Well at least that’s what I’m repeating to myself until I am 100% living it. There are plenty of healthy changes you can easily implement. In my ongoing journey to live a healthier lifestyle, I’ve failed at making huge changes right away. Setting a goal to go to the gym five days out the week was a little ambitious right out the gate. However, I discovered that little changes can make a huge impact. Here are seven healthy changes you can make today to live a healthier lifestyle:
P.S. I’m leaving out drink more water because just do it people.
7 Healthy Changes to Make Today
1.Don’t skip breakfast.
They call it the most important meal of the day for a reason! By eating breakfast, you’ll start off your day right, and you’ll also be less likely to have cravings later in the day. Enjoy a nutritious, light breakfast every morning.
2. Spend more time walking.
I love a good princess parking spot. But a simple way to get in some more steps is to park further away from your destination. According to the American Heart Association: Walking at least 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Break it down into three 10 minute increments if you need to.
3. Make time for self-care and prioritize your mental health.
I’ve written about self-care and mental health a few times. I plan to continue to do so because both are very crucial. Mental health is just as important as physical health.Seek help if you feel like you need it. I stress the importance of self-care because our mental health and overall happiness depend on it. Whatever self-care looks like to you make sure you make time for it
4. Listen to your body
Look I’m not an expert, but listen to your own body. What works well for your favorite celeb or blogger may not be for you. Just because your best friend dropped 20 pounds when she became vegan doesn’t mean that you should now become vegan. Your healthy living should be determined by what you need and works best for you.
I have two rules I have to follow when I walk into Publix so that I won’t end up with a cart full of brownies and breads. I have to make a list andI have to have a full stomach. When you’re in the grocery store and your stomach is empty, you’ll likely make impulse buys of unhealthy foods. Think about it when you’re hungry every things sounds good and I’d be willing to bet it’s not veggies that have you salivating.
7. Discover the fountain of youth
Okay not a real fountain of youth, but if you incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet the effects would be as if you discovered a fountain of youth. Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and water – all the good stuff. So indulge in seasonal produce; sneak a serving or two in your breakfast; get your juice on smoothie on; or experiment with meatless Mondays. Get those fruits and veggies in!
I don’t know about you, but the busier I get the harder it gets for me to eat healthy or eat at all – which is why I began meal prepping last year. The Wendy’s 4 for $4 is so tempting, but when I’ve taken two or more hours out of Sunday Funday to meal prep – I tend to stick to what I’ve cooked, which is usually the healthier option.
I’ve seen some gorgeous meal prep photos on Instagram. Every time I scroll through a hashtag search looking for inspiration, I think about how my meal prep never looks that pretty. I then try to guess what their grocery budget is for the week/month.
I want to eat healthy and be summertime fine, but some of those meal prep posts look like some serious champagne lifestyle. With my goals to debt-free by the end of the year, I’m living on more of a lemonade budget. So for all of you out there that still want to eat healthy, I have five tips for meal prepping on a budget.
Also, you may want to checkout my intro into Meal Prepping for some basics.
Meal Prepping on a Budget
#1 – Buying in Bulk
About every other month, I head over to Sam’s and buy what seems like an illogical amount of meat for one person. I usually stick with chicken breasts or lean ground turkey, but will sometimes mix it up with some sort of lean fish. While I obviously can’t eat 10 pounds of chicken in one week, buying in bulk saves me money. I simply separate my bulk purchases into portions and store them in the freezer for future meal prep. FYI – Ground turkey and chicken can stay in the freezer for ~ four months.
I love a good salad, but buying all the ingredients to build a fresh salad from scratch can add up. So Sam’s win’s again. I get about six or seven large salad servings out of a container of salad mix from Sam’s for about $4. To keep the greens fresh, I line a plastic storage container with paper towels, dump in the salad mix and then cover it with another layer of paper towels before locking down the lid. This method keeps my salad fresh for ~10 days. (Thanks for the tip, Kim!)
#2 – Find Inexpensive Fruits & Vegetables
Would I love to eat blueberries all year? Absolutely, and so would my dog – yes, Sgt. Pepper is obsessed with blueberries. Unfortunately, when they’re not in season – they burn a hole in my pocket. I quickly learned that I could save some coins by sticking to buying produce that is in season. Produce is cheaper when it is in season because it doesn’t have to be shipped from other areas of the country. So before you add your fresh fruits and veggies to your list check out this guide to figure out what’s in season.
When I talk to my friends about meal prepping (this happens rarely) one of the things I hear the most is I can’t eat the same thing every day – it gets boring. Meal prepping doesn’t have to equal redundancy. For example, let’s say I’m doing something basic like grilled chicken. I usually season the chicken with two or more different combinations so that my meal varies slightly day-to day. Find simple ways to spice it up so that your flavors change a bit.
#5 – Stick to the plan!
Where I have and occasionally still mess up, is not sticking to my list. Damn you, Talenti Gelato! I’m not going to be the one to tell you to stay away from all of the goodies. Looking at the average age of this blog’s demographic – you’re an adult and sometimes you deserve to treat yourself.
What I’m suggesting is to get your list and budget together beforehand. I am a couponer and sometimes I have to hit Trader Joe’s, Publix and Sam’s Club, before my shopping is complete. Just be mindful of the fact that just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need it. I have one two many jars of Nutella because of the Publix BOGO sales. Le sigh.
Make your list with your budget in mind and when you get to the store stick to the plan!
Do you have any tips for eating healthy and meal prepping on a budget? Please leave a comment below.
Let me start by saying I’m still fairly new to meal prepping. I’m not a fitness nut, by any means, but I made a goal to make healthier food choices this year. Through meal prep, I’ve kept myself from running to Burger King or whichever fast food joint has the shortest line. Don’t get me wrong, I do quite enjoy grabbing a burger with a Frosty to dip my fries in, but the benefits of meal prep are keeping me consistent. By taking a few hours out on Sunday or Monday:
I’ve been drinking more water and my skin thanks me for it.
I’ve lost about 11 pounds. This is just with making changes in my eating habits. My goal is get back on a workout plan, but I’m trying to conquer one thing at a time.
I don’t find myself scrabbling to put together lunch in the morning causing me to run late (or later) than usual.
I’ve actually cut my grocery bill significantly by planning out my meals in advance.
Most people meal prep breakfast, lunch and dinner, but remember there is no right or wrong way to meal prep. For example, I haven’t added breakfast to my prep routine quite yet and sometimes I meal prep for lunch on Sundays and dinner or Mondays depending on my schedule. Figure out what works for you. You may even want to start out by prepping for 3 – 4 days, and allowing one day for you to go out and grab lunch with a friend.
How to Get Started
Decide on your meals for the week before you hit the grocery store so that you know exactly what you need. Personally, I’m a huge comparison shopper, so my meal prep is highly dependent on what’s on sale or what I have stocked up. I’ll scan the local ads for who has the best deals and get my list together from there. Here are some options for you: I try to go with 1 carb + 1 protein + 1 or 2 veggies. Pinterest is always a great resource if you need help deciding what to make. (Beware of the hardcore: broccoli, sweet potatoes, chicken breast) While the combo is delicious, Eating that for an entire week could dissuade your tastbuds from continuing with meal prep.
Carbs: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Whole Wheat Pasta
Protein: Chicken (breasts – skinless, boneless or chicken thighs also ok), Ground Turkey (93% lean or higher), Lean Beef (85% lean or higher), Fish (Salmon, Tilapia, Tuna) Shrimp, Eggs Beans
Veggies: Broccoli, Green Beans, Cauliflower, Snap Peas, Kale, Spinach
You’ll also need some meal prep containers. I use a set that I found in Sam’s Club, but am going to in vest in some Pyrex or other glass option. However, many people use the ones linked here and here. Once you’ve decided on your meals for the week and have bought all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to cook.
A great time saver is roasting/baking one part of your dish while cooking the rest on the stove top. I’m also a bag fan of the crock pot.
Remember, I’m writing about what’s worked for me, so adapt to fit your lifestyle.
I usually start with the meat. Whether I’m baking, grilling, or throwing it in the crock pot, it’s usually a good starting place. I love experimenting with flavors and try to incorporate as much variety as I can so that I don’t get bored of eating the same thing each day. For example, for chicken breasts, I’ll marinate them differently or use two different combinations of spices. You may even want to alternate your proteins.
If I make brown rice or a carb that needs to be boiled, I usually make that step two. Next are my veggies. After cleaning and cutting, I either throw them on the stove or prepare to roast them in the oven once the meat is out. I’m also a big fan of frozen veggies, I try to keep a few staples on-hand (broccoli, cauliflower, kale).
This week’s meal prep
For lunch I made orange ginger chicken in the crock pot and paired it with brown rice, roasted red potatoes and green beans. I used the three large boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer. I added in 1 cup of orange juice, a tablespoon of coconut oil, red pepper flakes, pepper, 1.5 TB of honey into the crock pot on high for 2.5 hours. When there were about 20-25 minutes left, I added a little cornstarch mixed in chicken broth to thicken the sauce.
I cubed the potatoes (2 large) and sprinkled them with extra virgin olive oil, pepper, and a little sea salt. Roast them at 425° for about 30 min. This meal could easily be made for dinner, smaller portions make it appropriate for lunch.
Burrito Bowls (Cilantro lime rice, grilled chicken, black beans, cheese and avocado)
Turkey Wraps with Avocado, Red Pepper Hummus and Spinach
I was watching a Paper and Glam vlog where Lisamarie made a delicious salad that looked so good, I ran to buy all the ingredients. I’ve altered/ simplified it a bit, but it’s been in constant rotation ever since watching the video.
For this, you’ll need garlic, jalapeno peppers, rotisserie chicken (I usually get one from Sam’s Club for about $3.99 and you can use it for lunch and dinner), and I prefer the Sweet & Crunchy Fresh Express Blend (Lisamarie used the Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch).
Toss the peppers (4 medium sized) and garlic (1 clove) in to a food processor and make sure everything is finely chopped. If you’re not a big fan of too much heat make sure you don’t include the jalapeno peppers’ seeds. I add a spoonful or two (a little goes a long way) of this mixture with my salad along with some rotisserie chicken, and top with Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame salad dressing and yum yum yum. I get an easy dinner salad for the week.
Go to dinner meal prep ideas:1) zucchini or butternut squash noodles and meatballs; 2) coconut curry chicken – chicken breast, coconut oil, onions, red bell pepper, yellow and orange peppers, curry powder, garlic powder, ground ginger; 3) baked salmon with lemon pepper, red potatoes and baked asparagus.
I like to hard boil a few eggs for the week, to eat as a snack. I sprinkle one with a little pepper or mash it up and add avocado for a protein packed snack. Other great healthy snack options include: yogurt, cheese, veggies + hummus, and I’m obsessed with NatureBox. If you’d like to try Naturebox out I have three free 1- month subscriptions to giveaway. Please note you will have have to pay $2 shipping, but it’s sooo worth the yummy healthy snacks. Just comment below or send me a tweet and I’ll get back to you.
Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my meal prep. I’d also love to hear your meal prep tips and tricks. Feel free to leave them or any questions you have in the comments below! And again, if you’re interested in trying out Naturebox, let me know and I can gift you a free 1 month trial.