Mental Fitness Thought of the Day
Is food your friend? Check out this short video to challenge your thinking about food.
Healthy living starts between your ears.
Is food your friend? Check out this short video to challenge your thinking about food.
Want your family to eat healthier? It all starts with a healthy shopping list. If your cupboards and fridge contain mostly healthy foods, everyone in your family is likely to eat better. If the junk food is not in your house, you can’t eat it. Duh.
Surprisingly, healthier eating can lower your grocery bills, too. It’s true that ready-to-eat meals and packaged foods save time, but they can cost more and some have too much salt and fat. I was skeptical of this claim like you are, until I tried it myself. If you want real, sustainable change in your health, you’ve got to get the food part right. The good news is that it’s not that hard to do.
Follow these tips to get the most nutrition bang for your buck.
Stock Up With Staples
These pantry basics will give you the foundation you need for better family nutrition at home.
– Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables
– Whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and non-instant oatmeal
Steel-cut oatmeal costs just pennies per ounce and is a good source of fiber. I’ve cut a lot of bread out of my diet lately, but I still go for super cheap Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats. No need to pay for the fancy stuff.
– Beans, lentils, and peas
Packed with protein and other nutrients, they’re a great way to stretch your food dollar. Save! Use them in everything from soups to chili to burritos. Packaged dried beans cost less but take some planning to cook. Low-sodium canned beans are another option. Rinse canned beans to lower sodium even more.
– Nuts like almonds, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts
– Lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs We eat lots of chicken breast, natural deli turkey, 93% lean ground turkey or beef, and eggs. Lots of eggs. So cheap and filling when mixed with veggies in a stir fry or omelette.
– Low-fat or nonfat milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products
Children under age 2 should have whole milk unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Yes, you can eat cheese. Real cheese though. Velveeta is not real cheese. Read the ingredients. We like Sargento Cheese. Yogurt and cottage cheese is tricky. Read the ingredients.
Buy Healthy Snacks
How to keep your kids from going overboard on chips, cookies, and other snacks? Make it easy to find the healthy stuff. We’ve learned that kids will adjust to the food you have. Don’t assume you must have junk food snacks for the kids because that’s all they will eat. You are in charge.
Keep these healthy options on the center shelf of the fridge: (this list is on our fridge)
And these on the counter:
3 Surefire Healthy Grocery Shopping Rules
To keep your food choices on track with your family’s health goals, follow these three basic rules as you cruise the supermarket aisles.
Don’t shop hungry. Ever notice what winds up in your cart when you shop with hunger pangs? Eat a nutritious snack beforehand so the munchies don’t take control of your shopping.
Make a healthy shopping list. Even if you know what you need, a list saves time and prevents impulse buys. Organize your list into sections according to the store’s layout. Shop for the healthy items first, picking up the treats last. We use the Kroger ClickList to automate our shopping. When you shop from home via internet, you are far less likely to add items to your cart that aren’t on the list. Saves buckets of money!
Hug the walls — most of the time. Stay focused. Avoid parts of your grocery store with the unhealthy choices. The edges of the store (the perimeter) tend to have the healthiest choices. Detour down center aisles for beans, whole-grain pastas and cereals, and canned and frozen vegetables and fruit. Skip the aisles with chips and other temptations, or get only the items on your list. When you’re grocery shopping with kids, the temptations can be especially distracting.
Let us know your healthy grocery shopping tricks to save time, money, and sanity.
SOURCES: University Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa State University: “Convenience costs;” “Snacks for healthy kids;” “Stretch your protein dollar;” “10 tips for saving at the grocery store;” “Ways to save money in 2010;” and “What’s a good buy?”American Dietetic Association: “Raising healthy eaters from preschool to high school” and “Save time and money at the grocery store.”The University of Maine Cooperative Extension: “Winning ways to grocery shop with young children.”WebMD Health News: “Baby Milk Recommendations Changed.”
Some time ago, I wrote about some timeless principles to manage your most important project (YOU) – by focusing on being a better person. You can read it here.
I want to take the idea of managing yourself a step further to look at your physical health. After all, you can’t be your best when you don’t feel good. I’m going to focus on nutrition. Hear me out, this is not a shake-my-finger-at-you sermon to go on a diet. Diets don’t work. My focus is a paradigm shift regarding the way we think about food.
Here are two scientifically proven mathematical equations for food to get us started.
Garbage In = Garbage Out
Eat Real Food = Feel better + Improve Performance + Look Better
Your body is a finely tuned machine. You may not think so when you look in the mirror, but it is absolutely true. It performs countless functions every moment that we don’t even realize. It also gives feedback on how we take care of it.
Much like any other machine, it performs well when it is cared for, and it performs poorly when it is not cared for. Ever put soda or donuts in your car’s gas tank? Would it operate well if you did? In the same way, we need to feed our bodies with the right fuel if we expect to perform our best.
NEWS FLASH: our bodies were not meant to eat highly processed, chemically enhanced, boxed food with 25 ingredients on the nutrition label even if it says “low fat”, “healthy”, “low calorie”, “high protein”, etc. Without getting into all the science of chemical additives and processing, I promise that these unnatural, unpronounceable ingredients are not good for us.
If you feel low on energy during the day, depend on caffeine, carry more weight than you’d like, suffer from pain and fatigue from performing common activities, have indigestion, bloating, or are often “irregular” you should first look at how you fuel your machine.
I’ve been on a journey of natural, whole foods healthy eating for a while now and can attest that it is the secret formula to help all the ailments I mentioned and more.
You might say, “I don’t have time to eat healthy” or “I don’t know how to eat healthy.” I’m with you. I said these things myself, and not too long ago.
Changing your nutrition requires a change in your MINDSET about food first. You must agree that your fuel impacts your body’s performance and that natural, whole food is the best way to eat.
Instead you say, “I can’t afford to eat poorly” or “Learning to eat right is important to me and I’m going to figure out how to do it because I want to perform, feel, and look my best.”
You make conscious decisions about what you put in your mouth because you know that it will absolutely impact you whether you feel it immediately or not. Just like you wouldn’t put soda in the gas tank because you know the car wouldn’t work, you mindset about fueling your body should be the same. I mean who doesn’t want to perform, feel, and look their best today AND for the long term?
Educating yourself about proper nutrition and whole, natural food eating is key. The internet is filled with nutrition advice, some of it is good (and much is not).
My favorite healthy eating resource is www.9010nutrition.com This is a thorough resource with articles, videos, links to healthy recipes, and a no obligation email registration that connects you to even more great advice and encouragement to help you along your healthy eating journey. Of course there is the Fitness & Nutrition tab on my website that has a recipe section as well.
If you are ready to make real and lasting changes to your health, the next step is up to you. I would be honored to help you get started on your healthy living journey. Let’s chat!
Here’s Pro tip #1 on how to lose weight on a budget: Don’t spend your paycheck on imported superfoods, a personal trainer, and spendy meals.
Losing weight on a budget is completely doable, says Krista Maguire, R.D., C.S.S.D., and Beachbody nutrition manager. What’s more, eating healthfully on a regular basis doesn’t have to cost significantly more.
Maguire points to research showing that the healthiest diet patterns cost only about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diet habits.
That adds up to about $40 extra a month, an amount you can easily save in other areas, like meal prepping or making coffee at home.
That said, there are still a number of smart budgeting and creative hacks to help you stretch your dollar even further, says Maguire.
Before you get started, though, it’s important to map out your weight-loss strategy.
First things first: Spend a little time brainstorming your specific weight-loss intentions, whether it’s exercising three times a week or eating one serving of vegetables at every meal.
Next, consider what will motivate you to follow through (or not) with your goals. Do you need to participate in a guided workout program to exercise regularly? Or do you need a detailed grocery list to avoid temptation?
Having a clear idea of what’s necessary to carry out your weight-loss goals will help you stay on-track and effectively determine where to allocate your spending money.
“You don’t need fancy foods like chia seeds, coconut kefir, or organic sprouts to lose weight,” says Maguire. “Keep it simple and stock up on some basic veggies, fruit, lean protein, canned beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains [that you can] mix and match to make a variety of meals.”
Maguire adds that Beachbody’s Ultimate Portion Fix eating plan, which comes with a comprehensive food list and color-coded portion containers, can help you prepare inexpensive, nutritious, and delicious meals that won’t break the bank.
Not sure what to make? Check out Autumn Calabrese’s cooking show FIXATE for great healthy recipes and consider trying one of the hundreds of recipes available on the Beachbody Blog!
(Pro tip #2: Check out this comprehensive guide on how to lose weight with simple adjustments to your diet.)
Instead of meat, which can be expensive, look to more affordable sources of protein for your meals, suggests Jackie Newgent, RDN.
“Eggs are delightful beyond just breakfast time, [and] lentils and beans contain both protein and fiber; this nutrient combo is especially satiating,” she says.
If you’re a vegetarian, you’re probably well-versed in budget-friendly vegetarian sources of protein, like yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, quinoa, and teff, to name just a few.
For ideas on how to incorporate more plant-based proteins into your meals, check out these vegetarian recipes.
You don’t need to belong to a pricey gym or buy an expensive (and space-hogging) treadmill to get fit and healthy.
When you join Beachbody On Demand, you can stream workouts from the comfort and privacy of your home.
You’ll have 24/7 access to hundreds of different workouts designed for exercise newbies, advanced athletes, and everyone in between.
(Pro tip #3: Find out which Beachbody program is right for you.)
All Beachbody programs include a nutrition plan to help you learn how to eat a healthy, balanced diet, fuel your body, and make the most of your workouts.
Shakeology is an important part of that nutrition plan. It isn’t a meal replacement, but it can be part of a healthy meal, and it’s a great way to help curb junk-food cravings so you won’t be tempted by sugary or fatty (and expensive!) snacks.*
This superfood protein shake can also help you hit your daily nutrient targets when you’re on-the-go or don’t have access to a wide variety of healthy fruits and veggies.*
(Pro tip #4: Concerned about the cost? Find out how a Team Beachbody Coach manages to fit Shakeology into her tight monthly budget.)
Make water your go-to beverage, Newgent suggests. “It quenches thirst, provides zero calories, and can be virtually free,” she says.
Water should be an essential part of your diet, regardless: Up to 60 percent of your body is composed of water, and your body needs plenty of it to function properly.
The amount you need will vary by individual, but Beachbody experts recommend consuming half your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water daily.
Don’t like plain water? Infuse it with your favorite fruits and herbs for a hydrating and delicious drink.
In terms of cost, consider this: Replacing your morning coffee drink or afternoon soda with a tall glass of good old-fashioned H2O can save you anywhere from $2 to $5 a day, which amounts to a whopping $60 to $150 a month.
The same goes for alcoholic beverages, like happy hour cocktails and mimosas at brunch, which tend to be high in cost, sugar, and calorie count.
Instead of ambling through the grocery store with only a vague idea of what you want to buy, go prepared.
“Once you know what you plan to eat for a week, even if it’s just a rough outline, then you can wisely plan your shopping list,” says Newgent.
And a good shopping list will help you stick to your budget and your healthy meal plan. The key to creating one? Be specific, yet flexible.
“Keep some foods in general categories on your weight-loss menu and shopping list,” says Newgent.
Instead of listing apples and pears, for example, just list “fruits,” then wait until you see what’s on sale/in season in the produce aisle.
“As a bonus, it’ll likely be what’s most seasonal and [in] its peak of nutritional value and flavor,” Newgent explains.
Ramping up your daily activity level outside of your regular workouts is an effective and affordable way to burn even more calories.
When you’re going about your day, all your movements — washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, and taking out the garbage — are often referred to as NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
Research calls NEAT an “essential tool” for controlling body weight. A Mayo Clinic report shows that the differences in energy expenditure between two people of about the same height and weight can vary as much as 2,000 calories per day based on NEAT.
So, get your NEAT on by making small changes to your routine: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car farther from the store. Do a lap around the office every hour, or see how many calf raises you can complete while your coffee is brewing.
(Pro tip #5: Get more [almost] free ideas on how you can move more here.)
8. Buy healthy food in bulk
“You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods or Erewhon to be healthy and lose weight,” says Maguire. “Stores like Costco sell organic produce and other high-quality foods in bulk for lower prices.”
Before you head to the store, make a list of healthy foods you reach for on a regular basis. That’ll help you stick within your budget and prevent food waste.
Items like apples, carrots, eggs, mixed greens, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains are great staples to have on hand at all times because you can use them in a wide variety of meals and snacks.
If you adopt just one new habit from this list of weight-loss tips, make it this one.
Preparing your own nutritious meals and snacks can do wonders for both your body and your bank account.
Let’s face it: Dining out regularly can get expensive, not to mention super challenging if you’re trying to eat the proper portions and cut back on processed foods.
“By cooking more at home,” Newgent says, “you’ll have more control over calories and cost.”
Research shows that people who cook at home are more likely to choose nutritious foods and consume fewer calories per meal than people who dine out.
To maximize your grocery budget and save time, try meal prepping nutritious foods for the week so you always have something calorie-friendly at the ready, says Newgent.
For instance, if you cook a big batch of low-calorie soup and whole grains and chop your veggies at the beginning of the week, all you’ll need to do is mix and match and you’ll have dinner done in a snap.
As Maguire notes, buying presliced or precooked foods (say, a head of romaine lettuce versus a prepackaged bag of it) is often more expensive than doing the prep work yourself.
Processed packaged snacks can be pricey, not to mention loaded with refined sugar and other additives.
Making your own healthy grab-and-go snacks requires a little more effort, but it’s a weight-loss tip that can save you precious money and calories.
“Planned snacks can help keep you satisfied and curb overeating at mealtime,” says Newgent.
For a high-protein snack, try mixing cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds with roasted edamame. Or try your hand at making your own protein or energy snack bars.
Or satisfy your sweet tooth with a Chocolate Caramel Delight Smoothie or a Pineapple Mango Smoothie.
When buying produce on a budget, it’s a good idea to look for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
“Produce that is in season is not only more fresh and nutritious, it is [also] more economical,” says Maguire.
But if you want produce that’s not local or in season — say, strawberries in January or brussels sprouts in the summertime — go for the frozen variety.
“It’ll be both budget-friendly and diet-friendly — and in ready-to-fix form,” says Newgent. Bonus: Frozen produce means less food waste because it won’t spoil as quickly as fresh, giving you more time to use it, adds Maguire.
Exercise groups can help make working out more fun. They can also help keep you accountable for working out, increasing your exercise consistency — and your odds of achieving your fitness goals.
With a Beachbody On Demand membership, you’ll be assigned a Team Beachbody Coach who hosts online groups with other like-minded members and provides one-on-one guidance and support.
With groups, you can check-in, ask questions, share workout advice, and track your progress.
The Beachbody community is also a great place to get encouragement, find inspiring success stories, and share your own journey.
“Food waste can add up to a lot of wasted money,” says Maguire. Before you buy more groceries or call for takeout, try to use up whatever is left in your fridge or pantry.
Leftover brown rice? Use it to bulk up soup. Four eggs, half an onion, and a can of beans that haven’t been used? Make a filling scramble. Berries that are about to go bad? Throw them in a shake.
If you can’t eat food that’s about to expire, don’t stress — just freeze it to enjoy later on, Maguire suggests.
Check out these tricks from the pros that will make your leftovers taste like new:
With some practical hacks, smart choices, and a little elbow grease, you’ll find that losing weight on a budget is totally doable and may even save you money in the long run!
Author: Paige Smith is a freelance writer, editor, and perpetual optimist from Southern California. When she’s not tapping away on her keyboard, she loves to travel, read, drink tea, and get sandy (not necessarily in that order). See more of her at paigeashleysmith.com.
Breakfast is a no-brainer for me. I’ve had the same thing EVERY DAY for over 3 years. You would think I’d get sick of it, but I don’t. Actually, I look forward to my super yummy, convenient and healthy breakfast. My body craves the complete nutrition without any chemical or artificial junk in it. It keeps me full until lunch, my health has been amazing, and most days it’s chocolate. Hello! Why wouldn’t I have it every day?
Despite the long list of benefits for consuming this amazing breakfast, there are still some common myths about my beloved Shakeology that keep people from trying it. Let’s take a look at a few… and bust the myths!
4 Shakeology Myths You Might Have Heard:
Myth #1: Shakeology is just a protein shake.
I can’t blame the general public for thinking this since “protein shake” has become nearly an interchangeable term for any shake. But all shakes are NOT created equal—especially ones that contain super foods. Shakeology is a very nutrient-dense shake.
You’d have to eat a whole lot of different foods to get the fiber, phytonutrients, protein, vitamins and minerals in a single glass of Shakeology—and it would be tough to do that for fewer than 170 calories. Truth be told, the majority of people are way more NUTRIENT deficient than they are PROTEIN deficient.
Myth #2: Shakeology is just a bunch of extracts, with no whole-food ingredients.
Whenever it’s possible and sustainable for the formula, the super foods in Shakeology are whole ingredient powders processed in a way to preserve their nutrient value. It’s more difficult to source these specialty ingredients, but Beachbody has a whole team of scientists whose mission is to help maximize the nutrition in every ingredient used in Shakeology. Imagine trying to eat all those super foods – let alone buy them! Shakeology is way less expensive and a huge time-saver.
When comparing other shakes against Shakeology, take a look at the calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate amounts, but also look at the INGREDIENTS. For instance, you might notice other shakes have zero grams of sugar. Or worse, they likely include artificial chemicals and fillers that our bodies cannot properly process. Shakeology has no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Myth #3: Shakeology is expensive.
Most healthy shakes out there cost between $3 and $10. Shakeology, at $4.33 per serving, comes in on the low end of the average. When compared to other meal options of similar cost, Shakeology is far superior.
When you buy a bulk bag of Shakeology, you’re buying 30 of your shakes upfront. It means you’ll spend less money at the grocery store. Because of the grocery savings, we actually deduct our monthly Shakeology from our grocery budget. I cannot duplicate its vast quality of ingredients and nutrients for the price. Since real food is also medicine for the body, many people are able to quit certain medications, supplements, and vitamins because Shakeology has them covered. Cutting out those expenses makes Shakeology even more affordable. I personally have reduced my prescription for acid reflux disease medication by 90%.
Myth #4: Shakeology is only for weight loss.
Most shakes are marketed for weight loss. And in the short term, many other shakes can help you lose weight. So can some pills and other chemical potions. But in the long term these are only temporary solutions that may do you more harm than good.
Alternatively, Shakeology is about health. When you put the right nutrients in your body (in the right amounts and combinations), you may ultimately have more energy, fewer cravings, and feel better. As a result, you might eat less and become more active. With Shakeology, weight loss is a byproduct of dense nutrition and a healthier lifestyle. Angie & I can attest to these results. My mom loves it too!
When was the last time you dieted and cut calories only to feel tired, grouchy, and battling against a ton of cravings? That’s because you are likely nutrient deficient. Because it’s so nutrient rich, Shakeology helps you in your battle to lose weight.
Shakeology isn’t magic. It’s clean, dense nutrition made super easy. Don’t let the bed head distract you. My Shakeo is the best way to start the day!
Wanna try 30 days of Shakeology for free? Get it here!