For 2012, I have put together a list of 12 monthly challenges. Some are harder than others but they all have the same purpose: to make us work towards being the best we can be.
Each month I will create an event on facebook and if you so choose to take part in the challenge, I encourage you to join, discuss and support each other. If you aren’t already a fan on fb, please come on over and join.
January Challenge #1
If you are anything like me, take-out food has become the norm on a busy day. Perhaps you grab a bagel in the morning, a thai bowl at lunch or (hate to admit it) McDonalds for dinner. We know it’s bad, we know it costs $$ and yet the convenience of it is just too tempting.
With Christmas behind us, many of us embarked on a month of eating holiday sweets & big meals (subsequently gaining lbs). To top it off, we also dropped a large sum of money on gifts.
To help save myself (and my wallet), I am starting a 30 Day Take-Out free challenge. Let’s do this together!
Here’s how it will work:
Starting today, January 1st, you will pledge that you and your family will stay away from take-out foods for 30 days. What constitutes take-out? Anything where the food is offered To-Go (and yes, even if you decide to sit down inside the shop to eat, that is not allowed).
What about coffee (or other beverages)?
Although you would be saving even more $$ by making your beverages at home, this is the area that I understand might not be a possibility for some. If you just can’t avoid your morning Tims, then go head – just don’t order the bagel! However, I highly suggest giving it at least an effort to cut out the take-out beverages as well. It’s amazing how quickly you can get used to packing your coffee at home in a travel mug before you leave the house. Every penny counts and it’s at least worth the effort.
What about sit-down only restaurants?
So this is again an area that is up to you. Don’t go replacing your take-out with a restaurant, that will only cost you more money & lbs in the end. However, we all have plans and obligations that we cannot avoid. So a celebratory dinner out with family, a lunch meeting with a client, a date night with hubby… all examples where you may want to stretch the rules slightly. However, my solution to this is that when you are at said restaurant, you will look at the menu and choose the option that is both healthy and cost effective. Of course, these rules can fly out the window for say, your birthday or anniversary. These nights have been pre-planned and my goal here isn’t to make anyone feel guilty for indulging every once and awhile. (This is where I admit that my birthday is this month and I am going to vegas for 4 days).
What are some tips to help get my family on board?
I think the number one tip I have is planning. Pre-plan all your meals. If your husband (like mine) buys his lunch most days, pack him a lunch – something he will actually enjoy. Yes, this will take time but the lack of sodium might actually make him a better man (if that is even possible). 😉
As for the kids in the backseat “we want McDonalds” with their baby blues staring back at you through the rear view mirror – resist it! We have a habbit of getting takeout for the kids every Wednesday & Friday. Wednesdays is a busy night because our son has an activity in the evening and Friday, well, it’s Friday! Who wants to cook when you can order a pizza? However, I think the plan here will be to offer the kids an alternative at home that is just as yummy and fun, without all the fat & salt. If you are in a rush, go ahead and cook extra the night before and then leftovers will be your answer. It’s all about thinking ahead. Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on sharing some more recipes that are easy on the wallet and take little time to make.
What about convenience store items?
My husband is known for running out to the local Macs to purchase a snack. Usually he comes home with a bag of chips and often times, he will bring me back something as well. We are incredibly guilty for sitting infront of the tv, munching on these very expensive snacks. So lets cut out convenience stores as well. If you must have a bag of chips or a chocolate bar, you must buy it from the grocery store. This will save you money, however, the idea of going into the busy grocery store to purchase one item will hopefully deter you from going in at all.
Plan your snacks. An alternative is air-popped corn. It’s a lot cheaper – a bag of popping corn will run you the cost of 1 or 2 bags of chips but you will get 10x that in popcorn. Use spray butter instead of drenching it in melted butter – and play with your seasoning! It’s amazing what you can come up with just by going through your spice rack. I personally enjoy a little garlic powder & chili powder on mine. Or maybe a little honey or maple syrup if you prefer it sweet?
In the end, this challenge will be what YOU make of it. Keep a food journal. Write down everything! The bad AND the good. At the end of the month you can look back and see just how fabulously you did.
Don’t forget… join Finding Momtopia on facebook to get invited to the event page.