[lazy] Healthy Lunch – Simple Soup

Special Edit – Since this post has been so popular, I’m going to be creating a [lazy] lunch series — the next installment will be coming your way on Monday, April 13th!

Hello, Sweathearts!

Happy Monday! I don’t know about you, but I personally over-indulged on Easter sweets over the weekend. I crashed hard from my sugar high last night, and it was hard to get out of bed this morning. When I finally made my way to the kitchen to get ready for my workday, I realized that I hadn’t done any sort of meal prep over the weekend. Cue horror-movie music.

You see, if I don’t have a lunch prepared that I can grab and run out the door with, I’m likely to leave my house with nothing and rely on picking up lunch at the office. My local options? McDonalds, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Subway. Not ideal. While it is possible to pick out relatively healthy choices at each of those restaurants, I tend to allow myself to run wild. I end up back in my office with a meatball sub, medium fries, a chocolate caramel muffin, and a large sugary coffee. Okay, I’m exaggerating…but you get the point.

I’ve taken to keeping some backup items on hand so that on days when I haven’t prepped a full meal, I can still put together a balanced plate in a short amount of time. Here’s my favorite “lazy” lunch:

Soup

First up, a can of Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup. It’s delicious, filling (hello, plant-based proteins!), and has a pull-top. I throw this into my bag with a bowl for heating.

Green Giant

Next, I pull a Green Giant Steamers veggie box from the freezer. They have so many veggies to choose from, but this Healthy Weight version is my favorite. The veggies are balanced in a light butter sauce, but there are also plain veggies and even veggies with rice available.

APPLE

Apples are my favorite fruit, so I always have at least one sitting on my kitchen table. I’ll throw one in with my lunch, but usually I’ll have it as a snack in the morning.

CHOCOLATE

Finally, I’ll throw in a chocolate square to round things out. Life is all about moderation, right?

So there you have it–an easy to pack in less than a minute “lazy” lunch! It just so happens to be vegetarian friendly, as well. What are your favorite lunch choices for days when you are in a hurry? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Upgrade Your Workout for Under $20

It’s amazing how making a few small changes to your workout routine can make such a big difference. For me, wireless headphones were a game changer–no longer do I get tangled up in the cords! That was a pricier change, but there are plenty of products I’ve found costing under $20 that have forever changed my workouts for good. Here are 5 of my favorites.

photo 1-2lululemon Light As Air Thong, $16

I know, spending $16 for a pair of underoos sounds crazy. But these thongs are ridiculously comfortable, leave no visible panty lines, and come in simple solid colors and fun prints, like this camouflage pair.

photo 1Sweaty Betty Hair Toggles, 5 for $8

I have extremely thick, hard to manage hair. In the past when working out, I’d use 2 thick hair ties to keep my hair in place, and it still ended up falling out–usually just a few minutes into my workout. These hair toggles really grip your hair and keep it firmly in place. I can now make it through an hour-long power yoga sequence without worrying about my hair flopping into my face during downward dog.

photo 2-2Master Lock Speed Dial Combination Lock, $7

This easy to use lock makes it simpler than ever to keep your belongings safe at the gym. It unlocks using a series of movements (up, down, left, right) rather than numbers or a key.

photo 2Sparkly Soul Headbands, $15 (thin band)/ $17 (thick band)

In addition to being untamable by hair tie, my hair (or maybe my head) tends to repel headbands. I’ve purchased countless bands to try, but only Sparkly Soul has stood up to the task of staying put. They come in tons of colors, and add a fun touch to any workout outfit. I’m in love.

photo 4Lorna Jane Secret Sock, $10

I hate when my socks fall down during a workout, but I also hate socks that stick out ridiculously far from my shoes and rub me the wrong way. These socks strike the perfect balance–they are comfortable and remain perfectly hidden. I have them in black and white, and they also come in a nude shade.

What are some of your favorite bargain fitness finds?

Sweat Worthy – Link Love #3

Hello, Sweathearts! It feels good to be writing here again. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me–I won my first local title in the Miss America system, an am delighted to represent my community and take my first trip to the Miss New York pageant. When I relaunched Sweatsational, I was not expecting to win a title. My schedule is now going to be a little tighter, but I’m dedicated to making Sweatsational a success! Keep an eye out for more of the usual posts, but also a series related to preparing for the Miss New York lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit competition! I’m not trying to lose weight, but want to build lean muscle tone so that I’m at my best fitness level when I hit the stage.

I hope you enjoy the links I’ve gathered this week. A few are very near and dear to my heart!

MOVE TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – I’m an advocate for empowering teens (and adults!) with the tools they need to say no to domestic violence. I work closely with My Sisters’ Place, a local organization dedicated to providing support (in many ways) to survivors of domestic violence and educating the community. Their newest initiative, Team MSP, allows you to get your sweat on while raising funds to support these needed services.

gratitude-attitude

CULTIVATE GRATITUDE – I discovered 12 Months of Lent through the lululemon blog a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever sense! This recent post by blog author Dani features an excellent 60 second stress-buster aimed at fostering contentment.

LOVE A GOOD WORKSHEET? – I used to love worksheets when I was still in school. I know, I’m a nerd. I was extremely happy to see these fabulous worksheets on the Move Nourish Believe blog this week. They are designed to help encourage your positive mindset and help work through any insecurity you may be struggling with. I’ve printed them and will be using this weekend!

How-Use-Small-Exercise-Ball-Effectively

Photo from PopSugar

SMALL CHANGE, BIG RESULTS – I’ve only ever used large fitness balls–I’ve never even seen one this small until this week! In my PopSugar Must Have Box for the month of March, I received this small pink fitness ball that I had no idea what to do with. Thankfully, they have a how-to guide online, which I’m sharing here. Have you ever tried a mini fitness ball before? How did you like it?

What links have you been loving this week? Leave a comment here, as I’d love to check out your picks!

*The link to PopSugar Must Have is a referral link, which means if you purchase a box through that link, I will be credited for referring you. You do not have to use that link to purchase 🙂

Monday Mantra: So you had a bad day…

Happy Monday, Sweathearts!

As usual, I want to help you start the week off with some motivation. Have you ever had a bad day? I’m guessing the answer is yes. I’m even willing to wager that a few of you are having a bad day today—it is Monday, after all. I’ve had my fair share of bad ways. Some have been bad for silly reasons, and I’ve woken up the next day already forgetting the cause of my bad mood the day before. Others have been so bad that they’ve stuck around for awhile. Once we find ourselves stuck in a bad day rut, it can be hard to get out of it. Here are some of my favorite ways to remind myself to find the silver lining in cloud-filled situations.

Sweat it out: Okay, you had to know this one was coming. This is a fitness blog! But while I typically enjoy hitting the gym or a class to get my workout on, when I’m in a bad mood one of my favorite ways to move is an outdoor run. There is something about breathing in the fresh air and taking in my surroundings that helps to calm me down. Even in the winter, I’ll bundle up and take a quick jog around the neighborhood when I need to clear my mind.

Talk about it: When I’m frustrated, it is so easy to shut myself away from the rest of the world. I want to be angry, and I want to be angry by myself…because if I talk to someone, chances are they’re going to help me see the good in a bad situation. They’re going to encourage me to keep my chin up and move forward. And even when all I want to do is curl up into an angry ball and throw a pity party for myself, I force myself to talk through situations with my parents, my sister, my girlfriends, or my boyfriend. Their advice is always spot-on, even when I don’t feel like I’m ready to take it.

Treat yourself: I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I know that I get a little endorphin rush whenever I click the “buy” button on my favorite website. It is a weakness of mine that I have to keep in check, but I budget a certain amount of “fun money” for myself each month. When I’m feeling down, I’ll treat myself to a new book or small gift to bring a smile to my face. I’m not advocating going on huge shopping sprees whenever you’re having a bad day, but a small treat can be a great mood booster.

Image

My idea of the perfect pick me up: workout gear with motivational messages! (Image from Lorna Jane)

Eat healthy foods: The struggle is REAL when it comes to pigging out on junk food when I’m feeling sad. But I’ve noticed that giving in doesn’t make me feel better at all after the initial food coma wears off. I typically feel sluggish or sick after eating food that I’m not used to, and end up breaking out a few days later as well. Not worth it! I try to have some go-to healthy comfort foods: freshly brewed tea, smoothies, a savory egg dish, or fruit.

Remind yourself that it’s a bad day, not a bad life: Perspective is one of the most important things that I try to remind myself of. I try to gauge things by the “facebook laugh-o-meter”: If I posted what was making me upset on facebook, would people laugh at me? If the answer is yes, it’s time to put things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world to scuff a pair of shoes. It isn’t going to kill me if I don’t win my next pageant. My life is still an incredible one, and I should transform my negative feelings into positive action: helping those around me whose bad days are far more troubling than my own.

How do you like to cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?

O2 MAX Accelerator Program – Day 6

Wow, Sweathearts!

Boy, did I let y’all down with my daily updates.

My apologies. It has been a crazy busy few days for me! I’m definitely a wee bit overwhelmed with schoolwork. Add in some fun events with friends this weekend and you get a neglectful blogger. The good news is, I’m back to finish this series strong! The great news is, the O2 MAX Accelerator program is so easy to follow that I was still able to squeeze in some short workouts each day.

With the Accelerator program, a ten day plan is sent to you ahead of time. It’s a PDF file, so you can print and follow along that way, or check out the workouts from your phone. The fact that I could look up my daily workout on my iPhone on-the-go this weekend made it so much easier to stay committed! The workouts are also short and sweet: 6 moves per day.

This weekend was definitely a challenge. I ended up doing my workouts very late at night, in my pajamas, ready to hop into bed as soon as I finished. I didn’t stick to my diet perfectly, as time with my girlfriends inevitably includes cupcakes, cookies, and other treats. But…that’s okay. So often, we beat ourselves up when we deviate from our fitness plans. But it happens! This weekend, I reminded myself that even a minimal workout is better than no workout. The lemon bar I ate? Well, I also walked the streets of NYC and ran through subway stations for cardio. Balance is important, and I’m ready to get back on track with my usual workouts this week…and ready to share them with you here!

How were your weekend workouts?