Category Archives: What To Buy

Keeping It Healthy on Road Trips

I absolutely love traveling, and road trips are no different for me. There’s something so exhilirating about filling your car to the brim with essentially everything you own! No baggage requirement? No need to keep fluids under 3 ounces? You’ve got me sold. Plus, you are often saving money on airfare, and you’re able to schedule your trip around our own time and make stops whenever you need them. If you’ve ever been cooped up on a 16 hour airplane flight, you know how great real life stretching is.

The only issue about road trips is food. Where should you eat? What restaurant is right off the freeway? What’s on the dollar menu? Since few people have time to sit down at a healthy restaurant or scout out a venue with good food, people often fall into the trap of scarfing down Big Macs and a Diet Coke in the car. Nothing ruins your fitness goals like eating a fatty burger every few hours.

However, it’s actually a lot easier to pack healthy foods than you think. Not only will you save money and time, you’ll be able to keep it clean and stay focused on your fitness goals. Remember to pack perishables with ice so they don’t spoil! Buy the ice the night before you leave and stash it in your freezer overnight if you are worried about time. It’s also worth investing in some good plastic containers and Tupperware for packing items that won’t fit in Zip-Loc bags.

I can’t tell you how easy it is to turn to sodas and sugary juices because they’re so easily accessible in drive-thrus. Instead, juice your favorite produce the morning of and throw it in an air-tight mason jar. I love Odwalla juice, individual Silk boxes, and Trader Joe’s “Green Plant” juice. It’s also so important to bring cases of water! They’re only $3 or $4 a case, which is the price of just two bottles in a normal drive thru.

Here’s what I brought on my 4 hour trip to Las Vegas:

 

Perfect Bars are just that: perfect! Peanut butter & almond butter are my favorite. They don’t need to be kept in the fridge, but taste great cold. I can’t explain to you how incredible these are. They taste like cookies, but are filled with super foods, nutrients, and vitamins. I buy mine at Sprouts and Mother’s Market for about $2.39 a bar.

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My favorite fruits to snack on are apples and bananas because they’re easy to hold. I slice up my apples so that they’re easy to grab out of the Tupperware container while driving. Bananas are easy to grip, but if you happen to drop it, please don’t slip on the peel!

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Slice cucumbers into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. They can be dipped in dressing or hummus, which is less messy. Fill the container with baby carrots, which are plenty sweet even by themselves.

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If you’re craving something sweet, healthy ginger snaps are delicious! Steer clear of sweets with refined sugar or too much fat.


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Other snack ideas include:
-frozen grapes
-Boom Chicka Pop popcorn
-cubed cheese
-frozen watermelon
-Jojo’s Chocolate Bark with protein powder
-whole wheat pita bread with spinach
-sliced sweet bell peppers
-crispy snap peas
-individual soy milk cartons
-avocado cubes (be sure that you don’t cut them too early or they will brown. You can lightly sprinkle them with lime juice to help delay the browning)
-hummus snack packs

What are your favorite snacks to bring on road trips?

Saving at Sprouts Farmers Market

Sprouts Under the Sticks

 

Call me crazy, but my favorite chore in the entire world is grocery shopping. I love planning meals, comparing prices between various stores, and experimenting with recipe ideas as I turn each aisle. I shop everywhere from Trader Joe’s to Sprouts to Costco and can tell you how where the cheapest place to buy everything from orange juice (Trader Joe’s, just $1.99) to power greens (Costco, just $5 for a massive pack). It’s absolutely impossible to find a “one stop shop” for me because price ranges vary, but perhaps one day there will be. I headed to Sprouts after practice yesterday to stock up on some essentials. Here are some noteworthy prices!

Minnelo Tangerines: $1/2 pounds
-I stocked up on these suckers. Since I won’t be able to go through several pounds before they go old, I’m going to cut them and freeze them for smoothies. It eliminates the need for ice cubes and allows me to add even more fruit to my day.
Organic Braeburn Apples: 98 cents/pound
-Organic apples are typically several times more expensive than normal. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that a pound (not just one apple!) was only 98 cents. I threw them in the fridge so I can snack on them throughout the day. Ew, room temperature apples are no fun.
Bolthouse Farms Carrot Juice: 52 oz/$5.99
-I don’t have the patience to use a juicer for items like carrots, so pre-made, healthy carrot juice is vital to me. It’s perfect for smoothies or by itself.
Clif Kids Chocolate Chip Protein Bars: 2 boxes/$5
-I was expecting small sizes that would be perfect for quick snacks, but instead opened the box to find protein bars that were about the size of Chewy bars. They’re great for stashing in my purse and desk at work.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: 1 pound/$1.99
-The only time I’ve seen non-frozen chicken cheaper than this was last week at Ralph’s, where it was $1.79 a pound. I stocked up on several packages because, I mean, really…chicken rocks.
Burt’s Bees White Tea Facial Wipes: 1 package/$3.60 (on sale for the Vitamin Extravaganza)
-I’ve always believed one of the most important things you can do is fully clean your face off before going to bed. I don’t wear makeup besides eyeliner, but leaving it on can be harmful. These wipes smelled so good and left my skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Summer Favorites Under $70

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Children are heading back to school, the beach is getting less crowded, and my skin is finally turning back to its normal shade. It must mean summer is finally wrapping up. With another successful season under my belt, I decided to share with you my summer favorites . They’re all under $70, so be sure to treat yo’self!

Athleta Coverup in Sour Apple (Gap)  $24.99

Sometimes, the least amount of clothing is the best. Until, of course, you go out in public! This sour apple cover up is not only bright and cheery, but will also keep you dry and appropriate to go out after the beach.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen (Walgreen’s) $11.49 

Take care of your skin, because you’re literally bound to it for the rest of your life. As a chronic sweater (oops, did I say that out loud…), I need a sunscreen that will stay put and do its job. This is the only sunscreen I use when I go outdoors because its gentle enough to keep my skin free from breakouts and dryness, but strong enough to protect me from the sun’s harmful rays. I apply once every hour just to make sure I’m always covered! Don’t forget to apply at least fifteen minutes before sun exposure!

Argan Oil of Morroco Body Wash (Target) $6.49

The sun can dry you up quicker than a prune! Be sure to keep your body hydrated with argan oil. It’s high in Vitamin E, which means your skin will stay moisturized for longer. Plus, it smells delicious.

  Osprey Luxe Beach Towel in Cobalt and Green design by Sunny Life (BurkeDecor) $69

The gorgeous contrast of cobalt and green is perfect for making a statement in the sand. I’ve always been a fan of loud prints, and this one sure caught my eye.

Aladdin Mason Jar (AllModern) $18.46

Everything tastes better in a mason jar, even water! I fill my mason jar with everything from chai tea to juice to water infused with fruits. The built in handle makes it easy to hold, while the straw simply makes sippin’ easier.

Optimist Yellow Nail Polish (Debenhams) $16

I always use summer as an excuse to bring out the bright tones, especially when it comes to my nails. This sunny color is a perfect shade to add a pop to your nails while keeping things fun and flirty.
Perfect Bar (Shop Perfect Bar) 8/$24

These bars couldn’t have a better fitting name…they truly ARE perfect.  With a consistency similar to cookies that melt in your mouth, it’s pleasantly surprising that they’re jam-packed with super foods and tons of healthy additions. Without any exaggeration whatsoever, these taste like pure Heaven in my mouth. They’re great before workouts, trips to the beach, or even on the side of a protein shake. My favorites are Almond Butter & Peanut Butter! And did I mention they’re a local company? It’s just perfect.

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amorusa (Amazon) $16.17

One of my favorite books, #GirlBoss is sure to inspire you to throw your excuses out the door, follow your dreams, and make a name for yourself. It’s an easy read that’s filled with great advice on being a #GirlBoss. Can I get an amen for girl power?

 
What were your must-have items this summer? Let me know below!

Weekend Recap!

I can’t believe it’s basically mid-August already! Where has the time gone?

J and I went to the gym on Friday and enjoyed a killer legs workout. We had a Mother’s Market shake afterwards and split a sandwich from Sprouts. Both hit the spot!

 

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I spent Friday night performing with my improv team. Afterwards, J and I went out with our friends Tiffany and Taylor for night time appetizers at TGI Friday’s. Unlimited appetizers for $10? Count me in! The only catch is you get an unlimited amount of one appetizer. However, we all ordered a different appetizer and were able to share! However, we didn’t make it nearly as long as we thought. Oops!

Saturday was spent running errands and doing some shopping. I love buying new clothes as we transition into fall. I grabbed a garden salad from Wendy’s for a quick snack.

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I continued the shopping trend at night and did some shopping with my mom, which is always a fun time.

Sunday was a more relaxed day; I baked up some healthy banana and chia bars in the morning. (Stay tuned for the recipe!).

 

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I also made a run to Trader Joe’s and stocked up on some goodies. My favorite purchases? Vegetable fried rice, pita crackers, and of course,  the harvest salad!

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 I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! :)

Coconut Oil Benefits

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A fan favorite, I’ve decided to transfer this from my last hosting site! Enjoy!

    Coconuts have made quite a splash in the public eye recently. From coconut water to coconut toppings, you can’t escape the drupe (the technical term for it!) no matter where you go. I’ve been hearing a lot about the great benefits of coconut oil, and thought I’d give it a try in my day to day routine. I bought myself a jar of organic, vegan coconut oil, and I was on my way to testing out the product!
I knew that due to its all-natural basis, it had many benefits. But what I didn’t know was how many! It can be used for cooking, your lips, your hair, and even for body massages. I researched further to see its specifics, and I was quite intrigued. Not only can it help lower cholesterol and keep your thyroid in check, it’s a healthy substitute for butter in cooking. It is odorless and tasteless, and has much fewer calories. Worried about wrinkles? Coconut oil can help! It contains an antioxidant that helps with aging. Even more, it’s also a great moisturizer for your skin and lips. Use it like lotion or lip balm to help heal and protect dry skin. Because it’s full of Vitamin E, I use it totop off smoothies! Most of all, I love using it for my hair. Here’s a great, quick process for getting smooth, silky hair overnight.Coconut Oil Hair Hydration:
1. Brush out any tangles from your hair using a comb. Divide 4 tablespoons* of coconut oil throughout your hair, starting with the scalp, and making your way to the ends. (*Thin it out in your fingers before applying it so it isn’t chunky. The longer/thicker your hair, the more you will need. I have very long and thick hair, so I needed a lot. Someone with thinner or shorter hair could use less.)
2. Massage it in so that it binds to your hair.
3. If your hair is long enough, tie it in a top knot but and let it soak in for 30 minutes. You can check emails, cook, do laundry, etc while you wait!
4. Wash thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner.
*I did this process at night and showered the morning after as well to give my hair more bounce and to get rid of any extra residue and “crunch”. My hair was shinier, silkier, and had less knots!

Remember to buy different jars for cooking and body use so that there is no cross contamination. Don’t forget that it’s best to get organic coconut oil so you don’t expose your skin to harmful toxins. I’ll certainly be uploading some new recipes using this superb oil! Until then, I’d love to hear how YOU use coconut oil!

References:
LoGuidice, Pina, ND, Siobhan Bleakney, ND, and Peter Bongiorno, ND. “The Surprising Health Benefits of Coconut Oil.” The Dr. Oz Show. N.p., 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.

Twelve Ways to Add More Veggies to Your Day

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    I have always been a huge fan of fruits and vegetables. I believe my love for health foods began in the womb, as my mom always packed her meals with fruits, veggies, and nutrient-dense foods. In fact, I’m certain her habits, which in turn effect mine, led to my long, thick hair. Thanks, Mom!
Growing up, my brother and I enjoyed school lunches that were as healthy as you can imagine; they were carefully packed with the most nutritious of foods, always adhering to the policies of the food pyramid. My mom would pack our lunches with spinach, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and alfalfa sprouts, which often brought me funny looks from my peers, but all is forgiven.
We weren’t allowed to eat gummy snacks like Fruit by the Foot unless it was a special occasion and mostly only drank 100% pure juice. I am thankful for the healthy values my mom instilled in us from an early age because they have helped set my eating habits in the right way. While I have fallen off the healthy bandwagon before (I’m an emotional eater), it’s evident that the foundation for healthy eating in my family was laid down effectively. I try to eat organic when possible, I constantly snack on fruits and vegetables, and I don’t eat red meat. However, especially when you’re constantly on the go, it’s difficult to get enough fruits and vegetables. I think it’s fair to say that people find fruits easier to eat than vegetables, due to their sweet nature, but trust me, veggies are just as fun and packed with nutrients!! Here are some tips for adding more veggies to your daily routine.1. Utilize snack packs. Take Zip-loc bags (affectionately called “zippies” in my house) filled with veggies on the go. You won’t have to worry about cutting or peeling them during your busy day. I recommend celery, carrot, broccoli, and cucumber slices as they are easy to eat and won’t cause a mess.
2. Eat a large, nutrient-dense salad. Top your lettuce with tomatoes, mushrooms, tri-color peppers, onions, bell peppers, beets, etc. You can add lean meats such as chicken to add more protein. I tend to go overboard at Souplantation when it comes to topping my salad, but at least I’m getting my daily servings of veggies!
3. Dip your veggies in hummus. I especially love using red bell peppers, cucumber slices, and tomato slices to dip into the side, which is already jam packed with great vitamins just by itself.
4. Cook your veggies in chicken broth. I didn’t have oil a couple nights ago, so decided to cook my green beans, mushrooms, and diced onions in chicken broth. Not only did it cook in the pan perfectly, it also added some delicious flavor to the veggies. This allowed the veggies to keep their nutrients, which is always a plus!
5. Add veggies to your smoothies. This one might freak people out a little bit, which is understandable! However, know that kale and spinach, which are incredibly great greens, are perfect additions to your smoothies. Their taste can easily be drowned out by apples and pineapples, but their vitamins will remain!
6. Drink your carrot juice. If you haven’t tried carrot juice, you’re missing out. Bolthouse Farms has the best carrot juice I’ve tasted; it’s sweet and quite yummy. It’s filled with Vitamin A, and 8 oz has only 70 calories (5 from fat) in it. Best yet, it’s gluten free and vegan, so everyone can enjoy it.
7. Make your own salsa. Chips aren’t the only things that will taste good with salsa. I love adding tomato salsa to my chickens, salads (it’s a healthy alternative to typically fattening salad dressings), and rice. You can use a combination of tomatoes, peaches, mangoes, corn, and black beans to achieve different flavors, depending on what you’re cooking.
8. Grow your own vegetable garden. There are no excuses for not eating enough vegetables when they’re grown in your own backyard! Can it get any more convenient than that? Nope! Start with easy to maintain veggies, like cucumbers and tomatoes, and work your way up. Don’t forget to look into sunlight and seasonality requirements.
9. Substitute intelligently. Whenever you’re at a restaurant, substitute your fries/baked potato/rice for steamed vegetables. Food often tastes better when someone brings it to you, and this time, they’ll be bringing you less calories and fat.
10. Buy power green packs. I frequent a couple grocery stores that sell “power green packs”, which are mixes of spinach, arugula, and kale. I don’t have to worry about cutting, dicing, or rinsing, so it’s convenient to add to virtually all my meals.
11. Add veggies to your eggs. Eggs are packed with protein and can be dressed up in many ways. I fill the bottom of a large frying pan completely with the aforementioned power greens. Then, I crack an egg on top of it. I add sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and a little bit of cheese. I then add another layer of power greens to the top. Not only do these veggies add more vitamins to my meal, but they also make it much healthier.
12. Use lettuce as bread. Lettuce is a much healthier alternative to bread and comes with far less calories. Don’t forget you can get “protein style” at In-N-Out, which means there’s no bun to be found!

How do you like your veggies? What tips would you add to this list?