Snacks Can be Yummy, Delicious, And Good For You? Who Knew?

Over the last few days I have covered the main meals an average person has in a day… breakfast (the I don’t have time to eat” meal), lunch (the “I’m never going to get my work done if I eat now” meal), and dinner (the “OMG! I’m STARVING because I haven’t eaten anything at all today” meal.) As I already mentioned in earlier posts, there are actually three other meals you should have in a day. They’re not legitimately meals, however they are important for keeping your metabolism going, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. Did someone say snack time??

Snacks are important because they keep the flow of your metabolism in check. The longer you go in between meals the faster that metabolism starts to drop off and the more likely that your body will start to reserve what fat there already is in your body to keep you going. Now, when I say snacks, I definitely don’t mean cookies, cakes and pie. I mean things that are going to be good for you going in. So today’s post revolves around Negative calorie or Zero Calorie snacks. These kind of snacks are good because they help tide you over in between meals, and your body burns more calories digesting them than they actually provide your body.

Go through this list and select some wonderful treats to help you treat your body good!!

NEGATIVE CALORIE AND ZERO CALORIE SNACKS

VEGGIES
*Asparagus
*Beet Root
*Broccoli   
*Cabbage
*Cauliflower
*Celery
*Chicory
*Cucumber
*Garden Cress
*Garlic
*Green Beans
*Hot Chili
*Kale
*Lettuce
*Onion
*Radish
*Spinach
*Turnip
*Zucchini

FRUITS
*Apples
*Apricots
*Blueberries
*Cantaloupe
*Cranberries
*Grapefruit
*Honeydew
*Lemon
*Lime
*Mango
*Orange
*Papaya
*Pineapple
*Plum
*Raspberries
*Strawberries
*Tomato (Yes, it’s technically a fruit!)
*Tangerine
*Watermelon

This is not an exhaustive list, but it sure does give you plenty of options!! Eating these items will help reduce your caloric intake and keep you satisfied until your next meal (while eaten in moderation)!

Enjoy!
XoXo
Santana

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Dinnertime Rush

Okay, we’ve all been there. It’s dinnertime. You have nothing picked out. So you rush to grab whatever’s available. Not necessarily the best decision on your part, right? Just think when you’re having those chicken nuggets, if you had simply prepared a few things in advance you could have had a healthy and delicious meal on the table for you and your family right?

There are a lot of things you can prepare ahead of time to make dinnertime a breeze. Did you know that you can prepare green onions ahead of time? Just cut ’em up and put them in a an empty water bottle in the freezer! You can shake out a little bit at a time when you need them. They also defrost really quickly!!  You can also pre-cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips for quick and easy meal prep. I think I might even start doing some OAMC (also know as Once A Month Cooking), or may even OAWC (Once a Week Cooking) now that I’m going to be going back to work soon.

Don’t let the rush to get something on the table make you make decisions for yourself, or your family, that you may regret later!

Today’s Dinner Idea: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

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This delicious variety of the Chinese classic is about 100 calories less than the traditional version! It comes in at less than 300 calories! Definitely worth a taste. You can find the recipe here!

Enjoy!
XoXo
Santana

Lunch Fulfillment

Yesterday, I was talking about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true. This meal gets your whole day started and it is vital if you’re serious about losing weight. Did you know that when you skip breakfast your body starts to think you’re trying to starve it?  When your body thinks it’s being starved it starts holding onto that fat you’re so desperately trying to get rid of!

Well, lunch is just as important. This meal keeps your body going through the day. People often skip lunch because they are just to busy to get to it. This is soooooooooo bad for you! Once again, if you make a habit of this your body will start to recognize it and set up reserves. We definitely DON’T want this! Now lunch doesn’t need to be as big as your breakfast, so don’t get into the habit of skipping it. Find something you can eat on the go if need be.

Today’s Lunch Suggestion: Turkey Tortilla Roll Up

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This delicious, easy to carry meal comes to only 301 calories. This meal is Alli approved, and the recipe can be found here. If you would like to learn more about the Alli Diet Plan, there is a great book by Caroline Apovian, M.D. that thoroughly covers the subject. That book can be found HERE.

Enjoy!
XoXo
Santana

Please note there may be affiliate links in this post.

Breakfast… They Say It’s Important!

Did you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Yeah, well don’t feel bad… most people don’t. One thing that has become common place amongst American society is to skip breakfast, or for those that do eat breakfast, it’s a super tiny meal. We as Americans do things backwards.

What you typically see in an American eating day is three meals (small breakfast, small lunch, and HUGE dinner.) Turns out this is all wrong. Breakfast should be your largest meal. It kick starts your day. I mean after all you’ve usually been sleeping for eight hours beforehand… which is actually fasting. Your body needs this larger meal to get the motor running!!

Also, as it turns out, we shouldn’t be eating only three meals a day! Can you believe that?! One way to keep your metabolism going is to have snacks throughout the day between meals. Basically put, you should have a big breakfast, small snack, moderate size lunch, small snack, smaller dinner, and a light snack before bed. Then while you sleep your body is trying to burn off what’s left. If you eat a large dinner you’re body can’t burn it all off before your waking hours and it sticks to you.

Today’s breakfast option: Egg White Breakfast Burrito
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The recipe yields one serving. It comes in at 232 calories! Also this yummy breakfast is P90X2, P90X3, 21-Day Fix and Body Beast approved!
You can find the recipe here! The link also includes the nutritional breakdown for you!

Enjoy!
XoXo
Santana

Lose Weight, Not Taste

I have been trying to lose weight for some time now. I did recently lose 20 lbs due to a stressful job…however, 5 lbs found its way back to me.  I know that there are a lot of people that have troubles with losing weight. And it’s no wonder, most people assume that healthy food means absolutely NO flavor. Well, this could be further from the truth. All you need to know is the right combination of foods to put together that are healthy for you, give your body the energy it needs and tastes delectable.

One thing to realize, and it’s the one thing that most people forget, is that food doesn’t really do it alone. It takes the right combo of diet and exercise to get you to where you need to be.  Once you find that right mixture, you’ll be feeling better than ever in no time!

Over the course of the next week, I’m going to be presenting you with some healthy, tasty food options to help kick start you on the path of healthy eating. I want to hear from you. Try them out and tell me what you think! I will also present some valid exercise options for those that can’t get to the gym. Did you know your body can be a gym all its own?? Another concept that most people forget. 

P.S. I’m on the lookout for guest bloggers!  If you would like to write a post for this blog, please reach out to me!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

Rejoining the Workforce!

So, it’s been a couple days since I’ve posted something. It’s been a little hectic around here, and I just recently got some great news! So as you are aware, I haven’t been working for a couple months now, and I have been actively looking, while still trying to maintain financially what we have going on.

I just had an interview a couple of days ago to see about going back to my old job. Well, I got the word today. I’m just happy about the idea of going back to work. The best part is I can still take the kiddos to and from school. That’s one major stress I know a lot of families deal with when they have little ones.

I’m going to be working over the next few days on posts for this blog. I am still very excited to share my knowledge with the world, and I hope you have enjoyed the posts that have been put up thus far. If there is anything in particular you would like to see up here, please let me know!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

Teeny, Tiny Snowball, Big Financial Strides

Today’s post has to do with Financial Freedom! I bet you like the sound of that, don’t you?  Financial freedom is something that we all seek. The ability to be able to say that we don’t owe anyone anything is a dream that we all have.

What if I told you that you could accomplish this with a snowball?? I know that sounds crazy, right? But the truth is that small successes lead to even bigger ones. There are several ways to pay off debt, my favorite being The Debt Snowball. It’s pretty simple how this method works. Think of it in terms of snowball versus an avalanche (which is another method that I will cover at another time.) How does an avalanche often start? With a teeny, tiny snowball.

My husband and I have been wanting to pay off our debt for some time now. We already decided to use The Debt Snowball method to do so. It’s a simplistic way to pay off your debt without losing the momentum. Losing momentum is the biggest cause of debt payoff death, so to speak. When you don’t see progress you tend to stop doing what you’re doing, right?

When you commit to paying off debt this way, you see the small victories which make you want to keep going. Many other methods leave you waiting to see results, and that can be very frustrating. Let me explain how this wonderful method works.

The first thing you need to do is sit down with a pen and paper. I know, I know, pen and paper, so archaic. But trust me, this step is vital. Now that you have your pen and paper, write down all of your debt (anything that majorly affects your credit score falls into this… car payments, credit cards, personal loans, etc.) Now that you’ve written the names down, write down the full balance of what you owe on each one and what the monthly payment is for each.

Okay, now that you have your handy dandy list of all the money you owe from now until what seems like forever, take the list and organize it from smallest full balance to largest full balance. This is the order in which you are going to pay off your debts.

Each month you will pay your regular monthly payments for each debt on the list, however with the smallest balance throw any extra money you can at it until it is paid in full. Whew!!! One debt paid off, it feels wonderful. Now what you’re going to do is continue to pay your regular monthly payment on each remaining debt, except, now the debt that previously held the number one spot on your list is paid off. You’re going to now take the regular monthly payment you would normally put towards paying it towards the second debt on your list and any extra dough you can apply towards it. Once that one is paid off, you now have two debts checked off your list!! How exciting is that?! You will continue to repeat this cycle until all the debts on that list are paid off. Amazing what the little steps can do to help you achieve the bigger picture.

I’m going to break this down a little further below, so as to make it visually easier to understand. (Please know that these are not actual numbers but an example to assist in the learning process.)

I present Susie’s Debt. Susie was not very careful and took on way too many debts when she was in college. She got lucky and received scholarships that paid for room and board, but of course they don’t pay everything else. Susie took on too many credit cards, and she also took out a personal loan, got a car and co-signed a car with her boyfriend, who is now her husband. Now their debts are combined. Below is a list of their debts, the balances and what their monthly payments for each are.

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We’re going to take this list and break it down for you as a Debt Snowball payment method.

Step One: Pay the regular monthly payment towards all 11 debts on list. Apply any extra payment possible towards Debt #1 to help in paying it off faster.

Step Two: Debt #1 is now paid off. It’s regular monthly payment equals $30.00. Pay regular monthly payment for Debts #3-11. On Debt #2 pay it’s regular monthly payment of $25.00, but add Debt #1’s regular monthly payment towards it. (Equalling new monthly payment for Debt #2 of $55.00) Add any extra payment towards it to pay it off faster.

Step Three: Debts #1 and #2 are now paid off. Their regular combined monthly payment = $55.00. Pay regular monthly payment for Debts #4-11. On Debt #3 pay it’s regular monthly payment of $37.00, but add Debt #1 and Debt #2’s regular monthly payment towards it. (Equalling new monthly payment for Debt #3 of $92.00) Add any extra payment towards it to pay it off faster.

Step Four: Debts #1-3 are now paid off. Their regular combined monthly payment = $92.00. Pay regular monthly payment for Debts #5-11. On Debt #4 pay it’s regular monthly payment of $53.00, but add Debt #1-3’s regular monthly payment towards it. (Equalling new monthly payment for Debt #4 of $145.00) Add any extra payment towards it to pay it off faster.

Step Five: Debts #1-4 are now paid off. Their regular combined monthly payment = $145.00. Pay regular monthly payment for Debts #6-11. On Debt #5 pay it’s regular monthly payment of $92.00, but add Debt #1-4’s regular monthly payment towards it. (Equalling new monthly payment for Debt #2 of $237.00) Add any extra payment towards it to pay it off faster.

I’m sure by this point you get the gist of how the payoff method works. You just simply keep repeating the steps each month until eventually every debt on the list is paid off. You can see the progress you make on this one and it definitely helps keep up the momentum.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it to be highly informational. Any thoughts, questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

Makin’ Pretty Stuff with my Babies!

So my children have just spent the last three weeks with their grandparents. (Boy, am I lucky to have parents that would take my children for that long… plus my babies made many wonderful memories!!) I did miss them quite fiercely and they just came home last night. We spent some time over at my parents’ house celebrating Father’s Day. My loving children even assisted with preparing the feast we all enjoyed.

Now that they are home it’s time to spend some quality time together. My baby girl and I are making bracelets, because what girl doesn’t love jewelry?! My daughter loves to repurpose things so we are making our bracelets out of popsicle sticks / tongue depressors. She’s super excited!!! 

If you love making things with your little ones, listen up. Here is a craft that is easy to do!

Step One –  Get some popsicle sticks!!  Either enjoy a popsicle and keep the stick once you are done, OR you can actually purchase them at the store specifically for crafting! (Can you imagine?!) My beautiful little helper!

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Step Two – Now you have a choice here. You can either soak the sticks overnight in water, or you can bring water to a boil on the stove and then boil the sticks for 15 minutes. This helps with the pliability of the sticks when bending them into shape. Make sure to prep more sticks than you will use as there is still a possibility of them cracking. We boiled ours!

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Step Three – Bend the popsicle sticks into shape and press them inside a glass that is about the same size as a wrist.  Allow the sticks to stay inside the glass for 24 hours to fully dry so they will hold their shape.

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Step Four – Decorate your new bracelets as you see fit!!  These make easy and fun gifts for your little one to make for her friends!! That’s exactly what my baby girl is planning to do with them!

Of course, right now we’re waiting for them to fully take shape, so at another time we will display our popsicle stick bracelets in their decorated glory! 🙂

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

Happy Dad’s Day!!!

Why, you may ask, did I not put “Happy Father’s Day” as the title to this post? Well, it’s simple really. This day is for the men that are actually out there being a part of their children’s lives. And the men that even though they didn’t have to, stepped up to fill the roles of those that weren’t willing or were no longer able to. And the men that harmoniously work together as a dad and step-dad. (Though, I’m not big on using the word “step” in front of any role. As my mother has always told me, “Steps belong in front of a house, not a name.”)

I learned at a young age that any guy could be a father, but that it took a real man to be a dad. I grew up with a father that didn’t show up when he was supposed to more often than not. He was never really there for me, and it never appeared that he wanted to be. But I got lucky. When my mom remarried in 1999, Terry and I got off to a rough start, but he actually cared about my brother and me. Come to find out he was just what our family needed. My Pop (as I call him) stepped up and took on two additional kids that were already teenagers.

I’m fortunate enough to have some wonderful Dads in my life. My Pop for being the Dad I didn’t have growing up. I wouldn’t trade him for anything. My wonderful husband, James, for being an amazing Dad day in and day out and for inspiring our children to do great things. My brother, Emory, for being there for his kids. My Papaw, Raymond, may he rest in peace, for being like a Dad during the time that it felt like I didn’t have one. And my Uncle Robert, for treating me like I was his own daughter. Yes, I am fortunate, because with these types of role models for my son, I know that one day he will make an incredible dad as well. These men (aside from my grandfather due to his passing while I was pregnant) have shown my son over the course of his life how to be that Dad to be proud of.  These men have also shown my daughter what to look for when she is older. They have shown her how a woman is to be treated.

So, Happy Dad’s Day to the wonderful Dads out there!! Keep being the role models you are!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

You Mean There Is More Than One Way?

Yesterday I wrote a brief post referencing budgeting. I know, that mean old word terrifies a lot of people. But, I ask, do you really know where your money is going every month? Did you take the time to write it all out?

If you don’t know where all your money is going every month, better yet, every two weeks, maybe it’s time to find out. As it turns out, there are several ways out there to do a budget. Also, there are a lot of apps that can make budgeting easier for you and help you keep track of your payments every month. The reason for so many budget types has to do with the fact that not everybody spends their money in the same way.

So what exactly do you think a budget is? Have you ever actually thought about it before? I know budgeting sounds sooooo totally boring! Truth is, it really isn’t. Once you get the hang of it you will have small successes, which will ultimately lead to bigger successes. Basically put, budgeting is telling your future money exactly where it is going to go.

Now, there are a few simple questions you need to ask yourself before you sit down and do this budgeting thing. The most important part of these questions is for you to be completely honest with yourself. Some of the answers may even be a little hard to admit, but that’s okay. That’s why we’re doing this. In order for a budget to successfully work for you, you need to fully understand who YOU are as a spender.

The main question which encompasses several other questions is actually the hardest question to answer. What kind of a spender are you? There is a wide array of spending types. Are you the kind of person that just swipes your card through a machine and think, “Well, it went through, so that’s good”? Are you the kind of spender that when you have cold hard cash on hand if literally feels like it is burning a hole in your pocket? Are you kind of spender that thinks consciously before swiping that card about how much was in your bank account before you swipe it and how much will be left once you do? Are you the kind of spender that logs every transaction? Lastly, are you the kind of spender that when you have cash on hand you think, “Do I really need that candy bar?” These are important questions because the one you answer yes to will define which kind of budget will work best for you.

Below I am going to introduce five different budgeting styles. There are more than that, however, these are the five most common. These are the five that seem to work for most everyone, though not necessarily are they one size fits all options by any means. It’s just a start to help you think about which options out there might be the best for you.

1. ENVELOPE BUDGETING

This method of budgeting is good for those that can visualize their spending habits by having cash on hand. Those who don’t feel the desire to spend money just because it is readily available. If it feels like your money is taunting you and teasing you, saying you need to spend it just because it’s there, then this method may not be the best option for you.

This method works with a series of envelopes. Each individual envelope serves a specific purpose. You simply write a category on the envelope and place a specific amount in the envelope to cover that specific expense. Some common envelope titles used are Rent/Mortgage, Electric Bill, Water Bill, Cable Bill, etc. Make sure to make one for each expected expense, which includes things such as gas money, groceries and eating out. Be realistic in the amount of money you put in each envelope. As you place money in the envelope keep track of the amount on the outside. As you remove money from the envelope keep track of that as well.

The beauty of this system, you can actually see how much money is being spent and what it is being spent on. If you’re looking to create a savings, don’t forget to make an envelope for that as well. Once the end of the month hits, you can review your notes on the outside of the envelope and see where you didn’t put aside enough and where you drastically overshot. Now you can take that knowledge and rework your envelopes for next month.

2. DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS (AKA BUCKET BUDGETING)

This method is basically creating a “bucket” for certain larger categories. It is usually comprised of three accounts (two checking and a savings). 

You create the primary checking account to use for your fixed expenses. These expenses are the ones that you pay every month that are generally the same amount every month such as rent/mortgage, car payments, credit card payments, and utility bills. Basically, any bill that you pay every single month goes into this category and you put enough money into this specific account to cover these particular expenses.

The next account you create is a savings account. Every month, or every paycheck you set aside a specific amount of money to go into this account. This is the account you should try not to touch or use except for specific reasons. Are you saving to buy a car? Are you planning a trip? Do you want this savings account to only exist for emergencies?  Think about what this account is going to be used for when deciding how much to place into it every month.

The second checking account is for daily living expenses and extras. You would find groceries, entertainment and eating out in this category. Other things that might fall into this one are clothing purchases, allowances for the kids, or a family outing.

3. ZERO BASED BUDGET

This budgeting method is just what you see in it’s name. Zero based. What this means is that you factor every last cent of your take home pay. For example, your bring home pay is $1233.15. Of that bring home amount (which is the amount after taxes) every single cent is planned for until you hit a balance of zero. Dave Ramsey, who is an icon when it comes to budgeting and how to live the life you’ve always dreamed of living, explains it best. Go to this link here to get further information on this budgeting technique.

A great quote from Dave Ramsey… “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” Ponder on that nugget of knowledge right there.

4. BALANCED MONEY

Balancing your money in a budget is basically a percentage formula. There are a few different varieties on this one. The most common being the 50/30/20 method. I can see you thinking, “What on earth does 50/30/20 mean??” It’s actually quite simple. The 50 means 50% of your income is spent on needs. The 30 means that 30% of your income is spent on wants. Finally, the 20 means that 20% of your income is put into savings. This balancing of money can be hard for some people because of the 20 on the end. If you want to be deeply invested in saving money, then this option is the way to go. However, you may really need to cut back on some of those wants to make this a viable option.

5. CREDIT CARD BUDGETING

This last option is not really a favorite of mine, though it is common. If you’re lucky enough to have a high credit card limit, and are capable of responsibly paying it off every single month then this option can work for you. Plus if you have a credit card that offers cash back you can rack up the savings. You only get charged interest if you don’t pay off in full before your next due date. You also receive a statement every month in regards to what you used the card for.

Please note that if you are not good with credit cards, and tend to swipe freely this option is not going to do you any favors. Credit cards are a major responsibility and need to be used wisely.

Like I mentioned before, these are just five of the budgeting options available out there. Please give them some serious thought before just jumping in and using one. Which type of budget you choose will be based on the answers that you gave to the previous “What kind of a spender are you?” question.  Be honest with yourself during this process and you will definitely come out on top!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana