I’ve never been a diet person. If something feels too restrictive or hard to keep up with, then I know it probably won’t last long. Instead, I’ve maintained a healthy figure over the years by following a lifestyle that makes me feel fit without being too hard on myself. It’s not about denying yourself that occasional piece of cake (or pie in my case!). It’s about practicing portion control, choosing whole foods over processed ones, and of course, staying active. So today’s blog post is all about healthy eating hacks that you won’t have to think twice about. They’re easy habits to get into that don’t feel anything like a diet. And if you have New Year’s resolutions that involve getting in shape, you’ll definitely want to give them a try…

1. Pre-Pack Your Snacks

Even if you’ve mastered the art of portion control when it comes to your plate, it’s all too easy to overdo it with snacking. The first step is choosing healthy snacks over processed junk. That part is easy. Some of my favorite snack foods to keep on hand are nuts; snap pea crisps; carrot sticks with hummus and a dash of cayenne; and apple slices with almond butter. But my real trick for dealing with a snack attack is portioning off snack-size bags ahead of time. My favorite Blue Avocado reusable (re)zip baggies come in half and one cup sizes, perfect for DIy ‘snack packs.’ I make a whole week’s worth of bags at once, so that I can grab them and go. When you’re eating straight from the bag, you’re asking for trouble. So I really swear by this trick!


2. Double Your Recipes

Nine times out of 10, the meal you cook at home is going to be healthier than the meal you order out. You know exactly what goes into it, so you can choose the freshest organic ingredients and limit things like hydrogenated oils. But when life gets busy, cooking every night isn’t always realistic. So to save time later on, anytime I make something that freezes well like a soup, stew, or enchiladas, I double the recipe. We eat one serving that night, and defrost one a couple weeks later. The Blue Avocado re(zips) also come in a gallon size and are freezer safe, so I find myself using those a lot. They take up way less room in the freezer than a Tupperware would.


3. Buy in Bulk

One of my biggest secrets to sticking to a healthy diet is having a well-stocked pantry. If you know you have the ingredients to whip up a balanced meal, you’re less likely to turn to junk. Make whole foods like greens, nuts, and seeds staple items in your household. Buy quinoa, chia, oats, and almonds from the bulk bins and then store them in Blue Avocado (re)zips, so that you always have them on hand. Purchase large bunches of kale or chard at the beginning of the week, rinse and dry the leaves, and then store them in a gallon size (re)zip for quick and easy cooking.


Are you going to give my healthy eating hacks a try?

A few months ago I came across a page on Instagram called @TheFinanceBar. Now usually I would just skim through the page and exit left because we all know that Instagram is the world of scams. I see numerous post daily about repairing credit, deleting bad credit history, etc and it’s all fake. But, for some reason this page had me highly interested. So, I stayed on board. I would check this page every few days for information and tips on improving credit the right way, the legit way, paying off debt, etc. I was super excited when they finally put up their website. They even have an app for Iphone users. I have found their blog to be very informative and I have even joined their newsletter. I’ll link the website below so you all can claim  your ticket to financial freedom !


Marsha Horton-Barnes, is a personal finance expert, and Founder of The Finance Bar, the 1st educational personal finance hub on wheels, and visionary behind The Finance Bar Members Club and Expense Manager Mobile App. Marsha has a passion for personal finance like no other.
Since launching The Finance Bar, Marsha’s innovative ability to offer personal finance teachings has appeared in National outlets such Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Black Enterprise, NPR, Business Insider, Black Enterprise, Sirius XM and more. She has been coined as a Female Tech Leader in the industry by designing tools that accessible to her community and abroad.
Marsha, stands on the belief that financial literacy shouldn’t be considered as a luxury item and that with commitment and discipline any “willing” person can turn their financial situation around. She’s here to fill in the gaps that separate hope and results.
The Finance Bar offers personal finance teachings to educational institutions, organizations, and corporations. To ensure that The Finance Bar has the ability to reach the masses, there’s also a dynamic and engaging virtual members club for women who are committed to to transforming their financial lifestyle.


If you have ever had to give eye drops to a small child, you know how hard it can be. Ask you child to lay down and close his/her eyes. Place a small drop on the inside corner of the eye. The drop will slip onto the eye ball as soon as the child opens their eyes.

 To silence your squeaky hardwood floors sprinkle some baby powder on the squeaky area and sweep it into the cracks. Then wipe the floor. The baby powder between the boards will act as a lubricant and will stop the annoying noise.

If you have friends on their way over and you forgot to chill drinks in the fridge, just place them in a large pot and cover with ice. Sprinkle 2 cups of salt on top of the ice and then fill the rest of the pot with water. Your drinks will be ice cold within 2 to 3 minutes.

Need to open a page in a new tab? Instead of right clicking and selecting “Open in new tab”, save time by clicking on the link with the middle button on your mouse. If you don’t have a mouse with a middle button you can hold down the ctrl key while clicking on the link.

To reheat pizza without getting the crust soggy, place the pizza in a nonstick skillet . Heat on low until warm.

When making deviled eggs, place the egg yolks in a plastic Ziploc bag with the rest of the ingredients. Close the bag and mash everything together. Once everything is well mixed cut off a small tip from one of the bottom corners of the bag and squeeze the contents into your egg white. Just toss the bag once you are done for easy cleanup.

 Use wet newspaper as a weed block. Place a layer on the ground and build your raised bed on top of it or layer the stuff around your plants and cover with mulch. Weeds can grow through some of the store bought weed presenters but not wet newspaper. I used this trick on our raised beds 4 months ago and have yet to see a single weed.

Keep an eye out for gifts for friends and family every time you go shopping. Buying gifts throughout the year will save a lot of time and stress when birthdays and Christmas rolls around.

 Don’t have time for exercise? Try double tasking. Do squats while you brush your teeth. Push-ups while waiting for the tub to fill up. One handed bicep curls while stirring sauce with the other hand.

 If you have already sealed an envelope and realized you forgot to put something in it, place the envelope in the freezer for a couple hours. It will pop right open so you don’t have to get another envelope


 After cooking fish boil a little vinegar in a pot and let it boil. The nasty fish smell will disappear almost instantly leaving your kitchen smelling clean again


 Do you have some conditioner that you bought then decided you did not like it? Use it to shave your legs. Not only is it cheaper than shaving cream, it will also leave your legs silky smooth.

f you have some eggs that are about to go bad, have your own chickens that produce more than your family could ever eat, or they are on sale so you buy way more than you need. Don’t just let them go to waste. You can freeze them! You can mix them up and place 2-3 in a Ziploc bag. Lay them down flat in the freezer then stack them upright once they are frozen to save on space. You can also crack a dozen of them into a bowl, beat them (I was told not to freeze eggs unless they are mixed/beaten not sure why but I mix them anyways) then poor them into an ice cube tray . One cube is equal to one egg. Once they freeze. dump them into a large Ziploc bag or freezer safe container.

Pour water into a mason jar and add a glow stick. Place jars around pools, patios, or sidewalks during you next late night get together.

Cut off the top of a pour spout container and insert it into the lid of a mason jar. Great for spices you use a lot of, adding sugar to your coffee, storing yeast in your fridge, keeping dry/powdered milk, garden fertilizer, and so much more.

After you’re done cooking with grease, line a bowl with foil and pour the grease into it. Once the grease hardens just wad it up and toss it.

Stick your straw through a cupcake liner to keep bugs, dirt and other icky things from falling in your drink.

f you’re wearing a shirt with buttons and you notice a few loose or broken threads on one of the buttons, cover the threads with a coat of clear nail polish. The nail polish will keep the remaining threads together and keep your button from falling off. Although I have washed and worn a shirt several times after using this trick and the button remained in place, I would not suggest using it as a permanent fix since the polish can and will wear off.

Need extra shower/tub storage? Add a second curtain rod to the back of your shower or tub. Use some “S” shaped shower curtain hooks to hang loofahs, and wash clothes. You can also buy some cheap baskets at the dollar store to hang from the hooks. Perfect for storing things like kids tub toys and Shampoo bottles.

Keep your pets cool during hot weather. Dampen fabric chew toys with water and then freeze them or toss a few toys in a bowl, fill the bowl with water and pop it in the freezer. Your dog will have a blast trying to get the toys out of the ice and will be able to stay cool while doing it.


There are some great websites and stores out there that sell used textbooks at a fraction of the cost of new ones. When your course ends, you can sell them back, or find a friend that needs the same book for the upcoming semester. I’ve been using for my textbook needs; it’s super convenient, and you can rent books as well!


If you’re like me and have a closet stuffed with old bags, games, and random things you bought 5 years ago and never used, take some time to go through that pile of stuff, and sell it. Even if you only make a few bucks off it, you have more cash in your pocket, and less stuff in your closet.


Whether it’s taking them to a store like Plato’s Closet, or selling them online at websites like Threadflip, there are tons of ways to make money off the clothes you don’t wear anymore.


With the long list of payments you need to make for college-related fees, shopping shouldn’t be on the top of your priority list. That said, when you do go shopping, here are some tips on spending as little as possible:

  • Always shop with a purpose. If you set out on a shopping trip with a specific item in mind, you’re more likely to leave with just that item, rather than a bag full of things you didn’t really need.
  • Shop at discounted stores, like Marshall’s and Ross, or other thrift stores. You can find the designer brands you love to wear at a much lower cost, leaving you with more money to put towards tuition and other fees.
  • Buy used. While this can go for clothing, it can also go for more costly items, like electronics and appliances. is my favorite place to shop for used items, because people are constantly putting up new listings, and they make it easy to find people in your area with the things you need!


I was amazed when I discovered how many of the stores I shop at give out student discounts. Most are between 15 and 20 percent, which really adds up if you limit your shopping to those places. I’ll make a post soon about the shops I’ve found that offer student discounts, but a few notable ones are J. Crew, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor.


There’s a huge differences between wants and needs. On a budget, it’s harder to buy those “wants”, which is why creating a list of them may help you decide which things you can do without. I like putting an estimated price next to these items, because it’s easier to see how reasonable it is for me to buy them.


I’ve found that making my own things, like face wash, cards, and jewelry, saves me a ton of money. Whenever a friend’s birthday comes around, I usually make a few things for them rather than going for the typical Starbucks gift card route. It costs less, and they always love getting something unique!


There’s no need to go spend $300 on new dorm accessories when your room at home is stocked with things you’ve already bought. Room supplies can be costly, especially bedding, so shop at home first before you hit the stores!


Keep an eye out for events being held around campus, because most of them are free, and that’s always a good reason to attend! Some have free food, t-shirts, and other things you’d otherwise pay for. I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff?


Any Starbucks lover like myself knows how expensive buying coffee can get. When you’re spending up to $7 every morning on a drink, you might as well take half the money you earn and put it on a Starbucks card. Investing in a coffee maker and making your own coffee is a much better option, and while coffee makers can be expensive, you’ll be saving money in the long run.


Just like buying coffee, the cost of eating out can add up quickly, even if it’s only a few times a week. Eat on campus or in your room as often as possible; the food isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. When you do eat out, try to limit it to the weekends, and go to places that offer student discounts.


There are always scholarships waiting to be applied for, and most only take a few minutes to fill out. Scholarships are the easiest way to gain the most money, so take the time every once in a while to apply for them. Websites like and gather hundreds of scholarships together to make it easy for you to find ones that match your qualifications and apply for them. You’ll be happy you did it!

Overall, keeping up with your budget and staying on top of your spending are the best ways to save money in college. Only spend what you’re able to make up, and if you go over that, make it your priority to stop spending for a while. As long as you keep track of where your money is, you’ll find that keeping money in your pocket is easier than you thought.

1.)  Don’t save it till the last minute – If you’re not one for a long, sit-down study sesh, try studying for an hour or two each day a week leading up to the test, so by the night before, you’re simply reviewing. Saving studying till the last day (or night) can lead to stress, lack of sleep and motivation and some unsatisfying grades.

2.)  Don’t be cluttered with distractions – It’s certainly no requirement to hide your cell phone while studying or to deactivate your Facebook page, but all this social media can be a major distraction. Look at your phone only every hour, keep it in your backpack, or leave it in your dorm while you study in the common room.

For Facebook, Twitter and all others, don’t keep them open while you study. Unless you’re contacting someone with questions, leaving all of your personal profiles open is just a recipe for procrastination. If you must, reward yourself every hour with a peak at Instagram, and then get back to studying!

3.)  Don’t avoid sleep – Your brain better retains information studied the night beforeafter a good night’s sleep. It’s science. So when in doubt, get to bed. Cramming and pulling an all-nighter may sometimes be your only choice, but if not, give your brain a rest and catch some Z’s.

4.)  Don’t underestimate the time to you should set aside to study – Overestimate – always. Chances are, if you tell yourself you’ll only need two hours to study, you’ll actually need four. This happens time and time again – I’ve been there! Always give yourself more time than you need and then some!

5.)  Don’t underestimate all the materials you’ll need – I’ve left my dorm to go study before with just my notebook – didn’t bring my laptop, or my book, or the knowledge that all of the class notes were online. Don’t do this! It certainly was a mindless mistake on my part, but you’d be surprised at how “prepared” you might think you are when you’ve only got half the materials you may really need.

6.)  Don’t only cram in studying in between all of your other plans/classes/breaks/practices, etc. Studying and retaining information takes time. If you’re studying in a rush, it’s less likely you’ll remember the information later on. It’s certainly a smart idea to take advantage of those one hour breaks to review information, but don’t rely on that time to get all of your studying in.

7.)  Don’t look at something once and move on – Say (or study) something a few times in a row. Say it out loud, think about it, say it again, and come back to it 5 minutes later. The more you think about and say things out loud, the more likely you’ll remember and recognize them. A good trick: remember your study facts with an acronym or a song. It’s fun, catchy, and more permanent that just memorizing.

8.)  Don’t study/memorize the material without understanding it – I was journalism major in college taking Introduction to Kinesiology. The first few weeks of the class… Not so hot, to say the least. But once I really began focusing on the material, looking up the terms, asking questions, and understanding the material in my own way, it was 10 times easier to remember – because I actually knew what it all meant! You won’t be fully prepared for a test if you don’t understand the material.

Understanding the material will also be your savoir when it comes to the dreaded short answer questions! As college students, we only have so many BS-ing abilities. But when you do in fact know what you’re talking about, short answer exams are a breeze.

9.)  When studying with someone else or a group – Don’t move on if you still don’t get it. Everyone learns differently, and chances are, when you’re studying in a group, there will be those few people who understand everything like clockwork (and they tend to lead the study session). If you don’t get something, don’t let them move on. Back track, ask them to explain again, give an example or walk you through it. It’s just more review for them and less being lost for you.

10.)  Don’t be scared to go to office hours – Professors should help you in every aspect of their class, including studying. Give your professor a heads up if you’d like help studying, or see if they can set aside extra time for you. Your school may also have free student tutors available for particular majors or classes who you can schedule time with!

Buckle down right from the get-go in college and you’ll find you establish regular, healthy studying habits fast! Organize your agenda, get your materials, stay on top of things and whatever you do, avoid the studying don’ts!

Today, we’re going full force with a 30-minute HIIT routine guaranteed to leave you glowing and feeling the burn tomorrow. This cardio workout is perfect for the gym, the track or along your favorite running trail. The whole workout should take about 30 minutes, but feel free to go through the sequence a second time through if you’re feeling energized. Ready to sweat? Here we go…

Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook, and stabilizing your mood. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty, varied, and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of well being. Studies have linked eating a typical Western diet—filled with red and processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food, and sugary snacks—with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Eating an unhealthy diet may even play a role in the development of mental health disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia, or in the increased risk of suicide in young people.

Eating more fruits and vegetables, cooking meals at home, and reducing your fat and sugar intake, on the other hand, may help to improve mood and lower your risk for mental health problems. If you have already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, eating well can even help to manage your symptoms and regain control of your life.

While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. That means switching to a healthy diet doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet and make a difference to the way you think and feel.

The holidays are one time of the year when you really want to feel your best. But they’re also a minefield of health woes, from cold and flu bugs to party hangovers.

Beyond getting the flu vaccine, there’s a lot you can do to help your body weather the season. This is how to keep healthy—and merry—as you shop, travel, and celebrate.

Staying well-hydrated keeps those mucous membranes moist so they can better keep bugs out of our systems. Down 8 ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air. Yes, that probably means using the plane’s germy lavatory (take your wipes!), but colds and flu are such monsters that you’re better off drinking than going dry.

Pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your purse, and use it regularly. “The germs on your hands are the single biggest threat to your health, any time of year,” Dr. Leavey says.

That’s because cold viruses tend to spread more from hand-to-mouth contact than through airborne droplets, making mall doors, escalator rails, elevator buttons, and ATM touch screens virus centra

If you run yourself ragged and don’t get a good night’s sleep, you risk getting ill just because you’ve worn down your body’s defenses,” A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who slept at least eight hours nightly were about three times less likely to catch a cold than those who snoozed for less than seven.

You’re not being a Grinch by skipping a party when you feel worn-down; you’re being smart. Think of it as preventive medicine. “We know to wash our hands and drink lots of liquids. Reducing stress is another way to avoid getting ill,”

We’d never tell you to pass up tasty holiday fare, but if you’re feeling bloated after too many nights of baked Brie, try this simple party trick: Pop gum in your mouth 15 minutes before hitting the buffet table. “Chewing gum tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating, so you actually eat less,”

Mulled wine. Eggnog. Pomegranate martinis. When you’re at a party, try to limit yourself to two and alternate them with glasses of water to avoid a crushing hangover the morning after. “If we don’t eat before we drink, that can throw off blood sugar,” If you wake up with a throbbing head, down some water, pop a pain reliever like ibuprofen, and sleep!

The average adult gets three colds per year, each lasting an average of nine days. Here’s how to beat back that virus before it beats you.


Family problems, not enough time, trouble with friends – these are just a few of the many things that cause stress. These seven tips can help.

  1. Allow plenty of time. Being too busy is a big source of stress.

  2. Exercise. It’s a great stress buster.

  3. Get plenty of rest and eat well. You’ll be able to handle stress better when it does come up.

  4. Discuss your problems with a friend or family member.

  5. When stress hits big, take a time-out. A few minutes away from the problem can help.

  6. Breathe deeply – slowly in, slowly out. Think of something pleasant.

  7. Ask for help. If you feel like your stress is just too much, talk with your family, a friend, or a counselor.

During the cooler months I do my best to hit the gym a few times a week and then try to do something active over the weekend . Sticking with this schedule is easy for me now that I’ve been doing it for years. It’s a habit. But let’s be honest–getting into this grove is easier said than done.

For those of you finding yourself in this apathetic place, do not be discouraged. There are plenty of ways to stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals. Once of my favorite ideas is keeping a Motivational Money Jar.

Here’s how a Motivational Money Jar works:

Each time you hit the gym or exercise put one dollar into your jar (if you can, slip $5 in there when you’ve had a particularly great week). Then, every few months cash in on your efforts. Treat yourself to a new top or even a relaxing spa pedicure.

Keep your jar somewhere prominent where you can see it often. I suggest placing it near your front door or on your bedside table so it can serve as a constant reminder to “pay your dues.”

I really love this idea. It’s a fantastic way to stay motivated and redeem a double payoff for all of your hard work (such as a new top and newly toned arms to go with it). Literally!

Are you going to give this Motivational Money Jar a try? Do you have any tips for staying focused and motivated on your fitness goals?

While an apple a day might keep the doctor away, it may be the perfect substitute for your morning java too!

We looked into the matter and sure enough, it’s been said that the fructose (a natural sugar) in apples can provide an energy boost equivalent to that of coffee. Crazy, right? Additionally, apples have carbs, which are used to fuel the body and due to their high fiber content, the body absorbs the sugar slowly, thus providing your bod with a steady stream of energy (sans sugar coma) as opposed to a sudden jolt of java. (To read more about this topic, check out the sources list at the very bottom of this post!)

Even if you can’t forgo your morning latte, it’s never a bad idea to include an apple in your daily diet routine. There’s a reason that old “apple a day” saying is around—apples are just plain good for you!

If you’re looking to give up coffee this year, we highly recommend giving our apple-a-day trick a try. While you won’t feel that instant coffee buzz, you will be energized and properly fueled to kick start your day on a healthy note.

Personally, I usually have a big cup of green tea in the mornings along with an apple. It always gets me going!

How do you get energized in the morning?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I truly believe that you are what you eat. If you put good things into your body, you will be rewarded with good things in return. In the past, I’ve covered what foods you should eat for shiny hair, clear skin, and a flat belly. But today I’m teaching you a lesson in foods that keep you healthy from the inside out—otherwise known as foods that boost the immune system. I did a little research on this topic with my team and came up with some fun facts I’m excited to share with you all today. Here’s what I discovered:

Your body’s immune system works hard every day to fight off disease and maintain a healthy, functioning equilibrium for your organs. That said, it’s about time to treat your body like the temple it is by stocking up on these cold fighting eats…

Here’s a little bit about what each of these foods does for you:

1. Yogurt is a natural probiotic, which means it replaces all the good bacteria in your system. According to a recent study, those who fueled their body with probiotics had 33 percent less sick days than those who didn’t. Eat up!

2. Garlic contains an ingredient called allicin, which fights infection and bacteria according to Baseline of Health. Eating these cloves raw has shown to decrease the chances of catching a cold.

3. Chicken soup (yep, chicken soup!) helps to reduce inflammation and thin mucus the same way cough medicines do, according to a study from the University of Nebraska. The amino acid cysteine, which is found in chicken broth, is similar to a chemical in an antibiotic that fights bronchitis. Now that’s chicken soup for the soul.

4. Tea, which is quite a soothing remedy for a sore throat, also doubles as a virus fighter. According to, a Harvard study shows that people who drank 5 cups of black tea for 2 weeks had more of the immune boosting protein interferon in their blood than those who didn’t.

5. Mushrooms promote white blood cell production, which helps your body fight off an infection. According to the director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine, people have been using mushrooms as immune boosters for centuries.

6. Strawberries, like citrus, come packed with vitamin C—a common cold remedy most people turn to when they start feeling sick. Vitamin C battles viruses before you even get sick, it also breaks down stress hormones. Whipping up a strawberry orange smoothie for breakfast is a great way to start your day (and it will feel soothing on a sore throat).

7. Brussels sprouts help nourish the thymus gland, which controls much of your immune system function. Eat two servings a day of these beta-carotene rich sprouts for optimal health.

8. Oatmeal is not only a great comfort food when you’re under the weather, it’s also chock-full of beta-glucan, which has antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities that are as strong as those found in Echinacea. Eat your oatmeal and you will notice wounds healing faster and antibiotics working better.

9. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are members of the beta carotene-rich family. Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells and it’s a powerful antioxidant that helps eliminates free radicals, according to Ask Dr. Sears. Studies have shown that beta-carotene can also lower the risk of heart disease. So just remember…a carrot a day keeps the doctor away!

10. Dark chocolate—get excited chocolate lovers—is one of the best sources zinc, which will decrease your risk of infection and promote the growth of white blood cells. Buy a dark chocolate bar if you’re taking a sick day, and treat yourself to a square or two. Just make sure you buy it unsweetened, because extra sugar surely won’t help a cold.

Which of these immune boosters do you eat most often?

Is there one you’ve never tried before?