My H-E-B Pantry Makeover Tour

Jaque and me at our H-E-B
Jaque and I at our H-E-B

This afternoon I met with my dietitian, Marcie, and the other lower Rio Grande Valley contestant, Jaque Ary, for our Pantry Makeover Tour. The H-E-B Plus on Paredes Line Road in Brownsville was amazing! I want to send out a great big ‘thank you’ to the employees who took the time to welcome us and for all of your hospitality during our tour. We had such a memorable experience. Marcie pointed out a few things that I bought and can’t wait to try.

  1. Acorn squash-the darn thing has directions on how to cook it on a sticker slapped on it. How easy is that?
  2. Central Market Power greens mix- kale, spinach, and chard. A great set of greens to throw on a sandwich or to mix in with a salad.
  3. Honeycrisp apples- I never thought I would buy any other apple but the Gala variety, but I have changed my mind. This apple is worth the extra money.
  4. H-E-B Creamy Creations No Sugar Added Fruit Bars (strawberry)- for my sweet tooth, and with only 40 calories a bar.
  5. H-E-B Multigrain Baked Pita Chips- high fiber, low sodium, and something salty to eat with dips.
  6. H-E-B Bake Shop Thin Rounds 100% Whole Wheat-100 calories, 5g protein and 5g of fiber. Great for breakfast and lunch sandwiches.
  7. H-E-B Deli meat- look for the labels that say Fit, and those meats will have lower sodium and fat.
  8. And last, but not least… salad dressing. Read below.

Our last night at Fit Camp was spent at a certain nationwide chain, Italian restaurant. We learned how to order more intelligently off of a restaurant menu, and had a great experience eating out. My favorite part of the meal was their salad, but more specifically their dressing. Today, Marcie pointed out that their dressing has been bottled and is for sale to the general public at our local H-E-B. You know I bought three bottles. One for work. Two for home. Hooray! With this new development, I can say that I will be out of my salad slump.

As for our tour as a whole, I learned a ton. The specific things I wanted to address were: ideas for getting more diverse greens into my meals and more thoughts on snack foods. The acorn squash and Power mix will answer my first need. Honeycrisp apples and the pita chips will help me mix up my snack routine.


Marie Pechacek

LAGUNA VISTA, A born teacher, Marie believes in the adage that your career sometimes chooses you. “I knew from the time I was five that teaching was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My Mom was a teacher and I just looked up to her so much,” she said. But those long hours of studying in college to become a teacher and numerous work commitments led to a pattern of overeating that has stuck with Marie ever since. Though dedicated to her career, at 30 years old Marie is ready to find love and start a family. At 260 pounds, her weight puts a damper on her self-confidence. “I’m a very social person by nature, but because of my weight, I feel awkward in social situations and I just don’t have the motivation to go out,” she said. At the end of the competition, Marie looks forward to shedding pounds, gaining confidence and having more energy both in and outside of the classroom. “I bought a surf board and a kayak recently but I’ve only used them maybe once or twice,” she said. “I see my girlfriends running half marathons all the time and I want to be able to do that too.”

19 thoughts on “My H-E-B Pantry Makeover Tour

  1. I have heard that that HEB is awesome! Sounds like they have more of a healthy variety than the smaller HEB near home. We’ll have to try some of the yummy items you mentioned. Good luck!!

    1. You were the one that told me first about the baby herb blend to spice up salads. What a great addition to a boring salad. Thanks!

  2. Marie and I have been grocery shopping together on the weekends. She showed me the little stickers next to the price tag on the shelves at HEB. They are brown and red. I never noticed them before and they are really helpful when you’re trying to make healthy decisions.

    1. I had never seen a Flaming Bird section in an H-E-B. The smell of rotisserie chicken made my mouth water. Your lucky that’s your H-E-B! I’m jealous.

  3. Hey Ms. Pechacek! I wanted to congratulate you on your progress and want to wish you good luck!! Also, what kind of foods do you look for at HEB? Organic? And what would you recommend?

    1. Javier, good question. Some people can’t afford organic, and from what my dietitians have told me, the difference isn’t really that big between regular produce and organic. I’m not a fan of buying organic (because I’m cheap), but H-E-B really helps with cutting costs and bringing fresh fruits and veggies to their consumers by buying from local (Texas) farmers as much as possible.

  4. These could be some of the treats we bring to the UIL events and even maybe some that we offer at tutoring in afterschool and Saturday academies.

    1. It hasn’t been as hard as you would think. Fit Camp ‘brainwashed’ me into thinking healthier. If it’s not going to be good for me I don’t really crave it anymore.

  5. Oh my gosh! Marie has me wanting to visit different HEBs. The one in Brownsville that she went to for this shopping trip has different products than the one we go to in P.I. There are these health bars she has been eating that are delicious and then there’s this dark chocolate candy bar with pomegranate seeds that is really good. I don’t think she really misses her old fixes anymore. She has found healthier options to replace them.

  6. I’ve always liked the HEB strawberry frozen bars. They are great during the summer. These are great items to try out. I don’t know if I could give up tortilla chips, but the pita chips might be a great alternative.

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