Five on Friday displays the the top five things that have been on my mind this week! It could be book-related, but it may be music, movies, TV, personal life, food, etc. I’ll generally be posting these biweekly and linking up with Friday Favorites (hosted by A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love, and Momfessionals). Previous posts can be found here!
Health/Fitness – Gym and Apps
I know I keep coming around and recommending random apps for ~healthy eating~ but yes I’m here to do it again. I go through these waves of “dieting” and I’m tired of that concept, honestly. I just want to be healthier overall and feel better. I got a gym membership recently, which I’ll get to, but want to get back to calorie counting on Lose It. While WW is a well-rounded system that helped me quite a bit, I found that I would not be eating enough calories each day and just feeling overall not great about my habits? I would drink a Diet Coke just because it was zero points, even though it’s not necessarily the healthier option. I would only have the plain nonfat Greek yogurt and never spend points on yogurt that I actually enjoy (even healthy ones!) with flavors. I always bought 99% fat free ground turkey for ALL recipes that required ground turkey or beef, even though it would compromise the flavor, because it was zero points. Same wit chicken breasts all the time (zero) even though thighs are better. Anyways, hopping back into watching my calories, working out, and trying to eat healthier things overall = my new plan.
I mentioned Lose It already, which is my favorite calorie counting and meal planning app. I also downloaded FitOn, Couch to 5k, and Fitbit Coach to use when I’m in the gym or at home trying to work out. I’m doing Couch to 5k on the treadmill (an app that coaches you through building up a tolerance for running, by alternating walking and jogging – then eventually running). I like FitOn because they have a huge free database of workouts you can do at home OR at the gym. There are even celebrity ones from JVN! I like that there’s such a variety of workout styles and locations. I also downloaded Fitbit Coach because they have a few free videos to do workouts on the elliptical, treadmill, bike, and other gym equipment. I can’t find one that really has what I want though, when it comes to equipment.
Simplification and Prepwork
I’ve been trying to get routines down and simplify my life in juuust about every area. Sometimes this means spending more money, sometimes it means doing extra work up front to do less later, sometimes it means streamlining things… here are a few areas I’ve simplified my life by adding prepwork or removing things that stress me out.
Gym Bag – Toiletries & Accessories
I aim to go to the gym every other day during the week and rarely/sometimes on weekends. The gym is near my office so I don’t want to drive 25 minutes out there on the weekends! Anyways, I decided to make my life easier when it comes to packing my gym bag and bringing my toiletries/makeup. I go before work instead of after, which means I have to shower and get ready in the gym. I ended up buying small toiletry containers of my favorite things so I’m not using the crappy travel things I’ve always bought in the past. It just feels so nice to use my normal shampoo and face wash things at the gym! I also bought extras of my usual makeup routine (within reason – I didn’t buy a second Hourglass face palette, I leave that home for the weekends and use my Butter Bronzer and random blush for the gym bag!) so I don’t have to go in and out of my gym bag. Half of the workweek I don’t even wear full makeup, so I just have those in there for whenever needed! It makes my life SO much easier to have a few duplicates and can leave my bag intact. I also have started to pick out my work clothes the night before and put them in my gym bag so I don’t waste time in the morning. I can get dressed, make a smoothie, pack my lunchbox, brush my teeth, and get out the door.
Smoothie Packs/Reusable Plastic Bags
I’ll talk about this a little more about this in the next section (about the reusable bags) but I made ready-made smoothie packs for us and it’s a gamechanger! Here’s my recipe in each bag: (1) handful of fresh spinach, (2) one cup of frozen fruit, and (3) one cup of a second fruit. I pour the bag into the Magic Bullet container in the morning, pour in my almond milk or whatever liquid I have on hand, and blend. I like to have a smoothie after I work out so I just leave the smoothie in the car while I’m at the gym and hope it doesn’t un-freeze too much!
Recipe, Meal, and Grocery-Related Prep
I’ll talk about this more later as well but my grocery challenge has definitely made my life a lot easier lately. I’m able to fully plan out my meals for the week (and related leftovers) based on what I have and what I choose to selectively buy. There’s less thinking involved with what I’m going to cook. I also have tried to get into the habit of cutting up and preparing fruit/veggies as needed when I buy them from the store. The biggest reason I don’t snack on fruit as much as I should is because I get too lazy to wash and cut them before eating. So, this allows me to have everything ready, portioned, cut, and washed.
Recent Amazon Buys
I bought myself a new little lunch box! My friend shared it with us a while back and said that the print reminded her of me. At the time I told myself I didn’t need a new lunch box, despite the fact that I hated mine, and waited quite a while before buying it. I finally went for it and I LOVE it. It has an outside pouch and is insulated really nicely. It’s super easy to carry around and has a more logical interior space for what I tend to bring for lunches.
I also bought a some reusable freezer-friendly bags. We’re trying to do the eco-friendly thing and not use as much throwaway plastic, so I finally bought these. The main issue is that we don’t have a dishwasher so they’ll be a bit annoying to hand wash, but I did have a specific purpose in mind. I got two packages (the linked one and this one) so we’ll have an array of sizes. The gallon ones would be for smoothie packs – I wanted to use reusable bags instead of the normal freezer ones we had to fill with smoothie ingredients in ready-made packs. The sandwich size bags would be good for Chris’s granola that he refills each day for yogurt. The snack-sized ones could really be for anything else.
February Grocery Challenge & Meal Planning
My first of two grocery-related posts went up the other day explaining my February Grocery Challenge. ICYMI, I challenged myself to only spend around $20/week ($25 if I really needed more meat) on groceries throughout the entire month. I had a stockpile of cans, side dishes (boxed things like pasta, quinoa, rice, etc.), and frozen food that I seriously needed to work through, so I thought I would take a PAGE out of Jordan Page’s (lol pun intended) book and do some shelf cooking, meal planning, and grocery budget analysis. Overall, so far, it’s been a huge success. Well maybe not HUGE but I’ve done a really nice job of evaluating what I genuinely need each week, making recipes that don’t require a lot of extra groceries to be purchased, and use things up. My freezer is so empty right now!!
Epicurious / No Recipe Required
Chris and I got addicted over the last couple weeks to watching Epicurious videos on YouTube. It started with him randomly seeing a video where chefs at three different levels make a dish, and then its analyzed by a food scientist. They’re so fun! We moved into watching some of the No Recipe Required videos (website here too!) to get really easy how-to’s. For example, you can basically bake any fish in the oven with mayonnaise and seasoning mixed together, plus something crunchy on top. We made tilapia with mayo mixed with Old Bay seasoning and crushed potato chips on top. It was good! My favorite, though, is the granola recipe: 6 parts dry to 1 part wet. And that’s it! Usually it helps to have three parts be oats and the other three can be anything. We did a blend of oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and slivered almonds. Our liquid was half coconut oil and half maple syrup. SO GOOD.