Tag Archives: snacks

A Budget Friendly Meal Plan for Busy Seasons

There are usually two scenarios that find people diving head first into the world of meal planning — they need to save time or they need to save money. But at this point in the year, it often seems those two go hand and hand. We’re in the heart of the fall semester, activities are ramping up, and something about the waning evening sunlight makes it feel like a mad rush between the end of work hours and climbing into bed at night. There’s no time for planning and executing a healthy dinner on the fly!

Then you’ve got money saving. Ah yes, I feel you there. Maybe you spent a little too extravagantly on summer travel or plan to spend extravagantly on the upcoming holidays. Either way, there’s no room for extravagance in this in-between!

Enter the power of the stupidly simple meal plan…

Shopping List

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas

Lunch

  • Bread
  • Lunch meat
  • Cheese
  • Salad
  • Salad Dressing

Extras (Snacks, desserts, and lunch add-ons)

  • Granola bars
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, berries on sale)
  • Crackers
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Cookies

Dinner

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Stir-fry vegetables
  • Bulk frozen veggie
  • Pasta noodles
  • Ground turkey or meatballs
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tortillas 
  • Shredded cheese
  • Avocados
  • Refried beans or black beans
  • Green peppers
  • BBQ sauce
  • Hamburger buns
  • Chips

Meal Plan

Breakfast – Oatmeal or yogurt topped w/ bananas

Lunch – Sandwich or salad w/ 2 sides of choice (and/or any dinner leftovers)

Dinners – 

Monday/#1: Chicken stir fry w/ frozen veggie

Tuesday/#2: Spaghetti w/ fruit salad

Wednesday/#3: Quesadilla w/ beans and guac

Thursday/#4: Stuffed peppers w/ frozen veggie

Friday/#5: Panini and chips

Saturday/#6: BBQ chicken sandwiches w/ frozen veggie/fruit salad/chips (whatever is left)

Sunday/#6: Eat out

What meals are on YOUR stupidly simple meal plan? Here’s to a stress-free and money-saving AUTUMN!! 🍂 🍁 🍂

Review: Sprout VoxBox

sprout voxbox

Every once in a while the mail-box gods shine upon me and I find myself tearing into a new treat from Influenster. The Sprout VoxBox showed up on my doorstep a few days ago and I was so excited to see what was inside. Look at all the goodies!

Orgain Organic Protein Powder in Vanilla Bean – While I’m not a regular protein powder consumer, or smoothie drinker, every once in a while I like to try one out. This sample made for a great evening snack/treat mixed with a little almond milk. I love that this is a plant-based protein powder (some that contain dairy upset my tummy) that’s organic and soy free! I would recommend it to all the vegans in my life, especially considering the price tag. This one comes in at around 20 bucks a pound.

http://www.facebook.com/DrinkOrgain

http://www.instagram.com/DrinkOrgain

http://www.twitter.com/DrinkOrgain

Ecos Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent – I received this sample of laundry detergent in the Ecos signature scent Magnolia & Lily. It’s made with gentle, plant-derived ingredients and a built-in fabric softener so I don’t have to worry about any weird chemicals giving me skin irritation. Plus, it smells fantastic!

http://www.facebook.com/ECOSLaundry

http://www.instagram.com/ECOSLaundry

http://www.twitter.com/EFPClean

Hair Food Shampoo and Conditioner – This duo is part of Hair Food’s Moisture Collection, designed to soothe dry hair by adding hydration and shine. How do they do this? Honey essences. Sound weird? A little. Basically, the brand was inspired by the way honey soothes and revitalizes your body and decided to inject the same principle into their hair care. And it totally works! My hair felt and looked way healthier after a little Hair Food love.

http://www.twitter.com/HairFoodSamples

Eatsmart Tortilla Chips – I received a full size bag of the Eatsmart Three Bean Tortilla Chips and WOW! I was impressed before I even tore into the bag just by the nutrition info and the ingredients. The chips are made with pinto, navy, and black beans with 14g of whole grain, 2g of fiber and a recognizable ingredient list. And the taste didn’t disappoint either. I got the Garlic Hummus flavor…I love BOTH those things! A match made in heaven.

http://www.facebook.com/eatsmartsnacks

http://www.twitter.com/eatsmartsnacks 

Curate Bar – I LOVE bars, like Lara and Kind, that focus on real ingredients and interesting flavor combinations. The Curate bar I found in my box definitely took a page from my old favorites’ book. The flavor, Balsamic Fig & Hazelnut, is a part of Curate’s Dark & Tempting collection, just the sort of savory meets sweet snack my taste buds are always after. The bar is made of balsamic vinegar, mission figs, orange, hazelnuts, sunflower kernels, and quinoa and makes a delicious snack to tuck into your purse for when you’re on the go and hunger strikes.

http://facebook.com/CurateSnacks

http://instagram.com/CurateSnacks

http://twitter.com/CurateSnacks

Vichy LifActiv Serum and LifActiv Supreme – And these Vichy products are the pièce de résistance! I can not tell you how sold I am on this brand after just a few days of using these products. Admittedly, I’ve never used a dedicated anti-aging product before so I really have nothing to compare it to, but the LifActiv Supreme day cream is literally blowing my mind. I really only got into skin care in the last few years, coupled with the fact that I’ve turned 30 (eeks!) and like, it was probably time to try and reverse the damage of not taking great care of my face for so long while simultaneously preparing to, you know, keep getting older. So this product couldn’t have come at a better time. It soaks right into the skin, without feeling wet or tacky, and (I can’t tell if I’m making this up or not but I don’t think I am) has instant results. What sort of results? It smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while brightening and firming the skin. All FINE with me!

http://facebook.com/VichyUSA

http://instagram.com/VichyUSA

http://twitter.com/VichyUSA

Overall this was a very fun box and I truly enjoyed all the contents! If you love trying new products and posting reviews, check out Influenster. It’s totally FREE to sign up! And who knows…the mail-box gods may choose to shine down on YOU next!

NOTE: I received all of these products complimentary for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Review: Jingle VoxBox

Jingle VoxBox

Every once in a while the mail-box gods shine upon me and I find myself tearing into a new treat from Influenster. When we returned from Louisiana after Christmas the Jingle VoxBox was waiting for me. Look at all the goodies!

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream – While my skin isn’t as dry as past winters (Thanks Miami humidity!), this little jar has been perfect to pack along on trips. I’d never used Cetaphil before but I’m a total convert. The Beauty Uniforms series on A Cup of Jo has totally convinced me of the power of a good drug-store moisturizer and this one doesn’t disappoint.

http://www.facebook.com/Cetaphil

Biscoff Cookies – This little treat is totally my jam and I was so stoked to see THREE packages in my VoxBox. Yum! If you’ve ever heard (or eaten spoonfuls of) Trader Joe’s cookie butter than you know Speculoos biscuits are a taste sensation. I love these as an afternoon pick-me-up with a hot cup of tea or coffee. But if I’m being honest, I also ate a package crumbled up on top of a smoothie bowl for my lunch today. So…really there’s no right way to eat a Biscoff. Isn’t there an airline that gives these little packages out during in-flight drink service? *does research and resolves to only fly whoever it is from here on out*

http://www.facebook.com/biscoff

http://www.instagram.com/biscoffcookies

http://www.twitter.com/biscoffcookies

Ore-Ida Tater Tots – I have a bit of a soft spot for tots. Especially ones from Sonic. WHOOPS! The cat is out of the bag! I was excited to give this alternative a try and headed to the frozen section of my grocery, coupon in hand, right after my VoxBox showed up. Crispy on the outside and floofy on the inside. That’s pretty much all I need in a tot and Ore-Ida’s ticked both those boxes. These are great alongside home-made burgers (or veggie burgers) for when you’re craving Sonic but are resolved to eat at home instead. Or am I the only one out there who craves Sonic? That seems possible. Either way…these were good.

http://www.facebook.com/oreidapotatoes

http://www.instagram.com/oreida

http://www.pinterest.com/oreidapotatoes

Hallmark itty bittys – How cute is that little baby Spiderman? Pretty dang cute, IMHO. Not sure what I will actually DO with him but he looked cute amongst some Christmas decorations on my side table. I can see how these guys would make cute stocking stuffers or gift toppers. I packed Spidey up with the tree ornaments so I can try turning him into a bauble of some sort next year. Any other ideas? (I don’t have a child. Or a dog. And my cat is wildly uninterested in such things.)

http://www.facebook.com/hallmark

http://www.instagram.com/hallmark

http://www.pinterest.com/hallmark

NYC City Proof 24HR Waterproof Eyeliner – I’ve never been one for eyeliner. My makeup must-haves rotate but right now my go-to’s are tinted moisturizer, blush, and 2 coats of mascara. Done and done. However, if I’m in need of a fancier look, this liner’s got me covered. It is super fierce and glides on smoothly and easily. You could even blend it out for a smoky eye.

http://www.facebook.com/newyorkcolorcosmetics

http://www.twitter.com/nycnewyorkcolor

KISS True Volume Lashes and Strip Lash Adhesive – I’m saving these for a rainy day and/or when I need my eyes to be like, “YAAAS! We are open!” They look pretty fierce. Oh, and a cool feature? The adhesive is black so it will blend in with my lashes instead of leaving white globs that never totally dry and just make you look like you’re rocking a bunch of eye boogers in your peepers. Not a good look.

http://www.facebook.com/KissNails

http://www.instagram.com/kissproducts

http://www.twitter.com/KissProducts

Pure Ice Nail Polish – I received the shade Silver Star. It’s a really fun and festive sparkly color so it was perfect for a little New Year’s Eve finger bling. The color was really easy to apply and lasted on my nails for about a week without touch ups. I think this shade would look really neat as an accent nail paired with navy blue (my favorite nail color). You can snag Pure Ice Nail Polish at Wal-Mart for under two bucks which is a really good value for the quality. Go grab some if you’re a home-manicure junkie!

http://www.facebook.com/OfficialPureIce

http://www.instagram.com/officialpureice

http://www.twitter.com/OfficialPureIce

Overall this was a very fun box and I truly enjoyed all the contents! If you love trying new products and posting reviews, check out Influenster. It’s totally FREE to sign up! And who knows…the mail-box gods may choose to shine down on YOU next!

NOTE: I received all of these products complimentary for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

7 tips for snacking smart on the road.

snacks for a road trip

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve already embarked on a cross (part of the) country road trip this summer and am about the embark on another day-long drive to Savannah, GA to see my brother exchange vows (!!!). And since I figured I’m not the only one loading up the car for a road trip or two this season, I thought I’d share my favorite snacks to pack for nibbling as you drive (or ride) along the roads and highways on your journey! With a well-traveled childhood and over a decade of competitive forensics under my belt, I kind of consider myself a BIT of an expert and, dare I say, even a road warrior! Here’s what I pack to battle boredom  hunger on the open road…

1. PBR….no not a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon (don’t drink and drive, kids!) but Peanut Butter, Banana and Rice Cake. This is typically what I would turn to if I hadn’t given much forethought to my trip as I would probably have all these items on hand. Toss a package of rice cakes, a bunch of bananas and a half-used jar of peanut butter in your backseat, along with a knife, and you’re ready to whip up a quick PBR treat! Some assembly required so leave the work to your co-pilot or save preparation of a couple for when you’re at a rest stop.

2. Bulk Bin Trail Mixes….if your grocery store has a bulk aisle, go ahead and go wild right before your trip! Fill up individual sized baggies or jars with any variety that strikes your fancy. You’d be super surprised how little a small amount of each will cost you. My store has a version that includes chocolate covered espresso beans which could keep you from turning to cans of Red Bull once you’ve hit your wall on late night drives.

3. Grapes and Baby Carrots….on more solo journeys I’m prone to mindless eating and want something with crunch that’s not gonna be too calorically painful if I just keep reaching my hand back in the bag over and over again. I can recall a fair few trips in recent memory that have included a bag of one of these two items in between my thighs as I barrel down the highway. Sorry not sorry.

4. Snack bars….it seems I don’t go anywhere any more (even errands across town) without an emergency snack bar in my bag. I am NOT someone who is cut out for sitting in traffic when even the teeeeensiest bit hangry. Lara bars are my favorite but I also enjoy a Kind bar (especially the new spicy ones) now and again. Either of these can double as a nice breakfast (maybe paired with a piece of fruit and some gas station coffee) if you’re on the road early or your options are limited upon reaching your destination. I’ve also recently discovered the S’mores Luna bar which I think is a bangin’ solution to a candy bar craving!

5. Turkey Wraps….planning to stop somewhere for lunch? Bring along an insulated lunchbox with tortillas, deli turkey, and some sliced cheese. Maybe some fancy mustard if you’re feeling crazy! This has been Chet and my go-to for outdoor adventures (hikes, beach, etc.) and it is surprisingly satisfying. Pair with the produce and trail mix mentioned above and you’ve got yourself a meal!

6. Road Snack Meal Prep….if you’re super ahead of the game and organized, these protein energy balls and roasted chickpeas (I like mine spiced with cajun seasoning or rosemary/garlic powder) would be easy additions to your weekly meal prep when you know a road trip is on the horizon. Toss ’em in tupperware and keep them within arm’s reach in the vehicle.

7. Handy Hydration and Beverages….no matter where you’re going or how many miles you plan on covering, come prepared with plenty of water! I always fill up a few of these guys and Chet is partial to these because they keep your water cold basically forever (ice still clanging around at the end of your drive? WITCHCRAFT!). I also love Vitamin Water Zeros when it’s especially hot and sweaty…I’m sure there are reasons I’m not supposed to drink these but longhairdon’tCARE. And I will never not enjoy an iced coffee with soy if a Starbucks is made available to me. A super stingy thrifty beverage lifehack that I feel no shame in practicing is to bring along tea bags and drink mixes because you can get boiling water for free pretty much everywhere and tap water for free DEFINITELY everywhere. So, no shame in that game.

There you have it! That’s how I save a little $$$ and feel a little healthier when I’m out on the road. Of course, sometimes you’ve just gotta get a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles and a Slurpee…but you know, BALANCE!

What do you pack for snacks when you head out on a road trip? Do you throw caution to the wind and load up on gas station treats or do you bring your own healthy alternatives? I’d love to hear! Open to switching it up for my next journey!!! Thanks in advance. xoxo