Frozen Veggies and FruitsOf course, fresh seasonal veggies and fruits are the best option. I buy lots of veggies and fruits fresh, but I also buy some frozen. Frozen veggies and fruits are great because they require no prep work, such as washing and chopping. They also don't spoil quickly as fresh produce often does. While some fruits and veggies do not freeze well, I find that the texture and taste of the following are not hurt by freezing:
- hash browns
- green beans
Luncheon Meats and SausagesWhile they are not easy on the budget, organic nitrate-free lunch meats and sausages are a great meal helper when we are in a time-crunch. My family usually eats lunch meats or sausages once or twice a week.
I have to watch out for so-called "nitrate-free" meats that contain celery juice, because I react to the nitrates in the celery juice by getting extremely lethargic after eating them. This pretty much rules out any commercially available beef or pork hot dogs, but I have found that I can eat Shelton's chicken or turkey dogs with no adverse effects.
I prefer to buy Organic Prairie brand lunch meats because most of them don't contain celery juice (which is often used to replace nitrates in meats, but in the long run results in consumption of even more nitrates).
The following are my preferred lunch meats and sausages. None of these cause me to have a nitrate reaction.
- Organic Prairie Roast Turkey Breast
- Organic Prairie Smoked Turkey Breast
- Shelton's Turkey or Chicken Hot Dogs
- Applegate Farms Chicken and Apple Sausages
- Applegate Farms Roasted Red Pepper Sausages
Snack and Convenience FoodsWhen it comes to snacks, there are a few storebought items that I regularly purchase. I limit the amounts of these that we consume by not stocking up on them. Rather, I only buy a small amount at a time. Since I only grocery shop every two weeks, we often run out of these items, and I think that is fine. (I buy most of these items at our local health food store, but I've included product links below in case you want to see what these brands look like.)
- Go Raw Spirulina Super Chips - These crackers are wonderful because they are made with sprouted seeds and made at low temperatures so they are still raw. The only downside to these is the price, as they are rather expensive. I buy no more than one or two packages of these a month.
- Sesmark Rice Crackers - I buy rice crackers made with white rice rather than brown since we've had problems with brown rice. These crackers are great topped with cheese, nut butter, or cream cheese. I limit these to one package every two weeks.
- SeaSnax - SeaSnax are made from seaweed, olive oil, and salt. The kids and I love these crispy snacks. We eat no more than one package of SeaSnax a week, because they are expensive. I especially like to take SeaSnax along when we go to the park for playdates, so my kids have something salty and crunchy to eat when they see other kids eating snacks that we don't consume.
- Kettle Brand Potato Chips - Kettle chips are GMO-free and are cooked in safflower or sunflower oil (which I prefer over canola oil). At our local health food store, these chips come in fairly small bags of only 5 ounces. As a family, we generally eat less than one bag of these chips a week, but they are a great treat to have. We mostly stick to the simple flavors, like Sea Salt. I've noticed that most of the other flavors contain ingredients I'd rather not consume on a regular basis.
- Gluten-Free Sugar Cones - For an occasional treat, I buy gluten-free ice cream cones. These aren't perfect, as they do contain some sugar and soy lecithin. But we eat so few of these that I don't see a problem. We generally eat no more than one box of ice cream cones per month (they come in a package of 12 cones).
- Organic Popcorn - Once a week during our family movie night, we have homemade popcorn. I cook the popcorn in refined coconut oil and top it with plenty of butter and celtic sea salt. What makes popcorn a compromise is that corn should ideally be soaked in lime water before consumption to maximize nutrition. But, since we only eat popcorn once a week, I'm fine with this compromise.
- Black Olives - We love to eat black olives as a quick snack alongside some cheese or nuts. I buy organic Mediterranean olives packed in a glass jar. My 3-year-old son in particular loves to eat lots of olives.
- Just Peas - Just Peas are a great crunchy snack that only has one ingredient: peas! Both of my kids have loved these dried peas since they were 1-year-old. I like having such an easy veggie side dish to add on to any lunch.
- Just Fruit Munchies - Everyone in our family loves these dried fruit snacks. One great thing about them is that they include some sour fruits (like sour cherries, green apples, and raspberries) so there is a nice mix of sweet and sour in each bag. They are great straight from the bag, or even sprinkled on top of yogurt. The only downside to Just Fruit Munchies is that they are expensive.
- Bubbies Fermented Pickles - In the summer, I make lots of Fermented Bread and Butter Pickles. But the rest of the year, we buy lots of Bubbies fermented dill pickles
at the store. While Bubbies sauerkraut and bread & butter pickles
are pasteurized, their dill pickles are not pastuerized so they are a
wonderful probiotic-rich food! My 3-year-old son often
asks for pickles, and he will devour them! My husband doesn't like many
fermented foods, but he does love Bubbies fermented dill pickles. (I
have tried making homemade dill pickles numerous times, but they are
never as good as the Bubbies pickles.) These pickles are expensive, but
this is one expensive food that I am willing to buy lots of. We go
through a large jar of pickles every two weeks.
Sushi RollsWe typically eat out once or twice a month. While we don't eat at any of the typical fast food restaurants, one great fast food option for us is sushi rolls from a local Japanese restaurant. The kids and I LOVE sushi rolls!
I do also buy jam and peanut butter at the store. These are items we don't eat much of, and I'm happy to have them readily available. We use St. Dalfour jam which is sweetened with only fruit juice, and Maranatha no-stir peanut butter. When I have time, I do sometimes mix in some crispy pecans and cashews to make pecan-cashew-peanut butter.