Money Saving Tips for buying Organic & Gluten-Free Groceries

Many of us are looking for ways to s-t-r-e-c-h every dollar as we recover from extra holiday spending. I’ve teamed up with 9 other savvy bloggers to bring you money saving tips for the new year &

a chance to win a $250 gift card to Amazon.com!!!

Save More With These Simple Ideas

Enjoy these great tips and make sure to enter here daily to win!

Our family has made many strides to improve our healthy lifestyle in the recent months through fitness, eliminating poor food choices, and replacing them with better ones. This year we are beginning an organic/gluten-free lifestyle. I knew we would feel great but the cost of switching to organic for a family of 6 was intimidating. Could we really afford to do this? The answer is YES!! It was so eye-opening to realize that not only could we stay within our current grocery budget eating organic/gluten-free, we could actually save money eating this way.

So, you are telling me I can feel better AND save money by buying organic and gluten-free groceries for my family…seriously?!?!  SIGN.ME.UP!!!

Aldi organic shopping trip

 

This week, I want to share some of my favorite money-saving tips for buying organic & gluten-free groceries for your family like we’ve been able to do, so that you can be sure to get the most out of every dollar in your budget too. These tips will cover where to shop – You’ve gotta have a starting point, right? Once you get there you are going to want to get the most out of every dollar, so I’ve provided some great tips on how to find the coupons for the organic & gluten-free products you’ll be buying. Next, you’ll find some great resources for meal planning. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. This is SO true when it comes to meal planning. I know if I don’t have a meal  ready to go we will end up caving on pizza or take-out that leaves us all feeling miserable. You ( & your budget) will love you for doing this!

 

Where to shop:

  • SHOP LOCAL Specifically shop your local co-op and farmers markets options. I HIGHLY recommended checking your area for local co-ops. These can save you money and are fresher than the produce on grocery store shelves. My favorite co-op is Bountiful Baskets– (Just $25 for an entire basket of organic produce!!) They will also often offer add-ons like organic coconut oil and olive oil at great prices. They have sites all over the nation. To find other great resources for finding local, sustainable, organic food in your area is the Eat Well Guide  and Local Harvest.
  • GROCERY STORES  Chances are your favorite grocery store now carries a selection of great organic & gluten-free options. A friend of mine that has been eating organic/gluten-free for a while recently volunteered to go shopping and take me on a grocery store “tour” to our usual H.E.B. store. I was floored at all the options that had been there all along. I felt like I had been to an entirely new market. Some of my other favorite stores that carry an organic &  gluten-free grocery line are Kroger, Aldi, Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Central Market. Don’t be afraid to shop a store brand either. If a product carries the USDA seal it is required to follow the same guidelines whether it is a brand name or a store brand. This week at Aldi’s I was able to score USDA 100% Grass-Fed Beef on sale for $4.49 lb!! Do you have a product you love that isn’t being carried at your local store? Talk with your store manager, chances are he or she will offer to order it regularly for you.
  • BUY IN BULK Memberships stores such as Costco are my favorite for finding big savings on staples like organic coconut oil, raw almonds, and chia seeds. These pantry items and more can be purchased here at a fraction of the cost.
  •  ONLINE  There are even some awesome options for buying organic and gluten-free groceries online. Amazon.com & Groupon.com will often be able to offer great deals and introduce you to new organic/gluten-free companies and brands at a great discount.heb shopping trip

Tips on finding Organic & Gluten free coupons:

  • BRAND COUPONS Brands like Earthbound farms, Amy’s, Applegate, Cascadian Farms, and Muir Glen often have coupons offered on their websites. They will also even put them inside the packaging of your favorite products do be sure to check. Also be sure to sign up for their brand emails, I’ve heard Earthbound farms will be sending out select coupons twice a month to their email subscribers only in 2014.
  • ONLINE COUPONS If you are already an avid coupon-er, you know that some of your current coupon sites already offer a coupon round-up of organic/gluten-free deals. One of my new favorite sites to find online coupons for organics is SimpleTruth.com. This site allows you to filter the coupons by the store you are visiting so you can be sure your store carries the product you have the coupon for.

 Organic & Gluten Free Meal planning:

  • HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE Once you’ve been diligent to purchase great quality healthy organic & gluten-free foods for your family and saved a ton buy using coupons, don’t let your hard work go and dollars go to waste by not using them. Make sure to create a menu plan right away. This way you wont be tempted to blow your budget by the continual pressures of “What’s for Dinner?”
  • FOOD PREP Eating healthy can still be convenient but food prep is key! Spend some time before your week gets busy making a pot of beans or quinoa. You can store them in large containers for ready to go lunches or dinners the rest of the week. Grill several chicken breasts or throw a few in the crock-pot to shred for salads or wraps during the week. One thing I do regularly is to have broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, cut up on a tray and set out after school each afternoon. They don’t have to look for something on and I’m thrilled because they are eating more veggies!
  • OUTSOURCE YOUR PLANNING Let’s face it none of us are super-mom, we all could use a little help somewhere, right? Meal planning is a great place to do that. Whole Foods provides a free weekly meal plan menu and shopping lists on their website.  Emeals.com offers an organic subscription based meal planning service that includes an entrée and side dish. I especially like this option and subscribe to it because it allows you to tailor your shopping list to the number of people you are feeding. It is another way for me to make this a goal a sustainable lifestyle for our family.

how emeals works   Now that we’ve talked about ways to get more greens in your diet, let’s get some more green in your wallet too!! Enter to win a $250 Gift Card to Amazon.com!

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Good Luck!!! & Please feel free to comment below with some of your best money saving  grocery tips!!

Enjoy Pomegranates the EASY way

 Quick & Easy Pomegranates

quick & easy pomegranates

Although the holidays are filled with plenty of sugary treats and sweets, one of my favorite healthy treats this time of year are pomegranates. They are delicious and provide a huge health benefit too.  They help stomach upsets, menopausal hot flashes, conjunctivitis, osteoarthritis, lowers blood pressure, stimulate the immune system, wards off the flu, reduces inflammation, reduces risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol. Pomegranate juice packs a high antioxidant potency punch and protects against heart attack and stroke. Take about a super-fruit!

My only hesitation to eating them has been work they can be getting to the seeds. Well, that is until I learned this AWESOME trick!!

Now they are no work at all! Check out the video below:

Now that you’ve saved all that time, here are some great ways to enjoy them:

How to Enjoy Pomegranate Seeds
1. Sprinkle on breakfast. Pomegranate goes great with a ton of other fruits and berries, so mix them in with your breakfast favorites! You will  love these little guys sprinkled on a cup of oatmeal or Greek yogurt.

2. Be Saucy. Cranberry sauce doesn’t need to be reserved only Thanksgiving. Serve a cranberry-pomegranate variation that mixes up the flavor and ups the nutritional value . This goes nicely with grilled chicken all year-long.

3. Top your veggies. Instead of nuts top things off with some fresh pomegranate seeds instead. They’re especially delicious on salads and roasted carrots & Brussel sprouts.

4. Juice it. While eating the pomegranate “seeds”are the best way to reap their nutrients, the juice still offers great benefits. Some preliminary research shows that drinking pomegranate juice might even improve blood flow to the heart.

Family Meal Planning with eMeals

This is a sponsored post on behalf of eMeals in partnership with USFamilyGuide. I received a subscription to eMeals for my review. 

What is eMeals? from eMeals on Vimeo.

 I know we’ve all been baking up a storm over the holidays. Personally, after Thanksgiving and Christmas I am now out of all my traditional go-to recipes and am looking for some new ones for our New Year celebrations.  Lucky for us,  eMeals is launching their new dessert plan! Get inspired each week to make incredible desserts. With mouth-watering recipes like Chocolate Pretzel Slab Pie, Buttery Toasted Vanilla Clusters or Crunchy Streusel Pumpkin Loaf, this plan is perfect for the dessert lover in all of us. Receive 3 indulgent dessert ideas every week including a mix of Crowd Pleasers, Quick & Easy options, and Skinny Sweets. This variety of sweet endings will fit the bill for weeknight desserts, casual entertaining and even healthy treats.

emeals desserts

To celebrate their dessert launch, eMeals is also offering a Target gift card giveaway and more via a Pinterest contest! Go here  to enter to win!

eMeals, the leader in online meal planning, is a comprehensive meal planning resource that helps provide healthy and delicious dinners for busy families and individuals. Endorsed by financial guru Dave Ramsey and highlighted in the Oprah Winfrey blog, the eMeals weekly dinner plans include grocery shopping lists and recipe instructions that are simple and easy to follow.

Holidays aren’t the only time I need a little help in kitchen.  As I look forward to 2014, I am looking forward to not CONSTANTLY wondering what we are going to have for dinner each evening. Or completely forgetting until its dinnertime, scrambling to make something-from-nothing in the pantry, when we are stressed out and already hungry.  I am already planning to workout more in 2014 and I am not  wasting money and tons of calories on take out( bleh!). Meal planning makes me a better, more relaxed mom and wife. In 2014, I am looking forward to having more time to spend with my husband & kids, and we are saving money by eating at home. (They also have a PALEO PLAN!!! This makes my heart sooooo happy!) 

eMeals will send me the recipes, menu plan, shopping list and store savings. This also makes it super simple to send my husband to the store for everything we need – he is great with a list. I can’t wait to get started! Sign up NOW to get 15% off eMeals with code USFG!

how emeals works

 

Fitness Friday Black Friday

Black Friday.
The day after Thanksgiving.
The day after turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, & pumpkin pie.

Not typically the day you want to update your blog on your fitness progress, right?
Well, its fitness friday. Good, bad, or ugly….this is the honest story.

We missed the Turkey Trot we had planned on participating in. Super disappointed about that. This year I did my best to plan a healthier Thanksgiving menu. It was Martha Stewart perfection and so delicious and not full of unnecessary calories. I skipped the rolls but I still indulged an extra slice of pumpkin pie. Ya win some, ya lose some.

I expected a huge set back this morning but to my surprise when I did my weekly weigh in, I was still on track with my goals! Woo Hoo!! Keep moving forward.

Fitbit mileage report

My total Fitbit miles for the 1st day of the 100 mile challenge

Recently, a friend of mine invited me to join a 100 mile challenge beginning on Nov 29, to be completed in 2 weeks! Black Friday to some means early morning shopping, this year it meant early morning running if I was going to get 100 miles done in two weeks. Lucky for me I got a Fitbit for my birthday to help me keep track of my miles. By the end of the day I had logged 7.09 miles. Only 93 more to go!

Possibly the best Black Friday deal I’ve ever made!

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes 2013

2013 has proven to look  A LOT different for the Chase’s than in years past. We have taken a great steps, literally with the #100milechallenge, to improve our health and set fitness goals ( and we’ve stuck with them!!). As the holidays roll in, I am determined that this season of indulging, festive eating, and lazy days by the fire not cause a setback in all that we have accomplished. I also don’t want to wait to New Years to set new goals.

The goals setting starts now with trying out a healthier Thanksgiving table for 2013.  Here are a few yummy things (with a lot fewer calories!) we’ll be serving this year.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes 2013

Quinoa-Stuffed Turkey with Roasted Autumn Vegetables (ordered from Plated.com)

Quinoa-Stuffed Turkey with Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Garlic Green Beans w/ toasted almonds – recipe from Bravo for Paleo

garlic-green-beans

Streuseled Sweet Potatoes- recipe from Preppy Paleo

the preppy paleo: Paleo Streuseled Sweet Potatoes

Maple Pumpkin Custard- recipe from Against all Grain

Maple Pumpkin Custard - Against All Grain

We will  still be enjoying a few of our traditional holiday favorites that would we would be sad to miss out on- it is just once a year, right?  – Grandmamma’s sausage stuffing/dressing for Sydney, traditional mashed potatoes & gravy for Jonathan, pumpkin pie for the littles, and I just created an awesome recipe for homemade pumpkin-cinnamon croissants. Luckily we have planned to run our very first Turkey Trot that  morning  to combat the few “extras” we will still be enjoying.

What traditional recipes have you transformed or added to your holiday menu ?