May 18, 2012 - Healthy Eating    11 Comments

Eating Healthy and Cheap

There are many ways to eat cheap. We have tons of fast food chains that offer cheap meals. But how many of those cheap meals actually give your body the nutrition it needs? Here are a few suggestions of things you can buy at your local grocery store that are not only cheap but very healthy.

1. Oats: Those of you that know me know that I love oatmeal. Oats are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates and can also lower cholesterol. A 42-ounce container of store brand oats costs around 4 dollars and each container contains about 30 servings, based on a serving of 1/2-cup of dry oats. So for about 4 dollars you can buy a month’s worth of breakfasts. Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 5 grams protein.

2. Coffee: Coffee contains beneficial antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer.

3. Tofu: Tofu is an inexpensive protein source that is high in B vitamins and iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many meals.

4. Eggs: Are one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a great source of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help prevent age-related eye problems. Also Store-Brand Egg Substitute is great for making quick omelets, or as an ingredient in rice. Egg substitute contains only 30 calories and has 6 grams of protein, 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin B12, 6% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 4% of the Daily Value for vitamins D and E per serving.

5. Sardines: Not the most tasty item out there but Sardines are relatively cheap and are filled with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. And like most fish they don’t accumulate mercury. Tuna is also a great, but due to levels of mercury detected in canned tuna it would probably be best for pregnant women to avoid canned tuna altogether and to choose lower-mercury seafood instead, like sardines.

6. Lowfat Milk: Is super high in protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, niacin, and calcium.

7. Nuts: Are high in fat but also have a lot of unsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Nuts are good sources of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and protein.

8. Apples: Are a good source of pectin and Vitamin C.

9. Bananas: Are high in potassium and fiber containing 9 grams for just one.

10. Watermelon: Watermelons are over 90 percent water so it’s a very easy way to hydrate yourself and also get Vitamin C, potassium, and the antioxidant lycopene.

11. Beans: Are a great source of protein and fiber. Garbanzo Beans are not only high in fiber but iron, folate, and manganese, as well and may help reduce cholesterol levels. Canned Refried Beans contain 7 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 4% of the Daily Value for calcium and 10% of the Daily Value for iron per serving. Soybeans contain 90 calories, 10 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 10% of the Daily Value for iron, and 6% of the Daily Value for calcium per serving. So if you are not particularly fond of one type of bean you have many choices and these are just a few.

12. Brown Rice: Is Low in fat and high in protein and fiber, this gluten-free rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, and B vitamins.

13. Potatoes: If you eat the whole potato, skin and all they contain about half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, and contain 168 calories, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 10% daily value for iron, and 25% daily value for potassium. Sweet potatoes also are a good source of beta carotene. Potatoes also can be used in tons of different ways to make tasty and healthy meals.

14. Beets: Contain natural sugars that make them sweet and they are full of folate, iron, and antioxidants.

15. Vegetables: A 1-cup serving of frozen mixed vegetables has 82 calories, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 115% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium. Broccoli by its self contains tons of nutrients like calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. Also broccoli has phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Butternut Squash has 5 grams of fiber per half cup and good amounts of Vitamin A and C. I know that not many people like spinach, but it has lots of Vitamin C and iron. A 4-cup serving contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 160% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 40% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% of the Daily Value for calcium, and 40% of the Daily Value for folic acid. Kale contains vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Also a canned or jarred Marinara Sauce has around 90 calories, 2 grams fiber, 15% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.

16. Whole-Wheat Bread and Pasta: (2 slices): About 120 calories, 6 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber. Also Whole Wheat Pita Bread is a great alternative. One pita contains 140 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 6 grams of protein. Whole Grain Pasta is a great source of complex carbohydrates, high in protein, B vitamins and fiber.

May 11, 2012 - Time Management    1 Comment

Where Has All the Time Gone?

There are many ways that you can improve your time management. Here are a few ways that have helped me in the past:

First, start by keeping a notebook with you everywhere you go. This will help keep your mind clear. Record everything you can, so that it’s safely stored in one place and not in your head. You can decide what to do with these notes later. Write down things like: Ideas for writing assignments (This is a personal one for me), Appointment dates, To Do list items, People you need to talk to, Events you don’t want to miss, etc.

Then, for 1 week track how you spend your time. After you have done this you can use this information to create a time budget. Creating a “time budget” will help you set specific percentages of your time that you want to devote to a certain activity, some examples are: Transportation, Housework, Leisure Time, Income Activities like work, etc.

Make sure that you stick to your time budget for the next 90 days and do a weekly review each week and you will see a major improvement. Every time that you switch to a new activity throughout the day stop and ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time at this moment?”

Try and identify one low-priority activity which you can stop doing and devote that time to a high priority task instead. Look for ways in which you regularly waste time, and limit the time that you spend on those activities. Some examples are: Watch no more than half-an-hour of television a day. Spend no more than half-an-hour a day on Facebook, and Twitter. Spend no more than twenty minutes a day playing video games, etc.

Stop trying to multitask and do one thing at a time, and without distractions. Plan your day the night before. Do the most important thing on your To-Do list first, before you do anything else.

During your weekly review, answer the following questions: What did you accomplish this week? What went wrong? What went right?

At the end of each day spend a few minutes before you go home or to bed organizing your area. Clean your room, pick up dirty clothes, organize your desk, filing papers, and make sure that your work area is orderly and that your bed room is clean, so that you can wake up to a clean room and walk in to a neat desk the next day.

Also, make a list of all of the commitments and social obligations that you have. Then, take out a red pen and cross out anything that does not truly bring you joy or help you move towards achieving your life goals.

These are just a few ideas. I hope its sparked some interest.

~John

May 4, 2012 - Marriage    14 Comments

Soon to be Mr. and Mrs. . . .

Soon a very dear friend of mine will be getting married. Which got me to thinking about some fun activities that are good ways to build and strengthen a relationship. So if you’re thinking about getting married or already are, try some of these suggestions. Let me know how they work out. Or if you have a suggestion of your own that you’d like to share please send it my way. I’d love to hear about it.

Some of these might seem a little dated, but trust me, that only adds to the fun.

Places to Visit:

  • Used or new bookstore
  • Junkyard
  • Large toy store
  • Farmer’s market
  • Nearby tourist sights you’ve never bothered to check out
  • Fine arts museum
  • Cemetery and read gravestones
  • Go on a Tour: a ship, bakery, dairy, or radio/TV station
  • Visit a vineyard

 

Fun at Home:

  • Have a cookout
  • Play games
  • Plant a garden
  • Cook a fancy dinner together
  • Buy some paints and paint a picture
  • Write a story together and try to get it published
  • Buy a junk piece of furniture and refinish it
  • Make crafts for birthday or Christmas presents
  • Read a really good book
  • Plan a budget together
  • Draw house plans of houses you would like to build. Compare them
  • Write letters to missionaries
  • Talk about the lives those people might have lived

 

Outdoors:

  • Have a picnic
  • Go berry picking
  • Go to the lake for a day
  • Go to the beach; find rocks, sea glass, and shells for someone’s garden
  • Leave a message in the sand
  • Do landscaping and yard work at home, at your church, or at the home of someone who needs help
  • Hike, mountain bike, roller blade, cross country ski, jog, or ice skate
  • Take a group of children on a field trip
  • Have a “bigger and better” night, where you start with something small and go door to door asking them to give you something that is “bigger and better” than what you have
  • Earn some money raking leaves, shoveling snow, or washing windows

 

Everyday Things:

  • Go food shopping together
  • Go to church, organization, or work functions together
  • Take a trip to the public library. Maybe research some crazy topic
  • Go Christmas caroling, even at odd times of the year
  • Lead singing on an elevator or in another public place
  • Shop for something special: fancy china, a car, or a mink coat (doesn’t buy anything!)
  • Attend an unusual convention of stamp collectors; coin collectors, home improvement experts, or Elvis look-a-likes
  • Roller-skating
  • Attend an auction
  • Go garage sailing
  • Price caskets at a funeral home
  • Make up a survey (on anything) and give it at the mall or in a park
  • Teach a class
  • Attend a conference or seminar together

 

Volunteer:

  • Fold bulletins for your church, or help in other ways
  • Sit in on a trial and discuss it afterwards
  • Volunteer for a political party
  • Volunteer at a nursing home, jail, or community clean up activity
  • Become a Big Brother/Big Sister
  • Run errands for someone together
  • Make some bag lunches and distribute them to homeless people

 

Activities with friends:

  • Go bowling with friends
  • Conduct a community outreach activity
  • Go apple picking and bring a picnic and some good friends
  • Baby-sit children together, taking them to a fun kids spot
  • Invite some friends over and bake bread
  • Throw a theme party for friends
  • Cook dinner together for friends or family
  • Fix a meal for a couple with a new baby
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