Costco Grocery Shopping List

costco shopping cart

So if you came to my house and opened our fridge and freezer you would notice that I buy A LOT of my groceries from Costco. Thought I’d share today what my typical grocery list looks like, the items I love, and the items to stay away from.

I usually go to Costco once or twice a month, we have a deep freezer so I am able to keep a lot of stuff frozen until I am ready to use it.

My Typical Shopping List

Download your own Printable Shopping List Below!
Obviously people have different preferences so change it as you like, and I intentionally left out items that I generally buy at the regular grocery store such as potatoes, herbs, etc.

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast & Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs– comes in pouches of two HUGE chicken breasts, these are great to defrost and make a quick dinner like Cilantro-Lime Chicken.
  • Salmon – I will buy fresh most of the time, and freeze whatever I don’t use for dinner. Lately I have been buying the frozen one out of laziness, but it tastes just as good and is a bit cheaper.
  • Top Sirloin Steak – These steaks are HUGE, so even though they are pricey my husband and I will split a steak so it’s enough for 4 dinners
  • Ground Turkey Breast – Comes in packs of 4 so they are great to freeze and defrost to make turkey burgers, meatballs, tacos, or mix with spaghetti sauce
  • Sliced Turkey Breast – Great for wraps
  • Frozen Fruit- strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cherries, pretty much whatever they have that day (it changes with the seasons)
  • Spring Mix Salad- they have a HUGE pack of spring mix salad for $3.50. Pretty much can’t beat that. At that price I don’t feel so bad when I throw the last bit out that has gone soggy.
  • Coconut Oil- I use this for all my cooking so we go through it quickly.
  • Fresh Blueberries/Strawberries/Blackberries – whatever is in season.
  • Apples or Oranges
  • Tomatoes – awesome for cucumber and tomato salads
  • Butternut Squash – they have it already cubed and at an awesome price, but unfortunately they don’t have this all the time.
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli – comes already cut and ready to steam
  • Bag of Spinach – we put it in our morning smoothies
  • Low carb Tortillas – my husband likes these, I eat them, but if you are expecting them to taste like the real thing you will be in for a surprise.
  • Eggs
  • Almond Milk – best price for a pack of 3 cartons!
  • Fage 0% Greek Yogurt – I don’t eat dairy but this is my husbands favorite nighttime snack
  • Zone Protein Bars – Okay, this is borderline a cheat item because it is pretty much a chocolate bar but they are good to have on the go.
  • Rotisserie Chicken – Okay, I NEVER leave Costco without buying one, even if we aren’t going to eat it that night. For $5 this tasty and easy meal is good for days. You can eat the chicken by itself, on salads, in wraps, in a soup, etc. It may be high in sodium but for the amount of protein it provides and how freakin’ delicious it is I’m okay with that.

costco rotisserie chicken

Optional

  • Bell Peppers
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Rolled Oats
  • Granola Bars
  • Chicken Broth
  • Vitamins
  • Paper Towels
  • Bottled Water
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Olive Oil
  • Skinny Pop Popcorn

Seems like a lot of food right? It IS! But, if I stick to just what I need and only buy ‘real’ food I can usually get out of there spending $180-$200 and that covers a good portion of our dinners for the next two weeks

frozen costco food ground turkey breast costco shopping list

BAD Shopping Choices at Costco!

Here are some things to stay away from if you want to save your waistline and your budget.

  • Skip the entire section with snacks, nuts and baked goods. Even though a lot of these look like ‘healthy’ choices they aren’t. Chips that say they have Kale in them may be healthier than regular potato chips, but they still aren’t good for you! I personally LOVE their croissants, but I definitely don’t need to eat a dozen of them, so I just skip this section all together to avoid the temptation.
  • Skip the frozen aisle with all the pre-made meals. Obviously taquitos, breakfast sandwiches, and processed foods are not a healthy choice…and they are expensive to boot!
  • Skip the juice aisle. Juice or soda is fine for a treat every once a in a while but having a 24 pack of sugar packed juice boxes in the house will just encourage you to drink more than you should.
  • Skip the nut & trail mix aisle. Yes, nuts are good for you…in moderation. If you have the willpower to only have a handful of nuts a day then great, save some money and buy them in bulk. Personally, I don’t because I end up eating ¼ bag of trail mix in one sitting which is the calorie equivalent of running 10 + miles. No thanks.

costcoblogpost4_FotorCLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST! 

How to NOT spend WAY too much money

In order to save your budget try these tips.

  • Go in with a list, commit to ONLY buying what’s on the shopping list. Yes, you definitely could use a new set of mixing bowls but do you need them? No. I am really guilty of this and I’m doing much better lately at sticking to the list.
  • Don’t walk through every aisle. Only go to the sections of the store that you know have the items you need. I skip the electronics, home items, toys and clothing, and head straight to the back where the meat and vegetables are kept, then I make my way around the freezer and dry food aisles skipping the middle section of ‘seasonal’ stuff . That is what usually gets me. How can I not buy new beach towels? They won’t have them again until next year!
  • Don’t buy items that you will not use in a reasonable amount of time. If it will take you a year to use a Costco sized bottle of Olive Oil then don’t bother. It will go bad before you use it all and it would have been cheaper to just buy a smaller bottle at the grocery store. Same with fresh produce, if the item is not part of one of your planned lunches or dinners in then next 7 days then skip it this time. I hate the day before garbage day because I always go through the fridge and find items that were forgotten and had gone bad. Throwing out fresh fruits and vegetables makes me cringe since it’s pretty much the same as tossing money in the garbage.

Want a 7 day clean eating meal plan based on the items you see above? Want the accountability of a trainer that checks in and helps you stick to your goals? Email me today to try my 7 day clean eating challenge and get started on the path to a healthier life!

In fitness & good health,

Natasha

costcoblogpost

costco shopping list

Costco Shopping List JPEG
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Postpartum Fitness

Why I am proud to be a ‘Fit Mama’ – The Benefits of Fitness Postpartum

fit mom with baby

Childbirth is a beautiful thing. Everyday I am in amazement that my body was able to make a human being, a HUMAN BEING, do you know how crazy that is?! My body was stretched out and pushed to its limits during the 9 months of pregnancy and now it provides all the food and nutrients my baby needs to survive.

My body has taken a beating. My bellybutton will never be the same, my butt will never be as firm and my boobs never as perky (there is a lot to say for good angles and flattering lighting). Sure, I don’t have stretch marks but I have dealt with terrible hip pain, knee pain, back pain, stress incontinence and separated abs all due to carrying around my beautiful 9lb12oz baby! If any of you knew me before you know I have always been slender, so it’s not really a surprise that I bounced back after the baby. Before pregnancy I was a 32A and a size 4, and now at 6 months postpartum I finally fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes again. I won’t say that I didn’t have to try, of course I did, but I have always lived a healthy active lifestyle and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My motivation for getting fit postpartum is simple, I want to be healthy so that I can feel my best and be able to do the things that I want to do with my daughter and husband. Losing weight just happens to be one of the many benefits of exercise. I work in the health and fitness industry…I always have, and I always will. It is my job to motivate others to succeed and reach their goals. As an Occupational Therapist we encourage people to set goals that are important to them. I feel this is important not just from a health and fitness perspective but also to provide some organization to life. How do you work towards something if you don’t know what you are working towards?

danielle honea family photography

So what are my goals? I want to be the best mother I can be, I want to be physically and mentally strong so that I may provide for my daughter in any way that I can. I also want to be happy and healthy, which for me go hand in hand. My definition of health does not include weight or measurements but rather how I feel. I FEEL best at my normal size. In all honestly, I felt AWFUL while I was pregnant. I vividly remember walking up the stairs at the beach one day (and I was only about 20 weeks pregnant at the time) thinking that I was glad this was just temporary because I never wanted to feel like this again. I didn’t see pregnancy as a reason to ‘throw in the towel and kiss my former body goodbye’ but rather a reason to strive to be fitter, healthier and stronger postpartum than ever before. To me health is not defined by the number that you see on the scale but rather by functional measures. These include how well you are able to do your day-to-day activities, how you are able to engage in leisure time, and how you keep up with your family and manage responsibilities at work.

Baby swim lessons

Lately there is a new social media trend, particularly in the postpartum community. Women are encouraged to love their postpartum body and show appreciation for who they are and what they have accomplished (like making a baby!). I truly think this is fantastic. It is wonderful and empowering to see other women who are proud of being a mom, stretch marks and all. Check out the hashtags #takebackpostpartum and #takebackfitspo for a beautiful array of women showing love for themselves and their babies. Unfortunately this has spurred another movement that I don’t agree with. Women now feel it is okay to put others down for their lifestyle choices, particularly those who choose to workout and ‘get their bodies back’ postpartum. With social media it is easy to judge others, but it’s important to remember that there is a real person behind those pictures, and you can never judge a book by its cover.

#takebackpostpartum

Obviously I am an advocate for working out after pregnancy. Rebuilding your core and gaining back your strength is key for preventing injury and health conditions later in life. By exercising effectively now you decrease your chance of developing pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, back pain and incontinence later in life. Have I been doing all this for a flat stomach? No. Sure It’s nice, but rebuilding my core strength after pregnancy has improved my low back pain and healed my diastasis recti so I can avoid complications in the future. Most people become deconditioned during pregnancy, which can also cause injuries and pain that interfere with your ability to care for your child(ren). Did you know that people gain on average a pound a year after the age of 20? Add 5-10 pounds retained after each pregnancy and that would put an average woman at 30-40 pounds overweight at age 50 after 2 kids. This additional weight puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, injuries, chronic pain, mental health issues, and shorter life expectancy. Having a baby is tough, it is exhausting caring for another little human all day! But by finding 30 minutes a day to engage in physical activity now you can help prevent so many health conditions later.

The words thin and healthy are not always one in the same. People can be very unhealthy but still be thin (take a look at some drug addicts or heavy smokers), and people can also have a large build and still be healthy! It is important to see people as individuals rather than quantifying others based on their weight or appearance. It is extremely frustrating to see derogatory comments to others online implying that if someone looks good on the ‘outside’ they must be rotten ‘inside’ or vice versa.

skinny is not sexy, health is

I workout 5 days a week, I eat healthy, I work hard, and I take care of my family. In return I feel happy, I have increased energy, I have more patience, I suffer from less injuries and pain, I have decreased stress and anxiety, I have no major health issues, and hey, I fit into my skinny jeans again. For me, the link between physical health and mental health is strong, and one cannot exist without the other.

Does this make me obsessive? Possibly… exercise is addictive. When I do something, I strive for 100%, that is my personality and that will never change. I crave exercise, I crave the fresh air, I crave the sweat on my face, I crave the adrenaline rush and I crave the feeling of accomplishment when I get through a tough run or crazy Crossfit workout. I crave the feeling of being alive.

Does this make me vain? Maybe…but people who look better often feel better, so if this is counteracting depression then I’ll take it.

Does this make me a bad mother? Absolutely not. I spend quality time with my daughter and husband everyday. I workout with her or I workout at home or sneak to the gym while she’s having a nap. My husband and I share delicious home-cooked meals every night and he appreciates all that I do in order to take care of my family and myself. Everyone has their own priorities and it’s important to respect that. By doing the things that make you feel alive, whether it be working, playing with your kids, cooking, eating, or spending time with family and friends, you are living your life to its full potential and fulfilling your own personal goals and aspirations.

So call me vain, call me selfish, call me obsessive, what’s important is that this little girl can call me Mom.

happy baby

In fitness and good health,

Natasha

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Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy

Lumbo-pelvic pain, which can be defined as, pregnancy related low back pain or pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain, occurs in 24%-90% of women while they are pregnant (Van Benten et al., 2014). Although this usually goes away after birth over 1/3rd of women still have pain 1-year post pregnancy (JOSPT, 2014).

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?

Your pelvis is made up of your hip bones (ilium, ischium, pubis bones), your tailbone (sacrum/coccyx) and various muscles, tendons and nerves which all work together to support your pelvis and internal organs. When these bones, tendons and muscles do not work together as they should this is when you feel pain. Pain can be in the posterior pelvic girdle (below your lower back) most often caused by an unstable sacral iliac (SI joint), or in the anterior pelvic girdle (in your groin) due to instability in the symphysis pubis. These ‘joints’ are not meant to move, but due to the lovely relaxin hormone floating through your pregnant body they can easily become unstable and extremely painful!    pelvic girdle pain

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) increases with everyday activities such as walking, standing, sitting and lying down. It can increase drastically after only 30 minutes of activity (Fagevik Olsen, Elden & Gutke, 2014). Sounds pretty annoying right?

Why is it important to identify and treat pelvic girdle pain?

This persistent and awful pain not only effects women physically but also puts them at an increased risk of depression and decreased quality of life. Lumbo-pelvic pain is responsible for a large percentage of sick leave costs for pregnant women as well (Fagevik Olsen, Elden & Gutke, 2014). I laugh because my doctor wrote me a note to have modified work due to pelvic pain and my restrictions were “no standing, no walking, no sitting, or lying down for more than 25% of the day”…Uh, so what exactly could I do? Obviously this resulted in me going off on maternity leave a little earlier than planned.

Identification of women with severe PGP is also important since they are at the “highest risk of persistent pain both during and after pregnancy…and have the greatest consequences in terms of pain, intensity, disability and health related quality of life” (Olsen, Elden & Gutke, 2014). As a sufferer of PGP I can attest that it absolutely affected my quality of life and overall mood since some days even walking around the house was intolerable.

How can I tell if I have PGP?

A recent study by Fagevik Olsen, Elden & Gutke (2014) looked at the effectiveness of self-tests for pregnant women to screen for pelvic girdle pain so that they can be referred to a doctor or physical therapist for evaluation. Here are some of the tests I pulled from this study and this study !  Now, just a warning, if you do have Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) you will know within SECONDS of attempting any of these tests.

SI joint pain is felt beside your tailbone and is often a sharp, deep pain that occurs with certain movements. It can even feel like your hip or tailbone is ‘out of place’. Symphysis Pubis pain is a sharp, lightning bolt type pain that feels like it is often deep in your pelvis. These pains can range from a dull ache or nothing at rest to constant excruciating pain all the time.

Please note all the images and descriptions for these tests were taken directly from the two articles cited above. (Fagevik Olsen M et al, 2009) and (Fagevik Olsen, Elden & Gutke, 2014)

1) P4 Test

Lying in the supine position with 90-degree flexion at the hip the patient presses on the flexed knee, along the longitudinal axis of the femur.

Positive test = reproducing the pain in the SI area
POSH test self adminstered

http://www.thestudentphysicaltherapist.com/posh-test.html <– see more info on this test here

Patrick Faber Test

Lying in the supine position with one hip flexed, abducted and rotated so that the heel rests on the opposite kneecap. Positive test = reproducing the pain in the SI area

faber test self administered

http://www.thestudentphysicaltherapist.com/faber-test1.html <– see more info on this test here

Trendelenberg Test

Standing on one leg, flexing the other with the hip and knee at 90. Positive test = reproducing the pain in the SI area

trelenberg test

http://www.thestudentphysicaltherapist.com/trendelenburg-test.html

Bridging Test

The patient lifts the buttock and extended one leg. Positive test = reproducing the pain in the SI area

bridging test pelvic pain

Mat Test

The patient performed a movement of hip abduction and adduction simulating the movement to pull a mat across the floor. Positive test = pain in the symphysis
mat sliding test

Straight Leg Raise Test

Tests for disc involvement, see more info here.

straight leg raise test

Per (Fagevik Olsen, Elden & Gutke, 2014) , in order to be classified as PGP the following criteria had to be fulfilled…

  • Pain experienced between the hip bones and the gluteal fold particularly in the area of the SI joint in the symphysis.
  • Reports by the women of weight-bearing related pain and its duration in the pelvic girdle.
  • Diminished capacity to stand, walk and sit.
  • Positive clinical diagnostic tests, which reproduced pain in the pelvic girdle.
  • No nerve root syndrome (Negative SLR test).

Be sure to quantify your pain on a scale if you are bringing it to the attention of a doctor or therapist! It really helps them establish a baseline and help rule out other problems.

pain scale

What can I do about it?

Physical and Occupational Therapy during and after pregnancy can help decrease low back and pelvic pain and increase mobility and quality of life.

Van Benten et. al (2014) concluded “according to the literature there is moderate evidence for the positive effect of exercise therapy on pain, disability, and/or sick leave for the treatment of lumbo-pelvic pain during pregnancy. Moreover, data shows that patient education seems to be a helpful intervention”.

Talk to you doctor about a referral to therapy or seek out a therapist near you. A physical therapist who specializes in orthopedic rehabilitation or women’s health will be able to do a proper assessment and prescribe exercises for you to continue at home which can provide some relief! They can also recommend appropriate braces or taping techniques that may help decrease the pain and provide increased stability to those poor overstretched joints. If you are able to see an Occupational Therapist (usually covered by insurance with a doctors order) be sure to take advantage, a home visit will help identify the daily activities that are most difficult and how you can modify the activity or the environment to be able to complete them with as little pain as possible! Also, chiropractic care is fantastic for helping to realign your pelvic bones and spine. This can decrease pain due to nerve irritation and  inflammation. This is what helped me the MOST during my pregnancy and I always recommend chiropractic care to other pregnant mamas out there. As always please comment below or send me an email if you have any questions!

Hope this helps!

In fitness & good health,

Natasha

 

References

JOSPT (2014). “Pregnancy and Low Back Pain: Physical Therapy can Reduce Back and Pelvic Pain During and After Pregnancy”. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2014;44(7):474. doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.0505

Fagevik Olsen et al. (2009). “Self Adminstered Tests as a Screening Procedure for Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain”. Eur Spine J (2009) 18:1121–1129 DOI 10.1007/s00586-009-0948-2

Fagevik Olsen, Elden, & Gutke. (2014) “Evaluation of Self-adminstered Tests for Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy”. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 15(138)

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April is OT Month

So as you know if you’ve read my biography I am an Occupational Therapist (OT). Most of the time when I tell people what I do for a living I get, “That’s cool…so what is that exactly?” Since April is OT month I decided to write this post to share some of the reasons why I seriously LOVE my profession.

What is an Occupational Therapist?

An Occupational Therapist is a health and rehabilitation professional. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages who need specialized assistance to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives due to physical, developmental, social, or emotional problems. Occupational therapists use the “occupations” of self-care, work, and play/leisure activities to increase independence, enhance development, and/or prevent disability. To achieve these goals occupational therapists may also adapt the task or the environment. (Source)

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?

OT’s can work in many different settings. They work with children at school to assist with activities such as handwriting or socializing with others. They work in communities helping adults with brain injuries or disabilities re-integrate into the community or be able to function independently at home. They also work in special settings such as hand therapy clinics or spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers. The list goes on, as these are just a few examples of where you can find an OT.

Personally I have always enjoyed working with adults. I currently work in skilled nursing facilities with geriatric patients who have difficulty completing their activities of daily living (eating, dressing, bathing, etc) due to a physical or cognitive decline. Through the use of therapeutic exercises, therapeutic activities, cognitive retraining and neuromuscular re-education I am able to help my patients become stronger and more independent so they can ultimately return home or to a lower level of care. As an OT I work to make changes to the person, enviroment or occupation in order to ultimately increase health.

OT model Image Source OT model PEO

5 Reasons I Love My Job

  1. It’s Rewarding!
    It’s the best feeling ever to watch others make positive changes in their lives! The most rewarding part of my career is seeing a patient get stronger and healthier so that they can do the things they want to, or need to, do on their own.
  1. Different Settings
    The job description of an OT varies greatly depending on where they work and with what population. Since there is so much variety you can always find new places or different career paths to take, which prevents burn out and increases job satisfaction.
  2. Client Based Practice
    A big part of being an occupational therapist is helping patients do the things that THEY want to do in life. By having your client be an active participant in goal setting and treatment planning you achieve better outcomes and more effective therapy, as people are able to work towards goals that are important to them. For example, I had a man once tell me that his goal was to be able to play golf again by the spring, although we needed to work on strength and tissue healing we were able to create a customized treatment plan to make sure that he could do the things he needed to do to get back out on the golf course!
  1. Treating the ‘whole person’
    Working as an OT I have learned the importance of treating the whole person (mind, heart and body) rather than focusing on just the physical aspects. By being able to adapt the task or the environment you can make things that may of seemed impossible a reality. For example,  through training clients how to use assistive technology and adaptive equipment people with spinal cord injuries can lead full and productive lives despite their physical limitations.
  2. Perfect combination of creativity, science and problem solving
    By using all three of these skills OTs are able to make meaningful changes in someone else’s life. I love that there is room for some creativity because sometimes the solution isn’t always black and white! For example, I love using whatever I can find at the dollar store in order to make adaptive equipment for my patients to use at home, most of the time it’s the simplest gadgets that make the biggest difference! The possibilities are truly endless!

If you have any other questions about how an Occupational Therapist can help you be sure to send me an email or check out http://www.aota.org/ for more information.

This post was inspired by Christie at MamaOT.com . Check her out! She is a pediatric OT and has an awesome blog full of advice and resources for those who care for or work with young children!

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Lactation Smoothie

I posted another recipe on yummy lactation cookies that turned out great, so I decided to just take the ingredients and throw them all into a smoothie. It turned out great too! Here’s the recipe…

imageYou need, a blender of sorts – We have the Nutribullet and it’s awesome.

Ingredients
1/4 cup rolled oats (old fashioned works best)
1 tablespoon brewers yeast
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 tsp coconut oil or flax seed oil
Almond/Coconut/Cows Milk
Cinnamon for taste
Handful of Spinach (optional – you can’t taste it but it’s a good addition!)

Put all the dry ingredients in the blender, fill with milk, blend until smooth.

Enjoy!
Natasha

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