by eating an apple or a banana 30 minutes before you leave.

This tip also works well during the holiday season, when food-laden parties are scheduled every week.

2. Do Your Homework on Restaurant Options
Most restaurants have their menu readily available online, and some even have nutrition charts posted on their websites. You can also call the restaurant and ask if they have healthy or low-fat meals available.

Depending on the restaurant’s size and popularity, you may find online reviews with healthy meal suggestions. Two great websites to review include Yelp and Zomato.

Restaurant and fast food meals often contain high amounts of fat, salt, and calories. Even when restaurants reveal calorie counts for meals, USA Today reports that they often underestimate them by as much as 20%.

3. Look for a Healthy or Smaller-Portion Section on the Menu
Most restaurants have added a special section to their menus that makes finding healthy choices easier than ever. If the menu doesn’t highlight heart-healthy or low-fat options, order grilled chicken or broiled fish, and avoid fried foods and cream-based salad dressings, sauces, and soups. Your server can provide more details about healthy options on the menu.

You can also ask for a child-sized portion at many restaurants. Some restaurants, including Olive Garden, allow diners to order a lunch portion for dinner. Most restaurants offer oversized portions, so order a lunch-sized portion or a children’s meal to save money and stay on track with your healthy eating plan.

You can also save calories and money by dividing the food at a restaurant. Ask for a to-go box, and divide the food into two portions before you eat. This ensures you won’t overindulge and that you have leftovers for lunch the following day. Decline the server’s offer of a bread basket, and fill up on salad instead.

4. Go to Independently Owned Restaurants
Restaurant chains such as Denny’s, Chili’s, and Applebee’s often serve gigantic portions. You can get reasonably sized meals at smaller, independently-run restaurants. You might get a healthier meal since many smaller restaurants, especially those in bigger cities, source fresh produce locally.

Because many of the smaller restaurants use fresh, local produce, the food often tastes better. Larger chains often don’t go through the trouble and expense to source food locally. Instead, they may use lower-quality ingredients and rely on salt and fat to improve the taste of the food.

5. Practice Moderation
Restaurants often serve you more food than you need. Try to practice moderation whenever you dine out, and don’t feel pressured to eat everything. Resist bread, soup, and dessert, and eat more salad instead.

Ask your server if they can cook your meal with oil instead of butter. Try substituting french fries with a dish of fruit or a salad.

6. Try Mediterranean Restaurants
Mediterranean restaurants are a budget-conscious dieter’s best friend. Hummus, tabbouleh, whole-wheat pita bread, Greek salads, chicken kebabs, and rice are delicious, heart-healthy standard fare.

The food is high in protein and inexpensive, especially if you order appetizer portions instead of full meals. Always verify calorie counts online or in a restaurant before ordering your meal.

Final Word
Many people are looking for ways to eat healthy on a budget. Although eating healthy can be more expensive than buying less-healthy, prepackaged food, there are plenty of ways to cut costs and stick to your grocery budget.

An added benefit to healthy eating is that it can boost your immune system and give you more energy.

What healthy foods are you cooking and eating at home right now?