meal plan

Meal Planning Like a Pro!

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meal plan, save money

Top Tips to Save Money While Grocery Shopping

It’s meal planning day in the Hepka Household which means hitting the grocery store tomorrow! Often times when I’m talking with clients the subject of how to save money and still eat healthy arises…so I thought that I would share with you my TOP TIPS to save money while grocery shopping! You ready?!

1 – Try a discount store like Aldi’s or hit the farmer’s market. Prices will be cheaper especially on produce which means you can splurge on healthy cuts of protein OR use the money you saved from your grocery bill and apply it to a fun family activity this weekend.

2 – Be flexible. Yes, meal planning is a MUST however if you get to the store and the price of turkey filets are too much but the price for chicken is spot on…then make the substitute. If the price of fresh parsley is out of your budget then go with dry. If the strawberries don’t look good that day change it up and try a different one! You are heading to the store with a PLAN however it’s not set in stone. Be creative and swap protein for another protein or a fruit for a different fruit.

3 – Join a Bulk store. We have Sam’s Club and Costco here in NC. Are you able to get a family member on board and split the membership fee? Y’all can make meal planning and shopping a team event. Hit the store together, make healthy choices together, save money together.

4 – Buy only what’s on your list! I get it, it’s difficult grocery shopping especially when you take the kids. Even mine who are older constantly ask if they can get this or that. So what helps our household is getting their opinion BEFORE going to the store. Ask them what they would like for breakfast, for lunch and snacks. If you have multiple children have them agree on 1-2 snacks. I give my 3 boys a choice between two chips that they all like but I do not like so that they can have chips in their lunch. It not only save me money with buying one bag but by giving an option that I don’t care for keeps my paws out of the bag 😉

Do you have a tip that is not mentioned here? Share it with us below! Did you find this helpful? Please feel free to share it!

Have a great Saturday
Jennifer

Health and Fitness, meal plan, Uncategorized

Meal Plan and Workout Schedule for Week of 2/6/17

First week in my second round of 21 Day Fix is finishing up today with yoga which I’m looking forward to. I love active recovery days because they allow my body to recover from training and well…because they are easier days!

I started this past week with getting over a nasty cold which made Monday’s workout brutal! Monday’s focus was total body cardio which is a pretty intense 30 minute cardio HIIT (high intense interval training) workout. I had to stop frequently and it was the hardest workout that I have done in a long time. I should have probably taken the day off but I was feeling better so thought that I would try to sweat the cold out. It must have worked because I woke up Tuesday, feeling more like myself and was able to crush my upper body workout. I was able to push myself during my plank series and increase the intensity by doing one leg planks. It felt empowering to feel how strong I have become since the beginning of January.  Many times we don’t feel like we are progressing from day to day but when you compare yourself today to who you were when you started, you’ll see the difference!  This is one of the reasons why I document my journey through pictures, on Facebook and this blog.  It helps me motivate myself especially on those days when I don’t want to workout or those days when I think…’it would be so much easier to just not be on this journey’.

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The remainder of the week I got my daily workouts in, incorporated a longer stretching series and did some target foam rolling due to lower body pain.  As far as my nutrition for this past week, it wasn’t great but it wasn’t awful either.  I did have 2 very high carb days so I made it a focus to limit my carbs this coming week as well as getting them in earlier in my day.

My favorite meal from this past week was homemade chicken meatball soup. Normally I make it on the stove top but this time I decided to give it a whirl in the crockpot and it turned out even better plus it made the house smell delicious!  The family and I had it for 2 nights worth of dinners which was great because let’s face it, it’s a pretty great day when you don’t have to make dinner!

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As I go into week 2 of this second round I’m feeling positive, energetic and prepared. Below are this weeks workouts and meal guide that I will be using.  A couple of things to keep in mind when you are looking at my workout schedule.  The thirty minute workout is my requirement.  The workouts in addition to those are based on my own personal goals.  I enjoy doing some type of cardio daily with the exception of my active recovery day.  This is why you will see a HIIT workout on my lifting days.  Also, my lower body has a tendency to stay tight so in order to help with that, I make it a point to do 10 minutes of dedicated stretching time followed by foam rolling.  I have noticed since adding these to my workout schedule, my flexibility has improved, my body is able to do more during my required workouts and I’m not as sore after my workouts.

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Now, it’s time to go crush my yoga then hit the grocery store for this weeks meals. I hope y’all have an amazing and productive week and remember YOU are in total control of the outcome.  Plan accordingly, take action and I promise YOU will be able to achieve anything!

Much Love!
Jennifer

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Health and Fitness, meal plan, Uncategorized, weight loss

Building Consistency in 2017

Happy Saturday Healthy Lifestyle Community! Can you believe that it’s the last day in 2016?! I seriously cannot believe how fast this year has gone and the thing is…it goes by faster and faster every year I get older. I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to 2017 and ready to tackle new goals!

As I look over 2016 regarding my health and fitness goals the one main area that I need to improve is consistency! Not so much with my workouts because I do workout daily however when it comes to nutrition…well, that needs improvement! To help me improve this area of my journey I have decided to create my meal plan along with grocery list and recipes each week…and….SHARE IT WITH YOU! Not only will this allow me to focus more on my nutrition but it will also help you learn how to create your own meal plans. Many of the people who I work with in my online health and fitness accountability groups just don’t know where to begin when it comes to eating. They get overwhelmed by figuring out how much to eat, when to eat and what to eat. This is why I know without a doubt that this will help you and myself crush our goals in 2017!

Now, before I share my meal plan for this week I need you to keep one thing in mind. I normally do follow a dairy free and gluten-free lifestyle however going into 2017, I have decided to test the waters in living a paleo lifestyle. So what does that mean? It means that you will see a ton of lean protein, veggies, several servings of fruit but NO grains, dairy, legumes or processed foods. I decided to implement this style of eating for several reasons. First, I haven’t been sleeping well and from my research, living a paleo lifestyle improves your quality of sleep and resets your internal clock. Second, I have had an increase of aches and pains in the past several months which may be a form of inflammation. Consuming paleo friendly foods decrease the amount of inflammation in your body which decreased aches and pains. Lastly, with not being on my anti-depression medication any longer I really need to tap into whole foods with limited processing to maximize my body’s natural mood enhancers.

Along with following a paleo lifestyle, I will be continuing a 16:8 intermittent fasting eating schedule. This means that I fast for 16 hours and have an eating window of 8 hours. One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is you burn off your stored fat rather than burning sugar since you are fasting for 12+ hours. Intermittent fasting is NOT a diet change…it’s a behavior (schedule) change. During my eating window I will not be counting calories. Instead, I will follow a portion control system based off of the 21 Day Fix meal plan created by Team Beachbody. I do have a certain calorie bracket that I stay within based on my activity level and my goals. Within that bracket I am allowed so many calories from veggies, fruits, lean protein, carbs, healthy fats, seeds/dressings, and oils. You will see these container allotments on my meal plan at the top then below each meal you will notice a break down of containers within that meal.

So…in a nutshell….
How much will I be eating? Each day I will be between 2100 – 2300 calories. Out of these calories my goals are to each 6 veggies, 4 fruits, 6 lean protein, 4 carbohydrates, 1 healthy fat, 1 seeds/dressings and 6 teaspoons which is oils.

What will I be eating? My ‘fuel’ will come from lean protein such as chicken breast, lean steaks, ground turkey and Shakeology. I will also be consuming any veggies and non-starchy fruits. As far as carbohydrates are concern, I will be consuming thinks like sweet potatoes, plantains and unsweetened almond milk. I will NOT be eating grains since grains are NOT paleo friendly. This includes oats, quinoa and rice. Healthy fats will come from avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and nut butters.

When to eat? Since I will be following the 16:8 intermittent fasting lifestyle I will be having an eating window from 1 PM to 9 PM. During my fasting window my only consumption will be a TON of water and my pre-workout prior to working out. You are allowed to have up to 50 calories during your fast window and my pre-workout falls below that which is great!

Now that I shared the back story of this new journey let’s get to the meal plan! Below you will see my meal plan for the coming week. You will notice that Saturday and Sunday are ‘pending’. The reason for this is I like to eat based on what I’m hungry for. With today being Saturday I have no way of knowing what I’m going to want next weekend or what I may have left over from this weeks meals. So…come Thursday or even Friday, I will start planning my weekend meals. Also, by doing this, it ensures that my produce, fruits and meats are going to be fresh since I’ll have to hit the grocery store again later in the week. I hate spending money on food and tossing it out because it went bad! This strategy works for our household.  Feel free to print the below meal plan and shopping list and use it next week along with me!  If you require fewer calories due to your activity level just make the necessary adjustments 🙂

Meal Plan

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Shopping List

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I would love to know if by me sharing my weekly meal plan with you is going to help you create the healthy lifestyle you are wanting so please leave me a comment below! Also, if you would like to receive the Healthy Lifestyle Community weekly newsletters with recipes and tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle sign up HERE

Super excited to start 2017 off on the right foot and be equipped with the tools that are going to get me closer to my goals!  If you would like to start 2017 by making yourself a priority but not sure where to start, need extra accountability or want to change your routine to maximize your efforts then simply email me at JenniferHepkaFitness@gmail.com and let’s see how I can help!

Now, off to get my workout done.  Enjoy your Saturday!

Much Love,

Jennifer