Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!

We all make New Year's resolutions. It's true. We resolve to lose weight, to save more money, to get a new job....lots of resolutions...lots of letting them go by.

This year, I'm doing a one-month resolution. This was inspired partially by searching through our bank records to find all of our medical expenses. (There were a lot this year.) As I was looking, I noticed lots of charges like $6.04, $21.17, $10.15...This money was just flying out of our account, and what did we have to show for it?

Nothing.

It was all going to dining out. And while I might have totaled our payments for medical expenses, I didn't have the heart to total up how much we've wasted on going out to eat.

Let me add, my husband is a restaurant manager. I fully, 1000% support the food industry. It pays our bills. I love going out to eat. But when it reaches the levels we achieved, it's a bit out of control.

So we've resolved to not go out to eat for one whole month.

One. Whole. Month.

The first step to making this resolution successful is realizing when we are weakest. For me, it's lunch. I work full time. I really like to get out of the office. Taco Bell is about a block away. I think you can guess where this story is going.

My husband's weakness is after work, before I'm home. Those nights, he's responsible for dinner. Let's just say Papa John's gave us a free pizza the other night. Yep, we're that frequent of customers.

So now that we know when we're at our weakest, we can make a plan to be successful.

Our first strategy is to make a meal plan. Making a meal plan is easy. It's following the meal plan that is hard. Our meal plan strategy is to plan out meals and to follow that up with precooking as much as possible.

This week's meal plan:

Monday
Spaghetti

Tuesday
Sausage gravy and biscuits
Fruit

Wednesday (New Year's)
Ham
Mac and cheese
Green beans

Thursday
Burgers
Oven baked Fries
Applesauce

Friday
Homemade Pizza

To set us up to be successful, Sunday night I precooked the ground turkey for the spaghetti sauce, the sausage for the gravy, and got the ham out to thaw. Since I'm off work today, I'll thaw the hamburger for the hamburgers and make patties to put in the fridge. I'll also make the pizza dough in the bread machine for Friday night.

To avoid going out to eat for lunch, I have to set a meal plan for lunches too. The trick is to create meals that I'll enjoy eating cold. I really prefer not to eat in the breakroom, but that is because I like to go to my car to read and pray. So I have a set meal plan for lunches too. Right now it's heavy on pasta salad, sandwiches, and salad. There are worse things.

I've also begun using some make ahead cooking, especially for breakfast. The boys have been eating breakfast at school a lot, which is not a very healthy option. Have you seen the stuff they serve for breakfast? To try to encourage fruit consumption, I made several packs of individual smoothies. According to myfitnesspal, these smoothies have about 151 calories each with 8 grams of protein. I serve with a breakfast burrito (homemade, of course!)

Grocery list:
Makes about 20 smoothie packs


2 bunches of bananas
2 bags (about 1 lb each) of frozen strawberries (or blueberries or mixed berries)
1.5 cups or so of fat free vanilla greek yogurt
Sandwich sized ziploc type bags

To assemble:

1. Cut bananas into slices.
2. Open frozen fruit.
3. Open bags.
4. In each bag, put 1/2 of a banana, about 1/2 cup of frozen fruit, 1 tblspn of yogurt.
5. Squish the yogurt around the fruit. Squeeze the air out of the ziploc bag and seal.
6. Repeat about 19 times. :)

To make the smoothie, put the contents of the smoothie pack into your blender. Add 1/2-3/4 cup of milk to the blender and blend, baby!

Enjoy!




















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