Grocery Haul · Healthy Eats + Treats

Grocery Haul #1: 1/5/2020

Grocery shopping can either make or break a person’s week. Christian & I have been doing a pretty solid job when it comes to shopping once a week for everything we need (versus taking a trip every other day depending on something we forgot, ran out of, or thought of a last-minute dinner idea. With the new year in place, budgeting has been my #1 goal, so some of the ways I’ve been sticking to that goal:

  • Planning out the week’s worth of meals
  • Making a list of what you need — this is absolutely critical, and helps me bypass the seasonal holiday section/clearance candy. I got the cutest lil grocery list from my mom right here
  • Sticking to 1-2x a week shopping –sometimes you just can’t make it a whole week, whether it’s because your veggies go bad or you’re just getting started & your cadence hasn’t kicked in yet, & that’s totally cool. You’ll get there 🙂
  • Thinking to myself “Do i need it THIS week, or do I have enough to last me until the next grocery trip?

Staple items in our weekly shopping trip (~$50 worth when shopping at my local Aldi):

  • Chicken breast
  • Ground turkey (93/7) or ground beef
  • Pre-cooked ham
  • ~ 5 Bags of leafy greens (spinach, romaine, spring mix, etc.–totally can opt for the non-bagged one, but I prefer the convenience with how much of it we go through)
  • Pint of tomatoes
  • Carrots (the huge bag that needs washed–not the baby carrots)
  • Celery
  • Sweet potatoes/russet potatoes (whichever my eyes locate first)
  • 2 bags of Brussel Sprouts 2
  • Hummus
  • Container of lunch meat
  • Almond milk
  • Unflavored Greek yogurt (the biggg container – perfect for snacks, breakfasts, and literally every combo out there)
  • Eggs
  • Some sort of 32 oz carbonated waters (my ultimate “splurge”–i’m obsessed with carbonation)
  • Vanilla wafers (every girl needs something sweet in the house)

Typically every other week consists of the following:

  • Onions
  • Bacon (Sunday mornings are NOT complete without some bacon!)
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla chips (perfect for nacho/taco night in the household)

Based on what we were able to purchase, this is what our week of dinners are looking like so far:

  • Sunday: Leftover chicken parm & roasted broccoli
  • Monday: Tuna burgers & microwaveable broccoli/brussel sprouts
  • Tuesday: Taco salads w/ ground beef, salsa, greens, veggies, & tortilla chips
  • Wednesday: Burgers, homemade fries/sweet potato fries, side salads
  • Thursday: Cooked ham, roasted brussel sprouts & carrots
  • Friday: Fish, wild rice, roasted broccoli

What is your family having for dinner? How do you guys budget while shopping?

xoxo tabitha

Dietitian Talk

My Experience with the RD exam

So, after years of schooling…and an internship that consists of over 1000 hours of supervised practice in long term care, acute care, management, and intervention rotations, it all comes down to passing or failing the 125-145 question exam.  Now of course I’m not going to go and tell you whats on the exam, because everyone’s is different. Before I took my exam, I went online to look up “how to breathe during the exam” and “how not to puke while taking the RD exam” because in my opinion, it’s a really HUGE deal. Yes, you totally can take it again. and again… but the $$  you spend taking it plus the time you spend studying…let’s just say it’s better to pass it come the first time around.

So I’m just going to give a brief perspective of my experience taking it and how I prepared for it myself!

My class graduated from the internship on Wednesday May 25th and I took my exam Tuesday July 19th. That gave me about eight weeks to prepare, but realistically I didn’t start preparing until say 3-4 weeks out. I enjoyed my Memorial Day weekend (Shawn left for basic that weekend so I was glued to HIM, not so much my notes), and I did take a spontaneous trip to Florida with Christyna for a week, in which I didn’t study at all for the exam. Originally I scheduled my exam for August 9th, but when June 15th hit I was like okay Tabitha, let’s start studying and move your date closer. By making my date sooner it really got me to studying and actually not procrastinating.

 

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How I studied:

  • I am SUCH a visual learner; listening/audio never helped me. I was lucky enough to go to one of Jean Inman’s 2 day course in  Pittsburgh and be given her book of information regarding what to study and know for the exam (essentially a bible for any person who is taking the RD). If you can go to, her course OR simply purchase the jean inman book (pricey I know, you will be happy you did so.
  • I went through Jean’s book and everything she told us to note or highlight I put on flashchards. I had over 500 flashcards! Writing the notes on the flashcards helped me remember it better than simply reading the book over and over.

 

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  • After all my flashcards were made I had about 1.5 weeks until my exam…so I really had to kick it in full gear. I spent 5 days doing the 1000 practice questions and reviewing the answers from the Jean Inman book she had given us. I circled the ones I got wrong and went back to see why I had gotten them wrong.
  • The last 4 days before my exam I spent reading each of the four domains out of that book of hers. Each day I read 1 domain each and made sure I understood the concepts. Reading outloud to myself was very helpful.
  • The morning of I had to drive 1 hour to my closest testing center and my heart was just beating the whole time. I arrived 45 minutes early (they recommend 30 minutes early) and I was able to sign in and wait outside the door. The room I would be using consisted of several people, yet I was the only one sitting for the CDR exam. Everyone else were waiting to take their 7 hour surgery board exams (thank god my exam was only 2.5 hours!!)
  • I had to lock up all my stuff, turn my phone off, have my finger prints and palms scanned and then she let me begin my exam at 8am. She provided me with headphones and ear plugs, which ever I preferred use. The headphones worked so well.
  • During the entire exam I was just clicking the next button and wanting to cry because I felt like each answer was wrong. 80% of me thought I failed, and the 20% was just hopeful I passed. As I finished the exam within the hour, I clicked finish and had to take a short survey at the end regarding my exam and man…although It was “short”, it felt like FOREVER since I couldn’t get my results until the end of the exam.
  • I got my results saying pass and I just sat there in shock, and rose my hand to be dismissed. She came in and asked “all done?” and I just looked at her and said “….I passed……” still in disbelief!!
  • She printed out my results and I called my mom right away crying as I walked to my car. I sat in my car for about ten minutes because my hands were still shaking from the fact that my ten year goal of becoming an RD was accomplished!!

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What’s on the list for the next goal I need to accomplish?? Hopefully this helps anyone considering the exam!

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Weekend Wrap up #1: Children’s Hospital, Bikini Shopping, Fuller House

Starting a new “weekend wrap up” trend! Because of how busy people can get, sometimes blogging EVERY day just isn’t feasible, especially when you are a 21 year old grad student trying to work and save the world all while attempting t pay bills and possibly having a social life…

 

but anyways let’s back it up to Friday:

20160226_165804430_iOSFriday February 26th: DESSG Meeting in Pittsburgh at the Children’s Hospital. Here my fellow interns and I learned so much regarding childhood nutrition and nutrition-related diseases, such as PKU and Cystic Fibrosis. Lunch wasn’t catered (and when it is, it’s usually salad with some white bread rolls and chicken followed by chocolate chip cookies), but there was a beautiful café with plenty of food options. Because I was completely unsure of what would be served, I had to pack my lunch. Packing a meal when going to unfamiliar places is KEY to staying on track! If I hadn’t had packed my overnight oats along with my chicken, sweet potato, and spring mix salad, I would have easily caved on pizza and “healthy” sandwiches (and by healthy I mean 700 mg of sodium & half of your days worth of calories on white bread). This means taking some time the night before and ensuring you’re meal is ready to go so it’s a quick grab on the way out the door. One of the interns I work with even asked me how to meal prep and what exactly I do! Very heart warming to know people notice my hard work.

Overall the presentation was entirely informative and although we got lost and parking was so frustrating (it’s the city, what do you expect?), the experience was definitely worth it. When we got back to town, I trekked over to the gym and just wasn’t in the mood: You know those days where you feel completely awful about yourself? I was having one of those days. Mirrors are heartbreaking at times, but we can’t let it effect our mood.

Saturday February 27th: Waking up and deciding to sleep in and skip the gym so I could snooze until 5AM before I had to head to work. Luckily it was a short day and I was able to get out of there, head to the gym, and get home and start some work. Saturday was used as a catch up day: catch up on my bills, errands, cooking, cleaning, the typical boring adult tasks. I do feel fairly accomplished though, now if only I could get my car washed that would be a huge task completed!

I left to Shawn’s later that night and we watched the new Netflix series “Fuller House”. LOVE it! Although all Shawn wanted to do was talk, my eyes were glued to the screen hahah sorry Shawn! Seriously, if you have the option to watch Netflix, definitely give the first two episodes a shot!

 

 

Fuller-House

I also ended up buying my bikini for my competition! AHHHH. Let’s hope it fits. The color will be revealed sooner than later Winking smile

 

Sunday February 28th: I sit here eating my egg white omelette w/ spinach as I get ready for another day at work! I got my first session of cardio in this AM and am about to head into work, chop up some fruits and veggies, and kill another session of cardio tonight. Lots to do:

homework, lesson plans, workout, *breathe*, pay more bills, *breathe*

 

Did I mention breathe?? Sometimes life gets super overwhelming, so I have to (literally) tell myself that everything is going to be okay.

 

Happy Sunday Smile

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Workout WednesdaY

20140811_152333409_iOSHow’s everyone’s work out wednesday going?! This week has been jammed back with back to back activities, it’s a little stressful fitting them all into one last week of being home, but I’m making it all happen! Monday a few friends of mine went hiking to Hacklebarney State Park along the trails. (See! I’m sticking with the spontaneous lifestyle!) Some of the guys decided to bring their fishing poles and attempt to catch a few fish. Of the 3 hours we were there, only two were caught haha. I gave it a try and didn’t get any luck. Hiking is such a fun and social way to get your daily exercise, especially on trails with lots of elevation changes. After hiking I headed over to work at Rita’s with my two favorite girls Haleigh and Bianca. No matter how busy or how slow the work day is going, I know I can always count in having an incredible time with them.

Yesterday’s events including catching up with my best friend from high school Rachel. Although we had been distant for the past year or so, it’s so nice to be back and act as if nothing ever changed. Friendship is definitely of the most important intangible items in the world that everyone should find. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, all that matters is that you have that one person you can be 100% yourself with. Luckily I found Rachel at age 14 during the awkward years of freshman and sophomore of high school.  You know those friends that have the exact sense of humor as you? That’s the friends you want to find. And trust me,  I have such a sarcastic sense of humor, so it can come off as a bit brusque, and luckily Rachel completely gets it.

 

20140811_143537679_iOSMy plans for today was going to consist of just a quick evening coffee with an old family friend, but I received a (spontaneous) text from my friend Chris to grab some lunch, so we decided to catch up over some Chipotle Smile I love Chipotle—easily of the healthiest ‘fast food’ options in my area of New Jersey. Although it is a tad pricey, it’s worth the treat every now and then. So much change has been happening with myself lately, and I love it. Rachel even said she noticed it lately. She said I have a glow to myself since the last time she has seen me. She said I look healthier, have more pep to my voice, and my eyes actually sparkle when I talk. I feel so much better, too. I don’t know what it is, but this summer was such an eye opener to me. I’m becoming friends with people I never expected to enjoy time with, striking up conversations with random people, and even going on unplanned adventures (which, to me, is completely impossible….well…so I thought!)

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Superfruit Sunday: Bananas

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Give it up for this week’s super fruit, bananas! Bananas are such a quick, easy, and affordable roughly (40-60 cents per pound) fruit that all families should have as a staple in their kitchen.

What are some of the healthy benefits of bananas?

– Potassium: We all know, or at least hear, that bananas have a lot of potassium…but what does that actually mean for our bodies and health? Potassium is important in maintaining the salt  and water balance throughout our bodies and maintaining the osmotic pressure in our cells. Potassium is also fairly important in the creating strong and sturdy bones. Getting an adequate amount of potassium is crucial for proper kidney regulation and heart health.

-mood calmer: as a great source of tryptophan and serotonin, bananas are a perfect snack to consume before a race, a performance, and even before sleep. the tryptophan, which converts into serotonin, is a hormone that has a calming effect on the brain.

-fiber: the high amount of fiber in bananas helps relieve constipation and keep your digestive system regular.

-vitamin B6: bananas have about 30% of your day’s worth of vitamin B6 in a medium banana, a vitamin that has many roles in your body. From proper cell formation, an anti-inflammatory agent, and an important agent in nervous cell function, bananas are a great addition to a healthy diet!

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Spontaneity: A necessity

Aviary Photo_130520733732181418Spontaneity is something that never came easy for me, and I’ve learned to accept it. The past few days though have been an eye opening experience to say the least, and I’m happy to say that I’m coming out of my niche! Thursday I woke up and hit the gym and made myself a delicious smoothie including:

-1 scoop Designer whey vanilla protein

-1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

-1 banana

-4 tablespoons old fashion oats

– 4-6 oz almond milk

The oats added a little fiber boost plus thickened it up!

 

Thursday night I was invited to stay over one of my good friend Brian’s house with a few of our friends so we could head out at 2am and enter New York City to watch Luke Bryan perform on Good Morning America. I dabble in a few country singers every now and then, and Luke Bryan is definitely among my favorites (I mean, who wouldn’t love that guy?! Just look at him!) So of course I said yes. As the time got closer to leave to Brian’s, however, my motivation kept decreasing and all I wanted to do was go to sleep and just call off the whole thing. I even tried but Brian insisted I come!

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And of course I did, and man what a great time it was! We stayed up all night and all of us, some of the people that I haven’t spoken to since high school, caught up and chit chatted about our new lives, our passions, our careers—it was amazing to see how much people have matured. We left at 2am, grabbed the Staten Island ferry at 4am, got lost on the Subways and in Central park until 5:30 where we finally made it to the front of the line (by 5:30 am I had been up for over 24 hours and I was ready for a good nap!) Not only did I learn that Good Morning America live shows aren’t the best (in my opinion) but I also learned that spontaneity is necessary in life: for health, for happiness, and for living. You only truly live once, right? Winking smile

 

I got home around 12:30 pm and fell right to sleep, only to wake up around 4:30 from a text from one of the members from our Luke Bryan group to get some ice cream that night. Another spontaneous activity? I thought I had enough unexpected events happen for the day, but I figured I would accept it. Besides, if I went back to sleep I would never be able to fall asleep that night. Got myself some chocolate fudge frozen yogurt, felt it was well worth it!

 

20140809_130710811_iOSThis morning though it was beyond hard to wake up! Decided to take an off day and sleep in until 7:30am, take a nice hot shower and spend the day relaxing and recuperating from lack of sleep. Just because it’s an off day doesn’t mean to ruin your diet!! Bodybuilding.com sent me my new products with a free razor, free casein protein powder, andddd a free pre workout drink mix. I made the protein powder this morning:

-1/2 frozen banana

-1/2 of the On chocolate decadence casein protein powder

6 oz almond milk

Delicious! Truly loved this brand. 160 calories for 30 grams of protein? not bad!

 

Time to relax, recuperate, and enjoy the rest of my weekend! Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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Kill that kardio!

20140805_134528000_iOSGood morning WordPress! Everyone kill their workouts this morning? Found this online and decided to give it a try today. I ended up running 2 miles, lifting weights, and followed this circuit, plus added a HIIT treadmill workout afterwards. I was SO pumped up after my workout, I could feel the positive energy pouring off my body. I came home, whipped up a berry banana and vanilla protein milkshake and guzzled that down in a heartbeat! Make sure you get your whey protein in roughly an after after your workout so it can start repairing your muscles!

 

 

 

 

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Last night Bryan and I indulged in our inner child selves and watched The Wildthornberry Movie…does anyone else remember that movie?! Granted I fell asleep halfway through it but hey it was great to relive my childhood. We went raspberry picking since his backyard is filled to the max with with raspberry bushes. My favorite uses for raspberries are throwing them in my yogurt, cottage cheese, or tossing them in a smoothie with some almond milk and protein powder. My two room mates for next year, Sadie and Alayna, messaged me and asked me to help them become “healthy”. How amazing does it feel having people contact you to help them reach their health goals? I felt so incredible that people contact me and ask for help, and that’s my goal for the future. Whether I become a personal trainer, a dietitian, or just a motivational speaker, it would be amazing to reach out and help society.

The rest of the day will involve typing of new articles for HerCampus’s website, plus buying some textbooks for the upcoming semester Sad smile happy tuesday to all of you!

 

 

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Super fruit Sunday: apples apples apples!

20140803-214338-78218273.jpgHope you’re all enjoying your weekend like you should be! Tomorrow starts another cycle of the long work week, but that shouldn’t stop us from meeting our goals and remaining healthy. This weekend I was able to pick up a new pair of glasses that actually contained my updated prescription and pick out a few new clothes with my mother. The worst part about my weekend? Waking up, driving to the gym, and realizing that Gold’s gym is NOT a 24-7 gym…aka I arrived 2 hours before regular weekend opening time! I was so upset. I came home, got my morning run around town in (mind you it was pouring!) and did a short ab workout. Today’s workout was exactly the same, and I’m so excited to get back in the gym tomorrow to kick some butt! We can’t forget about our super fruit Sunday though!

Today’s award goes to the apple, each and every kind of apple. Apples are great in snacks, main meals, side dishes, and even desserts. The versatility of this fruit is beyond amazing. Apples are packed with Vitamin c, filling the fruit with a great antioxidant punch. Apples also contain a good source of fiber, which help regular your digestive system and he lower your LDL cholesterol. In recent studies apples have been shown to help aid in the decreasing risk of heart disease, which scientists believe is due to the antioxidant compounds. One of the antioxidants in apples, quercetin, is said to help boost your energy levels and help you through a tough workout. Quercetin makes oxygen available for your lungs to use, so if you need something light before a workout, shoot for an apple.

Eating a medium size apple also helps meet your goal of roughly two cups of fruit daily (1 medium is equal to one cup of fruit). Being one of the more affordable and year round fruits, there’s no reason your kitchen shouldn’t be stocked with these babies! Go on and get crunchin on these goodies!!

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Tuesday mornings & the Nike GPS sports watch

Aviary Photo_130511095170879454Waking up in such an unfamiliar territory can be a bit of a struggle, especially when you’re used to your morning routine. I’m not much of a girl who enjoys the switch up of a morning routine, but change occurs when you visit your parents house, just need some adjusting!

I managed to wake up, get some coffee and supplements inside of my belly and head on out to the gym my father goes to. As a previous powerlifter, everyone knows him at the gym…and I mean EVERYONE. I bet if I wore a tee shirt that said “Luke’s daughter” everyone would be coming up to me haha. The worst thing about switching over to a new gym is the fact that you have absolutely no idea where any of the machines or weights are! Especially  at Gold’s gym, the one my father goes too. It’s so big and has numerous rooms I nearly felt like a newbie! I’m used to having the entire gym to myself for a whole hour at my privately owned one back at school, but coming into a chain gym at 5:30AM…well…it was packed! I managed to run my usual two miles and get some lifting and strength training in. I’ll have to head out for an evening run later on as well with my new Nike GPS sportswatch.

How I feel about the sports watch: I enjoyed it yesterday! There’s an alarm on there, and it tracks your distance, speed, pace, and haert rate is you buy the separate heart rate monitor. You download the program online and can track where you run (GPS run by TomTom). However, the treadmill today didn’t quite register it very well. I read  reviews and they claim it works fine, but mine didn’t work up to my expectations today. It’s not a huge deal because you have the treadmill to tell you your distance and such, but it still kind of upset me. The stop watch on the watch itself came in handy when I was doing my planks though! No need to use my phone’s stopwatch.

I came back, and my parents were both still sleeping, so using my loud blender was not an option (since, ya know, I am courteous and all!) So I opted for fruit and cottage cheese with some cinnamon and milk! Threw that baby in the freezer for three minutes and munched on that. I love the mix of blueberries, raspberries, cherries, an blackberries—a nice punch of antioxidants in the morning.

Now off for a cup of coffee and to get my day started!

Patches wanted to say hi to everyone while I blogged!

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Never give up!

bad mealSo last night after my work shift I went to my friend Ryan and Mason’s house for a get together since Ryan came back from military training. It was so nice to reunite with them and the girls while meeting some new friends as well. I didn’t consume my usual healthy lifestyle ways while with them and I woke up so frustrated and unhappy with myself.

Why did I do that? That was my first thought. With my stomach in knots and upset all day I could barely get off the sofa, so I took today as my off day.

And that made me feel even worse.

But sometimes we have to relax, breathe, and realize that one bad meal wont make you overweight. I eat healthy 80% of the time, I’m allowed to splurge every now and then. I need to let my mind wrap around that idea. And although I work at 7:30am tomorrow,  I will make sure I get up extra early to hit the gym! No excuses! I think this experience and my regrets afterwards have finally sealed my ability to say no; I will no longer feel like I have to drink and eat unhealthy to enjoy the time with my friends. It’s crazy how one experience can really turn your perspective and mind around, and I think this is finally eat.

Clean eats for life!

On the bright side I did manage to finish up the cleaning and only have one task left for tomorrow: the bathroom! and the Monday is smooth sailing to home sweet New Jersey!