Tips for Including the Grocery Foods on Your Menu
Just as grocery foods are not added into the Jenny’s Cuisine® meals, they are not included in the meal structure provided for building your own meals. It is important to remember to consume the additional foods listed on your menu to ensure your day is nutritionally complete. These include your fruit, vegetable and dairy servings as well as extra starches, lean meats and healthy fats on the higher calorie menus. Here are some quick and easy ways to sneak them into your own meals.
● Depending on your calorie level, your Jenny menu includes an equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of nonfat milk each day. Be sure to include all of them somewhere in your day to ensure that you meet your calcium and protein needs.
● The Anytime Bar (US only) counts as 1 milk serving, so if you prefer not to have it, add one milk exchange somewhere in your day.
● If you’re lactose intolerant, try lactose-reduced nonfat milk, soymilk, or lean meats such as egg whites, light tofu or low-fat cheese. If you choose lean meats in place of milk servings, be sure to take a multivitamin to meet your calcium needs.
● Breakfast idea: For a crunchy and filling on-the-go breakfast treat, mix in a 6 oz container of nonfat yogurt with your cereal and fruit. The protein in the yogurt and the fiber in the fruit can help keep you satisfied until lunch if you don’t have time for a mid-morning snack.
● We all know fruits are great options for portable snacks, but did you ever think of using them to naturally sweeten a meal? They are high in vitamins, minerals, water and fiber which make them a healthy and satisfying way to liven up a meal.
● Use the Grocery List to choose your favorite fruit servings.
● If you’re not a fan of fruit, try a 1/2 cup of 100% fruit juice instead.
● Sweet idea: Make a sweet and flavorful topping for cooked fish or chicken by throwing 3/4 cup pineapple or 1/2 mango into your favorite salsa.
● Have your veggies any way you like them, raw or cooked, just be sure to include them. If using canned, look for no-salt added varieties or give them a good rinse with water before heating them up. Just like fruits, they are high in vitamins, minerals, water content and fiber.
● They are listed on your menu as Vegetables with a minimum serving amount. Since non-starchy vegetables are considered Free Foods, feel free to have as much as you like, just be sure to have the minimum amount listed and prepare them without added fat.
● Too many veggies for you? Give less-filling, low-sodium tomato/vegetable juice a try. Although it has less fiber, you will still get some of the wonderful nutrients vegetables provide.
● Trick yourself and your kids: Add bulk to a serving of macaroni and cheese with 1/2 cup of cooked cauliflower. You will get the added nourishment without even knowing it!
● Don’t forget fat. For adequate calories and healthy skin and hair, remember to include all the added fats on your menu.
● On a Planned Menu the fats are listed as Jenny’s Dressing (US only), Almonds, Low-fat Salad Dressing (Canada only) and Healthy Fat. On a Let Me Plan It Menu, they’re simply listed as Healthy Fat.
● Choose heart-healthy fats. Examples of one serving are 4 large or 10 small nuts, 1 Tbls seeds, 2 Tbls avocado, 8 olives, or 1 tsp olive or canola oil.
● Think green: Use 2 Tbls of avocado on your sandwich instead of mayo.
● You may not notice these on your menu unless you are on a higher calorie level. If they are listed on your menu, they are in addition to the lean meats in the meal on your own structure, so be sure to add them.
● On the Planned Menu, they are listed as Low-fat Cottage Cheese, Light String Cheese, Parmesan Cheese or Egg Whites. On a Let Me Plan It Menu, they’re listed as Lean Meat.
● Add protein to a salad: Include 4 hard-boiled egg whites to your Garden Salad.
● Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the body and can be categorized into three types: sugars, starches and fiber. Sources of starches are starchy vegetables, bread, cereal, grains, rice, pasta and beans/lentils.
● When making your selections, try to choose whole grains. Consuming whole grains regularly has been shown to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases and may help with weight maintenance. One serving of whole grains = 16 grams (this is equivalent to one slice of 100% whole-grain bread or 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, oatmeal, other cooked grains or whole-wheat pasta). Aim to have three or more servings each day.
● Like the Lean Meats, you may not notice these on your menu (except the Starch servings within the meal on your own structure) unless you are on a higher calorie level.
● On both menus they are simply listed as Starch.
● Easy addition: Add 6 fat-free or low-fat wheat crackers to soup.
Use the online planner and tracker to take control of your choices, build your meals and monitor your selections. Tracking what you consume will build awareness of what drives your choices as well as what positive selections you are making. You will also see how your selections impact the nutrition facts of your daily totals in the Food Exchange Details panel. This handy visual guide helps determine if you are ‘high’, ‘on target’ or ‘low’ in a specific food group so you can make adjustments if needed.