7 Budget Friendly Health and Fitness Hacks

7 Budget Friendly Health and Fitness Hacks – Chic and Domestic
7 Budget Friendly Health and Fitness Hacks – Chic and Domestic

Going on a health and fitness journey can be hard enough! Trust me, I’m doing it. Some days are great, some days are better than others, some days are difficult to push through.

Being a busy mom on a budget, I try to find ways to do everything with my wallet in mind. When I decided that it was really time to take my health, and fitness seriously, I went shopping. TOTALLY not necessary, but ehh doing a little bit of budgeted shopping makes me feel like I’m taking things a bit more serious. If I spend money on it, I’m going through with it! No questions asked.

Looking at my health as an investment, there were a few things that I wanted to purchase to better equip myself with what I needed to stay consistent.

1. Utilize the Outdoors
The most budget friendly fitness hack I can give is to utilize the outdoors. Go outside! Get yourself some much needed Vitamin D. It’s summer, sweat it out! Switch up how you do your daily workouts and change your scenery. Use your backyard or outside deck to do a quick 15 or 30 minute workout routine in between daily tasks. Instead of hitting the gym, go visit your local park or nature trail for a walk or run. I actually tried hiking this summer with my husband (the ex-military/aspiring personal trainer, yea that was fun) and it was a great workout for me.

2. Meal Prepping
Healthy eating has been so much easier for me without the need to stand in front of my refrigerator wondering what I’m going to eat. It also saves me from reaching for a snack vs reaching for a well balanced meal or snack. I’ve also been loving meal prepping for my grocery budget because it saves me from having food go to waste. Clean eating means a lot of fresh ingredients, and it sucks when things don’t get used before they go bad. Meal prepping along with my normal family meal planning has been a lifesaver thus far.

Check out some of my favorite meal prep containers here!

3. My Fitness Pal
Along with meal prepping, I’ve been tracking my food, water, and exercise intake with the free My Fitness Pal app. At first I found it to be tedious to keep up with, but after about a week of figuring out how it worked, I feel like it has really helped me to watch what I’m eating, and how much I’m eating.

*Fit Mom Tip: Try out Cronometer, Keto Diet Tracker, or Calorie Counter by FatSecret

4. Fitness Blender
I am in loveee with Fitness Blender. Did I mention that I love it? If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s hard to come up with general workouts, especially when you’re first starting a fitness journey. Sometimes it’s difficult to find workouts for a specific target area, or maybe you’re doing the same workouts and your body needs a change. Fitness Blender has been great for the days that I don’t have a ton of time, or I just need a quick workout routine that I can do in my living room without too much change to my already hectic schedule.

5. Planet Fitness
For the days that I am up for going to the gym, I like having my planet fitness membership on hand. It’s only $10 or $19.99 a month depending on the plan. You also get a few perks with the $19.99 black card membership. I don’t know about you, but that’s worth it to me to have 24 hour gym access. Gym memberships can get costly very quickly, but this has by far been the best gym option for me and my lifestyle.

6. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a cost effective way to strength train in the comfort of your own home. It’s a great piece of workout equipment to have to help tone your entire body, work your muscles, and add variety to your at home workout routine. It’s pretty inexpensive compared to buying a large variety of weights for someone just starting out.

7. Jump Ropes
Jump ropes are another inexpensive piece of workout equipment that makes working out a breeze. They’re light weight and great for cardio. It’s a great replacement for a short run if the weather is working against you that day. #NoDaysOff! Utilize it at home, or even throw it in your bag to take along for an outdoor workout session.

 

If you’re interested in getting healthy and fit, join the 30 Day #FitMomFab Challenge here!

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Meal Planning 101. How I Meal Plan for my Family of 5

Meal planning for my family has been one of the most beneficial things I started doing in my household. I’ve been doing it for a while now, and I’ve got to say it feels great to not have to question what’s for dinner, and get asked a few million times, “What are we eating today?” I do the majority of the cooking in our house, (okay, maybe all of it) so having this to keep me organized keeps meals quick, easy and convenient. It helped me after I really got into the swing of things, to keep a visual meal plan in a central location, so the rest of my family was aware of what we would be eating. Using a dry erase board, chalkboard, or just a simple flyer on the refrigerator works just fine. First things first though, I’m going to talk all about how I meal plan for my family of 5, the benefits of meal planning, and a few useful tips when planning for your own family.

WHY you should meal plan
• Healthier eating
• It saves money
• It saves time
• It wastes less of your food
• Less Stress!

Meal planning is a huge help when you’re trying to stick to a healthier diet. When dinner time is approaching, and you still have no clue what you’re going to feed your family, it’s easy to want to just grab fast food or order take out. I’ve been guilty of creating this pattern in my house, but one day I simply had to put a stop to it.

I was finding that I was spending so much more on food between take out, and buying extra at the grocery store without a designated list. I would do this EVERY single time. Go into the grocery store thinking I knew what direction I was going in, and I would always end up forgetting ingredients, buying too much of something, and then still not having all of my ingredients, or buying perishable items that would quickly go to waste. More than likely, this was a combination of my scattered overspending in the grocery store, and ordering take out and not eating the food I did actually purchase on my grocery trip. Repeat this a few times a week and you’re looking at a step towards an unhealthy lifestyle, and digging an unnecessary money pit.

I save a ton at the grocery store when all of my meals are planned ahead of time, because I go in with the mindset to only buy the ingredients I plan to use in our family meals, and a few of our staple items. It also helps things to run smoothly during the week, because knowing what I’m cooking means that I can prep things ahead of time if need be, and it creates the possibility to use leftover items and ingredients in other meals during the week.

HOW to meal prep in 5 easy steps
• Schedule a consistent time for weekly meal planning
• Inventory your kitchen first, ALWAYS
• Look at your schedule
• Choose your meals
• Keep side dishes simple

First, you have to schedule a consistent time to sit and plan your meals. Maybe it works for you to utilize your free time before your kids wake up in the morning, during naptime, or after bedtime (I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here). It can also be beneficial if you choose to plan around what’s in the weekly grocery circulars, so you can shop using the deals at your store of choice.

Next, you should make sure to inventory your own kitchen. Check for things that need to be used before they go bad, items that you’ve been meaning to get around to using (but constantly forget about), and staple items that you might just have an abundance of, like rice, beans, or tomato sauces.

Now that you’ve done that, you should sit down with a pen and whatever you plan to keep your meal plan in. No need to be fancy initially, but in the future, a designated planner or notebook can be useful to keep track of things. I enjoy planning in my bullet journal the most. It’s just another way for me to get create, but there are a ton of planner and journal options available to you. You might also like to write down recipes you want to try in the future, or notes about recipes that you’ve tried, that you know your family really enjoyed.

Look at your family’s usual schedule, and keep in mind the things your family has scheduled for that particular week. If Thursdays you’re busy running carpool, and getting kids to and from practice, then this would be a day that you plan to cook an easier meal. Something quick and simple will add less chaos to your already busy day. Maybe this particular Friday you have family coming to town for the weekend. You would possibly be planning to feed a larger number of people, so maybe it would be best to plan a meal that stretches. At the same time, making a note of a family visit gives you a mental note to either purchase more food, or to mentally plan a take out, or eat out day. And yes, planning for takeout is still meal planning!

After you’ve built up some mental momentum, and gathered all of your thoughts, now it’s time to start planning your meals! I like to plan at least 2-3 meals with corresponding ingredients, at least 1-2 large meals that creates leftovers, and at least 1 crockpot or quick meal. You can also dedicate a certain day of the week, maybe one where your schedule is less busy to cook “first time” meals, or things that require more prep and cook time.

Once you decide on exactly what to cook, it’s always useful to keep your side dishes really simple and to the point. Let the entrees speak for themselves, and don’t put so much effort into side dishes that it makes dinner complicated.

A good way to decide what to have on what day, is to think about what you could possibly have left over that could be used later. For example:

Monday: Ground turkey Chili and rice (Make extra for leftovers)
Tuesday: Nachos or Taco Salad (Using the leftover meat and beans)
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Brown rice and Parmesan Asparagus
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas or Fish Tacos (Using toppings from Tuesday)
Friday: Baked Fish, Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes, String Beans (Using the fish purchased for your Thursday meal)
(Quick meals) Taco soup, Burritos, Burrito bowls, Leftover veggies from the week used in a Stir Fry.
Meal planning can be made easy. Just replace this same concept with your family favorites, and meals you plan to try. Happy Planning!

 

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Meal Planning 101. How I Meal Plan For My Family Of 5 - Chic and Domestic
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