Tag Archives: wellness

Eating Healthy On A Budget

Today I want to bust the myth that eating healthy cannot be done affordably or on a budget. Perhaps much to your surprise (and against popular opinion), you do not need to spend your ‘whole paycheck’ in order to eat and maintain a healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong, healthy food can be expensive and eating a healthy diet can and likely will require some sacrifices in your life, but it can be done on a budget and it truly can become a lifestyle for you and your family. 

Here are 10 tips to eat healthy on a budget

Buy in Bulk- Buying certain foods in bulk can save you a significant amount. Items like oats, rice, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans are all great options for buying in bulk. Simply keep them in airtight containers in your pantry and they will last several months. These food items are also great staples to have on hand and can be used for a variety of meals and recipes. If you are able to front load your grocery money, shopping at wholesale club stores like Sam’s Club and Costco is another great way to save money by buying in bulk. It takes money on the front end, but you will save in the long run especially if you focus on buying staples like olive oil, nuts, dried fruit, meat, and frozen fruit/vegetables. This is truly the way to go when buying staple items that get used up quickly. Buying these items at a conventional grocery store can sometimes be close to double the price than at a wholesale store.

 

Buy Online- One of my favorite online grocery retailers to shop and save money is Thrive Market. Think Whole Foods meets Costco. Thrive Market carries a variety of healthy pantry items along with other household, beauty, and pet products that are all clean, eco-friendly, and mostly organic. Thrive Market has their own brand of items if you want to get an even better deal. Thrive carries some of the EXACT same brands and items as Whole Foods for less. 

 

Eat Seasonally- Buying produce that is in season is a great way to save money while eating healthy. It is also a great way to enjoy the best of the season and support local farmers. Seasonal produce is not only cheaper, but it is at its peak for freshness offering better nutrients and taste. 

 

Maintain an Organized Refrigerator/Pantry- Knowing what you have can save you a lot of money and decrease food waste. Be sure to take inventory before heading to the grocery store so you don’t find yourself questioning if you have that item at home while standing in the grocery store just to find out you already have two at home. I think we’ve all done that before…Toss any expired foods before grocery shopping as well. Speaking of tossing expired foods, along with maintaining an organized refrigerator and pantry, knowing how to store food is also important. Take some time to educate yourself on how to store fresh produce and pantry items so that you aren’t wasting precious food and money. Read the last two weeks blog posts that I wrote on organizing your refrigerator and pantry. 

 

Coupon & Check Sales- Take some time and look through the paper for sales at your local grocery store. If you live near a Sprouts Farmers Market you can take advantage of their double ad Wednesdays where you can shop the sales from that week’s ad as well as the previous week’s ad. There are several grocery savings apps out there so no need to clip paper coupons if that isn’t your thing. Check out Ibotta, Checkout 51, Rakuten, and Coupons.com just to name a few. If I see a favorite pantry staple item such as Banza chickpea pasta on sale, I always take advantage of the sale and stock up on a few. This is a great way to save money in the long run and you’re always sure to have your favorite items on hand. 

 

Buy Off Brand- Nowadays the store brand is just as good as the name brand as far as quality but for a fraction of the cost. Try shopping at a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s or Aldi whose entire store is dedicated to their own brand. These stores have become very popular among those looking to cut down on their grocery bill. Most big box chain grocery stores also have their own brand that is more cost effective than the name brands. 

 

Meal Plan- One of the easiest and most effective ways to save money at the grocery store and on your monthly grocery bill is to meal plan. Going into the store with a game plan and a specific list of items needed will help you from buying unnecessary items or over buying. Speaking of grocery shopping….also avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry. Back to meal planning…I like to sit down one day a week (typically on the weekends) and plan my meals for the week. I use this time and take inventory of my refrigerator and pantry and figure out what items we need. I like to choose 4 meals per week to cook but that will depend on the size of your family, how much you eat out, and how often you want to cook. Once I decide my meals and I know what I have and don’t have, I make my very detailed grocery shopping list. I always like to meal plan BEFORE going to the store but some people like to shop the sales at the grocery store or shop at a farmers market and then plan their meals afterwards depending on what fresh items they purchased. This can be an effective technique but does take more of a knowledge of what to cook and what to pair together versus following more exact recipes. The main goal is to take some time to plan and know what you plan to cook so you don’t overbuy and waste and to ensure you are buying what you need and not adding extras to your cart and your grocery bill.

 

Know What/What Not to Buy Organic- While buying organic is a great thing to do, if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget it isn’t necessary to buy everything organic. There are some items that are more important than others to buy organic. EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen is a great place to start when determining what to buy organic and what can be purchased conventionally. 

 

Cut Down on Snack Foods- I think you’d be surprised at how expensive crackers, cookies, and other prepackaged foods are considering the low nutritional value they offer. By skipping out on the snack and junk foods, you can reallocate that money to fresh, whole foods that are better for you! Oftentimes, fresh, whole foods are just as affordable if not cheaper than prepackaged, processed foods but it takes a shift in our mentality. 

 

Go Meat Free Once a Week- No need to go full on vegetarian but opting to do a meat free meal once a week (maybe Meatless Monday) is one way to cut down on your grocery bill because meat can tend to be expensive, especially quality organic, grass-fed meat. This is also an effective way to expand your palette and cooking repertoire by trying other healthy foods and finding different protein sources from things like beans and lentils. You don’t have to sacrifice protein just because you eat meat free…I think you’d be surprised by the amount of yummy vegan/vegetarian options out there now. 

 

I hope these tips will help you the next time you step foot in the grocery store and empower you to reach for the healthy items. If you would like more information or guidance on grocery shopping and eating healthy on a budget, email me at hello@homebodysoul.com to book a personalized coaching session where we can discuss meal planning and grocery shopping on a budget. 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

New Year, New Fridge, New Pantry, Tips on Organizing-Part Two

New Year, New Fridge, New Pantry, Tips on Organizing-Part Two. You can view Part One here.

Moving onto the pantry…We are going to apply several of the same principles and strategies when it comes to organizing a pantry. 

If you don’t have a built-in pantry or a pantry-type closet in your kitchen, that is ok. You can easily re-purpose a piece of furniture like a glass cabinet, hutch, or bakers rack and turn it into a pantry. 

Step 1: Clean out your pantry just like your refrigerator. Take EVERYTHING out and wipe down the shelves and drawers. After your pantry has been cleaned out, wiped out, and expired items tossed, it’s time to create a system BEFORE putting everything back in. 

Step 2: Begin to group things into categories- baking items, breakfast items, snacks, candy, etc. Be careful not to over categorize- really focus on the basics. Once you have your categories, you can begin to find a place for each category of items. Think about what you use daily and be sure those items are more accessible. 

Step 3: Now is when you will figure out what baskets, bins, and containers you will use as you reassemble your pantry. 

Use baskets, bins, and containers to your advantage. Baskets are great to put chips, boxed snacks, bars, etc. You can even put jars/cans in a basket if your pantry is more visible and you want it to be more visually appealing and tidy. Baskets are a great tool to help maintain cleanliness and organization in your pantry. I also highly recommend the OXO pop top containers. They keep food fresh and are easy to wash. These containers can be used for virtually anything in your pantry (or even elsewhere in your home). 

Use glass jars for pantry staples. Transfer common ingredients (especially baking ingredients) such as flour, sugars, spices, pasta, rice, granola, nuts, etc. into large glass jars with lids. Mason jars work great and are an affordable option. One idea is to take the jars to your local grocery store that sells bulk items (i.e. grains, beans, nuts) and replenish your staple items from the bulk bins. This will be a more cost-effective option versus purchasing these items pre-packaged.

Add shelving. If you have a pantry with a door, you can add an over the door shelving unit to add even more storage space to your pantry. These are particularly great for spices, cans, and other small items. 

Everyone’s pantry and refrigerator situations are a little different, but I hope these tips inspire you to clean out, organize, and set yourself up for success this new year and beyond. Our home environments have such an impact on our health and our ability to maintain our goals. Systems, routines, and organization play such a crucial role in us being able to maintain our health and keep moving forward with our goals so that it truly becomes a sustainable lifestyle. Happy organizing!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Healthy Holiday Round Up Part 3

Healthy Holiday round up part 3 is the continuation of a 3 part blog.

You can see ‘Healthy Holiday round up: Part One here.

Part Two here.

I am sure you’ve seen gift guide after gift guide this holiday season from your favorite bloggers. I don’t know about you but the gift guides can be super helpful when buying for that tricky person in your life or getting ideas for teachers, co-workers, and friends this season of giving.

Today I want to provide you with a healthy holiday roundup of some of my PERSONAL FAVORITE resources when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. I am by no means sharing this as a sponsored ad; everything I am sharing I am sharing freely because I genuinely LOVE the products/programs.

As we round out an utterly stressful, tragic year, I think we can all do ourselves a favor and bless ourselves and those around us with the GIFT OF HEALTH as we enter into 2021. If you’re anything like me, this year truly revealed the importance of being grounded in a healthy lifestyle- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Below are just a few ideas and products that I love and that I think you will too….or will love to gift to someone you love this Christmas season.

Mental Health & Wellbeing: 

Val Marie Paper– Val Marie offers some beautiful prayer journals where you can write down, record, and reflect on your prayers throughout the year. The planners offer prompts as well. I love this idea of having a special place to journal prayers and be able to look back on them down the road. What a tangible way to pray away the stress!

Powersheets– I absolutely love this goal planner! It was a game changer for me when it came to me actually writing down and planning out my goals for the year. It’s a beautiful yet practical product. If you are looking for a way to keep track of your goals and begin to live the life you truly want to, this planner is for you!

Thank You Cards– One of the best things I think we can do for our mental health and wellbeing is to move outside of ourselves. It can be so easy to become self absorbed in our own minds- our stresses, troubles, you name it. Oh how our minds shift and our spirits lift when we focus on others! Next time you are having a stressful day or feeling down, whip out a thank you card and write a friend, co-worker, or family member and share with them why you are grateful for them. I think you’ll be surprised what happens and how it makes you feel.

Blue Zones Project– I recently got this book and am so excited to dig in and learn more about the Blue Zones around the world and how these people live in certain areas, “blue zones”, around the world to optimize health and longevity. We actually lived in a Blue Zone area a few years ago when we lived in California, which is where I first heard about it.

Other Health/Wellness: 

Young Living Essential Oils– Essential oils are a great way to invite health and wellness into your home and body. I love the Thieves products from YL as well as their Progessence Plus oil, which I use to help balance my hormones because of my PCOS. There are SO many wonderful products at YL for your home, body, and even children. If you need help with ordering any oils or where to begin, feel free to email me at hello@homebodysoul.com.

Hatch Restore– The Hatch Restore is an alarm clock like no other! It doubles as a sound machine and a smart alarm clock that gently wakes you up with a soothing sunrise light. You can personalize your sleep-wake routine so you get optimal and quality rest, create a soothing mood before bedtime with a variety of sounds, and relax with a soft glow reading light.

Bluelight Glasses– I try to wear my blue light blocking glasses in the evening before bed if I am watching TV or on my phone. The blue light blocking glasses are designed to obviously block blue light which can disrupt our natural release of melatonin, hence why it’s important to wear them before bed to optimize sleep quality.

The Defined Dish Cookbook– I’ve been cooking a lot of these recipes lately and they are so yummy and healthy. This cookbook offers gluten and dairy free recipes that are also Whole30 approved.

Healthy Snacks (Great Stocking Stuffers):

Chomps Meat Sticks– These are SO yummy and SO clean and healthy! Each stick packs 9-10 grams of protein!

Aloha Protein Bars– These organic, plant based protein bars are all-things FREE (gluten, soy, dairy, sugar alcohols etc.). They offer 14 grams of protein and are delish.

Pink Stork Collagen Sticks– I talked about Pink Stork further up in this guide. These collagen sticks are great for on-the-go and they taste yummy in your water with their light berry flavor.

GoMacro Protein Bars– Another yummy and clean, plant based protein bar option for on the go meals. This bar is gluten free and vegan! There are 15 different flavors to choose from.

SmartSweets– Ever get a hankering for some good ol candy?! Here is a healthier alternative. These gummies have only 3 grams of sugar for the entire bag and are free of sugar alcohols as well. They are sweetened with stevia and bursting with fruit flavor!

Alright, there you have it! Those are a few of my favorite things! I hope some of these items bless you and help you on your journey to living a healthy lifestyle.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

 

The Journey Of Health

The journey of health..

Have you ever felt like you are swinging on a pendulum- back and forth- in regards to your weight loss journey or in the area of your health and wellness goals? Maybe you have goals of going to the gym x number of times per week, eating this and not that, and choosing self-stewardship over self-negligence. But, oftentimes we find it’s only a matter of time before these well intentioned goals fly out the window, or rather get lost due to our busy and demanding lifestyles. It’s not that we do it on purpose, of course not. We WANT to succeed with our goals. We WANT to be healthier and feel better. Rather, our time and energy are in a tug of war with our self-stewardship and our personal wellness goals. And you can guess which one almost always wins.

This yo-yo back and forth is not only discouraging but also causes us to feel like we take one step forward and three steps back. And when we take three steps back, it’s that much further of a step forward to get back on track.

Can I admit that I struggle with my journey of health too? I love fitness and challenging my body with a tough workout, but there are so many days where it’s a sheer fight for me to get myself out of the house and off to the gym….or up out of bed an hour earlier than before my son wakes up to get it done. None of us can do it perfectly, and those that are doing it perfectly, I would bargain are struggling with some deep seated insecurities or are running themselves ragged and will eventually burn out.

Ultimately, for sustained success, we have to find a balance. So, what does that look like? How do we step off of this unstable pendulum and into a place of grace-fillled routine on this journey of health we find ourselves on? The reality is, our routine will be imperfect- that’s simply the nature of life. But we can find and build a routine that has breathing room for days when we don’t feel well, or are home with sick kiddos, or didn’t get a good night’s sleep before. We need flexibility in our life and in our journey of health, especially if we want to maintain these goals and this lifestyle for the long haul. So how do we get there?

Here are 5 tips for helping you on your journey to health through all the different seasons of life. These tips will help you start right where you are; whether that’s helping you refine your current routine or helping you to get on your feet and get active for the first time. These tips are meant for you, exactly where you are. When I find myself in a season of unpredictability or a season of plateau or boredom, I come back to these exact tips and figure out what I need to do personally to reset my mindset and my routine.

Find Accountability– This is key! And this is what I do a majority of my time as a health coach. I come alongside my lovely client’s and help them to stay on track. Because when we have someone who we know will ask us if we completed that spin class or how we fared at the work party, we are more likely to stay on track because we know we will have to answer those questions. And the only one we hurt by answering dishonestly, is ourselves. Accountability can come in many forms. Maybe you sign up for a boutique fitness studio that only offers Barre classes or Spin classes and if you don’t attend, you are still charged or charged an extra fee for not attending. Or maybe you begin to work with a personal trainer. Another idea is to schedule your workouts with a friend or co-worker and the two of you together can keep each other on track and cheer each other on. Finding ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness and health goals for this year will have drastic effects on your commitment and your progress. If you are interested in working with me for accountability and one-on-one coaching, you can book a FREE 30 minute consultation call here.

 

Find the Why- Before you even begin your new routine or program, I want you to sit down in a quiet place with just your mind or maybe a journal and reflect on a few questions. Ask yourself: Why do I want to accomplish this goal? Why is this goal important to me? How will I feel if I reach my goal? What if I don’t reach it? How will I realistically accomplish this goal or work towards progress? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be and how I want to live my life? When we assign value and purpose to our goals, suddenly they take on a whole new meaning. People are far more motivated to stick to their goals when they are keenly aware of the purpose connected to their goals. For me, taking care of myself and investing in my health and physical well being makes me feel better, I am more productive throughout the rest of my day, I have energy, and I am a better wife. There are moments where I need to remind myself of my ‘why’ while I am begrudgingly doing my warm up. I remind myself of all of the times before that I felt this way yet still pushed through and how amazing my body and my mind felt afterwards. What is your ‘why’? Find it, hold fast to it, and constantly remind yourself of it. This will help you stay consistent which is key!

Find What You Enjoy- No one wants to do something they despise. I loathe running and therefore I barely run. I simply do not enjoy it. Finding an activity that excites you and energizes you will help you to actually attend and not skip your workouts. You can find multiple activities that you enjoy and switch it up so that you aren’t getting bored with your workout routine. I personally enjoy creating HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuits, teaching Body Pump, and hiking! The main thing is that we get out there, do something that brings us joy, and also helps us make progress on our goals.

 

Find Creativity and Flexibility– Living a holistic and healthy lifestyle is far greater than what we consume at each meal and the amount of exercise we do. If we only do those things, we are pigeon-holding ourselves into a box and missing out on so many little ways to live healthfully and wholly. Each of our daily decisions add up and either help to cultivate a healthy lifestyle or cause us to remain stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling discouraged. Just a few simple, daily decisions we can make that lend to an overall healthier lifestyle include taking the stairs, parking further away at the store, taking a walk after dinner with your family, or getting outside with your kiddos after school and playing tag. If we limit ourselves to only the gym in order to get a workout in, we are missing out on so many joy filled and creative ways to fit exercise and fitness into our daily lives. If you can’t make it to the gym one day, that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe when the kids get off the bus from school you all take the dog for a walk or go out back and run around together for twenty minutes. Get creative, think outside the box. I think when we shift our mindset and begin incorporating creative ways to be active into our daily lives, our goals will become more attainable. Remember, progress not perfection. Little by little our daily steps and choices add up.

Find Reason to Celebrate– Celebrate the big and small wins! Baby steps are okay! Changing your lifestyle is not an easy feat. It will take time and many stumbles and falls along the way. But that’s ok- get back up and keep moving forward. It’s important that we celebrate our little victories (and big ones, too) along the way. When we celebrate our progress, it encourages us to keep going. Celebrate by taking a day off, going to your favorite restaurant for a cheat meal, or going for a massage- you deserve it after all! Be cautious not to reward yourself with things or food that directly contradict the goals you’ve set for yourself. Now, I am not saying that you can’t ever indulge, but when it comes to rewarding ourselves for our small victories, we need to be cautious how we approach it and be mindful of the current state of our hearts and minds, for those emotions will either help us in our journey or de-rail us. Even if you miss some steps along the way, that is normal. Let’s not get into the habit of taking an all-or-nothing approach, but rather approach our goals and fitness routines with grace and the correct mindset.

I want to encourage you that our fitness and health goals are a journey, a journey that will last a lifetime and ebb and flow given the different seasons of life we find ourselves in. We don’t have to do it all perfectly- that is a lie. I want you to know that I struggle with some of the same things as the woman next to me, and simply because I am a personal trainer and health coach, doesn’t dismiss me from experiencing these same feelings or barriers. I eat ice cream just like the next person. And I skip workouts too. And I also work hard to stay consistent and make sacrifices to choose stewardship over negligence when it comes to caring for my body. It’s an ever evolving, ebbing and flowing practice for me and for all of us but it’s worth working at and seeking to find what works for each of us. I hope these 5 tips help you to reset how you view your goals and your own wellness journey. We are on this trip together, day by day!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Mornings Matter For Your Health & Wellness

Mornings can be tough. I don’t know about you but getting out of bed in the morning can be a STRUGGLE. I’ve never been a natural morning person. Developing a morning routine has taken years and years of practice, trial and error, and certain life circumstances to get me on board with being more of a morning person. I by no means am perfect and still struggle, BUT I’ve found a rhythm and routine where the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

Our mornings truly set the tone for our entire day. Are your mornings marked by rushing and running out the door? Are you stressed out before your feet even hit the ground out of bed? Are you tired of being tired and overwhelmed and exhausted as you go through your days? When we start our morning, our day this way, it only lends to more stress, more unrest, more frustration. And this has a great impact on our health and wellness- physically and mentally. When we don’t start our mornings well, we typically grab a fast breakfast that may not be the most nutritious to fuel our bodies. Perhaps we drink too much caffeine and don’t start our day hydrating our dehydrated bodies with good ‘ol water. Maybe you’re already so stressed out from the morning madness that you make unhealthy choices the rest of the day. 

Our mornings matter! And it matters how we steward them because it affects every single aspect of our lives and overall health and wellness.In order to live a life of stewardship and simplicity, it starts with our morning! Your morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or get you out of bed at 5 AM. It just needs to be CONSISTENT and PLANNED. A morning well spent brings a day of content. You don’t even need to work-out first thing if that really isn’t your jam and isn’t life giving for you. Perhaps the BEST way to spend your morning is catching up on dishes or laundry or sitting still and meditating/praying over your day. Whatever it is that will fuel you and fill you for the day, do that! 

When we begin our day making healthy choices, we will naturally continue those healthy decisions the remainder of the day. When you wake up feeling energized and rested, you will make your daily choices out of a place of peace and wellness versus making brash decisions rooted in immediate gratification and just trying to survive the next hour. 

I’m on a mission to help women reclaim their days by reclaiming their mornings. I so desire to see you live a life of wellness rooted in joy and peace. If this non-morning person can figure out a life-giving, grace-filled, morning routine, YOU can too! 

I want to invite you to join me for my BRAND NEW FREE 5-day workshop series called Mornings Well Designed. You can join here

Here is what we’ll cover:

 

  • Discover hidden time in your day so you can get all the things done you need to AND want to!
  • Learn how to steward your mornings well so you can BEST steward your home, body, and soul.
  • Find a flexible, sustainable, grace-filled morning routine that will serve you and your family in your unique lifestyle.
  • Leverage your mornings so your days go from rushed and ragged to productive and peaceful. 

 

Are you in?? We will begin the LIVE workshop TODAY, Monday Aug. 24 and continue each day this week. Join me for live trainings each day this week at 2 PM EST (if you cannot make it live that is ok. The videos will be saved and posted for you to watch when it is convenient for you). I hope you’ll join me on transforming your mornings! See you in class!

Sign Up Here: homebodysoul.lpages.co/mornings-well-designed-workshop

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer