Who says you have to be wealthy to eat right?! While fast food companies would love nothing more than to perpetuate the idea that a burger is cheaper than a filling, home-cooked, colorful meal, it’s a flat-out lie. With a little planning and some time, you can make beautiful, healthy meals for much cheaper than going out.
Read on for tips on how to get lean and mean while you watch your wallet get fat and happy.
- Stock up in season.
In-season produce is a better decision for a lot of reasons: it’s cheaper, for one thing. But also, when you’re buying at peak season, the fruit is more likely to be grown on this side of the equator—so it’s fresher, requires less resources to get to your grocery store shelves, and is at peak nutrition!
If you find a great deal, buy extra and preserve it. Freezing is by far the easiest option, and is nutritionally very similar to fresh produce. Otherwise, it’s a bit retro, but canning is a great way to store food that would otherwise be long-spoiled. Dehydrating is great if you want to make your own fruit leather or jerky, too.
- Plan, prep, and portion in advance.
Set aside time each week after grocery shopping to prepare whole foods in advance. This may mean dicing onions, prewashing lettuce, divvying up one-ounce portions of nuts, or baking some sweet potatoes so they’re ready to go. Having ingredients ready to go makes cooking a snap no matter the recipe, and decreases your chances on running to the local fast food place when laziness strikes.
- Don’t be scared of cheaper meats.
If you’re bulking on a budget, a Crock Pot might be your new best friend. You can throw just about any combination of meat + liquid + spices into the slow cooker, let it do its thing for a few hours, and open the lid to find a delicious meal waiting for you. Bone-in, skin-on, organ meats are all usually more flavorful than other meats and are almost always cheaper, too. The so-called pork butt (which is actually shoulder) can be tossed into a slow cooker with some barbecue sauce and then shredded into sandwich meat for as little as $2 per pound.
- Eat your leftovers.
The average American wastes 25 percent of food and drinks they purchase. For a family of four, this could mean throwing anywhere from $1,365 to $2,275 directly into the garbage every year.
Leftovers don’t have to be dreary! Gone are the days of Jello-mold salads or mystery casseroles. Repurpose leftovers into new meals by giving them new life. Doubling or tripling recipes is an awesome way to use up all your fresh ingredients in one go, and saves you time on having to cook again.
One of our reader’s favorite leftover is rotisserie chicken. Linda writes, “I live alone and can’t eat a whole chicken by myself, but it’s such a cheap option that I hate to waste it. I realized that the chicken is fantastic the next day shredded into taco meat, thrown into a breakfast scramble, or topping a spinach salad. My creativity has saved me a mint!” `
This is part one of a series on eating great, healthy meals for as little as possible. To read the rest, find part two here. For even more information, check out our blog.
Sources: http://www.thekitchn.com/10-smart-tips-for-eating-healthy-on-a-super-tight-budget-reader-intelligence-report-211182, https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/18-hacks-for-eating-well-on-a-budget/, http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2013/04/02/how-much-food-does-the-average-american-waste,
Everybody seems to know about vitamin C. For years, it has been considered the answer to many different health problems. Many other vitamins have become popular too, but the powerful vitamin D has been largely ignored!
What you should know is that vitamin D is important for your well-being too. In fact, you’d be surprised how many different ways it can keep you in good health.
Here’s what Vitamin D helps you do:
Fight off disease
As a kid, you may have enjoyed being “sick” enough to miss school and stay home all day. But, other than that, no one enjoys getting sick. On top of having to miss work, you feel just plain horrible.
Luckily, vitamin D helps your body fight infections and diseases, including:
- Colds and the flu
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Vitamin D can also help with fatigue for those who are deficient. So, if you’re feeling tired and sore all of the time, you may want to have your vitamin D levels checked!
Keep your bones strong
It’s pretty common knowledge that calcium helps slow the rate of bone loss, but did you know that vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and helps prevent osteoporosis?
So, next time you’re taking a calcium supplement, grab some vitamin D too.
Avoid cardiovascular problems
According to the CDC, approximately 610,000 people in the United States die of heart disease every year… That’s 25% of all total deaths, making it the leading cause of death in the country!
You probably already know that factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol are among the main risk factors for heart disease, but did you know that a vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk as well? Once study performed by Dr. Joseph Mercola even showed that a vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of heart attack by 50%!
Plus, vitamin D deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of congestive heart failure, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease.
Those aren’t problems that should be taken lightly! That’s why it’s so important to get your recommended dose of vitamin D every day to avoid heart disease (along with eating healthy and exercising, of course!).
What’s the best way to get vitamin D?
Sure, you can get vitamin D from certain foods. But the best way to get it is by simply stepping out into the sunlight!
For best results, head outside in the sun for less than 30 minutes between the hours of 10AM and 3PM. Just make sure you don’t get too much sun – figure out the proper sun exposure time for your skin type, or you could get a nasty sunburn and increase your risk for skin cancer!
If you’d rather get your vitamin D a different way, you can try these options:
- Vitamin supplements
And remember – if you’re looking to keep your body healthy and stay fit, consider adding delicious Promax protein bars to your diet! For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.
Go to your local heath food or supplement store, and you’ll likely find a large section full of different protein powders. Whey protein. Soy protein. Rice protein. Hemp protein… The list could go on and on! And many of these products are wildly popular, especially among workout and health enthusiasts.
But maybe you’re thinking… why do people care so much about consuming protein anyway? What’s so great about it?
Well, lots of things! Here are 4 ways consuming healthy protein benefits your body:
1. Build muscle
Know what muscle tissue is mostly made of?
…You guessed it. Protein!
Consuming protein regularly means that you’ll be able to build muscle faster and get stronger. So, go ahead – work out and consume your daily recommended amount of protein, and get ready to show off those toned biceps!
2. Reduce hunger
No matter how strict you are with your diet, chances are, you fall victim to cravings sometimes. Candy. Cake. Sodas… All of the unhealthy foods are so tempting!
To help reduce the hunger that might send you diving in the pantry for a high-sugar, high-carb snack, consider increasing your protein intake. Doing so will likely help you stop overeating by making you feel fuller for a longer amount of time.
And remember, if you’re still hungry after adding more protein to your diet, it could be because your fat intake isn’t high enough or your carb intake isn’t correct. Try to make the healthy adjustments that work best for your specific needs!
3. Get rid of belly fat
The fact that protein curbs hunger isn’t the only way it can help you lose weight. Many studies have shown that getting 10g of essential amino acids from quality protein at every meal is associated with a lower amount of belly fat!
4. Better your brain
As far as organs go, the brain is pretty important. After all, having a healthy brain means you can think clearly, learn new things, and more!
The great thing about protein is that it promotes healthy brain function. That’s because protein consumption provides the brain with critical amino acids.
But maybe you’re wondering…
How can I get the protein I need?
If you’re not sure how to get your daily recommended amount of protein, try these foods:
- Lean meat
- Promax protein bars (we even have options with lower sugar!)
- Lemon drop protein bites (See our recipe here!)
As you can see, you’ve got quite a few options, regardless of whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian, or vegan. Whatever protein source you choose, keep in mind that calories still matter, so you don’t want to overdo it. And check with your doctor before you make any major dietary change – you may have certain needs that should be taken into consideration.
For men and women who spend most of their time weight training and building muscle, there are several neglected areas of the body often overlooked. The reason these areas go overlooked is often from a lack of understanding about how they are essential for a complete body workout. In addition, many people tend to edit their workouts to just those muscle groups they are currently focusing on developing, like the abs, buttocks, and chest muscles.
Rather than wasting time, why not spend it working on the areas you often overlook?
Calves: Do you have a large upper body and chicken legs? This is because you are not spending time developing calf muscles. Incorporate some calf training into your regular routine and, before you know it, your legs will be just as popping as the rest of your body.
Forearms: The forearms typically get overlooked because people tend to use lifting straps. Leave the lifting straps out of your routine to get your forearm muscles building. In addition, add some wrist flexion and extension exercises to your routine.
Rear Deltoid Muscles (Rear Delts): Overlooking the rear delts can lead to problems later on. As your chest and abs increase in size, it causes your back to appear rounded and misshapened. It can also lead to problems with bad posture and other back problems. To avoid these issues incorporate some rear delt exercises as part of your upper body workout routine.
Hamstrings: Granted, your hamstrings do get some work with leg extensions and squats, but this is only minimal because the primary muscle groups these exercises help are the hips and thighs. Neglecting the hamstrings could lead to problems with your knees later down the road. Several hamstring exercises not only help build this muscle group, but also benefit the lower and middle back and glutes.
When you include these often missed muscle groups into your regular routine, you are sure to have a more balanced and even body. In addition to these muscle groups, one other type of workout most people who focus on weight training do not get enough of is cardio workouts.
Whether you are focused more on weight training or want a balanced, yet fit body, cardio is an essential part of physical fitness. The amount of cardio you require depends on your goals and could range from 3 to 7 times a week. Fitting in cardio workouts is not difficult, and you can even complete cardio on the days you work specific muscle groups.
To keep your energy levels up while you are working out, grab a workout bar or healthy energy bar. For more information about protein and energy bars in a wide variety of flavors, shop online at Promax® Nutrition today.
There’s no doubt about it – your basal metabolic rate decreases with age. While that’s probably not the best news you’ve heard today, you’ll be happy to know that there are several things you can do to speed it up a bit!
Here are 7 easy ways to boost your metabolism:
1. Eat all day long
Now, don’t get us wrong – we’re certainly not telling you to eat lots of unhealthy food throughout the day. But what you should do is avoid the traditional “3 meals per day” and instead opt for more frequent, smaller meals.
Whatever you do, don’t skip meals – especially breakfast! Not only will skipping meals slow your metabolism down – it can also cause your blood sugar to drop and make you more likely to binge-eat later in the day.
2. Get enough sleep
Feeling guilty about pressing the snooze button? If so, you’ll be glad to hear that skipping an early morning workout to sleep in may help boost your metabolism!
So get some rest, and then…
3. Do short workouts throughout the day
Instead of doing one long workout, try breaking up your exercise routine into several smaller workouts and spreading them out during your day. For example, try to fit in several 15-minute workouts if you can – it’s a great way to spend your breaks at work!
4. Grab a healthy caffeinated drink
The key word here is “healthy” – that means no sugar-filled sodas!
Instead, reach for some tea or coffee (drinking it black is the healthiest option). Since caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, it’ll give your metabolism a nice boost while helping you stay awake and focused at work!
5. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D
Research has shown that the vast majority of Americans do not get enough vitamin D. This is alarming because vitamin D doesn’t just help you avoid heart disease and other health problems – it gives your metabolism a nice boost!
In fact, the University of Minnesota studied vitamin D’s effects on the metabolism by testing two groups of people. The group that added 1000IU of vitamin D to their diets (as opposed to the other group that added no vitamin D to their diets) ended up losing 5 pounds in 11 weeks because of the way vitamin D helps the metabolism!
So, get some vitamin D by stepping outside for 30 minutes (or less, depending on your skin type and specific needs) or eating some fatty fish like salmon or tuna.
6. Drink enough water
If you’re dehydrated, you may burn fewer calories. For best results, aim to drink 8 or more glasses of water every day. Yes, it’s a lot of water, but the results are worth it!
7. Get your protein
Eating protein boosts your metabolism because your body has to expend a lot of energy to digest it properly. But you have to eat quite a bit of protein for this to work, so aim to consume some kind of protein at every meal. Your body will thank you!
Running in general is a great workout, but running outdoors is especially nice. You get to enjoy the fresh air, the scenery, and a few moments alone in your head – it’s a little break from your busy life!
But what happens when the weather won’t allow you to run outdoors comfortably? Or what if you don’t have a place to go where it’s safe to run outside?
If you’re like most people, you hop on a treadmill. And that’s good – treadmill workouts can be great for you if done correctly!
Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind next time you decide to work out on a treadmill at the gym:
When using a treadmill, try to avoid wearing overly loose clothing that could get caught in it. Instead, opt for more fitted clothes.
And, if you sweat a lot, you may want to consider wearing shorts as opposed to pants. If it’s too cold outside to wear shorts, just layer a pair of sweatpants over your shorts and take them off once you get inside – easy peasy!
Bring the right gear
Most people would agree that it’s a lot more fun to run when you’re listening to your favorite music. So, make sure you bring a pair of headphones that you can plug in to your phone while you run. If you’re the forgetful type, you may want to buy an extra pair of headphones or earbuds and leave them in your car so you never forget them when you’re going to the gym.
Also, bring a large bottle of cold water and a hand towel (some gyms offer these at no cost – check with your gym to see if they do). That way, you can stay hydrated and dry!
Starting off your workout by running quickly isn’t safe or good for your body. So, make sure you stretch a bit before your hop on the treadmill, and begin by walking or jogging on it at a slow speed. That way, you lower your risk of injury.
Use the incline
Increasing the incline while you run is a great way to intensify your workout and burn more calories without having to step foot off the treadmill!
Keep in mind that you’ll need to keep good form for the workout to be effective. Take your hands off the rails, and avoid leaning back. If you feel like you have to hold on or lean back, you may want to decrease the incline until you’ve built up enough endurance to handle more.
Try high intensity interval training (HIIT)
Interval training has become incredibly popular because it’s a quick, effective way to work out and lose more weight.
To do a HIIT workout on the treadmill, simply alternate running fast (really fast) with running at a normal pace. For example, you can try 45 seconds of running at your top speed then slowing down to your regular pace for 1 minute. Everybody has a different endurance level, so figure out what kind of HIIT workout is best for you specifically.
And don’t forget to include a source of protein in your diet, like Promax protein bars, to help your muscles recover from your treadmill workouts! For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.
Let’s face it. After a long, hard day at work, the last thing you probably feel like doing is working out.
So, you might find yourself wanting to catch up on some sleep instead of lacing up your sneakers and exercising. But don’t let your hesitation get the best of you! Keep working toward your fitness goals with these easy ways to motivate yourself to work out:
1. Give yourself an incentive
It’s tough to work out consistently because it can take months to see noticeable results. So, instead of waiting around for that time to come, treat yourself for working out along the way! Here are a few ways you can reward yourself for getting some exercise in:
- Tell yourself that, if you work out for at least an hour every day this week, you’ll buy some fancy new workout clothes this weekend.
- Every time you exercise, enjoy a delicious (and nutritious!) protein bar. It’s a great way to have a snack without countering the effects of your workout, and it will give you something to look forward to!
- Once you reach one of your major goals (weight loss, losing inches in your waist), treat yourself to a day at the spa.
If you want, you can even create an incentive system where each workout and/or healthy action you take earns you a point. At a certain number of points, give yourself a big reward, like a fun weekend trip or a nice new pair of tennis shoes!
2. Remind yourself why you want to work out
Whether you’re getting in shape for your wedding, trying to slim down to combat health problems, or simply want to feel better about your appearance, think about the reason you’re working out. Remind yourself of that reason every day so you can keep in mind how awesome you’ll look and feel when you reach your goal!
3. Join a class
Maybe you don’t like working out because your find it boring. Well, if that’s the case, it’s time to try a new workout method! Consider joining a fun class, like boxing, hip-hop dance, or yoga to get your exercise in without getting tired of it.
4. Take your workout one step at a time
If you go into your workout thinking about how long it’s going to take and how many different exercises you’ll have to do, you’ll easily become demotivated.
What you should do instead is think of your workout in small sections. For example, when you start, just think about the first workout you’re going to do. When you’re done with that workout, focus only on the next one. Seeing the workout as small steps will make it feel less like one huge, exhausting obstacle.
5. Sign up for a 5K race
Running in a 5K race is a great way to get some extra motivation to work out, especially if you’re the competitive type! There’s nothing quite like racing other people for a medal, and you may find that you enjoy running more than you think.
If you’re not much of a runner, bring some friends along and have them walk or jog the course with you. That way, you’ll still get a workout in and get to be around other people who prioritize fitness!
Making small adjustments to your day, like waking up 10 minutes earlier, can drastically change how many things you accomplish that day. The same goes for your diet; by changing small parts of your diet, whether it’s keeping proportions in mind, or drinking 1 soda a day instead of 2, you are making strides towards a better you. Some small, and we really mean small, adjustments that can be added into your everyday diet are…seeds! These aren’t seeds you plant in the ground; these are seeds that have been taking the world by storm with their powerful, nutritional benefits-chia, hemp, flax, and pumpkin (pepita) seeds.
Remember those Chia Pet commercials? Whether it was a Scooby-Doo head or Homer Simpson head, their plant-like hair was grown from chia seeds! Although Chia Pets used chia seeds, don’t eat those seeds – instead, purchase them fresh from a grocery store.
Chia seeds may be small, but they are packed-full of nutrition. They are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. Since they are high in fiber, they can help you feel fuller for longer, so don’t hesitate to add them to your yogurt, salads, smoothies, and even meatballs for an extra punch of flavor.
Looking for a way to up your protein intake to build more muscle? Hemp seeds are what you’re seeking. They contain a healthy dosage of amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own, plus they contain fatty acids which can boost your immune system. Like chia seeds, hemp seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your cardiovascular health.
Add these into your smoothies, cereal, and salads for a small hint of nuttiness. Plus, don’t be worried about hemp seeds and their relation to marijuana; although both are in the cannabis family, hemp seeds do not contain THC like marijuana.
Need an energy booster once you hit that mid-day slump? Packed full of magnesium to provide more energy are good, ole flax seeds. They also contain lignans, plant compounds that improve blood flow in the body, so they’re perfect for lowering blood pressure – and they contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which can keep your heart stronger for longer.
When you buy flax seeds, don’t start sprinkling them onto your food – their shells are too hard, so either grind them or put them in a blender. By grinding them your body will be able to absorb all their nutritional benefits, whereas by keeping the shells on they will pass right through your body.
Pumpkin (pepita) Seeds
It’s fall and you know what that means – pumpkin is everywhere! Before you carve a masterpiece to place on your doorstep at night, don’t throw away all the ‘goop’ inside – save those pumpkin seeds. When you remove the white outer shell from the pumpkin seeds, you are left with a green seed known as a pepita.
Pumpkin seeds are great for those who have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of their high amounts of Vitamin K. Plus men can reap the benefits of eating pumpkin seeds–the oil from pumpkin seeds contains phytosterols, alleviating symptoms from having an enlarged prostate and the levels of magnesium can lower their risk of early death.
It seems like every month there is a new health craze – from the obsession with kale to using chia seeds every day, we are constantly seeing new trends pop up. One trend that has been escalating in exposure lately, and the resource is free, is drinking a gallon of water a day. There are posts online of women drinking a gallon of water per day for 30 days saying their skin radically transformed during those 30 days. But is drinking this much water recommended and safe?
The Proper Amount
Most doctors and dieticians recommend the usual eight 8 oz. glasses per day to stay properly hydrated, and from there, if you exercise or sweat, they recommend drinking the right amount to replace the water that is lost from sweating, plus from urination. So when looking at a gallon of water, this amount is actually twice the recommended amount.
“30 Day Water Challenge”
People have been trying this recent fad because – why not? Water is free from your tap (unless you have to buy filtered water) and you can easily fill up a gallon each day and mark the sides of the gallon for each hour or every two hours to monitor your intake. Some celebrities swear by drinking a gallon per day, saying that it helps their skin look flawless. Others swear that increasing your intake to a gallon per day will reduce the amount of headaches you have and boost your energy.
But is this all true?
Those who have documented their 30 day challenge noted feeling a little nauseous if they drank too much at once, and that their skin within the first few days began to break out due to the water pushing toxins out of their body. By the second week they began to feel more energy and less bloated from drinking the water. The third week resulted in a craving for water, so consuming a gallon didn’t seem like a challenge at all. The major takeaways from this challenge, by many, was that by the end their skin had improved, they had more energy, and slept better at night. Some also experienced less headaches and weight loss due to filling up with water every day.
While the challenge seems to bring with it many benefits, it’s important to know how much water you should be consuming personally. One person may actually require a gallon per day depending on what their daily activities consist of, whereas your own intake could be a lot more or a lot less. Plus athletes generally drink more water because water helps to build and repair muscles.
When water is consumed rapidly, the body’s electrolyte balance can be thrown off and water can enter into brain cells, causing what is known as water intoxication. From taking in more water than needed, the sodium levels in the body dramatically decrease, leading to coma and death in some cases. Confusion occurs as a symptom when sodium levels drop to 120 mmol/liter, then drowsiness once it drops to 110 mmol/liter, and coma and/or other severe symptoms will occur if levels drop to 90-105 mmol/liter. The faster the intake of water, the faster the drop in sodium, and the more rapidly these symptoms will occur.
The main symptoms of water intoxication are confusion, drowsiness, and coma, but other symptoms also include inappropriate behavior, delusions, and hallucinations, all of which are symptoms of psychosis; since the symptoms are very similar, many mistake water intoxication for psychosis.
Drinking a gallon of water per day does have its benefits, but monitor your activity to determine how much you should be drinking seeing as some don’t actually need all that extra water. But when all’s said and done, a properly hydrated body is a happy body.
Have you tried this 30 Day Water Challenge? If you have, tell us your journey during the challenge in the comments below! Feel free to join the discussion on our Facebook page or get in touch with us directly.
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