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Call me crazy, because I probably am! But, I’m always up for a challenge. We’ll ignore the fact that I usually regret these ideas pretty quick. This time though, there are several reasons why starting a 30 day eat at home challenge at this particular time might work out to my benefit.
I’m not a fan of cooking. After two decades of cooking, I’m ready to call it quits. I can’t. Not yet. As a matter of fact, I need to eat at home more. There are some trips we need to save for and we want to continue paying off debt.
30 Day Eat at Home Challenge – The Rules
- No restaurants – sit down or fast food.
- No coffee shops. I will drink my coffee at home.
- No donuts, pastries, etc.
Grocery stores and Costco are the only places I’m allowed to purchase food. Seems pretty cut and dry, but there are a couple of gray areas.
- Full frequent user cards – If I have a ‘free’ something, such as my lovely Dutch Brothers coffee, does that count?
- Prepared meals at grocery store Deli areas – So, Nugget and Whole Foods have great prepared foods in the deli cases. Is that considered out to eat? I guess even Costco’s meals can be put into this category. Are they considered out to eat?
Since this isn’t so much about eating ‘whole’ foods or healthy foods, but rather a money saving challenge, I think my frequent user cards are fair game.
I’m still undecided on the prepared meals at the grocery story. I buy the prepared meatloaf and mashed potatoes, enchiladas, or mac and cheese at Costco often. I ALWAYS buy their rotisserie chicken. Is that eating out? I’ve never considered it eating out. Being fair, the prepared foods are not out to eat in my mind as I prepare and serve them at home to my family. But, the food court, that’s out to eat and thus off the table.
In that logic, Whole Foods and Nugget are off the table as they are already cooked and ready to serve or reheat.
Parties and events that offer free food do not count as eating out as I’m not spending money.
There is one day that this rule will not be in effect. October 22nd, I am attending an all day concert. We will be there from about noon until late at night, and we can bring in no food or drink. The rules are VERY strict with what we are allowed to bring in, which is pretty much nothing. From a logistical standpoint, we will have to buy food that day otherwise there’s no way to eat. I’m putting it up front though, this is the one day that will not count in my 30 day challenge…which works out in a way because October is 31 days and my plan is a 30 day eat at home challenge, not 31 days!
- Use Plan to Eat for my meal planning. I love this program and when I discipline myself to use it, it really streamlines and shortens my weekly meal planning.
- Meal prep – I have fallen off this wagon yet again. But, having to pack kids lunches, cook dinner, etc, I will prep all veggies ahead of time. I will try to make up my lunch on the weekend to help my work day.
- Trader Joe’s – Their frozen quick serve meals will be my friend. I will scour the internet for great food ideas, especially for the kids.
- Enlist the kids to help – My kids already set the table, load and unload the dishwasher, but I will teach them how to clean the counters and wash pots and pans. The older two at home are 12, they can manage.
Putting these into effect for my 30 day eat at home challenge will help expedite my shopping, cooking, and healthy eating. I’ve said that this isn’t a healthy eating challenge, and it’s not. By default, no high calorie caffeine drinks and no meals out, I have way more control over the calories.
I realize my crockpot will be paramount to my success. Of the two I own, I prefer this one: Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel (SCV700SS) because the oval ones seem to work better with larger cuts of meat.
For fruit, I live on pineapple year round, and this is my best friend: Adorox Stainless Steel Pineapple Fruit Core Slicer Cutter Kitchen Tool (Stainless Steel (1 Slicer))
And for veggies, I use two food processors, a large one for onions, carrots and really any veggies. This is what I have in my cupboard:KitchenAid KFP0711ER 7 Cup Food Processor, Empire Red
I have a small chopper for garlic, green onions, shallots and other smaller items. Here is my baby chopper:Cuisinart DLC-1 Mini-Prep Food Processor, White
The end goal is to save money. As a side benefit, I want to streamline meal planning, prep and cooking even more. Now that Dan is teaching nights, the kids have sports, and I’m exhausted, I don’t want to sink our budget by going out to eat all the time and I feel like we are sliding down that path.
This 30 day challenge will be good practice, that’s for sure.
Regardless, it sounds like a fantastic idea, set to start on a month with only one event. Yet, I’m sure a few days in to it, I’ll be dreading my decision. Each week I will update everyone on my progress! Feel Free to join me on my journey! Join my Facebook page HERE
You can also join my newsletter and I’ll be sending out tips and hints each week to make these 30 days pass a bit easier.