A few years ago, we took part in Diana’s Eat in Month challenge. It was definitely a challenge. If you follow my blog regularly, you know that when I post my meal planning posts, there’s always a day or two left open. We tend to eat out (pizza or a restaurant close by.) The challenge really helped us see where we were spending most of our money and forced us to get creative so we weren’t bored with our meals.
We decided to plan for it, and take part in the 2014 Eat in Month challenge. January is such a great month for us to do this, too. There are fewer celebrations (no parties that we have to go out to dinner) and it’s just a time of year that we’re not venturing out much. We tend to hibernate in January.
So here we are, ready to embark on a month of meal planning.
1. All meals (breakfast, lunch AND dinner) plus snacks need to be prepared in the home and not purchased at a vending machine or through a drive thru window. Or ordered at a restaurant. You get the picture. Our rule: The only way we can get around this is if the meal has already been paid for. (Husband and I already discussed this.) I have pre-paid money on my meal card for work, so I may use that once or twice in January if my co-workers invite me along. (They tend to eat in the cafeteria on Wednesdays.)
2. We can have one cheat meal. Not a cheat day. Just one meal. If we do get invited to dinner, we’ll discuss it and make a decision on whether or not we really want to go.
3. (Check Diana’s site for her list of rules. They’re fairly simple, though.)
How we’re preparing:
1. We already plan our meals. It’s not too much of a challenge for us. We just have to also plan our snacks accordingly.
2. Use the brand new slow cooker we received for Christmas! We need to make that thing work for us. Nobody feels like cooking after a long day at work, so we need to avoid those feelings by having dinner already made.
3. Mix it up with various recipes. I’m notorious for planning the same. old. meal. I need to venture out of my comfort zone (grilled chicken, steamed vegetables.) I am going to be relying on my eMeals subscription to help me out.
4. Buy what we can when it’s on sale (see previously mentioned steamed vegetables) in order to save money. Spices, whatever we can buy in bulk, etc. Also I plan on utilizing our local tailgate market on the two Saturdays they’re open in January. I can buy my meat there, and a few vegetables. Mainly meat, though.
5. Purchase a few convenience foods, so we’re not tempted to order out. For example, frozen pizzas. I can get them fairly cheap at Sam’s Club. One purchase, and we’re set for a month of Friday night dinners.
What we hope to get out of this:
1. We would love to save money and I think we will by purchasing it all at a grocery store or from our local farmer.
2. Save calories. Who isn’t looking to lose a little weight now that the holidays are over? I’ve hit up a Weight Watchers meeting, the app has been downloaded and is actually being used, and not having to figure out Points for a restaurant meal will definitely take some of the guesswork out of tracking.
3. Try new recipes/foods. We’re still struggling to get the kiddo to try new foods. I’m hoping that by NOT taking him out, he’ll see just how great our meals really are. (Wishful thinking, I guess.)
So. Does any of this sound interesting to you? Care to join in? Have any tips for us? Care to look at our menu for this week? I posted it last night.