Tag Archives: FitFluential

Meal Planning Tips and Tidbits

Get on the meal planning train with these 4 tips and tidbits for finding recipe inspiration for healthy dinners all week.  happyfitmama.com

Hey there!

I hope you enjoyed the long holiday weekend. I know we sure did! How can you not, right?

I took a little blog holiday over the weekend so I didn’t share my weekly meal planning post. As I was putting it together, I thought I’d share some tips and tidbits that I’ve picked up over the years of planning.

Prior to kids, I rarely ever meal planned. I’d find recipes from cook books or magazines and make them whenever I felt like it. I rarely planned out the meals before I grocery shopped for the week. Don’t have the ingredients for a certain dish? It was no big deal to run to the grocery store to pick it up on a whim.

After the kids’ were born, I still didn’t meal plan. Winging it was all the time I felt I had for food. If I wasn’t trying to feed myself, I was trying to feed two other mouths. And then clean up those two mouths. Which rarely got said food only in mouth.

eating with kids  happyfitmama.com

But then around their one year birthday, I realized that winging it wasn’t going to work anymore. My free time was spent feverishly cleaning the house or doing whatever else I could cram into nap time. And with the magical witching hour always landing around dinner time, I couldn’t afford to be spending more than 20-30 minutes preparing food.


That’s also about the time I started reading food blogs. I began to find new easy, healthy recipes. I can’t remember exactly what blog it was, but the concept of meal planning was mentioned and I knew I needed to try it.

Since then, I’ve been on the meal planning train. It definitely helps a ton in grocery shopping and not living on eggs, toast and avocado every single night. Although I do really enjoy those types of dinners too.

kale blueberry superfood salad 3  happyfitmama.com

I let my meal planning slide a bit during the summer but I committing to it once again with the new school year. With kid’s sports and other evening activities going on each week, it’s essential to have a plan.

Here are 4 meal planning tips and tidbits that I use each week.


By far, my biggest source of meal planning inspiration is from Pinterest. Consulting my Crock Pot Recipe, Easy Dinners, Healthy Snacks, or Clean Eating Recipe Boards always gives me ideas. The genius behind the alogorithm of Pinterest knows what I like. I can go on there anytime and find recipes that I like.


If Pinterest is my first stop, it’s because I pin a TON of recipes off of blogs every week. When you are a blogger who loves reading blogs, you find recipes everywhere. Here’s some of my favorite food blogs to follow for delicious recipes.

Family Favorites

I don’t always feel like following a recipe. Sometimes I want to wing it. Maybe it’s making a simple stir fry, Broccoli Slaw Egg Rolls, Crockpot Veggie Chili or Brinner, family favorites that are quick and easy always happen at least once a week even if I did have something planned.

A great recipe for a healthy version of a favorite take out food - Baked Broccoli Slaw Egg Rolls  happyfitmama.com


I laughed when my mom sent me a subscription to Good Housekeeping Magazine. Isn’t that an old lady magazine? I was pleasantly surprised to find really good recipes (and home tips!). It’s not as old lady-ish as I remembered. Or it’s just because I have become an old lady who enjoys Good Housekeeping.

Runner’s World and Women’s Running are two of my other favorite magazines for recipes. They know what runner’s want!

When I find a recipe that looks good, I’ll rip it out and stick it in a binder I have full of recipes. I was looking at my recipe binder for this week’s meal plan and laughed at one recipe in there – Cooking Light circa 2006. There’s mention of margarine. Does anyone use margarine anymore? If so, please don’t!


Here’s what’s for dinner this week at my house:

Sunday: Make your own pizza night

Monday: Cook out

Tuesday: Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

Wednesday: Crockpot Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Thursday: Homemade Pizza Bowls

Friday: Take out

Saturday: Grilled Honey Chiptole Salmon + veggies

Where do you get your meal planning inspiration?

High Five Friday

High Five Friday September 2 2016 happyfitmama.com

Happy High Five Friday!

Can you believe it’s September? I’m in utter shock that the summer is pretty much over with now. Once Labor Day hits, it’s all bye-bye summer. I’m sad to see it go. But I do love September. The sky is a different shade of blue. The trees start to change color. The air feels different. The mornings and evenings are cool. And there’s pumpkin. #enoughsaid

5 from Instagram

Light it up. Seeing the sunrise sets the tone of the day.

A long run with a friend makes 12 miles go by so much more quickly. Running with Kailey brought back memories of the Honolulu Marathon. Crazy that it’s almost been 2 years since then!

Sunshine and salty air. Just another beautiful day on the New Hampshire seacoast.

Get upside down daily. Did you know that inversions supposedly can cure everything that ails you? Or at least that’s what one yoga guru thought. But you also had to hold the inversion for 30 minutes. Handstand for 30 minutes? Sure…

Raise your hand if you are glad it’s Friday!

5 Links

Transcending the TransRockies – I love this post from Heather. In reading all the posts of her recap of the TransRockies race, one thing runs loud and clear. Running is so much more than running. Yes there will be times when you are sucking wind, your muscles are on fire and your mind is telling you to STOP NOW. But what has it given you? “A path of adventure, of exploration, of pushing my limits.  A path with kickass, inspirational people, with laughter, and endless smiles.  A path that insists I live my life to its utmost fullest extent.” YES x 1000!

I Tried Mountain Running and It Changed Everything – Sarah’s post for Women’s Running nailed it. I have very similar feelings. After training for Mount Washington, my love for dirt and trails increased. Road running has lost some of it’s luster. I think that’s partly why I’m winging my half marathon training right now. Running on trails feels better and makes me feel more alive. I don’t slog through a run, I frolic. I had hoped to run more trails during the summer but after rolling it in early June, it hasn’t fully returned to the “feeling good all the time” status. I’m hoping to hit up some more races this fall.

FOMO on Workouts – I’ve had my fair share of FOMO this summer. See above for the reason why. Damn foot! But one thing I’ve learned with age and injuries, there’s always next year.

Why Are We So Mean to Ourselves? – Tina’s post nailed it. I beat myself up for one whole year after Boston. I held onto so much anger, frustration and just disappointment towards myself. Did anyone else? No!

The Space Between Effort and Ease – Carla gives an example of trying to muscle through yoga but really this applies to everything in life. Use the strengths you currently have to let the weaknesses go away.

I want to keep the High 5 Friday love going so this week I’m starting High 5 Friday LINK LOVE! It’s a way for you to share a favorite post from the week so more eyes can see it. Please only share one post and make sure it’s related to running, fitness, health or a healthy recipe.

I hope you’ll link up and maybe find some new blogs to read. I know I’m always looking for more!

8 Tips for Running Faster

Want to run faster Check out these 8 tips for running faster and more efficiently. happyfitmama.com

I’m going to make a broad statement right now.

Every runner wants to run faster.

You may say you don’t, but deep down, you probably really do.

I mean, how could you not?

Blowing past competitors along a race course. Achieving a PR in ______ distance. Knowing what was once your half marathon pace is now your easy pace.

Plus, a bonus of becoming faster is you’ll be more efficient. It will take less work and energy to maintain your pace. That’s every runner’s dream to have a 20 miler feel easier!

But with anything in life, there is no one simple magic pill to make you faster. The truth is that you need to do the work. And it’s not just one thing. It’s multiple things that work together to help you become a faster runner.

Here are 8 tips for running faster:

Run more – That’s usually the obvious response. The more you run, the faster you will get over time because your body gets used to the strain of running. But the majority of us don’t have more time in our lives to devote to running. The down side is that more miles could also mean more injuries.

Good form – If your form is sloppy, you are not using your running muscles efficiently. It’s really just slowing you down. Take a look at your form. Are you running with your upper body tall, shoulders back and relaxed? Are you landing on the ground mid-foot with a short quick stride? Is your foot under your hip? Are your arms bent at 90 degrees and move forward and back rather than across your body?

Vary the pace – Running the same pace for every single run will not make you faster. Mixing up the week with easy pace, tempo runs, speed work and long endurance runs will help condition your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system.

What's been going on Lately... | happyfitmama.com

Strength train – Hit the weights or do bodyweight exercises to strengthen your muscles. It can help keep injuries at bay as well as help be a more efficient runner while strengthening your form.

Strong core – A strong core is the root of a strong runner. If your core is weak, you are more likely to suffer a running injury. A strong core will also help your running form. If the core muscles are weak, your form will show it and you’ll be slowed down. Here’s 6 Core Workouts for Runners.

Run hills – I’m sure you’ve heard it before but – Hills are speed work in disguise. They not only build speed but muscle strength and confidence. Don’t run from the hills. Run to them at full speed. Trust me. You CAN learn to love hills. Run the hilliest routes you can find. Hit the mountain trails. Or check out these fun Hill Workouts for Runners.


Speed work – Makes sense right? To run faster, you need to run faster. If you find the track intimidating, hit up the treadmill or run it on the road. Whatever works best for you. Here’s 6 Speed Workouts just for you!

Plyometrics – Running is essentially hopping/jumping on one foot. Doing even 5 minutes of plyometrics can improve your running form and efficiency. You could do a few jumping exercises after an easy run or try this JUMPIN’ Workout.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.

How have you learned to run faster over the years?