Sunday, June 9, 2013

Healthy Eating Challenge for a Week

Yes, you read my headline correctly. It may seem weird to only do a healthy eating challenge for one week, but I know myself. For some goals, I know that I need to start small and work my way up. I'd like to start by saying that I don't think I eat all that unhealthy at this point in my life. I rarely eat fast food, except for the occasional sub from Subway, Jimmy John's or Erbert and Gerbert. I do splurge every now and then and enjoy a Chipotle Steak Bowl or sandwich and soup combo at Panera, but overall, I am fairly healthy.

I am not sure what sparked this, but part of it was while I was watching the Food Network this morning. Paula Deen was cooking with a guy who rarely eats anything that is processed. I thought, "Wow! That must be hard." The more I thought about it, laying in bed and eating my processed granola bar, I decided that it can't be that hard. And just like that, I decided that this coming week (Monday through Sunday), I will eat no processed foods. And, I think I've roped my roomie, Sara, into this venture with me!

I have done things like this in the past. Several years ago, I decided to stop drinking anything with caffeine for one week. That one week turned into one month and then a year and before I knew it, I hadn't had a caffeinated beverage in several years. Since then I have started drinking caffeinated beverages again, but I know I don't need them and can go forever without drinking caffeine if I choose to do so. I don't drink a lot of caffeine as it is; everything in moderation. 

Now, there are several definitions of processed food. This is my plan...shop as much on the outside of the grocery store and as little down the aisles as possible. For one week, I am cutting out crackers, granola bars, chips, cereal and cookies (which I rarely eat), breads, possibly pasta, lunchmeat, soda, any beverages with alcohol, and anything that has an ingredient in it that I cannot pronounce. I will NOT be cutting out meats - chicken, pork nor steak. 

I enjoyed about 45 minutes in the grocery store this morning and I stuck to the areas with fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, and only ventured down two aisles. Note the photo of groceries for the first half of this week.



My hardest challenge this week will be crackers, granola bars and bread for sandwiches. I generally eat a granola bar every morning around 9:00 a.m., crackers for a mid-morning or afternoon snack and if you know me, you know I love my subs! But, you can do anything for a week! This week, in place of a granola bar will be hard boiled eggs and fruit salad. In place of crackers will be almonds and sunflower seeds.

Soda may also be difficult for me as I like to have one Diet Coke at lunch each day. This is (for the most part) the only soda that I drink in a day. In the past, I have given up soda, so I know I can live without it once again. I hate coffee, so that isn't an issue, but I do drink tea. Luckily, I know what's in my tea and it is good for you!

I am a soup lover so I am making a roasted carrot and basil soup, as well as roasted tomato soup. You see the two boxes of yellow Chicken Stock? There are no unknown ingredients in the box and it is made with vegetables and herbs. Yes, more expensive than Swanson's, but I know what is in this box. The couscous ingredients are ... couscous. That's it. I bought my favorite veggies for salads. I love just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on my salads, so I will not miss store bought dressings. 

For dinners, I plan to make a pork and ginger stir fry, grill chicken and maybe some veggies, and I will enjoy chicken legs another night with couscous and a stir fry of mushrooms.

I am excited to make the dishes this week. This afternoon in just a couple of hours, I have made a fruit salad, hard boiled eggs and two soups. I know that doing this work today will help me with my goal throughout the entire week. But today, before I start my challenge tomorrow, I am eating some things that I enjoy, such as the granola bar, Subway sandwich, Doritos, and a fountain soda. And I will enjoy an adult beverage at dinner tonight! Wish me luck! 

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