You know the scenario. You arrive home after a long day at work, your energy is sapped, you’re hungry, and you have a restaurant delivery app on your phone. Recipe for diet disaster. The good news is in the same time it takes for a delivery person to reach your door, you can be enjoying your own meal, prepped in advance. Here are some tips on how to make that happen.
1. Plan Them Out
Make a list of your favorite healthy foods and decide what you’ll eat for every snack and meal. Once you have a few meal prep menus in your arsenal, you can rotate them to keep things interesting.
2. Avoid Temptation
Not having junk food in the house means not having to use your willpower to avoid it. Stick to your shopping list.
3. Keep It Simple
Save time by choosing meals and snacks that don’t require a lot of time to put together. Fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus. These are all excellent choices.
4. Cook for a Week
Set aside some time on the weekend and cook for the whole week. This will make good use of your time and cut down on your utility bill. And imagine, your dishes for the week will be ready to go! A big stress relief for you.
5. Mix Things Up
It can be tempting to eat the same meals every day but that gets boring. Give yourself options. This can be as simple as choosing different proteins for your salads each day, or eating chicken with vegetables three nights of the week, and fish or tofu with vegetables the other two.
6. Food Storage Containers Are Helpful
Food containers of various sizes can make a world of difference. It’s a good idea to choose one container type and buy several that stack and store neatly.
7. A Little Goes a Long Way
Any food prep is better than no food prep. Do what works for you. If the only thing you want to prep each week are hardboiled eggs, start there. Don’t get bogged down in thinking it must be done a certain way.
8. Give It Some Time
Food prep is about making your life easier. It takes a little effort and time upfront but it is worth it. It is so rewarding to open the refrigerator door and see healthy delicious meals and snacks ready to eat. Start slowly and build good habits.
We all know that stress is bad for us. If not managed properly, it can be really bad for us. Like turn out the lights bad. And while it’s easy to fall into bad habits while under stress — you stop going to the gym, grab a burger instead of a salad, work yourself to exhaustion —it also doesn’t have to be hard to keep good habits. It just takes a little planning. Here are some suggestions. If you incorporate them into your life, trust us, there will be nothing you can’t handle.
- Take Care of Your Body. The mind-body connection is real. And in times of stress, it can be your rescue. When you keep your body in good condition, you feel lighter and more energized, leaving you prepared to handle stress. The key is to move your body every day. Check in with a Snap Fitness trainer and find a routine that works for you.
- Food Is Your Fuel. It’s so tempting to stress-eat. We all do it. The trick is to manage it and not do it often. Nourishing your body with healthy food will give you the energy you need to absorb stress. Remember the basics. Fruits and nuts = good. Vending machine snacks = bad.
- Let the Music Move You. Listening to soothing music can be relaxing. It can also slow down breathing and heart rate and lower blood pressure. This can be beneficial when you're getting ready for work or stuck in traffic. Music has the power to change the chemistry of our cells in a way that promotes calm. That’s not Taylor Swift talking. It’s science.
- If You Feel Like You’re Under Water, Get Under Water. Take a hot bath. Heat relaxes muscles and taking a long bath can be good for the mind. Stock up on your favorite bath salts and soaps, get a bath pillow, and decorate the room with candles.
- Rest Is Your Friend. Are you getting enough sleep? Restful sleep is an essential key to staying healthy and strong and handling stress. When you’re well-rested, you can approach difficult situations calmly.
- Build in Down Time. When you have a lot on your plate, you end up hurrying through the day and multitasking, which exacerbates stress. Schedule downtime into your day. Start with just 15 minutes a day. Try it over your lunch hour. Just sit and breathe. Your to-do list can wait.
- Talk to Animals. Spending time around animals is a therapeutic way to de-stress. Not only does it put a smile on your face, studies show that it triggers the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which may be one reason spending time with animals reduces blood pressure.
Adding a Bosu Ball to your workout will help to strengthen, tone, and improve balance! Try this full-body Bosu Ball workout for an awesome all-over tone. Do each exercise for a minute, repeating the circuit three times.
Squat Hop Overs
Alternating Leg Bridges
It’s one of the age-old challenges of the gym. How to add muscle without bulking up so much you look like Hans or Franz? Worry not. We can pump you up, but in a lean way. Just follow these suggestions.
- Lift Three Days a Week for 30 Minutes. But don’t just start lifting randomly. Check in with a Snap Fitness trainer first. Lifting requires correct posture and positioning, and the best way to tighten and tone without bulking up is through high repetitions and low weights. Ask a trainer for guidance before you get started.
- Rest. This is almost as important as lifting. Make sure you give yourself a day in between sessions to give your muscles time to rebuild and strengthen. Do some cardio in your off days to stay toned.
- The Goal Is To Fail. Muscle fatigue is the name of the game. When you do your reps, you want to push your muscles until they can no longer do the lift. This should happen after your third set. The result is you will tear and rebuild a leaner physique with this method. It works!
- Drink Plenty of Water. A good rule of thumb is 16 ounces of water per every half hour of a lifting session. Muscles that are hydrated perform better. Simple as that.
- Try Compound Exercises. These are exercises that work more than one muscle at a time, which is good for building lean muscle. Try working in some push-ups, burpees, walking lunges, plank poses and kettle ball workouts.
- Eat Smart. Be strategic about your food choices. Keep in mind the following. Eat a breakfast that is between 300 and 600 calories within 90 minutes of waking up. Your muscles will not be told to store fat, and you will get a leaner body. Eat a meal two hours before you work-out. Try to schedule lunch or a large snack so that you will have enough time to digest and use the calories as you train. Eat a protein rich snack after your workout. A high-protein snack that includes low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt, almond butter, whey powder, eggs, fish or poultry will help to heal muscles quickly.
- Sleep. After a work-out, your muscles use the nutrients and water you’ve ingested during the day to help you build and grow lean muscles while you sleep. Get those zzzzzz’s.
5 cups spinach
1 can artichoke hearts
5 slices sandwich bread, cubed
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Spray large skillet with nonstick spray and cook spinach and artichokes over medium heat until spinach is wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
- Place half of the bread cubes into a greased baking dish (2- or 3-quart dish is fine). Top with half of the spinach artichoke mixture and half of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining bread cubes, spinach artichoke mixture and cheese.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture in baking dish. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Remove casserole from fridge and preheat oven to 325° F. Bake for 50 minutes, or until puffed, golden and set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.