The “Love Your Food” Challenge

by The Glowing Gazelle on February 6, 2013

I hear so many of us stating at one point in time the same thing: “I really want to eat healthier, but ______” and then fill in the blank with whatever excuse or reason we come up with. It’s something so many of us desire. We want to. We need to. But we don’t know where to start or how we can afford it or how we can make the time for it.

Last year, I did several weeks of only “real food” with no processed food in my diet and I felt fabulous. It wasn’t a weight loss thing. It was just me taking on a challenge to see if I could give up anything that wasn’t “real” –which is quite a lot of the foods that we tend to buy. But then the holidays came upon us and that’s when I fell apart. I didn’t have meals frozen for easy prep and my shopping trips were fairly quick with little planning and not as much coupon usage as normal. And as far as how food made me feel, I felt terrible. I miss those days of feeling good about what I was eating.

So on Monday, I decided it’s time to make a change. I started going through my stockpiled shelves and pulling out anything that I felt wasn’t along the lines of “healthy,” keeping only items that were Organic/Natural or that I thought were minimally unhealthy. And anything that wasn’t was placed in a Rubbermaid container and became part of what I’ll use for next week’s meal plan. My goal was to have it all gone by the time Valentine’s Day was over and it will be close. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past, it’s to not rush into something that’s important to me. So I’m going to spend my time for the rest of February doing some “prep work” so that I can “Love My Food” starting March 1st. After all, February is the “love month” so it’s the perfect time to do this!

Now here are a few things that I think that I need to do before then:

1) Clear my shelves of any processed foods I’ve accumulated over the holidays – I’m almost finished with this. I’m sorting things now as to keep and use this month or donate. Since I’ll be using things from my stockpile, this is going to free up some money in my grocery budget. I’m going to save that to help buy some Organic chicken, as I’m getting lower on my stockpile of that.

2) Prepare my kitchen – Eating healthier is not easy. Especially when first starting out. It requires more homemade cooking and this can turn into a long time in the kitchen if my cupboards aren’t cleaned out and organized properly. Valuable time is wasted when I have to spend time looking for a measuring cup or bowl, etc.

3) Take inventory of spices – A key to healthier cooking is to jazz up the flavors of foods with spices rather than unhealthy alternatives. So I’m going to see what I’m almost out of and add them to my “buy now” list and keep an eye out for sales on those things that are getting low. I also want to get a few little pots going of some fresh herbs. I have one of chives right now that I’ve managed to not kill these past few months so I’m going to try a few more.

4) Find Healthier Recipes and Organize Others I’ve Previously Found – I have collected enough recipes for two lifetimes, I’m sure. Some of them are some “cutesy” food things and others are recipes with long lists of ingredients and/or unhealthier ones. These are not what I want. I’m going to be looking for recipes that contain 4 important things:

a) Recipe is of a healthier version
b) Recipe has fewer ingredients
c) Recipe contains ingredients we like and will actually eat!
d) Recipes that can be made in advance and frozen for a quick meal later

5) Check inventory on freezer bags and other items needed to freeze foods – A big key in eating healthier on a budget is to buy larger quantities of in-season items when prices are down and freezing/storing them for when the prices are much higher. I’ve had luck with things such as: berries, pineapple, meats, vegetables, etc.

6) Take note of more ways to cut back on our budget – Eating healthier is not an inexpensive task. But it is one that can be done. Sometimes we just have to cut back on this or that to make it work.

So these are my goals that I’m hoping to accomplish by March 1st. I’ll be sharing my progress on them as I complete them. I’m also hoping to get some pics to you of my stockpile and how I go about stockpiling items *sensibly* to help keep grocery/household expenses down.

Each year I’ve done a “Marching into Fitness” series on Coupon Geek where I put more focus on health and fitness and often do several giveaways for these types of items. This year will be no different except more of my focus will be shared here on Glowing Gazelles instead. I’m hoping that you’ll join me in this challenge and prepare to finally be able to say that you “Love Your Food!”

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