10 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

How does that old saying go… Champagne taste on a beer budget? Sounds about right. Food is the way we fuel our mind and body. Ask yourself this- would you rather be sustaining your body on BBQ Chips or a kale salad? BBQ chips sound way more appealing, but the nutritional value is slim to none. I know that as you go through the check out line at the grocery store making smart choices seem like a bad idea as the bill starts to rack up quickly. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite tips to eating the best you possibly can without draining your bank account.

  1. Shakelogy- Dense Super Food Nutrition. I’ve written a blog post about this  miracle shake in the past, however, its worth a second mention. I know that the price tag can seem overwhelming at first, but when you really look at the ingredients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.) it truly is a bargain. At just around $4 a day, Shakeology costs less than a number 4 at McDonald’s.
  2. Buy fresh produce in season & freeze it.  I love to stock up on my favorites throughout the spring/summer when the prices are low. Farmers markets are my best friend. I buy several dozen ears of corn, freeze, then eat throughout the winter. Cheap and it tastes great. Strawberries for $4.99 a lb? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  3. Meal Prep- Plan out your meals and snacks for the week before going to the grocery store. This avoids grabbing random things as you walk down the aisle, plus you can look for sales/deals ahead of time. Heck, you can even plan your meals around what’s on sale.
  4. Branch out on trying less expensive cuts of meat- The crock pot can do wonders for tougher cuts and a bit of seasoning goes a long way. Another tip, buy value packs of chicken or beef and freeze whatever you aren’t going to eat that week.
  5. Beans, Beans, the magical fruit. Stock up on black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. They are so inexpensive & they bulk up any meal. A big pot of Turkey Chili can last for days. Other tasty whole grains are brown rice and quinoa. Buy whole foods!
  6. Re purpose leftovers- Use the chicken from last nights dinner to make a to die for grilled chicken salad for lunch the next day. We have all eaten 4 day old slices of pizza in college, so why not use the same tactic with our healthy meals? Check out this blog for more awesome ideas.
  7. Cook at home! Avoid splurging by going out to eat during the week and save it as a special weekend treat or date night. My husband and I love to cook together. Making dinner carves out time for us to catch up and just enjoy each others company.
  8. Buy Generic Brands- I promise that 98.9% of the time the generic brand tastes just as good as the “real thing” and the price is half as much. The only thing I wouldn’t go generic on is toilet paper. Sad, but true.
  9. Drink more H20- Thirsty Thursday has a whole new meaning. The benefits of water are endless. Oh and water is FREE (in most cases). Soda and juice are crazy expensive & loaded with terrible ingredients. To add some variety to your water try adding blueberries, lemon, lime, or mint.
  10. GROW YOUR OWN FRUITS AND VEGGIES- My favorite tip by far. If you are in an area where you can have a garden, DO IT. I added mushroom soil to my garden last year and it delivered Great Dane sized sweet potatoes. Seeds are cheap and you get to literally watch the whole “farm to table” aspect come to life. Nothing is more gratifying than watching your garden grow. They even made nursery rhymes about it…

Stay tuned for my go-to grocery list. In the meantime, Happy Shopping!

Email: vphillifitness@gmail.com



Crock Pot Turkey Meatloaf

“Ma!!! The Meatloaf!!” Bonus points to anyone that can guess that movie quote.

When I was growing up, I absolutely hated meatloaf and was grossed out by its very name. However, when I first began the 21 Day Fix a few months ago I had to get creative with recipes and to figure out healthy alternatives for our usual dinners (tacos, pasta, anything fried etc.) I actually love ground turkey, so I decided to give meatloaf another try since I’m on this whole kick of branching out my taste buds. Lo and behold, I LOVED IT. This recipe is super simple, easy, and delicious. Plus- it’s 21 day fix approved. Winner. Winner. Meatloaf dinner.


  • 1 lb Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions or 2 tsp minced onion seasoning (my go to)
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters or 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • Dash of salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix together ketchup and BBQ sauce. Combine ground turkey, onion, eggs, 1/4 cup of ketchup/BBQ sauce, bread crumbs, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well!
  2. Light spray the bottom of crock pot with non-sticking spray. Transfer meat to crock pot and shape into a square loaf.  Spread the rest of the ketchup/BBQ mixture on top of the loaf. I usually add a little extra BBQ sauce for good measure.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.





Recipe lightly adapted from Spark Recipes. 


2016: Keepin’ the Resolution New-All the way through.

A new year. A new slate. A new you. We’ve heard it all before, but why do all the positive vibes die down by January 3rd? Fun fact- over 90% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions will never reach their goal. I bet you won’t see that as a meme on Facebook.
All of those motivation quotes featuring people running into the sunset or urging you to be more creative, organized or to save money should all come with a warning. Reaching goals are hard and humans are lazy. Why force yourself to make changes in your life when its so much easier to “Netflix & Chill?”  I’ll be the first one to admit that I start racking my brain for every excuse under the sun to stop as soon as a workout becomes too challenging. However, I need to get in my daily fitness-related hashtags on Instagram so I keep going. We rarely see pictures posted of people forcing their hands out of the chip bag or peeling themselves off the couch in their ratty pajamas. Instead, we see buff bods in the latest trending fitness apparel all over social media.  Don’t get me wrong these pics can be motivational, but they can also be intimidating and set up false expectations. My point is this if we rely on just inspiring quotes and #fitspo to reach our goals we most likely won’t make it to the finish line and will end up being disappointing in ourselves. Wait… There’s still hope!! Don’t give up just yet!!

Here are some tried & true ways to eliminate setting unrealistic expectations and for starting 2016 out on the right foot.

  1. What is your why? Think about the reason you chose to make that particular resolution. Health concerns? Children? Spouse? Bank account? Knowing what motivates  Y O U is going to be the driving force behind your goal.
  2. Choose 1 or 2 goals at most. Make these goals SPECIFIC and set up a time line for what you want to achieve and when. Set up notifications on your phone, re-write your goal every week, stick post its in your car or on the fridge. Remind yourself of your goals daily.
  3. Practice Patience- Big changes or even small changes take time. Don’t expect results or habits to change over night. If you know ahead of time that your goals will take days, weeks or months to reach, then you are ready to commit for the results.
  4. Brace yourself for a set back- Like the Aaliyah song (Try Again)- “If at first you don’t succeed, Dust yourself off and try again, You can dust it off and try again.” Enough said.
  5. Celebrate small victories- Sometimes its best not to look at the big picture. Celebrate every single small step that it takes to get to where you want to be or the goals you set for yourself. It’s all part of the journey, embrace it.
  6. Phone a friend. Make yourself stay accountable by partnering with a friend, co-worker, spouse, dog (I’m not judging), or neighbor who shares generally the same goal as you. Research shows that we are more likely to stick with a plan if we are held responsible by another person or group. Plus, walking with someone is a great time to catch up on gossip.

So long 2015, hello 2016 you beautiful thing.

Beachbody Challenge Group Support- I’m here for you!

Shakeology 101

Shakeology is a miracle in a shaker cup. I have been drinking it faithfully since April 2014 (I started a few months before my wedding) and I haven’t missed a morning since that day. To be honest, one of the main reasons I started was because I wanted a meal replacement protein shake to help me shed some pounds for my wedding gown. What I didn’t realize is that I would receive that benefit and SO MANY more!

I have a sensitive stomach which was made even worse by pre-wedding jitters. After just a few days, I could tell a huge difference in how I felt & my digestion issues literally disappeared. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days where I feel blah but they are so few and far between that I barely notice. Now what on earth is in this “shake” that makes it so wonderful?!

Pr0biotics– healthy bacteria in the intestine, promote healthy digestion and colon function

Prebiotics– nutrients for probiotics, also shown to support the immune system (good digestion is everything!)

Digestive Enzymes– assist in breaking down food so that nutrients can be absorbed better

Proteins & Amino Acids– help to build/repair muscles, reduce cravings, support brain function & the immune system, and promote healthy skin, hair and nails.

Vitamins & Minerals- contains ALL of the essential vitamins for proper body function, help your cells make energy needed for day to day activities, and build/repair muscles & strengthen bones.

Antioxidants– protect the body from free radicals and cellular damage, support for cardiovascular health

Phytonutrients– support the immune system, promote healthy aging (what??), also helps to detoxify the body

Adaptogenic Herbs– immune system support, helps the body respond to environmental stress (think allergies!), helps increase energy while promoting a sense of calm, relaxed feelings

All of this wonderful-ness in one cup. Too good to be true? No such thing.

More information on Shakeology (including the yummy flavors) and success stories can be found through the link below.


Beachbody Programs

Beachbody & Shakeology

Meal Prep Tips- Mason Jar Salads

Meal prepping is the newest fad for quick & healthy meals and guess what, it actually works. One of the biggest reasons going out to dinner or grabbing a bag of chips is so appealing is because it’s easy. If you take an extra hour or two to prepare you’re meals, you can stay on track with your healthy eating and save time during the busy week. Below I’ve included some tips for making the perfect Mason Jar Salad.

Layer in this order:

1. Salad dressings go on the bottom. Always start with the heaviest ingredients and work your way up to the light leafy greens.

2. Hard veggies- carrots, cucumbers peppers, etc.

3. Beans, grains, pasta

4. Cheese and proteins (eggs, cooked chicken)

5. Soft fruits & veggies

6. Nuts & Seeds

7. Salad greens

When you’re ready to eat, just unscrew the top and dump in a bowl to mix… ENJOY!

Tiramisu Bowl- Recipe

Need a last minute dessert idea for a holiday party? This one is sure to be a hit… the bowl was gone in about 67 seconds after Christmas Eve dinner.


  • 1 pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I used the reduced fat version)
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 2 pkg Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Sugar Free Instant Pudding
  • 1 container (8 oz) of  Cool Whip Lite Whipped Topping
  • 1 box of fat free Vanilla wafers
  • 1/2 cup brewed, cooled coffee (non-flavored, I use Maxwell)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Optional- Raspberries, Strawberries & Blueberries for topping- Shaved Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate shaved  on top


Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer, add in milk and dry pudding mix then beat again. Stir in 2 cups of Cool Whip. Fold in Chocolate Chips. Line 2.5 qt bowl with 30-35 wafers- drizzle with 1/4 cup coffee, Pour in pudding mixture and chocolate chips. Top with cool whip and grated chocolate. Finish with additional fruit tops… ENJOY!





Eggnog (healthy-ish version)- Recipe

Once it was decided that we were going to have a combined Christmas Eve dinner with my family and my husband’s family, I knew I had to make something epic. What says holiday season more than Eggnog? The answer- cookies.  Eggnog is a close second. I may be part of the small population that has never even tasted Eggnog, let alone try to whip up some delicious nog last minute. The first batch I burnt to a crisp (don’t forget to WHISK continuously!),  however, after the second and third batch I was a real nog master. The only downside… smelling bourbon and brandy at 6 am in the morning. I prefer Folgers in my cup!


  • 3 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Brandy


Combine milk, condensed milk, flour, nutmeg and salt in a medium sauce pan. WHISK! Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add eggs. WHISK!! Cook for one-two minutes or until the mixture becomes a bit thick. Pour into a pitcher (bonus points if the pitcher is holiday related), add in Bourbon, Brandy and vanilla extract (admit this step for a virgin version), cover with wax paper and refrigerate over night. Garnish with nutmeg and candy cane before serving. ENJOY and Happy Holidays!




Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Who am I? Great Question.

Who am I? That’s a great question and one that I’m still trying to figure out myself. I’ve always been the token skinny, athletic girl growing up. I ride horses, live an active lifestyle and have a permanent smile on my face (most days). I could eat whatever I wanted and I never had to worry about asking for extra Blue Cheese to go along with my wings. I married my best friend in July 2014 on what could only be described as the best day of my life. Over the course of the next year, we indulged a bit too much with fancy home cooked meals, wine at dinner and going out on the town because hey we are newlyweds!

At the beginning of June 2015, I started to not feel like myself. I just was going through the motions and didn’t have much zest for life. I didn’t have an urge to get out my bikini… which is a first for me. After our family vacation, I was sitting on the couch looking at pictures and just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I barely recognized myself. No, I wasn’t overly obese but I didn’t look like myself. I didn’t look healthy. Lo and behold, my mom was right (do you see this mom? I said you were right!) when she said that your metabolism slows down when you get older and I won’t always be able to put my blue cheese on everything. I did what most newlyweds do when they are happy, I got too comfortable and didn’t feel like I needed to take care of myself because I already had my wonderful husband. WRONG!!!

That’s when it clicked. I have to take care of myself, so that I can take care of the others that I love. I should want to look good, not only for my husband but for me. One of my favorite quotes is “You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first.” Soon after Armageddon aka the day I couldn’t fit in my “fat jeans”, I started the 21 Day Fix exercise and meal plan. This started my journey of being the best version of myself by completely changing my outlook on life through the way of a healthy mind & body. Stay tuned for more adventures!