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a day off!

Check out the post on A Better Bag of Groceries from today!  Melissa liked my post on NuVal last week, so she talks about some of my finds!

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I decided to take the day off today since my in-laws were still up in NH with us.  We packed up this morning, since they would have a long ride home, but first we stopped for breakfast!

Flapjacks is a pancake house in downtown Lincoln, NH.  It was rated best pancakes a few years in a row!

It is really cute, but simple inside.  They have a gas fireplace which we sat next to and kept nice and toasty, despite the 8 degree weather outside!

The menu is also pretty simple.  Lots of famous pancakes and eggs.

I started with some tea with just a touch of half & half.

And then ordered the egg sandwich (1 egg and cheese on an oversized english muffin).  Of course, I spread a little bit of ketchup on my english muffin!

I’m not a big pancake or french toast fan, but I did try some of this delicious french toast from my husband.  It was great!  That is a blop of their signature maple butter on top.

After breakfast, we drove back to Boston.  Once home, I broke out some leftovers for lunch because I was starving!  It wasn’t the most nutritious lunch I could have had, but it was what I was craving, so I went with it!  I mean, it’s my “day off”, right?!  I needed it to be light, so that I could hit up the gym an hour after.

Leftover Israeli couscous and Chobani pineapple greek yogurt with granola.

I have missed greek yogurt so much!  I splurged and bought some of my favorite pineapple yogurt, even though I normally don’t.  It was just what I wanted.  Super thick, creamy and fruity!  Looks like veggies will need to be in my future for dinner.

I enjoyed my lunch while reading a new issue of Food that was waiting for me on my doorstep.

Not sure how I got this magazine, but it is great!

Hopefully some veggies will be on my menu for tonight!  Time to get back on track!  It is not that I ate completely unhealthy this weekend, but it wasn’t the most nutritious weekend on record.  Sometimes, it is hard when you are away from home.  I think that it is important to eat healthy, but I also think that it is important to make the best of what you have around you.  My mom graciously cooked for us all weekend, and made wonderful homemade and healthy options for us to eat.  Even though I had plenty of healthy options, sometimes I just want to eat junk food, like nachos, since I rarely ever eat them!

I never feel great after I do, but to me sometimes it is worth it.  If you don’t give into the cravings, you’ll just end up eating more junk later on!  Plus, the majority of my meals are pretty healthy, so a splurge every so often is not going to kill me!

If I am going to eat something unhealthy, like nachos or pizza, I find that the best time to do that is when they are homemade.  This way you can regulate the amount of cheese and toppings that go on them.  I watched Michael Pollen on Oprah the other day and one thing that he said stuck with me. (Well, everything that he said stuck with me, but this one thing really stuck out!)  He said that you can eat as much dessert or junk food as you want, as long as you cook it yourself.  The chances of you cooking fried chicken or a chocolate cake every night are very slim!

Off to the gym!

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my shopping trip

Ever since Tina started working at NuVal, I have been very intrigued about their system.  It is a pretty cool system that was designed by a team of recognized nutrition and medical experts.  They score different foods, and place their scores next to the price of the item on the grocery store shelf.

Here is the more in depth explanation from the NuVal website:

NuVal Scores summarize comprehensive nutritional information in one simple number between 1 and 100.  Each NuVal Score takes into account more than just the nutrition fact panel.  It considers 30-plus nutrients and nutrition factors – the good (protein, calcium, vitamins) and the not-so-good (sugar, sodium, cholesterol).  And then it boils it down into a simple, easy-to-use number; a number you can trust to make better decisions about nutrition in just a few seconds.

I think that this system is great!  And, I hope that it will help people to chose healthier foods for themselves and their families.  It is the easiest system to use!  I normally pick what I think are healthy foods when I grocery shop, but I was still surprised at some of the numbers.

I have read the NuVal website and all about the system, and I have been keeping up with Tina’s other blog, Trading Up Downtown, but I still wanted to see the numbers in action!  So, I took a trip to the nearest Price Chopper store, which was a good 35 minutes away to do my weekly shopping.

I walked into the store with my grocery list in hand to make the following meals for the week, which required a lot of different ingredients, so I knew this would have me all over the store to check out the numbers.

My first stop was the produce department.  I walked around all of the fruits and veggies, with most of them being in the 90’s (!!).  Pineapple scored a 100, which is awesome since I have been eating dried pineapple non-stop since I got my dehydrator!  And, most apples scored a 93!  I was psyched since I buy the majority of my food in the produce department.  Then, I came across lettuce.  Now, I know as much as the next person that the darker the green, the more nutrients the lettuce has, but I was shocked to see such a big difference!

Iceberg scores an 82, while Romaine scores a 100!!!

I felt good knowing that my lettuce scores a 100 (especially since I usually pick arugula, or red leaf or something even darker)!  How much healthier can you get?! 🙂

Next up, nuts, of course!

Once again, I would normally choose raw nuts over roasted, because I like to roast them myself, but was shocked at the huge difference in scores!

Raw almonds score an 81, while Roasted score a 48!!  I will definitely always pick raw nuts after seeing those scores – and may reconsider toasting them before adding to salads!

Here are some other shockers (to me, at least!):

I was bumbed that Amy’s Black Bean and Corn Salsa (my fav!) only scores a 35

…but, was shocked to find that Green Mountain Gringo’s veggie salsa only scores a 9!!!  Tostitos brand was only a little better at a 14 or 15.  I guess I was picking the right salsa, after all!

And, if you need another reason to eat your brown rice: White rice scores a 48, but brown rice scores an 82!

I never thought that there would be such a difference in beans, but there was!  My favorite Chick Peas only score a 58, while Eden Organics Pinto Beans score a whopping 100!!!  Maybe I’ll need to revamp some recipes to use those instead!

Another shocker was that my favorite Rolled Oats scored a 50, while the Museli scored an 83.  Guess what I picked for my oats of choice for the week?!  The museli – and it is actually even more delicious than my oats!

My husband and I both love Raisin Bran.  We don’t buy it a lot, but when we do we try to pick a healthier brand.  I didn’t take pictures of them all, but every type of Raisin Bran on the shelf only scored a 26-29!!!  It didn’t matter what kind you bought?!  Crazy!

I opted for plain greek yogurt (NuVal score = 94), instead of the vanilla (NuVal score = 73).  But, I’m not sure adding my own toppings helps the score of the plain!

And, unsalted PB (NuVal score = 49) is much better than salted PB (NuVal score = 36)!  I’m still not sure why peanut butter doesn’t have a higher score though?  Maybe it is peanuts?  Would almond butter score higher?

This was a really fun shopping trip!  It’s great to see other people using the scores as well.  One woman came up to me as I was taking pictures (yup, that’s me, the wierdo taking pictures in a grocery store!), and told me how much she loved NuVal!  I thought that was great, and made sure to pass it along to Tina!

I don’t think I’ll travel to Price Chopper again to do my shopping, but I will have the NuVal system in my head.  I think it is am awesome system and hopefully more stores will use them in the future!