5 Reasons Runners Should Practice Yoga – Sabrina from Love, Run, Yoga

Hey everyone! I am so happy to welcome Sabrina back to the blog! If you didn’t catch my interview with her on her fitness journey 2 weeks ago, you can check it out here! Today, she is going to be sharing with us 5 reasons why she thinks that all runners should practice yoga. And as someone who has ran 17 races since starting running in June 2015, I think she would know! Enjoy!

guest-post-Sabrina-run-love-yoga

Having worked for almost a decade for the YMCA, I’ve dabbled in my fair share of yoga classes. I would even incorporate age appropriate yoga poses into my preschool curriculum, but I never truly appreciated the benefits of it until I started running.

When I started training for my first half marathon, I would practice yoga on the days I didn’t run. It was more than just stretching for me – it taught me to appreciate my body and, most importantly, to listen to it – something that as runners we don’t always do.

So, without further ado, here are 5 reasons why I think all runners should practice yoga.

Improves Flexibility

This one seems like a no-brainer to me.  Isn’t this the whole point of yoga?  As a beginner, you can barely hold any of the poses but over time you are all pretzeled up like a true yogi, right?  Why do runners need to be flexible?  To begin with increased flexibility reduces the risk of injury.  It also helps improve posture and increases blood flow to your muscles.

why-runners-should-practice-yoga

Protection from Injury

According to Ashlee Willaman, a certified running coach and yoga teacher, “”Yoga does a great job of pointing out imbalances that can indicate injury is not far away.” Yoga can help a runner identify issues such as muscle imbalance.  Overuse of one muscle, and subsequently underuse of a complimentary muscle, can lead to overcompensation which opens the door for injury.  Yoga addresses all muscle groups which allows a runner to tune-in to their body to see what changes need to be made.  While a runner may complain of knee pain at the start of a yoga class, by the end she had learned the pain actually stems from the hip.  Certain poses can then be done before a run to open up the hips and reduce the risk of injury.  Learn how to identify pain and then work to fix and reduce it.  Don’t push yourself through it!

Improves Balance

The practice of yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance.  For runners, better balance means fewer falls (oh, it does happen).  It also means less knee and back pain.

Boosts Your Immune System

Contracting and stretching muscles drains your lymphs (a colorless fluid containing white blood cells, that bathes the tissues and drains through the lymphatic system into the bloodstream). Regularly doing this helps the lymphatic system fight infection and destroy cancer cells.  Who doesn’t want to do that to their body?  And if you are a runner training for a big race, you can’t afford to get sick!

 

Relieves Stress

This one is near and dear to my anxiety-ridden heart.  The breathing techniques taught in yoga teaches your body to slow down and relax.  It lowers your breathing and heart rate and lowers your blood pressure too.  It also lowers your cortisol levels which helps anyone suffering from adrenal fatigue (the reason why I wake up at 2 AM wide awake and ready to party).  Your body releases cortisol when it senses an acute crisis.  When cortisol levels remain high, it can compromise your immune system and over time lead to brain damage.  Stress is dangerous – do yoga.

There you have it – my top 5 reasons for why runners should practice yoga.  What do you think?  Are you ready to try?  Remember, you don’t have to go crazy when first starting off.  As a busy working out of the home mom, I rely on DVD’s for my yoga practice.  If you are not ready to commit to that then just incorporating a few poses such as “Pigeon Pose” (see picture) after a run will help your body.

why-runners-should-practice-yoga

Further Reading:

Why Runners Should Do Yoga

Yoga for Flexibility

38 Health Benefits of Yoga

 

13394135_285492808462874_7750457502689943236_nSabrina is a wife, mom and avid runner. Since starting running in June 2015, she has run 17 races! To learn more about her and check out all of the wonderful things she posts, check out her blog Run, Love, Yoga!

To follow Sabrina on her social media, here are her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Update

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely week! I just wanted to pop in and say that I have not disappeared! I did, however, come down with the flu and 2 ear infections, which is why you haven’t heard from me all week 🙂 I do have some exciting posts coming up, so make sure to check back in on Thursday for an awesome guest post!

Next Sunday will be a bit different, since I wasn’t able to do any meal prep this weekend (yes, I was THAT sick!), but I think you will enjoy what I do have for you instead!

Sunday Meal Prep 1/15/17

Hey everyone! I don’t know about you, but I think the New Year energy is still keeping me super motivated right now! The great thing about this week’s meal prep? It works perfectly for that! Pretty quick to make, budget friendly and fit pretty well within my macros too!

Enjoy!

Eat healthy all week with this quick and budget-friendly meal prep!

This week’s lunches and snacks were pretty basic! One thing that has been changing lately? The salad dressing I’m using! I am having a lot of fun trying out new ones right now, all from Bolthouse Farms. This week’s is a Carmelized Sweet Onion Yogurt Dressing and is delicious!

mason-jar-salads-healthy-snacks-treats

The other thing I’m loving right now? These new 5-Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins! They are so tasty and fit pretty nicely as a treat for my macros, at least sometimes 🙂 Our other main treat for this week was my favorite Sweet Potato Banana Bites! They taste like a dessert, but are much healthier.

For our main dishes, I picked a household favorite and a new one this week! The household favorite: Thai Peanut Chicken! Draz was very happy about that and so was I. This is still one of our favorite meals and I love how easy it is to prepare too! The only changes I usually make to this recipe:

  • chow mein noodles instead of thin spaghetti
  • I use more cabbage. Usually around 4 cups instead of 2

thai-peanut-chicken-jalapeno-chicken-chili

For the new dish, I picked this Slow Cooker Paleo Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili. Now, the recipe calls for a mixture of chicken and ground beef, along with sweet potato. I used all ground turkey and a russet potato. The potato part was fine. For the meat, I have to say that the original recipe probably had it right! This turned out ok, but probably not nearly as tasty as the original recipe would have. Sometimes that happens when you play around with recipes, trying to make them healthier! So for the grocery list this week, I have included the original recipe’s ingredients instead of my substitutions.

paleo-jalapeno-chicken-chili-thai-peanut-chicken

Want to follow along for your own meal prep? Download your grocery list for this week’s main dishes here:

Have you ever tried to substitute ingredients, only to realize that the original was probably better? Ever done it and made the recipe even better? I would love to hear about your experiences, so please leave a comment below!

Finding Fitness: Sabrina from Run, Love, Yoga

Hey everyone! I am so excited to finally be sharing this with you! With this new year and some changes in my life has come a renewed focus here on the blog. More than ever before I want to help you along on your own fitness journey! My love of fitness has grown so much over the years and I want to inspire you to find that love of your own, in whatever form it may take!

But I only have my own story to share and that is why I am starting this new series! Each month I will be bringing you someone else’s story! I am interviewing different people about their journeys….where they started, how their lives changed, their daily routines and so much more!

To start this series off, I’m happy to introduce you to Sabrina from Run, Love, Yoga!

Today I'm talking with Sabrina about her fitness journey and her advice for others just starting out! Come join us as we talk about running, staying fit through pregnancy and so much more!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? How did your fitness journey start?

I’m a 38 year old wife, mom and runner. After the birth of my daughter 4 years ago I found myself completely in love with my baby and my husband, but I hated the way I felt and looked after gaining 81 pounds during pregnancy. It took me experiencing horrific stomach pains on a weekly basis to realize that it was time to stop putting myself last and it was time to do something. Little by little, I cut out soda, coffee and cut back on my beloved red wine. I cut back on carbs and gluten. Then I started practicing intermittent fasting. 4 months into this I felt better but still not great. Something was missing. It was time to exercise again. June of 2015 was when I became a runner. Since then I’ve run 17 races including 2 half marathons.  I am currently pregnant with my second child and I’m determined to have a healthier pregnancy this time around.

Fitness-interview-running-marathons

What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it?

Plantar Fasciitis!  It is the worst.  I’ve been dealing with it on and off for 8 months now.  It didn’t get really bad until I started slowing down my training after my first half marathon.  When I started to kick it into high gear for my second one, I was in excruciating pain and could barely walk.  I’ve tried just about everything except surgery which my podiatrist highly recommends.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to tone down my training a lot.  My feet still hurt but I’ve learn to manage the pain.

fitness-interview-dealing-with-setbacks

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them?

Besides the PF, I’ve had to deal with losing my running mojo.  I suffer from anxiety so sometimes the pressure of the training can get to me and turn me off from running completely. It becomes more of a chore and burden at this point. When this happens, I cut back from running which allows me to find the joy in it once again.

What achievement are you the most proud of?

This is a tough one!  I feel like I really should say completing one of my half marathons as they both presented some pretty unique challenges.  The run I am most proud of though was my first 10 Miler.  I just ran the race I knew I could and enjoyed every moment of it.  I feel like I was at my peak level of fitness then and really showed myself what I could accomplish.

Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey?

For one, I am happier.  I feel better about myself and I just plain feel better physically which lifts my mood tremendously.  Also, I think I am a better wife and mother when I am consistently running.  I am more patient. I don’t snap or yell because I have these wonderful endorphins running through me.  When I am running, I am just a better version of me.

fitness-interview-sabrina-run-love-yoga-happiness

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise?

Right now, I am working on staying active and healthy during this pregnancy.  During my first one, I was a coach potato who gained 80 pounds.  I am determined not to let that happen again.  I realize that I have some medical conditions that might keep me from running for the entirety of my pregnancy, but I figure I’ll keep at it until my doctor tells me to stop.  At that point, I will be rowing my heart out in our basement on my “husband’s” rowing machine (that he never uses).  Long term, I am hoping that by staying fit during the next 7 months that I’ll have an easier recovery and that I’ll avoid the health problems that I developed after my last pregnancy.

What does a typical training week look like?

Typically, I run 3 days a week with a long run on the weekend.  If I am half marathon training, then my long runs are 8-10 miles long.  When I am not running then I am strength training and practicing yoga.  I follow the strength training moves taught by the Another Mother Runner Training Programs.

What does an average day of eating look like for you?

Now that I am pregnant I tend to eat every 3 hours starting as soon as I wake up.  Prior to being pregnant I practiced Intermittent Fasting which helped heal my leaky gut.  Typically, I am low carb to the point that I would eat less than 5 grams of net carbs every 5 hours.  Being pregnant, I have to up my carb intake and I am still trying to find that happy medium of not too many and not too little.  I’m heavy on the protein and the veggies that I do not have a sensitivity too – I have 15 food sensitivities that I try my hardest to avoid.

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not?

Thanks to my food allergies and sensitivities, plus the adrenal fatigue, I take a ton of supplements most of which I had to stop taking due to being pregnant.

In the mornings, I take a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D and a probiotic.  The fish oil is to help reduce inflammation which I suffer from and the probiotic is to help with the symptoms of Leaky Gut.
At night, I take melatonin, valerian root and magnesium all of which are to help me go to sleep and stay asleep.  I also take Zyrtec due to my environmental allergies.

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite?

Running and running!  Haha!  Nothing gets my heart rate up and makes me feel as good as running, but on the other hand when I’m just physically and mentally depleted nothing makes me feel worse than going for a run.

fitness-interview-happiness-running

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking?

I take a break and remind myself of why I started this fitness journey.  I also belong to a local running group with a heavy social media presence so just reading their posts about their personal running accomplishments is usually enough to get me lace up my sneakers.

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout?

Well, I used to wake up really early, like 4:30AM early to get a run in, but I quickly developed Adrenal Fatigue so I had to stop that.  My only alternative was to work out in the afternoons/early evenings after work.  It did mean missing out on some family time, but I firmly believe exercise makes me a better mother.  In order to get all of my normal chores done, I did have to rely heavily on my crockpot for meals and my husband found himself helping out more.  I’m a mom so I don’t have much of a social life outside of my running group!

What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey?

My number 1 tip is to take baby steps.  Don’t go whole hog when it comes to revamping your diet and exercise routine.  You’ll burn out and quit before you ever get started.

Anything else you want to share?

Thank you for letting me talk about my fitness journey!

I love getting to hear about other people’s fitness journey and I hope you enjoyed it too! Thank you for sharing it with us Sabrina!

13394135_285492808462874_7750457502689943236_n Sabrina is a wife, mom and avid runner. Since starting running in June 2015, she has run 17 races! To learn more about her and check out all of the wonderful things she posts, check out her blog Run, Love, Yoga!

To follow Sabrina on her social media, here are her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Sunday Meal Prep 1/8/17

So how was your first week of the new year? Did anything wonderful happen? I had some great things going on this week, like seeing an old college friend who I haven’t seen in years, working on a project with another blogger friend and meeting for coffee and computer stuff with a friend from my business book group! All in all, a fun and productive week!

One of the things I love about meal prep is the flexibility that it allows be during the week! Most of these things came up kinda last minute and I was just able to say “yes!” and enjoy them! All while still keeping my eating (mostly) on track 🙂

For this week’s meal prep, we are fully out of the holiday craziness and back into the swing of things. I had a lot to prep this week, but it was well worth it! Enjoy!

Want a quick and budget friendly meal prep? Check out this week's meal prep with Healthy Baked Smothered Chicken and Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken! You can even download the grocery list to get you started even easier!

For our snacks and lunches, we had all the normal stuff, but we also had a new addition: 5-Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins! These things are amazing! I love that not only are they tasty, but they are macros-friendly enough that I can have one most days if I want to…and trust me, I wanted to! These are definitely going to be made again.

Healthy lunches, snacks and treats to make your week easier and healthier!

 

We were also completely out of breakfast burritos, so a batch of those were definitely in order! I also made up some cinnamon bread and some extra Turkey and Bean Burritos for Draz to have in the freezer. We didn’t particularly need the extra burritos, but they are nice to have around just in case. Check out the bottom of the post for the Cinnamon Bread and Breakfast Burrito recipes!

Freezer breakfast burritos and homemade healthy cinnamon bread make a quick and healthy breakfast a snap!

 

And now, on to our two main dishes of the week! The Cabbage Sautéed with Chicken was a repeat dish, but actually went over much better this time! When I made it last time the recipe called for a lot more paprika than it does now. And while I like dishes all kinds of spicy, Draz was not too fond of the heat! This time the flavor was much more mellow and I really enjoyed it.

Baked Smothered Chicken and Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken make healthy, flavorful meals easy!

The Healthy One-Dish Baked “Smothered” Chicken was a new recipe and a complete hit! Both Draz and I liked this dish and I will be making it again, probably soon! The flavors blended together wonderfully and it was very filling and tasty. Plus helped me hit my protein for the day! Overall, a win in my book!

Smothered Chicken and Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken are perfect for a quick and healthy meal prep!

Both of these main dishes can be served with rice, but I ended up ricing some cauliflower and sauteing it up right before eating. It turned out great and I think I’m finally starting to get this whole “cauliflower rice” thing down! It was a great way to enjoy the dish with rice without killing my carbs for the day. Draz opted to just have both main dishes with no rice and enjoyed them quite a bit on their own, so you can really go either way with this one.

Want to follow along and make these main dishes for your own meal prep? Get your grocery list here!

How was your first week of 2017? What are you making for your meal prep this weekend? I would love to hear about it!

Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. All of these directions are using an electric stand mixer. If you are using something else, adjust as needed.
  2. In your mixing bowl, add bananas, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla essence. Mix on low until combined. Add unsweetened almond milk, then lemon juice; continue mixing on low.
  3. One cup at a time, slowly add whole wheat flour while mixing on low, scraping sides of bowl between each cup. After adding the last cup of flour, add the baking soda. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix on low briefly to fully combine.
  4. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon to make a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Put 1/2 of the batter (or a little less) into the loaf pans; 1/4 in each pan. Sprinkle 3/4 of the cinnamon mixture on top of the batter in each pan.
  6. Add remaining batter to pans, then sprinkle with last of the cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife.
  7. Bake at 350 for 1 hr or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information according to MyFitnessPal: 141 calories - Carbs 32 g, Fat 1 g , Protein 3 g , Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 116 mg, Potassium 120 mg, Sugars 17 g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 5%, Iron 5%

Nutritional Information is for 1 slice. Each loaf, for us, comes to 13 slices.

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2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Print Recipe
These breakfast burritos are a staple in our home! Tasty and filling, they are our favorite breakfast. Pair with some healthy homemade cinnamon bread and cottage cheese and you have a breakfast that will start your day off right!
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Print Recipe
These breakfast burritos are a staple in our home! Tasty and filling, they are our favorite breakfast. Pair with some healthy homemade cinnamon bread and cottage cheese and you have a breakfast that will start your day off right!
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: burritos
Instructions
  1. Brown sausage over med-high heat in a large skillet. When sausage is almost cooked through, add bell pepper and onions. Saute until tender. While sausage is cooking, beat eggs and any desired seasonings together.
  2. Once sausage and veggie mixture is cooked, add egg mixture. Cook, stirring regularly, until eggs are almost set. Add cheese and salsa; cook 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs fully set. Remove from heat and allow to cool, 10-15 minutes.
    freezer sausage breakfast burrito filling mixture
  3. Once mixture is cooled, spoon into tortillas and fold into a burrito. Wrap in cling wrap (my preference) or aluminum foil.
    2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Recipe Notes

Our burritos have two sizes. Mine have 1/3 c filling wrapped in a FlatOut wrap. Draz's have 2/3 c. filling wrapped in a larger (burrito-size) white tortilla. This recipe usually makes 30 burritos in total, 15 of each size. If you are just making the smaller burritos, it should make roughly 54 burritos.

To Heat: Remove from freezer and allow to thaw overnight. Heat in microwave 1.5-2 minutes, flipping once. (You can heat straight from the freezer, but I find it's harder to heat evenly that way)

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Getting Started on Your Fitness Journey

So it’s the first week of 2017 and I’m sure that many of us are still riding the energy and excitement that a new year brings! I know I am! There are all sorts of projects I can’t wait to start! One of those things for you might be to get started or restart your fitness journey. If it is, that’s wonderful! And I want to help you get set up for success as you get going!

Are you wanting to get started on your fitness journey for 2017?! Here are 4 things that I want to share with you to help you succeed!
There are many paths you can take on your fitness journey, but there are a few things you can do to start off that will help you succeed throughout the year!

Find a program –

When you are just getting started, it can be difficult, even paralyzing, to know what you should do. You go to the gym or your workout space in your home and then it’s just “Now what?”…. This is where a program can help you! It takes all the thinking out of the getting started part and just lets you DO IT!
I had a lot of starts and stops with very little progress until I started Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide! It was amazing  what having the program did for me! I didn’t have to think about what my workout was going to be, because it was planned out. I was just able to check what (little) equipment I needed and GO!
Now, it doesn’t have to be that program, but finding a program to start with is so helpful. You also don’t have to find that one program to stick with forever! As you get more comfortable and set in your fitness routine, you can pick a new program or even design your own!
fitness-journey-equipment

Set your schedule –

I do this at the beginning of every week, regardless of how similar it is to my schedule from the previous week! This helps me take a look at my schedule for the coming week and adjust things as needed. Plus there is a certain level of finality from writing it down on a schedule. You are making an appointment with yourself to work out!
Now, I suggest writing down not only the workout of the day, but also what time you are going to do it. This doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible, but it’s so much easier to keep to your schedule when it is all planned out right down to the time!

Progress pictures –

I know. I wasn’t a big fan of progress pictures either. They feel a bit awkward to take and they are very baring. But they serve such an important role in your journey! They can be amazing tools to really help you see your progress. You see your body every day, so a lot of the changes that are made through working out aren’t going to be noticed by you right away. Sometimes major progress has been made, but you won’t even see it! This is where progress pictures come in. By using the same positioning, lighting and clothing, you can really see what changes have been made when you put them side-by-side!
For example, I didn’t really feel like I had made much visible progress this year. What with the setbacks I have had and everything. But when I put my pictures up next to pictures from December ’15, I was shocked to see that there WAS visible progress! So take those progress pictures!
fitness-journey

Just go –

I don’t mean to make that sound simple. I know that sometimes it’s not. Some days you just don’t want to do it. But if you make a commitment to yourself that you are at least going to GO, then you are much more likely to actually do the workout too! I know I have had times where I have gotten changed into my workout clothes and went to the gym, all while my brain was trying to convince me that I should just skip that day! But by the time I got to the gym and got going, I was glad I did!
One idea I’ve seen used that I love: I’ve heard multiple people say that the only time they can skip their workout is if they get dressed and go to the gym, stay for 10 minutes and THEN still want to leave.
Are you focusing on your fitness for 2017? What have you doing to help make sure you succeed this year? I would love to hear about them!

january goals

Hey everyone! With the new year and all the new projects I am working towards, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring back an old blog series: My monthly goals! Annual goals are great, but you don’t achieve them without setting smaller goals to work on throughout the year. And to do that, I’m going to take that first step and share them all with you each month. In future months, I will also share with you how I did on my goals for the previous month, both the successes and the failures!

New year and a new focus! I can't wait to get started with my January goals!

January Goals

Personal

  1. Spend a day taking down old decorations and putting up new. Put on some music and make it a fun and relaxing day!
  2. Have one “date day” with Draz
  3. Have one day where I spend at least 3 hours on self-care
  4. Go to yoga class once a week

Blog

  1. Shoot new photos for a planned meal prep project
  2. Shoot photos for an upcoming fitness project

Business

  1. Contact 2 bloggers about possible collaborations
  2. Make 10 new pieces of jewelry – This one is only if physically possible. My fingers are still healing from some lingering symptoms from when I was sick back in September.

So that is it for this month! What are your goals for the month? I would love to hear about them!

sunday meal prep 1/1/17

Happy New Year everyone!! I am beyond excited to start off the new year and I hope you are too! Did you have fun ringing in 2017 last night? Draz and I were at my parents celebrating our family Christmas a little late, so that was our excitement for the night. It was a great time!

I have so many thoughts, plans and hopes for 2017, some of which I will be sharing with you all soon! But for now, I want to focus on the one thing that makes my week work….meal prep! Meal prep is literally the only way that my week functions. With it, I can focus on the things that truly matter to me. I have a lot going on, so if I want to still be able to spend time with Draz (which I do :-P), then I don’t want to be worrying about what we are having for dinner!

Start your week off right! Use meal prep to save you time, money and hassle throughout the week. You can still eat healthy, delicious food without having to cook everyday. Get started today with your free downloadable grocery list for this week's meal prep!

For this week’s meal prep, I kept things pretty simple. With the busy nature of the holidays, I didn’t want to worry about spending too long prepping stuff for the coming week. Along with that, Draz and I both wanted to keep this one especially budget-friendly! The holidays can be expensive and groceries are one of the areas that you can save the most in! So I aimed to plan for meals that we already had some of the ingredients and that what we didn’t have was also budget friendly.

Mason jar salads for lunch and grapes with cheese for a healthy snack!

We both still had some protein balls left over, so I kept things really simple this week and just whipped up some salads and assembled my grapes and cheese snacks! For our main dishes, I made two that I had made before: Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup and One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole!

food-prep-ham-and-potato-soup-cheesy-chicken-broccoli-casserole

One of the things that I love about this potato soup is how quick it is to make! But along with that, it is so filling and just perfect for these cold winter days here in Iowa. I did make a couple changes to the recipe to make it a little healthier

  • I substituted unsweetened almond milk for the heavy cream called for in the recipe
  • Instead of sour cream, I used plain Greek yogurt

The only thing I wish I had done differently was at the end of the recipe when I added in the last few ingredients. Instead of just adding in the three ingredients to the slowcooker, next time I will probably whisk the flour into the almond milk first, and then add the mixture to the slowcooker. This time it took a lot of work to get those little lumps of flour mixed in :-/

For the casserole, I only made a few small changes.

  • I upped the amount of broccoli a bit. I think it ended up being around 2 1/2 c total
  • Instead of shredded cheddar, I used a shredded fiesta mix. It’s what I had on hand and it worked out great!
  • I sprinkled in some red pepper flakes right before adding the broccoli.
  • At the end of the recipe, instead of broiling it for a little bit, I baked it in the oven. Bake uncovered, at 400 for 10-15 minutes.

Tracking macros? Here is the macro breakdown of our two main dishes, using MyFitnessPal:

jan-1-macros

Want to follow along? Get your free downloadable grocery list with everything you need to make this week’s main dishes here:

What are you making for your meal prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!