Weeknight Meal Planning Made Easy


spaghetti and meatballs with oregano garnish on rustic table shot with selective focus
 

Many of us are hoping to stay organized in the New Year, and what better place to start than in the kitchen. Planning your meals ahead of time can not only help your weeknights run smoothly, but can also help you stick to a budget or diet. Read below to find out tips on how to make your weeknight meals a breeze.

 

Plan Ahead
 

Avoid last-minute trips to the grocery store and stick to a schedule by planning your meals in advance. Use our printable menu planner to stay organized throughout the week and even keep track of your grocery list. Download it here! Consider making one night a week a “clean out the fridge” night, and do your best to eat any leftovers or use items that are nearing the end of their shelf life.
 

Use Your Leftovers
 

If you don’t want to eat your leftovers exactly as they are, do your best to repurpose them into new dishes. It may seem challenging at first, but after a while, you’ll find the perfect shortcuts that work for you.
 

That roasted chicken from yesterday? Pull apart the remains and throw in a homemade chicken noodle soup or chicken tortilla soup.
 

Leftover sautéed vegetables? Use in a quiche or frittata and voila! Breakfast OR dinner.
 

Stale bread? Make breadcrumbs to use for meatloaf, chicken tenders, or an oven-baked mac and cheese. You can even make bread pudding or croutons to use in a salad or French onion soup.
 

Leftover pork loin? Say hello to pork fried rice! You’re bound to have some eggs and rice handy.
 

Prepare in Advance
 

If assembling or heating up a meal is virtually all you have time for, consider preparing in advance. In fact, some recipes will taste even better the second day! Freeze leftover soups, stews and sauces to take out and defrost at a later date. Freeze diced onion, celery and carrot, and you always have a mirepoix at your disposal. If your goal is to stay away from the freezer, then simply chop or marinate everything the night before or the morning-of, and you’re already on your way to a faster meal.
 

Get Your Groceries Delivered
 

Don’t have time to get groceries? Check with your local grocer to see if they offer a delivery service. Or, choose another delivery service like one of the ones below.
 

1. Instacart
 

One of the most popular options for grocery delivery is Instacart. For orders over $35, deliveries are $6, or $8 for one-hour delivery. Not only can you order from multiple stores, but you can also schedule deliveries for days in advance. The company services a wide area and delivers perishable produce, which some services do not. Be aware that delivery costs, an additional optional fee, and a tip for your deliverer do add up. However, you can get $10 in groceries when you sign up and use our promo code on your first purchase: EMARKETING1CF169.
 

2. Amazon Fresh
 
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Amazon Fresh is a great option for you. For $10, have deliveries under $40 delivered on the same day or the next day. You can even set specific two- to three-hour delivery windows to ensure your groceries don’t wait around for you to return. If you pay $15 a month, you can get unlimited free deliveries on purchases over $40. Keep in mind, these fees are on top of the annual $99 Amazon Prime membership, but Amazon makes it easy for you to shop around and compare prices. For those of you with Amazon Echo products, try asking Alexa to place your next order.
 

3. Shipt
 

With an annual fee of only $99, Shipt is cheaper than yearly subscriptions to Instacart or Amazon Fresh. You can pay the yearly fee, or choose to pay $14 per month for unlimited deliveries for orders over $35. For orders under $35, the delivery fee is $7. Shipt also allows you to set substitute preferences, so in case the store is out of your preferred item, you’ll be sure to have your second choice delivered.
 

Happy weeknight meal planning!

 

Create the Perfect Home Gym


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Home gyms are a great way to motivate you to work out more, as they also allow you to work out in the comfort of your home, on your own time, and with your own routine.
 
Creating your own gym at home enables you to save time that you would have spent driving to and from the gym, waiting for equipment, and working around your gym’s hours.
 
For many, it’s an opportunity to stay focused and avoid distraction by other gym-goers. It’s also a chance to save money that you would’ve spent on a gym membership.
 
Below are some tips on creating your own workout space at home.
 
First, pick out a space you want to use as your gym. The best spot is usually one where you can escape your everyday distractions and feel relaxed within your space. These can be rooms such as a garage, a basement, or a guest room. Make sure whichever space you choose has a door so your workout won’t get interrupted. Once you know the room size you are working with, you can start picking out items to personalize your gym.
 
Consider purchasing speakers to block out extra noise and keep you motivated. Speakers with Bluetooth capabilities are ideal if you hope to connect them to a smart device.
 
This set of Sonos speakers can be used together, or one at a time, and the sound level can fill your entire space.
speakersSpeakers – $398.00 (Set of 2)
 
Next, invest in multiple full-length mirrors and good lighting. These items will enable you to keep an eye out on your technique and form, and prevent any injuries.
 
Placing a weight scale in the room is also something to consider if you are trying to lose or monitor your weight.

 

scale
Scale –$ 22.90
 
Proper flooring is crucial for any home gym in order to prevent your equipment and floor from being scratched or ruined.  If you don’t have equipment, it will also protect your joints when doing any exercises. If foam flooring is a stretch, be sure to utilize a yoga mat for stretching or any cardio or resistance routines.
 
full
 
Foam – $59.99-399.99 (Depends on Size)
 
Once you have the basics down, it’s time to start buying equipment. The type of equipment you buy depends on the type of workout you prefer. An assortment of cardio and resistance training equipment will allow you to complete a well-rounded workout.
 
For resistance training, search for a set of dumbbells in your preferred weight, or opt for an adjustable set.
 
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If you tend to avoid cardio, or only want to do it occasionally, leave space in your home gym for a cardio circuit. Not only will you save money on a treadmill or stationary bike, you will also have the ability to do any type of cardio that does not require big machines (i.e. jumping rope, sprints, etc.). However, if cardio is your workout of choice, you may want to invest in a treadmill or elliptical.
 
Now that everything is set up, try to consistently keep your space clean and organized. Wipe down any areas after each workout, and reset any equipment.
 
Those are all our tips for helping you create the perfect home gym! Keep in mind — the best workout for you is the one that motivates you to be healthy and happy.