Meal prep

The Ultimate Guide: Kitchen Tools Beginners Need to Meal Prep Healthy

The Ultimate Guide: Kitchen Tools Beginners Need to Meal Prep Healthy

It’s Saturday morning and you are excited to prep a healthy lunch for yourself.

Like a good student, you’ve done all the preparation.

You found a recipe that is not too complicated and you even picked all your ingredients from the grocery store.

As you start to review the instructions, you realize there are at-least two kitchen tools you are missing.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

It’s like no matter how hard you try, there is always something keeping you from eating better.

You start to wonder,

How are you supposed to know which kitchen tools you need to eat healthily?

As a beginner, do you need every single tool listed in every single recipe?

If so, why do you need these tools? Are you going to use them more than once?

You want to believe you can make this work.

The question is how?

Good news:

You do not have to buy every single kitchen tool in every single recipe you want to try.

However,

There are some kitchen tools that will make your journey a little easier.

This ultimate guide is designed to help you decide which kitchen tools you absolutely need as a health-conscious cook.

Make sure you save it and share with your loved ones around your birthday, and the holidays :-).

Before you get started with the kitchen tools,

Here are some things you need to know.

No.

You do not need to run and buy every single item on this list.

Yes.

You should go through your kitchen and check off any items you already have using the Kitchen Tools for Beginners Checklist below.

Download the list

You’ll be surprised at how many of these tools are already in your kitchen.

No.

You do not need to go with my recommendations.

The items recommended in this post are items of my personal use that have worked well for me over the years.

You’ll see a range of price options for different budgets.

Do what’s best for your budget.

Next –

Let’s talk cookware safety.

Did you know that some containers can leak toxins into your food?

Yep.

Unfortunately, some pots and pans can do the same thing.

Ok, I know what you are thinking?

Nory, how do I know what is safe?

No need to worry.

The folks at Gimme the Good Stuff researched it for you.

Here is what you need to know about the safety of your kitchen tools.

Cookware is made of a variety of materials. As the New York Times reports, some are safer than others.

Check out the breakdown below:

Safe Materials

  • Ceramic: True ceramic is life.  Beware of brands that coat their ceramic with nonstick materials. We already went over this. Teflon is no Bueno.
  • Porcelain Enamel: Enamel is a form of glass. Enameled cookware is most often cast iron with an enamel coating.
  • Tempered glass: Truly the safest route. There is cookware made of tempered glass, and if it is in your budget, you should grab it.
  • Crockpot: These have a ceramic insert and must pass FDA regulations for lead.  If you are concerned, get a cheap test kit and check your crock pot for lead.

Safe-ish Materials

  • Cast iron: The cast iron can help prevent anemia by adding more iron to your food. Switch between cast irons and other pans during the week to avoid ingesting too much iron.
  • Stainless steel: These are mostly good. However, stainless steel is made with nickel and once again too much of anything can be a problem. Switch it up during the week to keep it on the safe side.
  • Titanium:  The only reason to be cautious about titanium cookware is that it seems that most manufacturers now coat their titanium cookware with non-stick finishes, which brings us back to Teflon. Moral of the story? Avoid cookware that is coated with non-stick finishes.

Use with Caution

  • Aluminum:  Avoid all aluminum cookware. Note that pans with an aluminum core within cookware made of safer metals (such as stainless steel) are fine.
  • Unprotected Copper: Too much of anything is not right for you. Too much copper in your body can be toxic. Some foods react with unprotected copper cookware and leach too much copper into your food.
  • Non-stick /Teflon:  You might have heard Teflon is safe, I thought it was too. Until learning how toxic it is. The EPA told companies in 2015 to phase it out. The American Cancer Society even weigh in on this.
  • Plastic: Apparently you can get a plastic pot. Yea, don’t do that. While we are at it, do not microwave your food in plastic either.

So what does this all mean?

As you decide which tools to purchase keep an eye out for materials that are not safe for you and your family.

Keep in mind that your budget will also dictate how safe you can go. Start where you are and slowly save for safer cooking ware.

Now let’s dive into the list of kitchen tools.

Remember you do not need to buy every single item on this list right away.

Take your time and start with the items you will use the most.

Download the list

Kitchen Tools

Baking Dish

If you want to start meal prepping you need this in your life. Baking is the most time efficient way to cook multiple things at once. You can use it to cook all your vegetables, meats, and even rice in the oven. I own a set of two which are great when preparing different types of fish or veggies for the week. They are easy to use and easy to clean. Plus, they are dishwasher friendly. They are great to marinate mushrooms too.

Nory’s Pick:

Pyrex Basics Clear Oblong Glass Baking Dishes

Baking Trays

Are you a fan or frozen items? My husband and I have a sweet spot for frozen potato wedges; our baking tray is perfect for them. You can also use them for things like cookies, bread, and other vegetables. We use ours at least once a week to make plantain chips. These are perfect for quick meals when you do not want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Blender

Do you need a blender? Yes. Just not a fancy one. Blenders are great especially for people short of time. If you like to have breakfast on the go, blenders are perfect for smoothies, if you are into soups or purees, having a blender would change your life.

The question is, how much should you spend on a blender? That’s up to you and your budget. You can buy a blender only for smoothies, or you can invest in a set that includes attachments like food processors. You can start with something simple and get more attachments later.

Nory’s Pick:

Nutri Ninja Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-iQ

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Can Opener

Canned food is not the devil. If you are short on time, there are plenty of healthy canned options you can use to eat better. You will need a can opener. No way around this!

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Chef Knives

Do you hate struggling to cut meat or vegetables? It has nothing to do with your strength and everything to with your dull knife.

A good chef knife is the answer to your cutting problems. This handy tool will help save time when cooking and make cooking your meals feel like a breeze. Seriously, when I invested in a chef knife, it changed my life. You can start with one and build a collection as you get more advanced in the kitchen.

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Cloths

These are great for cleaning when you are cooking, and you can slip a damp towel under the cutting board to prevent it from moving. Cloths are great to keep your hands clean when you are cooking too.

Nory’s pick

Option #2

Option #3

Colander

Perfect for draining and rinsing canned goods, rice, pasta, vegetables. Get one on the bigger side to avoid running out of room. I use my colander every single time I cook.

Nory’s Pick:

Stainless Steel Colander – Micro-Perforated Strainer

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Cooking Set

You need a cooking set sis. Once again, you don’t need Rachel Ray’s cooking set, just the essentials. A saucepan, a non-stick sauté pan, and a large stockpot. Depending on how much you cook and for how many people you might need different sizes, you just need the basics to get started.

What are they good for? The non-stick sauté pan is great for searing and sautéing meats, vegetables. The saucepan is perfect for cooking rice, vegetables, reheating soups and sauces. The large stockpot is great for making pasta, making stock, making chili, and making soup.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Crock Pot

Crock pots are slow cookers that are perfect for eating healthy on a budget. You can leave your slow cooker for hours or overnight to bring out the flavors in your food. Your slow cooker is perfect for making broths, chili’s, vegetables and everything else in between!

Nory’s Pick:

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Cutting Board

If you do not have a cutting board in your kitchen, it is time to invest in one. Like yesterday. I recommend you invest in two cutting boards. One for meats and pungent items like garlic and onions. One for fruits and vegetables. Have you ever cut mangos or apples after cutting onions and tried to eat them? Take my word for it; it is not pleasant.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Foreman Grill

When I visited my now husband’s apartment for the first time, he used his Foreman Grill to cook grilled chicken for me. I was amazed at how great the chicken tasted and more importantly how fast it cooked.

If you do not have access to a grill this a great investment. You can use the ridged side for grilling anything you want and the smooth side for making eggs, pancakes, even tortillas. If space is an issue for you, this item is a lifesaver and a must-have.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Food Scale

If you are a beginner, the food scale is your new best friend. The food scale will help you keep your portions under control. How else are you supposed to know how big a 2 oz. is?

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Download the checklist

Julienne & Vegetable Peeler

We all need a vegetable peeler. It is great for vegetables and fruits. Consider getting a julienne vegetable peeler because it will help you reinvent your food. Is like having a spiralizer and a peeler in one. You can make fine noodles from zucchini, carrots, beets, and other veggies perfect for salads or bowls. It is easy to clean and smaller than a spiralizer.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Measuring Cups

Some items on this list are designed to help you control your portions. Every single recipe you try will require measuring cups. How else would you know how much a cup, ½ a cup or even ⅛ of a cup means? Do not get fancy, a simple set of the one below will work just fine.

Nory’s Pick:

Pyrex 3-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set. Source Amazon.

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Measuring Spoons

Ever try to eyeball a ⅛ of a teaspoon of anything? How are you supposed to know how much that is? The good news is the measuring spoons will take care of that. Using these tools, you will avoid over seasoning your food, and you will better control how much salt and added sugar you use.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Meat thermometer

As a health-conscious new cook, food safety is your priority. How do you know if your food is ready? That’s where the meat thermometer comes in. The meat thermometer will help you avoid undercooking your food and keep you from getting sick.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Metal Tongs

Tired of burning your fingers trying to turn your food? Time to invest in metal tongs. Not only will they help you avoid injuries, but they will also help you cook your food evenly. These come handy especially when you are grilling.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Mixing Bowls

Don’t you hate it when you put dressing on your salad, and it is not equally distributed? Yea, me too. Mixing bowls would take of that issue. The bowls are also perfect for seasoning and marinating your meat, vegetables and anything your heart desires.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Oven mitts

Avoid burning your hand when checking on your goodies in the oven. These are also great for moving your pots while keeping your fingers injury-free.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Parchment paper

Parchment paper is grease- and moisture-resistant paper specially treated for oven use. You can use it to line cake molds and baking sheets, to wrap fish and to cover countertops during messy tasks to make cleanup easy.

Nory’s Pick:

Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Stirring Spoons and Spatulas

Stirring spoons are a must-have for cooking. You can use it in your soups, chillis, with your rice, stews, you name it. You can use it to flip, mix, stir and scrape your food. Wood is a great material because it is safe and easy to clean. Did you know that if you place a wooden spoon placed on the top of a pot it would keep it from boiling over? Yep. Give it a try!

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Storage Containers

You might be thinking, you need fancy containers. You don’t. Having the right containers is essential because they help keep your food fresh.

For lunches and dinners, I recommend using glass. They are great because glass does not leak any chemicals into your food. For items like nuts, seeds, and fruits you can use BPA free plastic containers. Use these when you are on the road and need to have snacks handy. They are lighter and easy to carry.

Nory’s Pick:

ProGlass 24-Piece Food Storage Set with Easy Snap Lids

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

There you have it.

Being a health-conscious cook is not always easy. There is lot’s to learn, and at times, you will get frustrated and overwhelmed.

Do not panic.

This list is the best place to get started.

Yes, this list is long.

However, remember, it’s a guide, not the rule of law. Be patient with yourself and start where you are.

You can do this.

Do not let your kitchen tools stand in the way of the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.

Afterall isn’t that why you are here?

So do it.

Download the checklist  and review your kitchen today.

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How to Eat Healthy Without Support,The Right Way

How to Eat Healthy Without Support,The Right Way

Admit it.

You’re tired.

Every time you go out with your loved ones you must justify your decision to avoid certain foods or drinks.

And you’re starting to wonder, Is this what it’s always going to feel like?

How do the pros do it?

How do they eat healthy when everyone is questioning every decision they make? Do they have a support system?

Well, I have a little secret for you:

Not all “pros” started out with a support system. In fact, some of them found their support system while on their journey to eat healthier.

I’m excited to give you all the details on how you can do the same on today’s post.

While I began eating healthier in 2010, that wasn’t my first time giving it a try. While in college, I “worked” hard to “eat healthy.” My efforts always fell short because I had no idea what I was doing, and the people around didn’t know either. It was a never-ending cycle of trying and failing without any real results.

Until one day I accidentally found a support system and my life changed forever.

Having knowledgeable and supportive people in your life will help you:

  • Understand what is healthy eating and why it is important,
  • It will give you the tools to get started and set a solid foundation because they know what is like to be in your shoes,
  • Keep you motivated when you are feeling discouraged,
  • And hold you accountable to ensure you achieve your goals.

My support system inspired me to share everything I know with you, to help you eat healthier without feeling overwhelmed and deprived.

We all have people in their lives that either help or hinder our ability to eat healthier. Because Peer Pressure is a genuine thing, having people in your life who do not support you, will make your journey at-least ten times harder.

Here is What to Do:

Be Honest With Yourself

You must ask yourself, are the people in my life helping me or are they making things harder? Most people want to see you healthier, they love you and want you to be the best version of yourself. But they won’t always understand the sacrifices you must make to maintain your new lifestyle. And that’s when things get a little complicated.

It is hard to support someone when you do not understand their needs. That’s why even though your loved ones mean well, they aren’t always the most supportive.

This exercise will help you identify the people that you can call for help and the people that you need to love from a distance.

Have “The Talk.”

Let your loved ones know that you are committed to eat healthier and explain to them what that means to you so that they can help you.

I will never forget the day I had the talk with my mom. I am convinced that all she heard was that I wasn’t going to eat white rice anymore and I was quitting red meat and pork for good. Coming from a Garifuna, Afro-Latino household, she was appalled. Food is a big part of our family, and she didn’t understand why I was giving these things up.

But she listened to me and wished me well.

This talk puts everyone on notice, and for what is worth, they will begin holding you accountable.

Walk the Walk Even When No one is Watching

Telling your loved ones about your new lifestyle if only the first part.  Now you must walk the walk, or at-least try your best. This is the most challenging advice you will get, but it is the MOST important.

Some people expect you to fail.

My mother was one of those people.

Now, she didn’t exactly want me to fail, but her behavior she made it easy to make poor decisions (at-least that what it felt like). She knew I didn’t eat white rice, yet she cooked it all the time, she knew I didn’t eat fried foods yet every time I opened the fridge there would be something fried starring directly at me. This was a clear sign that it was time to move out LOL.

She didn’t mean any harm, but her actions made my transition tough.

That’s when I learned that you should only worry about what you can control. You cannot control other people’s actions, and you cannot blame them for your poor decisions.

So if you want this work, you will have to put in the work.

Focus on learning how to say NO TO:

  • Foods,
  • Events,
  • People,
  • Drinks,
  • And most importantly, to yourself.

Always remind yourself that you are in control.

This process takes time. Remember to compromise with yourself. You do not have to decline every single invitation, you will accept some of them and when you do, make sure you enjoy yourself. You have to be patient with yourself.

As you begin making healthier decisions, it will be easier to attend events and not over do it.

It is all about compromise.

I am here for you, and I am ready to be your number one cheerleader. When you join our mailing list, you will feel motivated, inspired, and you will be held accountable.

Your Turn

If you found this post helpful, please share with your loved ones on Facebook. You never know who is struggling because they do not have a support system.

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Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.

How to Meal Prep as a Beginner to Free Up Your Time

How to Meal Prep as a Beginner to Free Up Your Time

What would you do if you had 4 – 6 extra hours during the week to do whatever you wanted?

Would you start a new class? Maybe read a book? Would you finally visit that friend that’s been asking you to come over?

What if I told you that you could free up your time to do the things you enjoy the most and eat healthier at the same time?

In this post, you will learn how meal prepping can help you do exactly that!

Using these tips, you’ll be able to:

  • Meal prep with as little as 20 minutes (yes, that’s all you need),
  • Learn how to pick meal prep friendly recipes without being overwhelmed,
  • Meal prep in 5 simple steps,
  • Decrease your cooking time by up to 50%!

… And more!

Before we get started let’s discuss the two biggest myths around meal prepping.

Myth #1: Meal Prepping takes forever!

If you do a simple meal prepping search on google or social media, you will more likely see a picture that looks like the one above.

A neatly packed fridge with numerous meals for the week. All prepped into individual containers ready to use during the week.

And yes, depending on what you are cooking, this process can take a long time.

However, that is not what meal prepping is. You see, that picture above shows the final part of ONE of the many different types of meal prepping techniques you can use.

Meal prepping is any action you take to help you prepare your food in advance.

That’s it.

When you meal prep, YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

That’s right. You decide how much you want to meal prep depending on how much free time you have. There are a lot of meal prepping techniques to pick from and don’t worry we will get to the best ones for beginners later in this post.

Myth #2: I Don’t Have Enough Time to Meal Prep

This myth is the main reason why you have not reached your healthy eating goals and why you spend too much time in the kitchen trying to figure out what to eat.

Ever looked at a meal prep picture and thought to yourself,

“If only I had the time, I would give it a try.”

The truth is that you can start meal prepping with as little as 20 – 30 minutes. That’s the average time of an episode of your favorite show.

As a beginner, this is the best way to start. If you are anything like me, you have a favorite TV show or podcast, and I know you watch or listen to more than one episode at the time. This is an excellent way to repurpose your time. What a better way to meal prep while we do something you already enjoy.

Why Should You Meal Prep?

Meal prepping is the best way to eat healthier without feeling overwhelmed and deprived, and it is a time saver.

It will help you:

  • Decrease your cooking time by 50%. 6 HOURS. That’s how much time it takes me to cook during the entire week, in comparison to the near 10 – 12 hours before I began meal prepping.
  • Shorter trips to the grocery store. Instead of wasting hours at the grocery store buying things you don’t need, meal prepping will help you stay focused on only buy items needed for your prep. Most of my grocery trips are 30 minutes or less.
  • GET MORE FREE TIME! Using the extra 4 – 6 hours I’ve been able to spend more time with my husband, write more awesome content on the blog and I even enjoy more me time.

Learn How to Meal Prep in 5 Simple Steps

1. How to pick the best technique for you

As mentioned before there is an endless list of meal prepping techniques or methods to choose from. As a beginner, you should start with one of the following.

Snack Prep: This method is perfect for you if you have 20 minutes or less to prep. Make a list of your snacks (no more than 6) for the entire week. Then prep and pack them, so they are ready to eat. Pick snacks that travel well like fruits (bananas, oranges, strawberries, cherries, etc.), seed (peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds almonds, etc.) and vegetables (carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and edamame, etc.).

The Basics: If you have between 1 – 2 hours to prep this method is for you. Pick your recipes for the week, no more than 4 (that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and prep the basic items. Cook your grains, marinate your protein and freeze your veggies. Then use the “Snack Prep” technique to prep your snacks!

Go all out: This method is perfect if you have 2 – 3 hours to meal prep and it takes more time because there are more pieces to the puzzle. First, you pick your recipes for your meals (no more than 4), then you cook your lunch and dinner for 3 – 4 days at the time. Then you use the “Snack Prep” technique to pick your snacks (no more than 6)

Tip: Pick the days and time you want to meal prep and plan your week around it. 

2. How to pick recipes that are meal prep friendly

To avoid being overwhelmed, pick recipes that are simple and easy to follow. The best recipes are those with less than 10 ingredients.

Pick recipes that use ingredients that you can reuse or that you might have at home. This will also help you cut back on the time you need at the grocery store and will save you money. Win and Win!

Here are some examples:

Overnight Oats

  • Oats (steel cut oats are good)
  • Milk (you can use almond, coconut or regular) and
  • Your favorite fruits (bananas, strawberries, peaches, and other naturally seedless fruits are good options).
  • You can also add chia seeds which are a great source of fiber and omega 3.
  • If you are a sugar addict like me, feel free to use dates or a little raw agave for sweetness (but you do not need it).

Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Quinoa is a great grain to sub white or brown rice. It has a lighter feel and it is also a good source of protein.
  • Cooked black beans
  • Cooked corn
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped bell peppers
  • A protein of your choice
  • Sea salt
  • A fresh lime

Fish and Broccoli

  • 2 oz of fish (wild caught salmon is my go to).
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli
  • A pinch of sea salt for seasoning
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh crush peppers
  • ½ a fresh lime

Use these recipes to get your creative juices flowing and feel free to adjust them to your liking. Make sure you limit the amount of added sugar and salt you use especially if you want to lose that belly fat.

3. Make your shopping list and shop.

Once you have your recipes this step is very easy. Put all your ingredients on one list and put a star next to the ingredients you have at home. This will help you save time at the grocery store. If you want this work you have to stick to your list!

4. It’s Cooking Time

Once you have your ingredients, cook your food. If you are using meat as a protein, start by cleaning and marinating it. It will really make the flavors pop when is time to cook. Then start cooking the items that take the longest to cook, like grains. While those items cook move on to your veggies.

Tip: If you are only prepping, separate your fruits and veggies, clean them using apple cider vinegar, cut them and put them in the freezer.

5. Store and Repeat.

Once you are done prepping, store your food in the fridge using an airtight container. Most meals can stay fresh up to 5 days depending on what you are cooking. Highly recommend glass containers because they help keep the food fresh and you avoid any chemicals from leaking into your food.

The best part about meal prepping is that you can do as little or as much as you like and you can still enjoy the benefits of planning for the health you want.

Although I don’t always want to meal prep, I’ve learned that not doing it means eating unhealthy foods, spending more time in the kitchen and more money during the week. Meal prep is like wine, the more you do it, the better you will get at it.

So do not be discouraged if your fridge doesn’t look like the Instagram photos. This process is about you and what makes sense for where you are right now.

What matters most is that you start making small changes every day to help you get closer to your goals.

Your Turn

Meal prepping is such a big topic, and one post hardly scratches the surface. So now it’s your turn to let me know what to talk about next.

Do me a favor and answer this question in the comments.

What is a one burning question you have about meal prepping?

I’ll definitely use your questions to help develop more great resources for you in the future.

Awaken Your Self-Awareness & Thrive

Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.

Why Eating Healthy is Not Working For You and How to Fix It

Why Eating Healthy is Not Working For You and How to Fix It

Eating healthy can be very frustrating and challenging.

If you are wondering why you can’t get the results you want, then this post is for you.

Here are five reasons why you might be struggling and what to do about it.

1. You are not honest with yourself.

If you are struggling to eat healthier, you have to ask yourself,

Why do you turn to foods that you know are not good for your body?

You might be thinking; the answer is something along the lines of:

“Because they taste amazing Nory, Duh!”

But in reality, it is not as simple. We turn to food for many reasons, and believe it or not; most have to do with how food makes us feel. For example, in my case, food made me feel comfortable and in control.

When my life was literally upside down, and I was battling depression, food was my safe space. It was easy to avoid the root of the problem because food made me feel better.

If you are going to take control of your unhealthy eating habits, you have to look at “why” you run to unhealthy foods.

You have to understand that food is not the source of your problems. Unhealthy foods and weight gain are ways your problems manifest themselves.

Eating unhealthy foods is our coping mechanism.

That’s why to turn things around you have to spend time with yourself and figure out what “issues” you are avoiding when you run to unhealthy foods. Once you identify the “why” then you can focus on facing the root of your unhealthy relationship with food.

Only then you can start healing.

2. You are relying on willpower and not “the process.”

We all fall victims to this at some point in our journey.

You think to yourself,

“I need to be stronger.”

“I need to be more disciplined.”

I need to stop eating *insert unhealthy food here*.”

You have to start working smarter and not harder.

The answer to eating healthier is not starving yourself or depriving your body. You have to give your body time to adjust and get used to the new lifestyle you’ve decided to live.

You need to understand that this won’t happen overnight.

Focus on eating more whole foods, eating less processed foods and make your transition a slow but steady process.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

You might want to see results fast, but that mindset will only bring you short term results. If you want long lasting results, you need to be patient and move at your own pace. Do not worry about anyone else; you should be your only competition.

With every meal commit to eating a little healthier.

If today you had 2 cans of soda, try to drink 1.5 or 1 can tomorrow. You cannot cheat your body, if you do too much too fast, your journey will be more challenging.

3. You are not eating the right foods.

Your meals should only include items from 6 food groups.

  • Fruits,
  • Vegetables,
  • Grains,
  • Protein,
  • Dairy,
  • Oils.

Let’s go over each food group and some of their benefits per the United States Department of Agriculture.

Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals; they are also linked to reducing the risk of chronic disease like asthma, diabetes (I & II) and heart failure just to name a few. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories.

You’ve heard that vegetables are good for you, but why? People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.

Grains are an important source of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).

A healthy variety of protein will improve your nutrient intake and your health benefits. Foods in the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seed group provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. However, choosing foods from this group that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol may have health implications. So be careful.

Consuming dairy products provides health benefits – especially improved bone health. Foods in the Dairy Group provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Oils are not a food group, but they do provide essential nutrients and are therefore included in USDA recommendations for what to eat. Note that only small amounts of oils are recommended.

Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated (PUFA) or monounsaturated (MUFA) fats. Oils are the major source of MUFAs and PUFAs in the diet. PUFAs contain some fatty acids that are necessary for health – called “essential fatty acids.”

You should know that depending on your diet you may or may not consume one of the food groups mentioned above. If you decide to cut a certain food group of your diet, make sure you research substitutions for the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in that particular food group.

4. You are not eating enough of the right foods.

Now that you know which food groups you need to focus on when putting your meals together, let’s review how much of these foods you should be eating.

You have heard that portion control is crucial if you want to eat healthier. But how do you know what is the right amount of food you need?

We will go over each section.

The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex, and your level of physical activity.

*Fruits:

If you are a woman between 19-30 years old, you should have 2 cups of fruits per day. If you are a woman over 31 should have 1.5 cups of fruits per day.

*Vegetables:

If you are a woman between 19 – 50 years old your recommended amount is 2.5 cups of vegetables per day, and if you are a woman over 51 years old, you should have 2 cups per day.

*Grains: Most Americans consume enough grains, but few are whole grains. At least half of all the grains you eat should be whole grains.

If you are a woman between 19 – 50 years old your recommended amount is the equivalent to 6 ounces per day. If you are a woman over 51 years old your recommended amount is equal to 5 ounces per day.

*Protein: Most Americans eat enough food from this group, but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods.

If you are a woman between 19 – 30 years old your recommended amount is 5.5 ounces per day. If you are a woman older than 31 years old, your recommended daily intake is 5 ounces.

*Dairy:

If you are a woman over 19 years old your recommended daily intake is about is 3 cups.

*Oil:

If you are a woman over 19 years old your recommended daily intake is 5-6 teaspoons.

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.

5. You do not have the right plan in place.

Healthy eating just doesn’t happen to you. It is something you have to plan for, like a vacation. Most of us fail because we do not plan for the health we want.

We leave the majority of our success to chance.

If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to take control of your situation and commit to getting what you want.

If you’re open to it, I’d love to help! Click on the link below.

Let’s figure out if we’re a good fit for each other!

Apply for a free strategy session to get started.

PS: If you found this post helpful please share it on Facebook or with a friend that needs this information. Sharing is caring 🙂

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Learn How to Save Time and Money at the Grocery Store

Learn How to Save Time and Money at the Grocery Store

Are you tired of spending too much time and money at the grocery store?

No matter how hard you try, when you look at your bill, you cannot understand how a quick trip turned into a shopping spree.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone.

The grocery store can be an overwhelming place. It is designed to make you want to buy things, YOU DON’T NEED. The quicker you understand this, the quicker you will cut back on the time you spend at the grocery store and enjoy some savings ($).

So how can you successfully avoid spending your entire day and all your money at the grocery store?

Here are five simple things you can do to stay in control the next time you visit the grocery store.

1. Eat a Snack

Before you leave your house, make sure you have a snack. You do not want to go to the grocery store hungry.

When we are hungry, we think with our stomach, not our brain (LOL seriously, that’s how I feel). If you go to the store hungry, you are more likely to buy items out of both impulse and hunger, not out of necessity.

2. Avoid the Following Three Isles

Bread Isle: This isle is tricky because it usually includes nut butter. Get in and get out. If bread is one of your triggers and you know you can’t say no, have someone else at the grocery store get the butter you need (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.).

Find out the delivery day for your supermarket, and go the following morning.

The grocery store staff are happy to help, so they say. If you must have some bread, Ezekiel bread is a good alternative because it is made of organic grains instead of bleached flour.

Sweets: Just don’t. There is nothing you need on this line. NOTHING. Keep it moving and stay away from all this processed sugar.

If you are craving for something sweet, you can always get more fruits. If you are in the process of weeding yourself, try to focus on minimizing the amount of processed sweets you buy.

Try your best to avoid this aisle like the plague.

Did you know Hershey’s chocolate can cause laxative effects? This is listed on their label. Another reason why reading those label is very important.

Sodas and juices: I know you might not be happy about this one, but this is for your own good. Leave the sugary drinks alone. This also includes some of your favorite juices.

A lot of people buy juice because they think it is healthier than sodas (or pop depending on where you are from), but the reality is you can’t substitute one for the other. Both of these drinks have a lot of processed sugar and a whole lot of other “stuff.”

You have to remember to read those labels. Here are two labels to put things in perspective. Just look at the ingredients list, and you tell me what you think about that endless list of code names for processed sugar.

Fix your juice craving by making freshly squeezed juice or drink infused water.

3. Do Most of Your Shopping in the Produce Section

You are what you eat. Follow the 80 / 20 rule and purchase 80% of your food in the produce aisle. This way you will be able to easily avoid the isles mentioned above. Plus, your body will thank you for that. The beauty of produce is that they are overwhelmingly not processed.

If you are wondering what should do about organic vs. non-organic, the answer is a little tricky. If your budget allows it, feel free to buy organic products, if not, just focus on eating more produce.

The most important part of this process is that you start where you at. When I began this journey, I did not worry about what I couldn’t do; I focused on what I could afford and control. I spent a lot of time making small changes, moving at my own pace, and over time it helped me get to where I am today.

4. Go in the Morning

The early bird gets the worm, right? Sure. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that going to the grocery store early in the morning is a game changer.

Find out what day the store receives its delivery each week, and go the following morning. This way you can get fresh products and get your day started.

If you cannot go in the morning, try your hardest to go in the afternoon the day after your local grocery store received the deliveries.

5. Have a Plan

This is the most important element of grocery shopping like a boss. Before you leave your house, write down everything you need to get. Go through your recipes and make sure you do not forget anything.

Then make sure you stick to your list. This what it comes down to. This part of the process will teach you to start saying no. No to products, no to the kids, no to your partner and no to yourself. These are the changes you have to start making to help you eat healthier.

We all know this is not easy. That is why you should be open to compromise. As you start making healthier decisions around what you eat, be gentle with yourself.

Understand that change won’t come overnight, some days you will be frustrated and others you will feel unstoppable. And that’s ok! It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.

Can you do me a quick favor?

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Good Morning Washington: Meal Prep for a Week Under $50

Good Morning Washington: Meal Prep for a Week Under $50

Have you ever felt that eating healthy is too expensive?

You want to commit to making healthier changes, but your budget doesn’t allow you succeed.

What if I told you, that eating healthy on a budget is not as hard as you think it is.

Using the tips in this blog post you will learn how to repurpose your ingredients to help you eat healthy on a budget.

I recently had the opportunity to be the guest at WJLA Good Morning Washington for Meal Prep 101 to discuss how to meal prep for a week under $50.

If you want to watch the segment, scroll to the bottom of the post 🙂

So if you think eating healthy on a budget is impossible, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Using a list of multidimensional ingredients (like the one above) you can create a variety of healthy meals and snacks for a whole week that will keep your taste buds in a happy place.  If you are the type of person who gets bored easily, this post is for you.

First, let’s talk about why repurposing is helpful.

Have you ever gotten bored with your food mid week?

If you’ve been in this situation before, you know how annoying it can be and more importantly how much it can hurt your budget. Repurposing allows you the freedom to change your menu in the middle of the week to keep your meals and snacks exciting.

The key to doing this successfully is to meal prep basic ingredients like grains, proteins, meats, and legumes in advanced. Make sure you keep your basic ingredients in separate containers, this will help you re-use them later in a different way.

At the middle of the week, you can assess all your ingredients and mix up your menu before getting bored. For the segment on Good Morning Washington, I focused on a mix of 6 dishes you can repurpose during the week.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

This snack is a great replacement for popcorn. You can use canned or raw chickpeas (you will have to cook them first). Simply season them with your favorite spices, and pop them in the oven. These are great for meal prepping because they preserve really well over time. You can eat them on their own, or you can add them to your salads.

If you do not roast all your chickpeas, you can use the rest to make hummus!

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a great grain to use because it is neutral in flavor and you can eat it cold or hot. For this dish, you can use cold quinoa with bell peppers, sea salt, cucumbers, cilantro, mint, and lime to create a delicious Mediterranean-style salad.

To make sure your salad is fresh you should only mix your ingredients when you are ready to eat them.

Mason Jar Breakfast

Mason jars are a great tool for meal prepping and preserving your food because they are airtight containers. You can use your favorite oatmeal, for this option I used steel cut oats because they are significantly less processed than other oats. You can eat it cold or hot and pair it with your favorite fruits.

You can also use your steel cut oats in your smoothies!

Turkey Burrito Bowl

This deconstructed turkey bowl burrito is a great example of what you can do by combining your basic ingredients. The great part about this method is that you are in control. You decide how much you want to include and what ingredients you want to focus on. This is a great option especially if you need variety.

You can turn your turkey burrito bowls into an awesome chili!

Avocado, Strawberry and Cucumber Salad

This salad is everything. If you are a sugar addict like myself (no judgment here), you will love this salad. It has the perfect hint of natural sugar, with a yummy healthy fat like avocado and the cucumbers bring it all together.

The best part?

You can eat each ingredient individually and then mix them together for a refreshing and filling snack.

Chunky Mango Salsa

You will love this salad. It is my absolute favorite. You can add this to any dish and it will taste amazing. Mangos are juicy, sweet and have a great texture. Add some onions for flavor and crunch, add cilantro and mint to make sure it is fresh and flavorful, and a lime to bring it all together. You can use a little sea salt and cumin as well.

You can add your mango salsa to your quinoa salad and the turkey burrito bowl!

Click on the photo below to check out the full segment below!

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and loved ones.

Do not keep all these savings tips to yourself!

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Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.