New Year, New Goals – Move More!

New Year, New Goals – Move More!

Did you know that the top four New Year’s Resolutions in 2018 were to eat healthier, exercise more, save more money, and take better care of yourself? We often end our holidays and start our new year with great intentions, but fizzle out before the last decorations have been put away.

Although they can feel impossible, health goals don’t have to be a challenge! Regular exercise can improve mood and mental health, control weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and help you sleep better at night. Incorporating more physical activity can be as simple as sitting less and moving more throughout your day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 30-45 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 20 minutes of vigorous activity each day for major health benefits.

Regular exercise doesn’t always have to mean a trip to the gym. Here are some helpful tips to make exercise more enjoyable:

  • YouTube workouts: YouTube is full of great workouts for any skill level that can be done from the comfort of your home!
  • Join a community recreation center: many community centers have athletic programs such as softball and kickball that can make exercise both fun and social! Check with your local community center for more information.
  • Go for a walk or play at the park: although the weather can be a bit chilly this time of year, some days are still warmer. Try taking a walk with your kids or visit a local park as a fun way to get the whole family involved!
  • Discount gym memberships: many gyms have discount memberships at the beginning of the year. Check with a local gym to see if they have any deals.

Remember, a resolution doesn’t have to be perfect! Don’t give up if don’t reach your exercise goal every week. Give these exercise tips a try this new year!

-Logan

How to beat the rising cost of meat

I love a good deal whether it’s on clothes or groceries! And I hate paying full price for anything if I can help it. The cost of meat along with everything else continues to rise and has become one of the largest budget items in our family’s grocery budget. Most of us like eating meat so finding ways to make it more affordable is important. If you have freezer space, buying a large cut of meat can be cheaper per pound than buying individual cuts. You can have the butcher at the grocery store cut it up for you into smaller pieces. The butcher should not charge you extra for this service; it’s part of his job. You do need to tell him what cuts you would like or ask him for his recommendation on the best way to cut it.

A large 16-pound sirloin tip could provide you with the following cuts:

  • 6 lbs. hamburger or (12) ½ lbs. of hamburger
  • 2 lbs. stew beef
  • (2) 2-lb. roasts
  • (12) 4-oz. steaks or (6) 8-oz. steaks (3 lbs total)
  • 1 lb. of trim waste
Here is a cheat sheet to help you.

Here is a cheat sheet to help you know how to make different cuts from a whole sirloin tip.

Buying the whole sirloin tip costs less per pound than buying each of these items individually. To preserve the meat for longer freezer storage, wrap each item tightly in plastic wrap to keep the air from getting to the meat. Then place the wrapped items in freezer storage bags or containers. Make sure you push as much of the excess air out of the freezer bag as you can prior to putting in the freezer. I close the bag all the way leaving a space to insert a straw. Suck all the air out of the bag and pull the straw out while closing the remaining space. This is almost as good as the expensive vacuum sealers. Mark the bags with the contents and the date you put it in the freezer.

My husband loves ribeye steaks. Recently a local store had whole rib-eyes on sale for $6.99/lb. A quick trip to the “club” grocery store down the street to which we belong showed that their whole rib-eyes were $3.00/lb. more expensive. So we bought the whole rib-eye at our local grocery store and had the butcher cut it into 1” thick steaks. At home, I cut each of these steaks into half giving us steaks that averaged about 5-6 ounces. This amount provides an adequate serving of meat for us for dinner. When I finished cutting, wrapping and storing the steaks in the freezer, I ended up with 36 steaks that cost just $3.62 per steak. When did you last pay $3.62 for a rib-eye steak? Since we don’t eat steaks often, this will last us for over a year in the freezer. Because I protected the meat from freezer burn by wrapping first in plastic wrap and then placing in freezer storage bags, my steaks will be as good as the day I put them in the freezer.

Ribeye steaks packaged and labeled and ready for freezing.

Ribeye steaks packaged and labeled and ready for freezing.

Look for ways you can purchase larger cuts of meat to save you money in the long term. It does require you to expend a larger amount of money at one time for the larger piece of meat, but if you plan and set money aside each week or month, it is well worth it when your freezer is stocked with good, quality meat at a reasonable price.

For more information about the different cuts of beef available, check this infographic: http://www.angus.org/pub/beefchart.pdf .

Happy shopping!

Suzanne

Planning ahead

Planning your meals ahead of time will actually save you time and money in the long-run, and help you stay on track with healthier food options.

Here are some ways to plan ahead:

  • Plan as a family. Have family members suggest different healthy meals they want for the week.
  • Buy meat in bulk, then season, divide into portions and freeze. When prepping for a week’s worth of meals, place each entrée in a glass container, so you can easily identify its content at a moment’s notice.
  • Plan meals by using a checklist of proteins, fruits and veggies and side dishes of all the colors of the rainbow. This makes it much more fun and exciting when the kids actually choose to eat or try foods like purple eggplant or yellow squash blossoms.
  • Have a meal that you serve once every week.
  • On the weekends (or days when you have more time), make bigger meals or meals you can double to freeze such as lasagna or enchiladas, to reheat during the week
  • Be flexible! For some people, using a very precise menu for every day of the week works well, but some people actually find it more stressful to be tied into food that their family may or may not be excited about that day. Another option is to plan a loose guide of the proteins and general veggies for the week and make what sounds good in the moment.

What other ways do you like to plan ahead? Comment below!