Pete the Planner’s Holiday Savings League

Holiday_Logo.2.1.1The holiday season is wonderful – until January and February come around and you have to pay for all the financial mistakes you made during the holidays. The holidays tend to make us victims of our love for our loved ones. In other words, we spend too much money on gifts, and then have to scramble to pay for it in January and February.

This is why we created The Pete the Planner® Holiday Savings League. Accountability for saving for the holidays, in advance. So how does it work? You begin by making a list. No, not the naughty and nice list. This is your holiday buying list. Who will you buy for this year? How much will you spend on each person? It will look something like this:

Neighbors: $45
Dad: $65
Mom: $65
Friend: $20
Kid #1: $250
Kid #2: $250
Spouse: $165
Teachers: $60
Niece: $40
Nephew: $40

Step two is to total it up. For this example: total = $1,000

Finally, you’ll divide your total by four: total divided by 4 = $250

Why four? Because this is the number of cash withdrawals you’ll be making over the next few months leading up to the holidays. Withdrawing $1,000, or whatever your particular savings goal is, all at once is difficult for many to do. Breaking the goal down into four chunks makes your goal more attainable.

Keep in mind these are CASH withdrawals.Yes, the cash part is very important. As you withdraw your savings you’ll keep it in a special envelope for holiday spending. As you begin holiday shopping you’ll use your cash envelope until it’s empty. When it is, your shopping is done. End of story.

We’ll get into the more gritty details as we get into the program. For now though, it’s time for you to get started! Click here to register.

The Sour Side of Sugar

Here are some interesting facts about sugar:sugar

• For both men and women, as income goes up, sugar consumption goes down and as age goes up, sugar consumption goes down. For kids, the story is different. They tend to eat and drink more sugar as they get older, and there aren’t big differences based on income.
When totaled up, more of our added sugars come from foods than beverages, but the sugars in our beverages may prevent weight management. Why? Because studies show that liquid calories may not be “seen” or “registered” by the human body and thus may not contribute to satiety. As a consequence, we tend to over-consume liquid calories which leads to weight gain. So to cut back on added sugars, start by cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages!

What are “added sugars”? They are sugars and syrups added to foods and beverages by manufacturers to make those products taste sweet. They come in many forms and have many different names. Here are some examples:
• table sugar
• brown sugar
• corn syrup
• dextrose
• fructose
• sucrose
• maltose
• high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
• honey
• invert sugar
• lactose
• malt syrup
• maple syrup
• molasses
• nectars
• cane juice or syrup


Quinoa Porridge – A Delicious and Healthy Breakfast Option – Full of Protein!

Quinoa porridgeTry quinoa porridge for a healthy start to your day! A sweet and crunchy combination packed with protein.

1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dairy milk, almond mild, or rice milk
1 teaspoon flax seed
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
Fresh fruit

1. In a medium saucepan stir together the bulgur
wheat, quinoa and water. Cover, heat over high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer for 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the pan. Cooked bulgur and quinoa will be slightly chewy.

2. Once cooked, stir in the cinnamon.Taste, add more seasoning if preferred.

3. Serve the bulgur and quinoa in a bowl with milk and top with flax seeds, brown rice syrup and fresh fruit. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate!


Scrumptious Summer Sweet Treat!


5-Minute Healthy Peach Frozen Yogurt

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 min


1 (16-oz.) bag frozen peaches or 4 cups fresh peaches, frozen solid
3 Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt (non-fat or whole)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Add the frozen peaches, agave nectar (or honey), yogurt and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Process until creamy, about 5 minutes.

Serve the frozen yogurt immediately or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Kelly’s Notes:
I prefer a more tart frozen yogurt, but you can add additional agave nectar or honey if you want a sweeter-tasting dessert.

3 Step Plan for a Week of Healthy Eating

refrigerator full of healthy food. fruits, vegetables and dairy products

refrigerator full of healthy food. fruits, vegetables and dairy products

Healthy eating doesn’t just happen with the snap of your fingers. It takes thought and a bit of work to make sure you are set up with everything you need. We have a plan you can follow to make sure you are doing what you need to get ready for a week of smart food choices.

  1. Start by cleaning out your fridge and pantry

Get rid of (or donate) anything that’s going to tempt you to overeat or blow your budget. If you share a kitchen with others, try designating one cupboard or shelf in the kitchen as your “healthy food only” section so that you only see the healthy stuff and don’t get tempted by other foods.

  1. Make a plan for your visit to the grocery store

Before you hit the grocery store, make a plan. Think through your upcoming week and what you  want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you enter the grocery store with your week planned out, it’s easier to avoid buying foods that may hurt your calorie budget. Get some inspiration from this healthy grocery list.

Remember: the healthy items are generally around the edge of the store. Be aware of that when you’re in the store and aim to spend more time on the perimeter.

We know you’ve heard it a million times but it bears repeating, don’t shop hungry! On top of that, one study suggests you may even benefit from having a healthy snack (like an apple) before a trip to the store.

  1. Once you’re in the store:
  • Use a cart, not a basket. While it may go against your intuition to choose a cart over a basket, research shows that shoppers using a basket are more likely to make unhealthy purchases.
  • Visit the produce section first and choose brightly colored, nutrient-packed fruits and veggies. These foods are high in fiber, so they keep you full without using too many calories. Filling your cart with fruits and veggies ensures you have plenty of calorie friendly foods on hand.
  • Pick your protein. Protein helps you build and maintain strong muscles as you’re losing weight. Plus, it’s hard for your body to digest protein, which means you’ll burn more calories digesting protein. Focus on lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and fruit and veggies to get your protein in!
  • Consider stocking up on healthy staples. Having things like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, whole grain bread, and cans of beans in your pantry can quickly serve as a healthy side dish to a meal, making it easier to stay on track. Plus, these foods are all packed with fiber, which is key for weight loss!
  • Plan to snack smart by selecting some low-cal and filling snacks. Our favorites snacks to have on hand are popcorn kernels (air pop kernels in a brown paper bag in the microwave), frozen edamame, frozen fruit (a perfect sweet treat in place of ice cream) and granola bars (look for at least 3 grams of protein and fiber, and less than 10 grams of sugar).

Bonus Tip!

When you get home spend some time preparing your food for the week: Peel your veggies, wash your fruit and pre-portion your snacks. Anything you can do ahead of time will be a big help during week.

This article is brought to you by Lose It! advisor, Dr. Roshini Raj. Dr. Raj is a board certified gastroenterologist and internist. Dr. Raj is also a nationally-known media personality; she is a TODAY Show contributor, the Good Day NY Medical Correspondent (Fox5) and the Medical Editor of Health magazine. She has also been quoted in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalCosmopolitanMen’s Health, and Women’s Health and Fitness.

We know that these suggestions may seem like a lot of work but it will save you time in the upcoming week. With these tips, staying on track is going to be much easier. Do you have a tip related to preparing for a healthy week? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter!


Five-Ingredient Fridays: Grown-Up PB&J Toast

Toasted slices of hearty multi-grain bread topped with peanut butter, fresh fruits, and a drizzle of honey. The PB&J sandwich gets a healthy boost in this grown-up version of the classic!

Grown-Up-PBJ-Toast-5Prep time -10 mins/Total time -10 mins

Recipe type: breakfast, snack
Serves: 1
  • 2 slices of bread (I used La Brea Bakery’s Whole Grain Loaf)
  • 1 and ½ TBS unsalted peanut butter
  • ½ ripe medium nectarine, diced
  • 8-10 large blackberries, chopped
  • 2 tsp honey (or add more to taste)
  1. Toast the bread, and spread peanut butter on each toast.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the nectarines and blackberries. Spoon the fruit mixture on top of the toast.
  3. Drizzle a teaspoon of honey on top of each slice of toast.
  4. Enjoy!