Grocery Diaries: A Mom Who Balances Taste, Convenience, and Heart Health Concerns

Grocery Diaries: A Mom Who Balances Taste, Convenience, and Heart Health Concerns


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High blood pressure, on the other hand, occurs when blood moves through the arteries with an abnormally strong force, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Your blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and how resistant your arteries are to the blood flow, the Mayo Clinic explains. There are numerous reasons why your arteries might become resistant to that blood flow, including smoking and cholesterol buildup, according to the Mayo Clinic. Over time, your organs may not function properly without a healthy blood supply, potentially leading to serious medical conditions like a heart attack or stroke. Limiting saturated fat is one way to try to avoid high blood pressure, the NHLBI explains. 

Erica has access to a variety of grocery stores she can turn to while keeping in mind her family’s preferences and health goals. Here are 10 items she picks up in a typical grocery trip.

1. Honeysuckle White 85% Lean/15% Fat Ground Turkey: $3.99

Erica chooses ground turkey because it’s low in fat and very versatile. She uses this to make hamburgers, chili, spaghetti sauce, and a family recipe that she calls “dirty rice.” The dish includes cream of mushroom, celery, and chicken soups, along with bell peppers, onions, and celery. “It’s a recipe that I got from one of my aunts,” she explains. “It’s one of the first dishes I learned how to make, and it’s become a staple in my household.” Erica isn’t worried about the fat in the creamy soups since she uses leaner meat as a trade-off of sorts.

2. Healthy Choice Café Steamers Four-Cheese Ravioli & Chicken Marinara: $2.99

This ravioli contains spinach, and Erica originally started purchasing it because it’s an easy lunch for her four-year-old son, Austin, who loves ravioli but doesn’t like vegetables. As it turns out, Eason, who is nearly one, is not picky and eats the ravioli cut up in small little pieces, Erica explains. So the kids get to enjoy their pasta with a little serving of greens. Eventually, Erica and her husband started eating these meals because they’re convenient on busy workdays. “This is something that we all fight over,” she says. 

Erica also turns to a produce subscription box in an attempt to boost the family’s vegetable intake. “I started using Imperfect Foods and it kind of forces us to get more veggies,” she says. 

3. Avocado: $1.29

Erica saves time at the grocery store by purchasing items that her entire family eats. She adds avocado to salads, makes guacamole for her husband, or serves it sliced to her kids. “They serve a purpose for everyone in the household,” she says.

As we mentioned, Austin doesn’t like vegetables, so Erica looks for ways to make them more palatable. She gives Austin some of this juice several times a week to sneak in some extra nutrients. “He knows it’s green—he just doesn’t realize it has vegetables,” she says. Erica and Anthony also drink a glass whenever they want to sneak more produce into their diets.

5. Lemons: $1.29

“Lemons are from my childhood,” says Erica, whose dad made a warm version of lemonade when she was sick. As an adult, Erica began making the drink (her family calls it lemon tea) when she was homesick. Erica’s dad died several years ago, and she now drinks this lemon tea before bed to remember him. “My husband gives me an hour from 8-9 P.M. where I get to decompress, and that’s when I have my tea,” she says. Erica is comforted by the memory of her dad’s love when she drinks this and also enjoys the bright lemon flavor. Try it for yourself: Juice one lemon into a cup. Then, boil water and lemon rinds together for about 10 minutes. Add the boiled liquid to the lemon juice, then add your choice of honey or sugar.



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