Shop for Better Health: Buy a Hogwarts Item

'Tiny Bites by Annie' recipe for Mango Salsa included.

As I was perusing the produce section at Trader Joe's, I overheard a conversation: "Nice Mangos..." 

Joe's did have some nice mangos that day, and with a chuckle, I added a few to my cart with exciting anticipation to make Mango Salsa (recipe attached).

Adopting a simplistic shopping technique has improved my healthy lifestyle. I took time and made simple changes which have truly made a difference in my life, and I hope these shopping tips can help you implement healthy habits for life. 

Learn the Layout

Shop a few times early in the morning or late at night, when crowds are few to learn where things are.

Eat FRESH 50/50

Aim to fill 50 percent of your cart with FRESH produce, and fill 50 percent of your plate with vegetables at both lunch and dinner. Fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are essential to every “diet” plan. 

Read Signs and Labels

Spend time familiarizing yourself with the types of produce. (i.e. varieties of lettuce, both in the bagged and non-bagged section.)

Buy One Hogwarts Item

Ever wonder what produce is resembling something from Harry Potter? Introduce yourself to a parsnip, beet, swiss chard or leek. Purchase it, learn about it and try it. Make trying new things a fun game. Play off the Harry Potter idea and your kiddos just might try a new fruit or vegetable.

Utilize Technology

Use your smartphones for more than Angry Birds! Use them for shopping lists, researching an unfamiliar item or searching recipe ideas to utilize sale items and ensuring you have all the ingredients necessary. 

Compare and Contrast

Take a minute to compare quality and price. Quality produce can be judged by color—aim for the brightest fruits and veggies! Broccoli should be bright green NOT deep forest green. Prices fluctuate. I have found many times when organic items are priced lower than non-organic. Choose based on your budget and desired quality. Take advantage of sale items and refer to your smart phone for a recipe idea.     

Shopping really is an acquired skill. Improved shopping skills can help make a healthy lifestyle easier to maintain. So about those Mangos… 

Tiny Bites by Annie 

Mango Salsa

The fresh herbs are what make this salsa so flavorful. Fresh herbs add a dynamic flavor to any dish. Best if made ahead. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.


1 mango (diced)

2 kiwi (diced)

1 red bell pepper (diced)

1/2 onion (sweet or red) (diced)

10 basil leaves (julienned=sliced as thin as possible)

10 mint Leaves (julienned=sliced as thin as possible)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Fresh ground black pepper

Directions: Cut, mix, enjoy!

Use: As a dip, to top off your salad with chicken, fish, or in a sandwich

Change it up! Other things to consider adding:


Green/yellow/orange peppers

Black beans

Red pepper Flakes

Chile pepper



Healthy Chip Tip:

Brush a whole wheat pita with olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Place in aluminum foil, in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Some may want to add sugar to this, but I say try with the salsa first. There is plenty of flavor already and the fruit adds a sweet kick!

-Annie Masilunas, am.masilunas@gmail.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brian Teyssier February 16, 2012 at 06:37 PM
WOW, GREAT article Hybrid! In addition to being a beast in the gym, & pretty, you are smart too?!?!?!
Annie Masilunas February 17, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Haha, Thanks Brian!


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