October Grocery Challenge

As you all know we are in the middle of another move. Although this time we are just moving across town it seems that it’s just as hard as our cross country move. On top of moving there is the expense of moving which for us includes paying double rent* and moving expenses so this coming month we are reigning in the budget. That’s where the challenge comes in to play.

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This month we are challenging ourselves to eat at least 84 meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and all snacks at home/packed for work.  We will be allowed to have a max of 9 meals out however they must on average be $25 or less for the three of us and we are allowed max of 2 coffees each out per week.

Challenge:

  • Groceries: 84 meals at $5 per meal +Coffee/Alcohol/Chocolate/Snacks + Oil/Spices = $550**
  • 9 meals out + Coffee Out =  MAX –> $275 Goal –> $200

Currently we are spending nearly $1000/month on going out, coffee and groceries – yeah I know it sounds like a lot. So this is really going to be a challenge but with moving, a Seattle trip and the holidays I have a lot of motivation to stick with this challenge. I plan on posting $5 meal recipes and would love to have others participate and share theirs as well.

If you are interested in participating in this challenge leave a comment below and then head over to your own blog and write your own post and goals and link back to this page by October 1st.

Who’s in?

*Portland has a crazy rental market and when you find an amazing place like we did you have to jump on it or take the chance that you may or may not find an equally wonderful place.

**Update: um so I can’t add.

Healthy Living On A Budget: Dining In

Earlier this week we discussed dining out now lets talk about eating in.

How can eating at home help?

You have control – You have all of the control. You can control: the portion sizes, the quality of ingredients and the costs. When we eat at home we are able to buy high quality ingredients to make dishes that are tasty, healthy and better fit our budget. You can control the salt and the fat, which helps you take control of your diet.

Image Credit

Meal Planning Tips:

Plan you menu for the week and make a grocery list. Make sure to include snacks and drinks on your list. Planning will help you to stay on track and to cut costs.
Focus on simple, healthy meals during the week and one “WOW” dinner on the weekend. When you keep things simple you reduce stress and the desire to eat out. The “WOW” dinner is a replacement for eating out; make something special and make an event out of it. One of our favorite things to do is pick a movie and create a meal that follows the theme of the movie.
Have a prep day. One of the biggest challenges many of us face is time. Take one day per week, I find Sundays work well for me, and prep your meals for the week. This helps things run smoothly through the week and you will have more time doing the things you want, rather than being in the kitchen all night.
Buy in bulk and portion out. I love to buy nuts, seeds and dried fruit in bulk for snacks. When I get home I portion them out into little containers so they are easy to grab and go. This is also great to do with other snacks such as veggie sticks and hummus or whole grain crackers and salsa.
Keep it simple and have fun.

Healthy Living On A Budget: Dining Out

What are the biggest problems with eating out?


1. Portions – Most of the times, your portions are way too much for one person. Many times, Neil and I will share an entree and a salad or appetizer. But, whether you just arenʼt feeling like eating the same thing as your partner, or you just feel like youʼre hungrier than you probably are, sometimes you just want your own meal. You could always ask the wait staff to box half up of your meal before they bring it out, but, honestly, how often does that actually happen?

2. Expense – Thereʼs no two ways about it, eating out is expensive. Just think about how much that pasta with salad dish would have cost you at home. Would that bottle of wine you shared at dinner really have cost you $35.00 at the grocery store? Often, a meal for two (as simple as the one i just mentioned) can cost upwards of $60. In reality, you can make it at home for $15-25 (including that bottle of wine!). I know that part of what you are paying for is the experience, but why not try to recreate that at home? And hey, tipping your partner with a kiss is a lot cheaper than 15-20% of that $60 bill (and more fun!).

3. Mystery – Often, it can be a mystery as to what you are actually eating. Unless a restaurant clearly labels each ingredient on their menu, you may not have any idea what is in your dish. Often restaurant dishes are filled with sodium and fats used to heighten flavor which makes you want more, creating repeat customers. Not to mention that you donʼt know what the quality of the ingredients they use are or whether they are packaged or made from scratch.

Cleanse Session 2 Meal Plan

I apologize for the delay this should have been up a few days ago but alas I have a crazy crawling, climbing baby that is keeping me busier than ever.  For those of you who are participating in session 2 today is day two of your 10 day cleanse so make sure you refer back to the previously posted tasks to keep you on track.  If you haven’t signed up but want to take the challenge, which has a lovely prize box at the end, there are still two more sessions that you can sign up for here.

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For this sessions meal plan I decided to create a meal plan for those of you who really want to challenge yourself to eat fresh, clean and whole foods. The previous meal plan had a lot more cooked whole, clean meals while this one is more raw centric.

Every Morning

– Before you eat anything else enjoy a mug of warm water with a squeeze of lemon

Day 1.

Day 2.

Day 3.

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Day 4.

Day 5.

Snacks:

  • herbal teas
  • vegetable juices
  • whole fruit and vegetable smoothies
  • veggies with hummus
  • raw bars
  • fresh fruit
  • nuts
  • unsweetened or fruit sweetened dried fruit

See session 1 meal plan for more inspiration.

What cleansing recipes do you enjoy?

Five Healthy Goals for 2013

This cleanse has really got me thinking about what I need to do be healthier this year. I am working on cutting back on coffee and sugar. I am also making time to workout but there are five other goals I have for the new year which include:

1.Drink More Water. I have been awful about this lately. Water is essential for living a healthy life and feeling good. It is especially important for a nursing mom like myself. I am making sure to have a glass or bottle of water with me at all times and am drinking to thirst.

2. Eat more Veggies (and less carbs). If you know me you know I am a carb-o-holic. I could eat an entire loaf of bread in a day and pasta at every meal. My goal this year is to eat more veggies (and green smoothies) and less carbs.

3. Choose Better Snacks. I love crackers. Instead of eating crackers as a snack I am going to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. When I am feeling a craving for crackers I’ll try to choose something a little healthier like Quaker Popped Rice Snacks.

4. Run. It’s time to really get down to work I have a quarter marathon in May and I need to get back to running. I have a training plan ready to go starting this week and I am ready to run!

5. Relax More. I spend so much time working, being a mom and keeping house. I can’t tell you the last time I did something relaxing and for myself. I need to slow down and recharge my batteries.

What are you going to do to be healthier this year?

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My Fitness Pal: Friend or Foe?


I know I have been talking about goals, New Years Resolutions and getting back in shape for the new year and I promise (but not really) that this is my last post. I usually don’t make specific New Years Resolutions but rather goals for the new year and ways that I can accomplish those goals.  This year I decided that if I really want to lose the baby weight I need to find a method that works well for me.

In the past I have found calorie counting to work really well for me and I was able to lose 50lbs over about 18 months and maintain that weight loss for 5 years. So my thought is if it worked back then maybe it will work for me again.

Now I’m not nitpicking when it comes to every little thing I eat and I’m not on a super calorie restricting “diet” but rather I have been using My Fitness Pal to record my daily eats and workouts so I can actually take a look at what I am REALLY eating and how often I am working out. It is so easy to overlook the things that we eat and by recording everything that I am eating I am able to figure out if am getting enough of the nutrients I need and also where I might need to cut back. Since I am still breastfeeding I really can’t restrict my calories too much so more of my focus is on making sure I am getting enough healthy calories and that I am making time to workout.

So far My Fitness Pal has been a such a help for me to really jump start my New Years resolution.  It really is true what they say “If it’s not broken why fix it” aka recording my daily eats worked before and it’s working now. The only thing I really don’t like about My Fitness Pal is that it points out my flaws. I mean really it’s not very nice to point out that I went about a billion calories over budget on Saturday because I ate one or three too many Voodoo Doughnuts.

Okay I guess My Fitness Pal can’t be held responsible for my short comings and honestly I guess it’s doing it’s job – making me aware of where and when I need to make improvements so that I can be the healthiest and happiest I have ever been. Although daily meal and fitness recording is time consuming and I honestly probably forget things here and there I have found that it is really helping me. I also love that I am able to follow the progress friends who are also using My Fitness Pal and we are able to really support each other. I haven’t noticed a weight loss yet but I can tell you I am really starting to feel better and fit back into clothes that I wasn’t able to wear a few weeks ago.

Q: Do you calorie count? How are you making your New Years Resolutions achievable?

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Disclosure: “Compensation was provided by Welch’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Welch’s.”