Tag Archives: food

Grocery Shopping vs. Eating Out vs. Meal-Kit Delivery: What Are the Financial Differences?

Here are the financial differences between grocery shopping, eating out, and using a meal-kit delivery service.

If you’re like me, you need to eat roughly every 3 hours to avoid getting hangry and becoming an absolute nightmare to be around (that and some form of caffeine throughout the day). You probably also want to eat healthier, more wholesome meals. Your options are making your own meal plan, buying all of your groceries yourself, and large batch prepping your meals in advance to eat throughout the week, going to a restaurant/cafe/diner, or using a meal kit delivery service. Here’s how the three stack up using the following meal (taken from HelloFresh’s website):

HelloFresh
Honey Ginger Glazed Chicken

Honey Glazed Chicken Teriyaki over Rice with Sugar Snap Peas (2 servings)
12 oz. antibiotic free, free range Chicken Breast
1 cup of basmati rice
6 oz of sugar snap peas
1 thumb of ginger
1 lime
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Grocery Shopping = $14.5

While you have to spend $13.02 to make this meal by getting the ingredients yourself from the grocery store, the advantage is you can buy these ingredients in larger quantities driving the overall cost down. This is a good option if you plan on having this meal several times throughout the week instead of just once. This is what each ingredient costs, having gotten most of the options on sale:
Chicken Breast: $2.25
Rice: $1.49
Sugar Snap Peas $3.36($0.56/oz)
Ginger: $0.30
Garlic: $0.25
1 lime: $0.40
White Wine Vinegar: $1.49
Honey: $1.99
Soy Sauce: $1.79.
Olive Oil: assume I have this at home.

The benefits of grocery shopping
+ This meal comes out to $13.32 pre-tax (about $14.5 after tax), for both servings ($7.25/serving).
+ You can add/omit ingredients, customizing the recipe however you want and personally selecting each ingredient.

The disadvantages of grocery shopping
+ You wouldn’t just go to the grocery store for this one meal, you would probably go and get everything you need for the week, spending 90 minutes door to door.
+ You have to hope that this grocery store has everything you need for your recipes, otherwise you have to go to more than one grocery store to get what you need.

8 Ways to Save Hundreds on Groceries

How to Meal Prep Like A Pro

Eating Out at a Restaurant/Cafe = $38.63

To get this near $39 valuation, I looked at the cost of similar entrees at several restaurants in my area, and by the area where I work. This may or may not be accurate in your area, since I’m basing my results off of NY and Manhattan prices, which are generally pretty high. Here’s how I came to this valuation:

Person 1: $15
Person 2: $15
Tip: $6 (20%)
Tax: $2.63 (tax is 8.75% in NY)
Total: $38.63

The post-tip and post-tax total is $19.32 per serving.

Benefits of Eating Out
+ Little to no work on your part.
+ Show up, eat, pay, leave.
+ No cooking, no cleaning, no grocery shopping.

Disadvantages of Eating Out
+ More than 2x as expensive as making it yourself.
+ No control over ingredient quality or nutritional content.
+ You do need to commute to the restaurant.

Meal-Kit Delivery Service = $23 (HelloFresh)

HelloFresh Review

The $23 valuation for this option comes directly from HelloFresh’s website, at $11.50/person for one meal for two people. Similar to grocery shopping, the more you buy the more you save with the difference being that you typically don’t have any left over ingredients. Comparable companies like Blue Apron, Plated, and Home Chef cost roughly the same so give or take a few dollars if you use one of them instead of HelloFresh.

Benefits of Meal-Kit Delivery
+ No grocery shopping, saving 90+ minutes not including unpacking and storing ingredients.
+ No food waste.
+ Costs about 40% less than eating out.

Disadvantages of Meal-Kit Delivery
+ Rarely leftovers since the meals are designed for a specific number of servings.
+ You’ll still have to grocery shop for basics since it doesn’t cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
+ Costs more than buying all of the ingredients yourself, assuming you can get most of them on sale and don’t care about eating regionally sourced, typically higher quality ingredients.

In the end…

My opinion has always been this: I love cooking, I don’t mind the process of cooking or clean-up, and I love trying new things. I also always tend to put my finances first though so I rarely ever order food from restaurants or stop to pick-up breakfast or lunch on my way to work. IF I was regularly going out to dinner on weekends, I would probably use a meal-kit delivery service because I look cooking and it would save me 40% of my money. Eating at home and entertaining are also a more fun, intimate experience.

I eat 5-6 meals per day and simply could not afford to only eat out or to only use a meal-kit delivery service, so grocery shopping for staple ingredients in my diet (eggs, yogurt, grains, fruit, meat, vegetables) would still have to be my primary way of stocking my fridge.

Big Slice Apples Review

Looking for a delicious new topping in your life? Give Big Slice Apples a shot!

Big Slice Apples

Big Slice Apples is a one-of-a-kind product that began on an apple orchard in the late 1800’s but it wasn’t until 2014 that took their pouch form and went global. Essentially, they’re apple slices in a variety of different natural fruit juice sauces. Imagine an apple pie filling but a little more saucy and packed with flavor. By far my favorite flavor was their French Toast Apple Slices! Here are some different recipes I tried out (sorry no original pictures!):

Big Slice Apples

1. Cinnamon Vanilla Greek Yogurt with French Toast Big Slice Apples

Mix 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1 packet of Big Slice French Toast Apple slices and add 1 tbsp. of reduced-sugar whipped cream with a light drizzle of honey. This healthy breakfast has all of the flavor of French Toast but it’s packed with protein, fresh fruit juices, apples, and a little honey to sweeten things up.

2. Banana Mango Hemp Seed Big Slice Apples over Oatmeal

Cook 1/2 to 1 cup of plain Oatmeal and stir in chopped walnuts and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Then, add 1 packet of Banana Mango Hemp Seed Big Splice Apple slices over it and top with more chopped walnuts.

3. Blueberry Pomegranate Big Slice Apple over Frozen Yogurt

Freeze 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1 packet of Blueberry Pomegranate Big Slice Apple slices by stirring them together in a medium size bowl and placing it in the freezer, stirring every 30 minutes until it reaches your desired consistency. This is a guilt-free, low-carb, high protein way to enjoy frozen yogurt.

Cinnamon Vanilla Greek Yogurt Parfait (Recipe)

I had no idea what to expect when they sent me a variety box of their flavors but honestly, I was very impressed and will definitely be purchasing a gift box around the holiday season.

HelloFresh Review

Interested in trying a meal delivery kit service? Here’s my experience using HelloFresh

 

hello fresh

Disclaimer: I work on the HelloFresh social media team now but don’t worry, this post isn’t to tell you why you should choose HelloFresh over their competitors and I’m not being paid to post this. There are no affiliate links and this post isn’t monetized in any way. I’m just posting my experience with my boxes so far, explaining the benefits, and popular concerns.

Background

Meal delivery kits started in 2011 and since then have turned into a tremendous market that many people doubted at first. I’ll admit it, I was a doubter also. In case you’re behind, some of the popular meal delivery kit services include HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Plated, Home Chef, Sun Basket, Marley Spoon and Green Chef. What’s the difference between them all? Different recipes, different styles, different missions. Here are some key things you should know about HelloFresh:

Hello Fresh
Seared Steak with Heirloom Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Orzo Salad

1. They are a meal kit delivery service

Meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh essentially work like this: the company creates recipes that you can make in about 30 minutes. They source all of the ingredients, package the exact amounts needed for the recipe in an refrigerated, insulated box, and ship them (for free) to your home. You unpack your box and cook the recipes yourself.

2. They, like the others, are a subscription service.

This means that whether you get a free box, a promo code, a coupon, or just sign up for a box in general, you are signing up for a subscription service. You can pause up to 8 weeks at a time which means, while HelloFresh is a weekly subscription, you can manually make your subscription bi-weekly, tri-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly. Again, you have to do this manually for now but it is an option if you want to try the service but can’t commit financially yet.

3. They have a Registered Dietitian on staff.

My degree is in Dietetics so you can imagine why I find this extremely valuable. The recipes are made by a culinary team of chefs with the help and oversight of HelloFresh’s dietitian. What does this mean for you? You have somebody fighting to balance the portions of sodium, fat, carbs, and protein in each recipe. Plus, she creates the nutrition label info so every recipe comes with an ingredient list, nutritional breakdown, and allergen information.

4) The recipes are outstanding and portioned.

Now I haven’t tried any of the other meal kit services’ recipes but I can say this much, the HelloFresh recipes are unbelievable. The menu does change weekly and you’ll probably like some meals more than others, but every week so far there’s been at least one super star meal. Each meal has roughly 5-6 oz of lean protein, a serving of vegetables and a fun twist that I would never think of (orange glazing meatballs?!).

HelloFresh
Seared Sirloin Stir-Fry with Sugar Snap Peas & homemade Ginger Garlic Teriyaki Sauce

What if I already know how to cook?

If you already know how to cook it’s even better, in my opinion. Look through my recipes and you’ll see that while I’m no professional chef, I know my way around a kitchen. If you already know how to cook then you’ll be able to get through these recipes with ease while also learning new techniques and trying new food combinations (I never would have made things like kiwi salsa otherwise). It’s almost like saying “I already know how to read, why buy books?”.

Isn’t it expensive?

That really depends. You could most likely get the ingredients yourself by going to a grocery store and spending 1-2 hours of your time there. Also, I hate when I want to try a new recipe that calls for 1 tsp. of Thyme which means I have to buy a whole bottle. I wouldn’t/couldn’t use a meal delivery kit to account for 100% of my weekly groceries, but it’s an amazing substitute to eating out, dinner dates, and getting out of the rut of making the same meals all of the time.

How Meal Prepping Can Save You Thousands

8 Ways to Save Hundreds on Groceries

Versus going out to eat…

Most meal kit delivery services generally cost around $9.99/meal. HelloFresh meals range from as low as $8.50/meal to $11.50/meal. Compare that with the $20+/meal you’d get at a nice restaurant for very similar meals and meal kits win again! Now, you’re probably thinking “but at least at a restaurant I can sit and be served”. True, but you also pay a premium for that service in both the meal costs and the 20%+ tip. You’ll still wait 30-45 minutes to eat (the approximate cooking time of HelloFresh and their competitor’s recipes) so you essentially have to weigh paying a premium to sit and talk against chopping some vegetables and meat.

Inside the Refrigerated Box: several recipe boxes, HelloPerks and a recipe booklet.
Inside the Refrigerated Box: several recipe boxes, HelloPerks and a recipe booklet.

The Packaging

HelloFresh packages their recipes in individualize, smaller ventilated boxes. Once I get my box at the door, I open it and remove the individualized recipe kits, and stow them away in my fridge until I’m ready to cook. No sorting, no standing in line, just 15 seconds of unpacking.

You do have to deal with breaking down cardboard, emptying the ice packs (once you’ve saved enough of them for later use), and disposing the very limited plastic though.

 

I definitely recommend trying a meal kit delivery service and of course, I highly recommend HelloFresh. There are always tons of promotions and coupons so you can your first box super cheap!

6 Ways to Burn 1 Extra Pound Per Week

Need to burn a little extra belly fat? Here are 10 easy ways to start.

Burning 1 lb. per week essentially boils down to burning an extra 500 calories per day. Whether that means eating 500 fewer calories or stepping up your exercise routine, it’s a lot easier than you think. Try any of these tips to burn 1 extra pound per week:

1. Substitute foods

One of the easiest ways to cut calories is to substitute some of your foods, not cut them out entirely. Swap sour cream with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise with avocados, eggs with egg whites. Of course the portions matter but these healthy alternatives are higher in protein and unsaturated fats, and are lower calorie options.

2. Add a few more minutes of cardio to your plan

Adding a little bit of more cardio to your workout routine every day can help you burn more calories each day, making it easier to hit that 500 calorie deficit.

3. “There is no such thing as snacking”

Try your best to eat in the form of meals. If you prefer to snack throughout the day, turn your plan into 6-7 small meals that you can eat every 2 hours instead of grazing throughout the day.

4. Mind your coffee

Do you always use cream, milk, and/or sugar? Try cutting your sugar and milk portions in half, or drink your coffee black (you get used to it). I’ve seen people put 3-4 packets of sugar in their coffee every day. It’s not an outlandish amount of sugar but that extra 50-60 calories per cup (before milk) can add up, especially if you’re drinking a few cups a day.

5. Watch your high-calorie food

That means anything with a lot of oil, or cooked in oil. Just because something is baked doesn’t mean that the oil all over it doesn’t count. Use olive oil or coconut cooking sprays for extra flavor with less than 1 calorie per 1/4 second spray. Then, use a tsp. of oil or butter if you absolutely need to.

How to Keep Yourself from Binge Eating

6. You booze, you lose

When Mr. OnlyEatsProtein&SaladAllDay or Mrs. Haven’tHadCarbsSince2003 tell me that they can’t lose weight no matter what they do, they usually fail to mention the bottle of wine/day they’re drinking. 1 drink = 100 calories or more. So, if you have several drinks per day and you cut out 3, you’re already down 300 calories per day. Only 200 to go and you didn’t have to do a thing.

Will Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?

Top 10 Healthiest Beers

 

Chipotle Burrito Recipe

Healthy Mexican food on the go is possible with this Chipotle Burrito Recipe!

Chipotle burrito recipe

Although she is small, she is packed with flavor. This burrito isn’t like the 8 lb. burrito you’ll get at some Mexican joints but I made sure to pack it with tons of flavor and healthy alternatives. The ground turkey is cooked in coconut oil and lime juice for a truly tropical flavor. The tortilla is warmed and then spread with chipotle sauce and Greek yogurt. And, of course, she’s loaded with fresh veggies, salsa, and gooey cheese. This Chipotle Burrito recipe is full of healthy fats, lean protein, and is low(er) carb compared to traditional burritos. Here’s how to make it:

Cajun Shrimp/Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

Ingredients
1 large tortilla
4 oz. 93% lean ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped peppers & onions
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. 6 Pack Fitness Chipotle Hot Sauce
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Enchiladas with Black Beans & Avocado Recipe

Instructions
1) Heat a large skillet on medium heat and melt 1 tsp. of coconut oil.
2) Add ground turkey and cook until the meat is browned and thoroughly cooked.
3) Add spices and mix to evenly distribute spices. Add 1 tbsp. of chipotle sauce to the meat and stir.
4) Warm a tortilla in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
5) Spread 1 tbsp. of chipotle sauce and 1 tbsp of Greek yogurt evenly around the tortilla.
6) Place cheese, lettuce, peppers and onions in the center of the tortilla.
7) Place meat in the center of the tortilla/
8) Fold the sides of the tortilla in and then fold a third side over the meat, tucking it under the meat, and roll the tortilla to form a wrap.

Nutrition Protein: 41 g
Carbohydrates: 38 g
Fat: 13 g

Stack this burrito with a tall glass of iced Xtend Pink Lemonade for a bodybuilder’s paradise meal! Check out my Instagram for more recipe ideas, workouts, and a products.

Xtend BCAA Soda Recipe

This BCAA Soda recipe has 0 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 0 mg of caffeine, and is super easy to make!

BCAA Soda Recipe
Xtend Watermelon BCAA Soda

My BCAA soda recipe is so easy to make I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. You only need 3 or 4 ingredients to make a delicious, healthy soft drink loaded with amino acids to curb hunger, burn fat and build muscle. This is all you need:

Ingredients
1 scoop Xtend BCAAs
8-12 oz. Seltzer
1 cup of ice
1/2 lemon, lime or small orange (optional)

Instructions
1) Fill a shaker bottle with 1 cup of ice (or more if desired).
2) Add 1 scoop of any flavor of Xtend BCAAs.
3) Pour 8-12 oz. of ice cold seltzer.
4) STIR, don’t shake.
5) Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon, lime or small orange into the drink and drop in the rind (optional)
6) Stir again and serve.

Nutrition Info
Calories: 0*
Protein: 7 g amino acids
Carbohydrates: 0 g*
Fat: 0 g

5 Reasons You Should Supplement BCAAs

BCAA & Superfoods Recovery Smoothie

Scivation makes Xtend BCAAs in over a dozen flavors, with more on the way! Some of your options are:

  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Blue Raspberry
  • Grape
  • Black Cherry (Xtend Perform BCAAs)
  • Mango
  • Fruit Punch
  • Watermelon
  • Pink Lemonade

And more! I’ll definitely be trying them all out, potentially mixing them with Polar flavored seltzer and adding fresh lemon or lime.

* 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar without fresh squeezed fruit juice.

6 Healthy Snack Ideas to Crush Cravings

Need a healthy way to crush cravings? Try any of these 6 healthy snack ideas:

These healthy snack ideas will crush cravings, promote a healthy body and keep you feeling full and energized all day! Made up of whole foods, these healthy snack ideas are mostly made up of roasted nuts, cheese, fruit, meat, yogurt, and vegetables. Give ’em a try:

1. Roasted Almonds, Low Fat Cheese & Fruit.

Grab 1/2 oz. of roasted, unsalted almonds, 1/4 cup of low-fat cheddar cheese cubes and a piece of fruit for a protein and fiber packed snack. The blend of healthy fat, fiber, complex carbs, and protein will keep your energy levels up for hours.

2. Small Cobb Salad.

Crush your hunger cravings by slicing one hardboiled egg over chopped romaine and/or spring mix lettuce, bacon bits, cucumbers, tomatoes, and diced low-sodium ham for a snack loaded with veggies and protein.

3. Veggies & Hummus.

Load up on vitamins, minerals and fiber by dipping your favorite vegetables in 2 tbsp. of hummus for a low fat, low carb mid day snack. Try it with sliced peppers, carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers.

4. Loaded Apples

Slice up an apple and cover it with peanut butter, granola and honey for an unbelievably delicious pick me up. This is my personal favorite of the 6 healthy snack ideas. Get the recipe right here!

5. Greek Yogurt Parfait

The slow-digesting protein and probiotics in Greek yogurt will surely keep you feeling great all day. Top it off with crunchy granola, sliced bananas and a little honey. Get the recipe right here!

6. Homemade Trail Mix

Ditch the store bought trail mix. Mix a few ounces of roasted mixed nuts with 1/4 cup of dried fruit and 1-2 tbsp. of extra-dark chocolate chips. This should crush your sweet tooth AND your cravings.

Boneless Rib Sandwich Recipe

This Boneless Rib Sandwich recipe will be your next BBQ all-star!

Boneless Rib Sandwich Recipe

Sweet & smoky Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce glazed boneless ribs on top of whole wheat ciabatta Texas Toast makes for an unbelievably delicious BBQ sandwich that will blow your friends and family away. Add a large side of garlic & herb zoodles for a surprisingly healthy twist on specialty BBQ cuisine. Here’s what you need to make this Boneless Rib Sandwich recipe:

Ingredients
4 oz. boneless ribs (or shred the meat off of regular ribs)
1 whole wheat ciabatta roll
2 tbsp. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. mixed herbs
1 tsp. olive oil

Instructions
1) Brush the ribs with olive oil and grill them on a medium-high flame until crispy and thoroughly cooked (about 15 minutes).
2) Rub them with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and put them back on the grill for another 30-45 seconds.
3) Spread 1 tbsp. of butter, 1 tsp. of chopped garlic, and 1 tsp. of mixed herbs on a sliced whole wheat ciabatta roll. Grill for 30-60 seconds.
4) Place the boneless ribs on the toasted ciabatta roll and serve.

Nutrition Info
Protein: 26 g
Carbohydrates: 34 g
Fat: 18 g

Top 10 Healthy BBQ Foods

Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe

This Boneless Rib Sandwich recipe came out AMAZING but keep an eye out for my next Boneless Rib Sandwich recipe. I’m going to turn it up a notch by topping it off with mac & cheese & jalapenos and I’ll be using Bubba’s Boneless Baby Back ribs! Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Twitter so you know when it’s coming!

Cajun Shrimp/Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

I said it back when I posted my Healthy Enchiladas recipe, Mexican cuisine is one of the easiest cuisines to make healthy. This is technically one recipe with two options: either you use chicken or you toss some shrimp in Cajun spices and use that. Here’s all you need:

Ingredients
1 whole wheat tortilla
6 oz. shredded chicken breast or cooked shrimp
1/4 cup low fat shredded cheese
1/4 avocado (sliced)
2 tbsp. mild salsa
1 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt

Instructions
1) Lightly coat a medium sized pan with oil spray and heat on a low-medium flame. Place the tortilla on the pan until it’s warm and pliable.
2) Sprinkle cheese evenly across the tortilla and continue to cook until melted.
3) Add chicken or shrimp to 1 side of the tortilla.
4) Add avocado slices to the same side.
5) Once the tortilla is crispy, fold the half that only has cheese over the half that has cheese, meat & avocado.
6) Plate, then top with salsa and Greek yogurt.

Nutrition Info
Protein: 53 g
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Fat: 11 g

Want a healthy dessert after? Try one of these recipes:

High Protein Peppermint Patty Ice Cream (Recipe)
Protein Packed Vanilla Cinnamon Cappuccino Recipe
Maple Glazed Jelly Pronuts Recipe made with Kodiak Cakes Powercakes Mix

Check out my Instagram for more healthy recipes!

Enlightened Crisps Review

Enlightened is a health food company that makes health alternative snacking options including good-for-you crisps and low sugar, high protein ice cream.

They sent me a sample box of their crisps which come in the following flavors: mesquite bbq, sriracha, wasabi and sea salt. The crisps are made of roasted broad beans (fava beans), sunflower oil, salt and the spices that make up whatever flavor you choose. That’s it. They completely satisfy the need to eat something crunchy like potato chips or veggie fries (what a joke). They aren’t light like a traditional flour crisp that you would get in the grocery store though. These have some density to them, they’re like a cross between a regular crisp and a nut. They’re definitely worth trying out if you’re looking for a healthy, high protein snack to bring to work to replace things like Gold Fish, chips, corn chips, and pretzels.
My personal favorite flavor was the sriracha. Click the picture below to hunt for a good deal on them!

Stack them with this smoothie for a healthy, satisfying meal.

Want more healthy snacks? Click the links below or go to the Healthy Snacks tab of my Recipes on my homepage:

Maple Glazed Jelly Pronuts Recipe made with Kodiak Cakes Powercakes Mix

Lenny & Larry’s Protein Cookie Review

Protein Packed Vanilla Cinnamon Cappuccino Recipe

High Protein Peppermint Patty Ice Cream (Recipe)