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    The Grocery Rut

    By Chef Domenica Catelli

    Do you walk into the store after a long day at work or with the kids and feel overwhelmed and exhausted? If the answer is yes, you are in the majority.

    For those of us who actually get excited while in the aisles of mystery produce and products, I have to tell you, we are the exception.

    I know many people who go on auto pilot: bananas, eggs, bread, milk, cereal, chicken. “This is what I know, and what I go to,” says my friend Jen. Also, there are many families that have diverse needs. Someone is a vegan, someone else is gluten intolerant, etc. These specialty needs can become another overwhelming process of hunting down and decoding ingredients…sometimes at several different stores!

    If we wait too long to eat, don’t have a plan, and get overwhelmed, without fail, the guilt foods start to fill the cart. The potato chips, cheddar popcorn, cookies, etc. end up half eaten on our way to the check out, and the calories pile up, and the guilt settles in.

    * Beat the snack to the punch: To make the trip smoother try going in with a list with at least three things on it that sound good to you and that are good for you.

    * Do your best not to shop when you are hungry. This leads to better choices. If you get there and you are famished, grab a yogurt, some string cheese or some hummus and carrots to munch on while you are shopping to avoid the high-cal junk food. (I have a tough time with this. You will see me 9 out of 10 times with a bag of spicy chips in hand when I’ve reached the low-sugar breaking point. I’m really trying to switch this up this year!)

    * Quick Recipe Search. Take a quick look online before you head out of the house or office and find a simple recipe that you can print out and take with you. This will keep things interesting and expand your horizons.

    Check out the following sites for quick, easy recipes:

    www.bemomalicious.com

    www.webmd.com/food-recipes/default.htm

    and another favorite of mine, cookstr.com

    Type in an ingredient you have been wanting to try and see what pops up.

    Until next time, stay fresh and delicious!

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