Eat in Month 2014: Week 3 and 4 Check In and Closing Thoughts

Well, I missed my 3 week check-in for Eat in Month 2014. I’ll go ahead and blame Charlotte Start-Up Weekend. More on that in a minute. In the meantime, let’s jump in!

Week 3

January 15

EIM3-Jan15-chimadrink.jpg

Right smack dab in the middle of the challenge, I went out with my Epic Eater friends to celebrate Dion getting a wonderful new job and moving to Tampa, FL. Her choice of outing – Chima! I’d never been before, so I was really looking forward to checking the place out. I started out with one of their signature mocktails – a refreshing lime and milk drink. To me, it was an unusual combination (citrus and dairy?), but the drink was quite good!

EIM3-Jan15-chimafood.jpg

Have you been to one of these Brazilian types of restaurants? Here’s how it works. At this restaurant, we were given a few minutes at the salad bar. Kseniya’s strategy was to get a nice plate of veggies and to slowly eat them over the course of the meal. It was a great idea, and I’m glad she shared her tip! Anywho, after getting your veggies, the next step involves a round card. One side indicates you’d like more meat and the other indicates you don’t. When you’re ready, you flip the card over to say you’re up for some meat, and the servers come around, each carrying a different kind of meat – lamb, flank steak, rib eye, pork, chicken, bacon-wrapped chicken, bacon-wrapped filet, Brazilian sausage, and more! The various meats are skewered on tall swords, and then they slice your serving(s) or carefully remove a portion for you. The flank steak, sausage, and bacon-wrapped filets were my favorite. I didn’t even need the sauces I’d picked up from the salad bar, though it was fun experimenting with them.

EIM3-Jan15-chimadessert.jpg

Dion recommended the papaya cream, so I knew I had to try it. It was like a melty, fruity ice cream. And the papaya is said to help aid digestion…definitely recommended after a full meal like this one!

From beginning to end, Chima was a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to take my husband here! The food was delicious and unique and the service was more than excellent. I had a great time!

EIM3-Jan15-Dion.jpg

We’re so happy for you, Dion, but we’re going to miss you terribly! Good luck in sunny Florida!

January 16

EIM3-Jan16-toastedsandwich.jpg

January’s lunch theme was definitely toasted sandwiches. They were just so easy to put together on my busiest days, and I’m not a fan of re-heating leftovers. It never tastes quite as good, and I don’t like using the microwave. Thank goodness for toaster ovens!

EiM3-Jan16-lunch.jpg

Here’s one of my favorite lunches – toasted sandwich (turkey and muenster), salad, sea salt and vinegar chips, and a mini toblerone.

January 19

EIM3-Jan19-Cheese.jpg

On one of the Saturdays, I happily enjoyed some leftover, homemade soup and freshly baked baguette from Local Loaf with some North Carolina made brie from Orrman’s Cheese Shop. Baguette and brie is one of my favorite snacks. In fact, as I write about this, I’m wondering if I should pick up some for later. Hmm…

January 21

EIM3-Jan21-BaileyCabbage.jpg

I stopped by the farmer’s market one day and picked up a head of napa cabbage that was almost as big as Bailey! Okay, not quite that big, but it was huge compared to most I’ve seen!

EIM3-Jan21-NoodleStirFry.jpg

The cabbage went into this delicious tofu noodle stir fry (click here for a similar recipe).

Week 4

January 24

EIM4-Jan24-Packard.jpg

I attended my second Charlotte Startup Weekend in January. I’ll be blogging about it over on my tech blog, but you can read about my first startup weekend experience here. Basically, we tried launching a startup in 54 hours, so I was there almost the entire weekend! I thought about blogging while I was at the event, but I really wanted to focus on the team and our project.

January 27

EIM4-Jan27-YouRock.jpg

Though I gave myself a once-a-week Starbucks pass during the challenge, I found I didn’t need it as much as I thought I would. I didn’t even use it most weeks. Coffee at the house was enough.

EIM4-Jan27-Cheat.jpg

Unfortunately, I had to cheat on the challenge one day. I was running late for work and was relying on an emergency frozen meal I’d stored at the office, but the cleaning crew threw it away! Doh! I got this rice bowl with chicken and lots of veggies. It felt wrong to cheat on the challenge, but I wasn’t about to skip a meal!

January 29

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I got to work one day from home since it snowed. This meant I had all the hot tea I could consume…

EIM4-Jan29-HotChocolate.jpg

…and I even got to make this clean-eats hot chocolate. I used to use packets all the time, but have you looked at the ingredient lists on those things? There are so many weird, unpronounceable things in those things! This hot chocolate had 4 ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder, rice milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Click here for a similar recipe for coconut milk hot chocolate.

January 31

EIM4-Jan31-Burger.jpg

And for the last dinner of the challenge…grilled burgers with steamed broccolini and french fries. It was so good and reminded me that I’m looking forward to even more grilled eats when the weather warms up. I feel like spring is right around the corner. Just a few weeks, right?

Closing Thoughts on the Eat in Month Challenge

I was thinking of documenting my lessons learned from the challenge, but the notes I made on my 2 Week Check-In sums it up nicely. The challenge was definitely difficult this time around. Prepping ahead was not easy for me, though some menu planning helped a lot. Also, taking inventory of what we had in the house (in the pantry, fridge, freezer) also helped me remember what ingredients we had as I’d be driving home from work or Zumba and wondering what I was going to eat. Having some semi-homemade options was also a big help. I generally like to make sure my meals and healthy and well-balanced, but perfect meals are stressful. Remembering to focus on doing my best (qualitarian!) really helped remove some of that stress and let me enjoy the challenge and my eating more.

Oh, and one more thing – I had a couple people join in late. Better late than never, right? I think whichever month for you is best is the best month for this challenge! You can check out their challenge updates on their blogs here and here. Can’t wait to see how they do!

How’d you do with the challenge?

Eat in Month 2014: Week 1 Check In and an Announcement

Hi everyone!

For those doing the 5th annual Eat in Month Challenge, how are you doing? We’re just over one week in, and I’m hanging in there. How about you?

I thought I’d check in and share some of my eats, challenges, and triumphs from the first week. Here we go:

January 1

EIM-Week1-Jan1-oatmeal.jpg

In the past, I’ve done special breakfasts on New Year’s Day, but this year, we were still catching up from holiday travels, and the house wasn’t well stocked up. I whipped up this tasty oatmeal with some pantry ingredients, and it was really good! I’ll share the recipe since it’s a great I-haven’t-grocery-shopped-recently kind of breakfast.

EIM-Week1-Jan1-pantry.jpg

We spent some good QT cleaning out and organizing our pantry, fridge, and freezer. It was a great way to assess what we had before going out and getting more groceries. Sometimes, I get so busy that I don’t look through our pantry to know what’s in there, and I forget what we have. This was a good reminder that I should look at it more often to help with meal planning.

We got pretty busy doing things around the house, so although we should have done a good grocery stocking trip to prepare for the challenge, we just got what we needed for the day and opted to shop later. Plus, I’d heard at least one grocery store I wanted to visit was closed on NYD.

EIM-Week1-Jan1-dinner.jpg

For NYD dinner, we definitely had to have our traditional collards and black eyed peas. We also had brown rice and made my mom’s Filipino pork adobo, partially because if you double the batch, you’ll get leftovers. I think the pork re-heats really well, so it’s a leftover I look forward to. Hello, lunch!

EIM-Week1-Jan1-cake.jpg

Since I skipped the special breakfast, I opted for a special dessert. I decided to make a bigger version of my chocolate cake minis and did some research and calculations to make one 8-inch round cake. Unfortunately, my numbers weren’t quite right, and I ended up with two 8-inch round cakes. Whoops! Luckily, the recipe turned out great, so I’ll be sharing that one here on The Chic Life soon.

***

January 2

The second day of EIM was my first day back at the office after my long holiday break. It was a challenge waking up early and having to pack for the day. Plus, I was throwing a glow party at my Zumba class after work, so I had to do extra preparations PLUS figure out breakfast and pack lunch.

EIM-Week1-Jan2-lunch.jpg

As planned, I had leftover pork adobo for lunch, which I really enjoyed. I also had leftover rice, collards, and black eyed peas, but I was too full to eat the peas, so I saved those for a Friday snack.

EIM-Week1-Jan2-dinner.jpg

That night, I came home a little later after teaching Zumba and hitting up Trader Joe’s (had to restock sometime!), and hubby had cooked dinner! He made spaghetti and green beans. Yum! I was so glad he cooked because I didn’t know what I was going to have. I had a bunch of stuff from TJs, but I hadn’t really planned a specific meal. I had been thinking I’d have frozen soup, but this was even better! Plus, we had cake leftovers for dessert!

January 3

EIM-Week1-Jan3-breakfast.jpg

Still struggling to get back into my routine, I woke up a little late and had this grab-and-go breakfast – a KIND plus bar and Babybel cheese. I have a few of these bars at my work desk for these types of mornings. They will be a great back-up.

EIM-Week1-Jan3-dinner.jpg

We were feeling pretty tired from the (yes, it was short) work week. Ahh, so #firstworldproblem. Anywho, we opted to make TJ’s soy corn dogs, Annie’s mac and cheese, and I cooked some collards my friend Angie gave me in my Asian collard style. This is my current favorite way to eat collards. I’ll try to share the recipe soon since it would be a good one for EIM. We also enjoyed some of my BIL’s home-brewed beer.

January 4

EIM-Week1-Jan4-breakfast.jpg

I made some stove top banana oatmeal with flaxseeds, hemp hearts, and almonds for a pre-workout breakfast on Saturday. Oatmeal is my go-to when I work out in the mornings.

I had a great time at class, and hubby picked me up afterwards to do some car shopping. We’ve been shopping over the last six or so months, but I don’t take big purchases lightly (and neither does he), so we’re taking our time. We’re also struggling to choose between two cars, but I’m sure something will work out. We ended up not buying anything, but the process took longer than I expected. Since we were out and about, I grabbed a granola bar at one dealership and we skipped lunch in favor of an early (really early!) dinner. We really should have planned that one out better, but we made it work.

Post car-shopping, we stocked up on some 9-grain bread at Great Harvest, which was key for our eats the upcoming week.

January 5

EIM-Week1-Jan5-breakfast.jpg

Since we finally had bread again, we had a classic Chic house breakfast – a fried egg and toast. I think I could eat this every day. I like to spice up the eggs with different seasoning blends from our local Savory Spice Shop. I added berebere to this one for some zesty flavor.

EIM-Week1-Jan5-dinner.jpg

I made my Slow Cooker Beef and 3 Bean Chili for dinner so we’d have plenty of leftovers for upcoming meals. We also had steamed broccoli and my Corn Bread Minis (which make just enough for two people). Perfect!

January 6

Somehow, I forgot to take photos from this day. But no worries, I did manage to eat in the whole day. The plans were easier thanks to the chili leftovers, which made for a great lunch. Monday is usually one of the easier days since I have the previous day to plan and prepare. It’s later in the week that becomes a challenge for me.

January 7

EIM-Week1-Jan7-oatmeal.jpg

I kicked the week off with stove top banana oatmeal with the same toppings as Saturday, plus Cloister Honey’s whipped cinnamon honey stirred in. Love that stuff!

EIM-Week1-Jan7-lunch.jpg

I had a turkey muenster sandwich on 9 grain that I toasted in my office’s toaster oven. Toasted sandwiches help me enjoy sandwiches so much more. Def try finding a toaster oven in your office if you’re looking to switch things up a little. I just put the bread and ingredients like the photo above (turkey on top of one slice and cheese on the other) and toast away. So good! I had salt and vinegar chips and sliced cucumbers on the side.

EIM-Week1-Jan7-dinner.jpg

Hubby’s gotten into Indian food, which is good for me because I love it! I want to try making tikka masala from scratch, but we just used a jarred simmer sauce for dinner and served it with brown rice, green beans from my family’s garden, and TJ’s frozen naan (so good!).

EIM-Week1-Jan7-donut.jpg

And I tried out a new donut recipe that I created awhile back to recipe-test. These are garam masala baked donuts, and they’re great! I’ll be sharing this recipe soon, too!

***

So, all in all, a great week! How did you do?

***

In other news, I’m really excited to announce that I’ll be a speaker at Fitbloggin 2014 in Savannah, GA. Woohoo! I’m equally excited and nervous. This will be my first time presenting at a conference, which is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile now. I’m just glad I have a few months to prepare. Phew! I’ll be presenting HTML and CSS for non-technical bloggers, so if anyone wants to learn more about coding and has little to no experience, this is the presentation for you! I’m planning to make the session interactive and help people actually write some simple HTML and CSS during the session to empower them to be able to make minor changes to their blog and understand some of their code. I’m really looking forward to it and the conference overall. I’ve always wanted to go to Fitbloggin, and I’m really glad it’s come a little closer to home!

***

Thanks for reading! Have a great rest of the week!

#eatinmonth Badge Ready!

Hi guys!

Just popping in to say hello quickly and to let you know that I’ve added the 2014 Eat in Month Challenge badge to the challenge post (click here to view). You can also find the badge at the top right sidebar of my blog during January 2014 so you can easily get back to that page from anywhere on my site. Remember to use the #eatinmonth tag on twitter and Instagram if you’re posting about the challenge. I always love hearing about how the challenge is going for you and seeing your photos.

In other updates, I had a Top 13 TCL recipes of 2013 post ready to go that I wanted to post before the new year, but I’m having some technical difficulties, so it will have to go live in 2014. Hope to have things worked out soon.

Thank you so much for reading! Looking forward to a great year ahead!

Diana

Eat in Month 2014 Challenge

Are you ready? It’s time for the fifth annual Eat in Month (EIM) challenge! Woohoo! EIM is a great way to start the new year – with eating healthier and saving money by simply eating in.  Easy, right? I’ll share some helpful posts throughout the month, so check back for more tips and recipes. I’ll also be adding some additional notes and reminders over on my Facebook page, so be sure to like The Chic Life on Facebook to get your hands on those goodies.

The Eat in Month Challenge Concept

Eat every single meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, snacks, coffee…whatever you choose!) “in”. The goal is to eat “in” more than you did before January to save money and eat healthy meals & snacks.

How to Play

  • Challenge starts January 1, 2013 and ends January 31, 2013.
  • The most important rule is to tailor the challenge to fit you best. Can’t play a whole month? Play one week or two. Still want to get coffees out? Go for it. We’ll each have our own tailored version of the challenge, and that’s great! Here are the rest of the main guidelines, but again, adjust as you need:
  • Cook or prepare all meals at home. If you’re away from home for a meal, plan ahead and bring something from home with you (i.e. to work) to eat.
  • Traveling? Some people choose to extend the challenge by one day for each day you are traveling (and need to eat out). Some choose to just exclude those days from the challenge. Your challenge, your rules. Play as you see fit.
  • Drinks – coffees to cocktails – decide whether these count in the challenge or not for you. Some people just focus on the food. Some people do both. In past years, I’ve been very strict and wouldn’t even get Starbucks in January. But, I think this year, my focus will be on the food – meals and snacks.
  • If you got it at a grocery store, it probably counts. Some people consider eating at a grocery store (think hot bar or cafe) eating out, while some consider it “in” since it’s a grocery store. It’s up to you! I’ve had meals at my local health food store for lunch in the past, and they usually only cost about $6.99. They’re healthy and a good deal, so you can choose if these are “in” or “out”.
  • If you want to err on the strict side, then grocery-store-prepared dishes are okay if they accompany a meal put together at home. Example of acceptable use of grocery-store-prepped item: you want to eat sandwiches this week but don’t have anything to go with them. You pick up some bean salad at the grocery store deli to go with your lunch. Another example: you want to make chicken salad sandwiches, but you don’t have or want to buy all the ingredients. You buy grocery-store-prepped chicken salad, take it home, make sandwiches and enjoy lunch.
  • Frozen meals can be eaten “in”.
  • You get one cheat pass – one meal (preferably not a whole day) you can eat out during the month of January.

Tips

  • Get your pantry ready – I find it easiest to give in to take-out when I don’t have anything already at the house to cook. Stock your pantry with some quick-fix meals so you’ll be less tempted to go for take-out. Click here to read my Eat in Month Pantry Tips + Ideas post
  • Have snacks ready – If I’m hungry at work, especially when there are lots of quick options around, it’s easy for me to take a 15 minute walk to pick up a snack. By keeping snacks in my desk and in the office fridge, I can just eat those instead of seeking snacks elsewhere. Click here to read about my favorite snacks to keep at the office.
  • Plan ahead – Prep your pantry, create a meal plan for the week. If you have a meal schedule ready, you’ll be more likely to stick to what you already planned ahead to prep/cook/eat. You’ll probably also utilize those leftovers more efficiently, too!
  • Have quick meals in your back pocket – Go ahead and jot down 5-10 quick meals you can throw together using pantry & staple items. Use this list when you’re hungry, out of energy, and out of time. Try to keep your pantry, fridge, etc stocked with a couple of the items needed for these quick meal so you’ll always have something to eat when you’re in a bind. Think frozen ravioli, jarred sauce, and frozen vegetables, etc.
  • Keep it Simple – It’s nice to try to cook gourmet meals every night, but if you’re as busy as me, you just can’t do it as often as you’d like. Allow yourself to put together simple meals, even if it’s heating up a frozen dinner. We know you may have better intentions, but just do the best you can. Sometimes the simplest meals (spaghetti anyone?) are the best.
  • Make the better choice – Sometimes it’s about making the better choice, not the perfect one. Click here to read my post on this topic.
  • Bulk Bins – Check out the bulk bins for stocking your pantry. Click here to read my how-to on working the bulk bins.
  • I’ll be posting additional tips and tricks on the blog, as well as, on my Facebook page.
  • I created this Pinterest board (click) to share meal and snack inspiration – currently there are pins from last year’s challenge, but I’ll be adding more soon.

The Badge

Here’s the 2014 challenge badge – feel free to copy the code below to use this badge on your site or blog:

You can use the following code to add this banner to your site/blog:

<a href="http://thechiclife.com/2013/12/eat-in-month-2014-challenge.html"><img src="http://thechiclife.com/wp-content/uploads/images/EatInMonth2014.gif" border="0" width="170" height="170" /></a>

The Players

Are you playing along in the Eat in Month Challenge? If so, leave me a comment, whether you’re playing for the whole month, a couple weeks, a single week, a couple days, etc. and your URL if you have a blog.

Have a blog? If you’d like, post photos and/or descriptions of your meals. If you have a food blog, you very well may be doing a food diary already! Remember, this is totally optional. I’ll probably post a few of mine throughout the month. If you do a post about the challenge (your approach, tips, meal plans, etc.), let me know, and I’ll link to you here.
If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, use hashtag #eatinmonth to check out updates from each other, get inspiration, request tips, offer tips, and help each other out.

***

Thank you so much for reading! And for those doing the challenge, thank you so much for joining in. This wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without you doing the challenge, too!

Who’s In? It’s never too late to join! If January is halfway over and you just found out about the challenge, feel free to join in on the festivities! Better late than never! :)

Eat in Month on the News {WCNC}

You may have already seen on twitter, but The Chic Life has recently been featured on local news station WCNC for Eat in Month! When I found out they wanted to feature me, I first got really excited and wanted to tell everyone. Then, I got extremely nervous that I was going to do a terrible job, so I didn’t tell anyone…not even my friends or family. The less people who saw it, the better, right? I guess that’s flawed logic since it was obviously public and people would probably see it eventually, but…that’s how it went down.

I’m definitely much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. Maybe if I practice making more YouTube videos, I’ll get better? But so far, I feel awkward on camera, plus I don’t like the way my voice sounds. Silly, right? There is a reason I keep procrastinating finishing that Zumba shoe review video.

WCNC4.JPG

When I found out that the interview was definitely happening, I sought professional help from my friend Dion, who actually helped make this whole thing happen. She was a total doll and gave me tips on what to wear, as well as, a pep talk. Plus, she gave me all the photos I’m using in this blog post!

WCNC3.JPG

On the day of the interview, I was greeted at the station by Dion who took me back and introduced me to Sonja. Sonja was so friendly and personable, I instantly felt a little more at ease just talking to her. And she even read my blog before hand! Too cool! I had so much fun talking to her.

The newsroom was so cool to see in person, and I was honored that they put my Eat in Month logo on the monitors in the background.

WCNC2.JPG

I was ridiculously nervous during the interview, and I felt like I kept tripping over my words. Side note: I’ve started looking at people on TV (from the news to cooking shows) in a whole new light. Not that I thought it was easy before, but some of these guys look so darn natural. How do they do it!?

I also had no clue where to look as far as the cameras go. Sonja told me I could just look at her, but I felt weird just staring at her. lol :P I should have taken a photo of the camera – it was behind a box or something, so I couldn’t quite tell where exactly to look. I felt like I’d be like that Mad TV/In Living Color sketch where the newsperson keeps looking at the wrong camera. I can’t find the video of that skit, but I did find this other one, which is one of my all time favorite In Living Color clips.

Anywho, I was in awe watching Sonja rock out her portion of the intro and the interview. You can tell she knows what’s she’s doing!

WCNC1.JPG

Major thanks to Dion for all her help, to Sonja for being so warm and helping me feel comfortable for the interview, to Caleb for getting that web video up so quickly, and to Robin and WCNC for featuring me at all. Thank you all!

(photos courtesy of Dion Lim at WCNC – you can follow her on twitter here or Facebook here)

Video | News | Weather | Sports

Fri Jan 04 14:02:50 PST 2013

Charlotte blogger starts ’Eat in Month’ health challenge

Click the video player to watch the full report. If using the WCNC mobile app, slide to the ’Video’ section. view full article

And here’s the final interview!

Reader question: Have you been on TV, and if yes, for what?

Eat in Month 2013 Challenge

I’m really excited to publish this post for my fourth annual Eat in Month challenge! I can’t believe , not only that we’re on our fourth year, but that so many of you are repeat EIM-ers. I’ve heard a lot of excitement about the challenge on twitter, Facebook, and email. I just love hearing when someone new joins in or when a veteran returns. One of the best things about Eat in Month is how we tackle this challenge as a group. I love it when we share tips, challenges, and success stories. I’ll be adding helpful posts, tidbits, and tips here on the blog. But, I’ll also be adding some additional notes and reminders over on my Facebook page, so be sure to like The Chic Life on Facebook to get your hands on those goodies.

The Eat in Month Challenge Concept

Eat every single meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, snacks…whatever you choose!) “in”. The goal is to eat “in” more than you did before January to save money and eat healthy meals & snacks.

How to Play

  • Challenge starts January 1, 2013 and ends January 31, 2013.
  • The most important rule is to tailor the challenge to fit you best. Can’t play a whole month? Play one week or two. Still want to get coffees out? Go for it. We’ll each have our own tailored version of the challenge, and that’s great! Here are the rest of the main guidelines, but again, adjust as you need:
  • Cook or prepare all meals at home. If you’re away from home for a meal, plan ahead and bring something from home with you (i.e. to work) to eat.
  • Traveling? Some people choose to extend the challenge by one day for each day you are traveling (and need to eat out). Some choose to just exclude those days from the challenge. Your challenge, your rules. Play as you see fit.
  • Drinks – coffees to cocktails – decide whether these count in the challenge or not for you. Some people just focus on the food. Some people do both. In past years, I’ve been very strict and wouldn’t even get Starbucks in January. But, I think this year, my focus will be on the food – meals and snacks.
  • If you got it at a grocery store, it probably counts. Some people consider eating at a grocery store (think hot bar or cafe) eating out, while some consider it “in” since it’s a grocery store. It’s up to you! I’ve been eating meals at my local health food store for lunch, and they usually only cost about $6.99. They’re healthy and a good deal, so I may still partake in these possibly once a week.
  • If you want to err on the strict side, then grocery-store-prepared dishes are okay if they accompany a meal put together at home. Example of acceptable use of grocery-store-prepped item: you want to eat sandwiches this week but don’t have anything to go with them. You pick up some bean salad at the grocery store deli to go with your lunch. Another example: you want to make chicken salad sandwiches, but you don’t have or want to buy all the ingredients. You buy grocery-store-prepped chicken salad, take it home, make sandwiches and enjoy lunch.
  • Frozen meals can be eaten “in”.
  • You get one cheat pass – one meal (not a day) you can eat out during the month of January.

Tips

  • Get your pantry ready – I find it easiest to give in to take-out when I don’t have anything already at the house to cook. Stock your pantry with some quick-fix meals so you’ll be less tempted to go for take-out. Click here to read my Eat in Month Pantry Tips + Ideas post
  • Have snacks ready – If I’m hungry at work, especially when there are lots of quick options around, it’s easy for me to take a 15 minute walk to pick up a snack. By keeping snacks in my desk and in the office fridge, I can just eat those instead of seeking snacks elsewhere. Click here to read about my favorite snacks to keep at the office.
  • Plan ahead – Prep your pantry, create a meal plan for the week. If you have a meal schedule ready, you’ll be more likely to stick to what you already planned ahead to prep/cook/eat. You’ll probably also utilize those leftovers more efficiently, too!
  • Have quick meals in your back pocket – Go ahead and jot down 5-10 quick meals you can throw together using pantry & staple items. Use this list when you’re hungry, out of energy, and out of time. Try to keep your pantry, fridge, etc stocked with a couple of the items needed for these quick meal so you’ll always have something to eat when you’re in a bind. Think frozen ravioli, jarred sauce, and frozen vegetables, etc.
  • Keep it Simple – It’s nice to try to cook gourmet meals every night, but if you’re as busy as me, you just can’t do it as often as you’d like. Allow yourself to put together simple meals, even if it’s heating up a frozen dinner. We know you may have better intentions, but just do the best you can. Sometimes the simplest meals (spaghetti anyone?) are the best.
  • Make the better choice – Sometimes it’s about making the better choice, not the perfect one. Click here to read my post on this topic.
  • Bulk Bins – Check out the bulk bins for stocking your pantry. Click here to read my how-to on working the bulk bins.
  • I’ll be posting additional tips and tricks on the blog, as well as, on my Facebook page.
  • I created this Pinterest board (click) to share meal and snack inspiration – there are no pins as of right now, but I’ll add them as I find some pinspiration.

The Badge

I’ve created this challenge badge, which you’re welcome to use. Just grab the code below:

You can use the following code to add this banner to your site:

<a href="http://thechiclife.com/2012/12/eat-in-month-2013-challenge.html"><img src="http://thechiclife.com/wp-content/uploads/images/EatInMonth2013.gif" border="0" width="170" height="170" /></a>

The Players

Are you playing along in the Eat in Month Challenge? If so, leave me a comment, whether you’re playing for the whole month, a couple weeks, a single week, a couple days, etc. and your URL if you have a blog.

Have a blog? If you’d like, post photos and/or descriptions of your meals. If you have a food blog, you very well may be doing a food diary already! Remember, this is totally optional. I’ll probably post a few of mine throughout the month.
If you’re on Twitter, use hashtag #eatinmonth to check out updates from each other, get inspiration, request tips, offer tips, and help each other out.

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Thank you so much for reading! And for those doing the challenge, thank you so much for joining in. This wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without you doing the challenge, too!

Who’s In? It’s never too late to join! If January is halfway over and you just found out about the challenge, feel free to join in on the festivities! Better late than never! :)

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