Strength Training Sunday + How to Plan a Week’s Worth of Dinners

Happy Sunday!  It’s still the weekend, which means…life is good.  🙂

I realized this morning that I’d been neglecting my strength training this week, and I wanted to get back on the bandwagon ASAP.  So, after doing my cardio, I hit up the weight room.  I model my strength training based on the exercises and recommendations in The New Rules of Lifting for Women, which is a fantastic guide through the process of strength training.  I don’t follow the eating plan portion, since I’ve found what works for me, but the lifting portion is awesome.

So, this morning I did dead-lifts, step-ups, dumbbell shoulder presses, lat pull-downs, and stability ball jackknifes. I added onto this the Wicked Wallies and plank-a-day that I’ve been doing with the help of the always-fabulous Girls Gone Sporty.  By the end of it all I was a shaky, sweaty mess, but it was worth it.

I always find that the strength training workouts kick my butt and turn me into a quivering blob (my track coach used to call this phenomenon “Elvis legs”) for a while afterwards, but I really like — nay, love — the feeling of having worked incredibly hard.  I love knowing that I pushed myself to my limits!
I feel like my legs go all wonky like this after a hard work-out.

Now it’s time to soothe my muscles with a recovery smoothie: a blend of one banana, frozen strawberries, almond milk, and Vega vanilla protein powder, this tastes like a strawberry milkshake but will do my body a whole lot more good than a milkshake ever could.

Aaaaand, speaking of food, Sundays are usually when Brandon and I do our meal planning for the week — and since many people find that the hardest part about eating well is knowing what they’re going to cook and when, I figured I’d shed some light on how we select and shop for our dinners.

For many people, at the end of a long day it seems overwhelming and entirely too time-consuming to look at the fridge/pantry, figure out what you have, and then figure out what you can cook with what’s there.

This is where meal planning comes in handy: if you sit down on the weekend and figure out what you’re going to cook and when, you save yourself a ton of time, money, and brain cells.

How To Plan a Week’s Worth of Healthy Dinners:

Step 1:  Find recipes you’d like to cook.  You know your and your family’s food preferences, dietary needs, etc., so you can use Epicurious, Food Network, Allrecipes.com, or any of the bajillion awesome food blogs on the interwebz to browse and find recipes that you like.
Step 2:  Once you have 4-5 recipes, look at your schedule and figure out what you’re most likely to cook and when.  For example, do you know you won’t be home until late 2 days of the week?  Pick Crock-Pot recipes that can cook while you’re out, or choose meals that you can throw together in 20 minutes.
Step 3:  Create the grocery list.  Look at the ingredients for each of the meals you plan to make, and then figure out what you already have.  Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can create a shopping list based on what you still need for those recipes.  You can create a list either in the artsy-fartsy, “I want to make things pretty” way that I did here, or you can divide the list into categories like meat, produce, dairy/egg, and dry/bulk.
After that, you’re ready to roll — hit up the supermarket (and save time there by knowing exactly what you need), come home, and relax knowing that a week’s worth of dinners have been figured out in advance.
Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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