Eat Healthy Under 8 Dollars a Day!

I know how hard it can be to hit your macros, not break your budget and choose healthy foods; that is why I want to help you achieve that. In order to reach your goals you need to plan ahead. You should plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks ahead of time. You can even use this link to calculate the cost of your own recipes: http://sensetosave.com/frugal-tools/recipecostcalc/

Below is a menu representative of something I would eat day to day. My macro profile changes based on my goals, activity and current weight and yours should too! If you are curious about how to calculate your macros please click here.

Breakfast:

  • -2 egg whites
  • -2 oz. frozen blueberries
  • -40g serving quick oats
  • *Sugar free sweetener from work

Total cost for recipe: $0.78

Macros: 3 g F/ 35g C/ 15g P

Calories: 232

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Lunch:

Seasoned Baked Chicken breast with Jasmine Rice and Sweet Potatoes

-120g chicken breast @ 1.99 a lb.

-Whatever seasonings you have in your cabinet

-1 Tbsp. Trader Joes Spanish Olive Oil (1 Liter Bottle))

-120g Sweet Potato at .99 cents a lb.

-3/4 cup prepared Jasmine Rice (made with water only)

Total cost for this recipe is: $1.05

Macros: 16g F/ 57g C/ 33g P

Calories: 514

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Dinner:

-120g ground turkey (93 percent lean ground turkey Cotsco) @ $4.37 a lb.

-1/2 cup Pasta Sauce

-1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

-Handful spinach (16 oz Cooking Spinach Bag)

-100 g spaghetti squash at .99 cents a lb.

-1 Tbsp. Trader Joes Spanish Olive Oil (1 Liter Bottle))

Total cost for recipe: $ 3.05

Macros: 30g F/ 16g C/ 32g P

Calories: 468

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Total Meals Cost a Day: $4.88 US

 

Snack 1:

Cottage Cheese with Berries

-115 g 1 % cottage cheese (16 oz. store brand 1.75)

-2 oz. frozen blueberries

Cost for Snack: $ .85

Macros: 1g F/ 11g C/ 15g P

Calories: 115

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Snack 2:

-2 Hardboiled eggs

-Hot sauce (if you have)

-1 Thomas’s Wheat English Muffin

Cost for snack: $ .56

Macros: 12g F/ 27g C/ 17g P

Calories: 283

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Snack 3:

-1 broiled pear

-1 tbsp. honey

-8 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Cost for snack: $1.45

Macros: 0g F/ 54g C/ 23g P

Calories: 290

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Total Daily Snacks Price: $ 2.86

 

Total Daily Food Cost: $ 7.74

Daily Macros from this Menu: 63g F/ 201g C/ 135g P

Calories: 1,902

 

Try this out and tag me in your post.

Happy Saving!

xo, Lauren

Fitmark Meal Prep + Travel Bag Reviews

First off, everything I’ve ever gotten from Fitmark has been amazing quality. Yes ,I am an ambassador for their products but I can confidently say I’ve never been this passionate about a product I’ve gotten to promote! Their bags literally go with me everywhere and it makes me think how I ever went on without them. My Envoy duffel has been with me to Mexico, Atlanta and even Boston! My Box meal prep bag has been with me for every meal at work to help keep me on track and organized.

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The Box

I use my Fitmark meal prep bag, The Box, every single day at work. I have had it for over a year and it is still holding up great after months of use. It came with 2 awesome 32oz Fitmark Tupperware but I also use it with other containers. It also comes with two TSA approved ice packs! I can fit 3-4 meals in here easily with room for snacks. Mine also came with a shaker bottle that had 3 compartments one for supplements, one for protein powder/ BCAA’s or pre-workout and one for the liquid. There is a smaller pocket in the front for either your phone or some protein bars. There is one pocket on the side for your shaker bottle or water bottle. I have the hot pink bag and it sure brightens up my meal prepping. The color also makes it easy to find my lunch box in our communal work fridge! There is even a backside pocket to fit your meal prep or diet journal. The dimensions of the bag are 9.5″H x 10.5″W x 8″D. You can get The Box here.

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The Envoy Duffel

I love love love this bag! I use it as my carry-on for flights all the time. It can also be used as a gym bag although I feel it might be too large to carry around a gym. It also functions as a meal prep bag and comes with a little tiny lunch box that holds a TSA approved icepack and surprisingly 2 Tupperware containers! It ends up being really convenient having the small lunch box to pack your own healthy dinner instead of getting the overpriced airport food. There are two pockets on either side that are larger enough to hold multiple pairs of shoes. There is even a padded 15” inch laptop pocket. The dimensions are: 22″ L x 9.5″ W x 15″ H. You can get the Envoy Duffel here.

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*For 15% off today use my code “FRIENDS15”.

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Optimum Nutrition Introduces Breakfast Line (Plus Review!)

Optimum Nutrition has created a delicious and nutritious way for you to enjoy breakfast on the go through their Whey & Oats and Greek Yogurt Protein Smoothie lines. They come in many different flavors including Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Glazed Donut and Vanilla Almond.
Optimum Nutrition Whey & Oats Blueberry Muffin
I had this one with vanilla almond milk. It was the perfect amount of sweetness. It tasted very similar to a blueberry muffin. This makes a great on the go breakfast or snack! This shake has as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal. This packs 27 g of protein per shake! You can get yours here.

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Optimum Nutrition Greek Yogurt Protein Smoothie Strawberry
I had this one with one serving of almond milk, ½ cup of mixed berries, ¼ cup of ice and half a banana. The smoothie I made was awesome using those ingredients. It was very filling. I will also try this alone with almond milk and possibly bake muffins using this powder. The new protein powder features oats, 20g of protein, 0g of added sugars, Greek yogurt and chia seeds. This treat is also gluten-free. You can purchase it here.

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smoothie

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Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quiche

Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quiche

Quiche and frittatas are arguably the best breakfast you could possibly meal prep on Sundays. They hold up well throughout the week and still taste awesome when reheated (in the toaster oven if you can). This quiche is lower fat and lower in calories than regular quiche. Another great part about quiche is the different flavor combinations that are made possible!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Thick bacon slices
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • Fresh herbs (ex. thyme, sage, oregano)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 ½ TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/4 cups 2 percent milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Quick refrigerated pie crust such as Pillsbury

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Let premade crust sit at room temp out of package for 15 minutes
  • Sautee sliced onions and peppers in oil on medium/ low until onions are caramelized and peppers are soft
  • Bake crust in glass pie dish for 12 minutes
  • Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk and seasoning in a big bowl
  • Add cut cooked bacon slices, caramelized onions and sautéed peppers to the quiche dish then add liquids
  • Cook in oven for 35 minutes
  • Add sliced goat cheese and cook for another 5 minutes until quiche is solid

 

Macros Fat: Carb: Protein: Calories:
1/8 of Quiche 16.8 g 16.7 g 10.4 g 260

*Makes 8 Servings*

 

RXBAR Product Review

RXBAR review

I love the simplicity of these bars. There is a short list of ingredients for all bars that I can both pronounce and identify. I try to stay away from packaged foods because they usually contain a bunch of made-in-a-lab terrible for you ingredients. Although when something is as great for you and convenient as an RXBAR I had to give them a second glance. All the bars contain no artificial sweeteners and have some sort of dates, nuts and egg whites in them. They are gluten and dairy free bars. Each RXBAR contains whole protein from egg whites making the bars chewy but I saw no issues with the texture.

Below is a definitive foodie-approved ranking of RXBAR Flavors:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Maple Sea Salt
  • Blueberry
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Chocolate Sea Salt
  • Coffee Chocolate
  • Coconut Chocolate
  • Mint Chocolate

 

Peanut Butter: The peanut butter bars have a creamy peanut butter base with peanut chunks throughout. These have a strong peanut aroma and leave you feeling like you just licked the spoon!

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Maple Sea: Smells and tastes just like maple syrup. The salt flakes make for a perfectly salty and sweet combo that balances out the sweetness of the maple. Throughout the bar you will find whole nuts which gives the bar awesome texture. The bar itself is soft with little chunks of nut throughout. I love how the bar has no added sugar and is sweetened with just dates.

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Blueberry: yummy bar that can double as a breakfast. It contains dried blueberries and nuts. It has a similar flavor complex to a blueberry muffin.

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Apple Cinnamon: Smells like fall and honestly as good as those Glade-plug in cinnamon apple air freshener. There is a strong cinnamon taste that can be overpowering at first but is balanced out quite well by the apple flavor. The bar is chewy but is not artificial tasting.

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Chocolate Sea Salt: Deep dark chocolate flavor with sea salt flecks for complexity.

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Coffee Chocolate: I am wondering if I got a caffeine jolt from this bar? It has a strong coffee flavor with chunks of rich dark chocolate.

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Mint Chocolate: Not a terrible flavor but I wasn’t crazy about how strong the mint flavor was in this. It also contains chunks of dark chocolate.

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If I was going to purchase a box of these it would for sure be the Maple Sea Salt or Peanut Butter. You can buy these bars here.

 

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Powerlifting Form Check with My Coach Dylan Smith

This is my 10th week being a part of the True Fitness & Nutrition family. My strength coach Dylan Smith is a fellow JMU alumni where he graduated with a BS in Kinesiology. Dylan is a well-known strength coach and powerlifting competitor in the Northern Virginia area holding many certifications. Dylan is a USAPL Club Coach and NPTI Certified Trainer in addition to being a former instructor for the National Personal Training Institute (NPTI).

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(Dylan making 600 lbs. look easy)

From my personal experience working with Dylan so far he has superior attention to detail, strong emphasis on achieving optimal form in all lifting movements and is very responsive and attentive to client questions.

I met up with Dylan at his awesome gym, True Fitness & Nutrition in McLean, Virginia, where we went over my fitness goals, nutrition, and proper form for all 3 powerlifting movements: bench, deadlift and squat. He was so helpful and helped me improve all of my lifts significantly with just a single two and a half hour session. Below I will be sharing some of the great advice I have gained about powerlifting technique and form from working with Dylan so far.

General Powerlifting Tips:

  • The lifts to use wrist wraps on are bench, squat and military press. There is no need to use wrist wraps on pull ups, rows or deadlifting.
  • We discussed breathing & bracing and how they are essential when performing basically any exercise. If you combine both every time it will help you maintain proper form and increase your powerlifting total.

Breathing & Bracing are two different things that you must do together:

  • Breath deep into your belly (360 degree expansion and pressurization of your core with air)
  • Brace (360 degree expansion of entire core with muscular contraction)

*A neutral spine allows for optimal function of the diaphragm leading to proper belly breathing

  • It is also important to be consistent on every single rep for every single lift. Habits are hard to break so let’s make sure we are making the correct form choices and forming the right habits.

Squatting:

*Before you lift make sure you are wearing Olympic lifting shoes if you can. (Like these http://www.reebok.com/us/lifter). Unless you are one of the few lifters that feels strongest in flats, Dylan recommends squat shoes for optimal squatting. Wrist wraps are very useful in the squat so make sure to wrap up tightly with wraps completely covering the wrist joint for best support. Additionally, a quality powerlifting belt will improve your ability to squat due to enhanced bracing especially on heavy lifts.

Focus on This when Squatting:

  • Set your grip evenly on the bar outside of shoulder width. Typically, the best grip for an individual is the most narrow grip possible that allows the lifter to retain a depressed and retracted shoulder position along with an extended upper back. Many lifters cannot take a narrow grip due to range of motion issues so use the grip you find allows for the strongest squatting positon.
  • Step under the barbell and “break the bar over your back”, the bar positon should be somewhere close to resting across the rear delts or top of shoulder blades although some lifters will feel stronger with a slightly higher or lower bar position. Again, find what works best for you.
  • Get both feet under the barbell and make sure that you are loaded directly over the middle of your feet with about a hip width stance. Un-rack the bar by locking knees and hips.
  • Use a 3 Step Walkout: One foot straight back approximately one foot-length, second foot step back and out to the side, first foot step to the side. This should allow for a repeatable and consistent walk-out which will set you up for long term squatting success.
  • One you are in a proper squat stance take a deep breath into the belly (maintain a proper brace throughout!)
  • To descend, simultaneously break at the hips and knees and squat until the crease of the hip is directly below the level of the knees.
  • Hit depth and then immediately come back up in a controlled manor while exhaling forcefully into the lockout.
  • Make sure to remain tight the entire lift

Video of Squat Form

Benching:

*Before you lift make sure you are wearing Olympic lifting shoes if you can. (Like these http://www.reebok.com/us/lifter). If desired, wear wrist wraps with them wrapped tightly and completely covering the wrist.

Focus on This when Benching:

  • Keeping shoulder blades pulled down and back together like you’re trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades.
  • Driving your feet through the floor to anchor your upper traps into the bench and reinforce good upper back position. (retracted and depressed shoulders)
  • Sustain a quality back arch while benching making sure to keep your feel fully on the ground and your shoulder blades down as previously stated.
  • Keep strong wrist (knuckles up).
  • When benching, keep elbows beneath the barbell throughout the movement. This will create a bar path that arcs down and forward onto the body and then up and back as you press.
  • Remember, if you can reset your upper back tightness at the top of the repetition, this means you lost it along the way during the previous rep. Strive to maintain position and tightness for optimal benching.

*Make sure that when you un-rack the bar that you take bar out of rack by just locking out your elbows

*Keep your shoulders retracted (pulled back together like squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades) during the entire set, from un-racking to mid benching.

Video of Bench Form

Deadlifting:

*Before you lift make sure you are wearing completely flat shoes such as converse and are wearing a proper powerlifting belt

*A powerlifting belt should made of thick leather and be of one width and thickness all around in either prong or lever design. Good companies to purchase from are Inzer, Best Belts, and SBD which are all high quality as well as IPF Approved. Do yourself (and your spine!) a favor and get a quality lifting belt. The brands listed above will last a lifetime (Inzer “Forever” Belts even come with a lifetime warranty)

Dylan’s Tips on Proper Deadlift Form:

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  • Step to bar with mid-foot beneath barbell
  • Hinge to grab bar with arms locked in straightened position
  • Set back flat as you take the slack out of the bar (pull tightly against the bar by pressing your feet through the floor). *You can drive your hips up and back while doing this
  • Big air into belly after you have taken the slack out of the bar (you can feel and hear the “click” when using metal plates)
  • Pull chest up while keeping shoulder blades above barbell, and allow shins forward into the bar as you wedge into the start position
  • Pull!

*Shoulder blades must be aligned over the bar in order to initiate the lift off the floor. If you rock behind the bar when setting up you will “tip” forward until shoulder blades are above the bar.

Video of Conventional Deadlift Form

Video of Sumo Deadlift Form

Overall make sure to maintain proper form and be consistent on all your lifts. Make you have the proper gear when you’re lifting and that with every lift you are conscious of your body and how it is moving. In order to get the most out of your workouts, record your lifts and review your form with your coach or compare yourself to the videos I provided above.

(Inside True Fitness & Nutrition)

Make sure to check out True Fitness & Nutrition across all social media platforms and to consider any of their amazing certified strength coaches. Follow Dylan on IG @Dylan_C_Smith

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Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites Review

The cake bites do not have exact cake texture but are soft and tasty. Personally I think they are much more exciting than your typical protein bar. They make a good occasional treat or dessert. I honestly enjoyed all three flavors and would get them again.

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Birthday Cake: my favorite, tastes just like funfetti cake mix, I love the adorable rainbow sprinkles. Be careful on lots of websites they charge more for this flavor.

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Red Velvet: These bites have a white chocolate shell with a delicious moist red velvet filling. These treats make a great sweet craving buster. They contain only 5g of sugar. They are soft and decadent. Not chalky, easy to eat and light and fluffy. They nailed the white chocolate shell also.

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Chocolate Dipped Cherry: They have a good taste and are appetizing. This a creative and unique flavor for protein treats.

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I cannot wait to grab more of these. I love treating myself to this amazing snack.

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