One of the time-sucks in my life right now is facebook (I know, I know), but I try to keep a handle on it. Truly, a lot of my interaction with distant family and friends is there, and also that's how many of my local friends coordinate things like birthday parties, school pick up, camps, etc.
I belong to several groups on there, and one of the groups is a health and fitness support group. It's pretty large, and it's based on the Beachbody program 21 Day Fix (which if you read back, you'll see I *love*).
There are a lot of questions from people new to the program, and a lot of questions about looking for ideas for things like road trips, plane trips, and kitchen remodeling. It's always good to get an outside opinion, or to "Think Outside the Box". And the thing is - if you do this a lot, you get good at it - most things take practice. (Like frugality, cooking, exercise, etc.)
One of the recent questions was "my kitchen is being remodeled for 3 weeks. It will be 3 weeks of takeout, give me takeout ideas!" Well, you can imagine the responses - and almost *none* of them were takeout. This is where you have to "Think Outside the Box" (or takeout bag).
What is your goal? To eat healthfully
What are your limitations? No kitchen
What tools do you have at your disposal? Well, depending on the situation:
- a grill
- a fridge
- a microwave
- a rice cooker
- a crockpot
- a toaster oven
- an electric skillet
- grocery stores
- a sink
- a blender
Having most of these, or even some of them, go a huge way towards 3 weeks of eating healthfully without a full kitchen, and WITHOUT takeout.
Some of the suggestions were great:
- Grocery store - get a rotisserie chicken and vegetables. If you have a microwave (or a rice cooker with steamer insert), that's a quick and easy way for chicken and steamed vegetables.
- There's always raw veggies - you can get trays of them at the store, and same with already cut up fruit. I'm a fan of doing it myself, but I can understand if you don't have a great sink. When we redid our kitchen, we had a few weeks of no kitchen sink, so we did dishes in the laundry room sink (and washed veggies). I have a vague memory of being very pregnant during this time. Fun times. My good friend washed her dishes in a dish tub in the bathtub when she redid her kitchen.
- Keep it simple: raw vegetables, raw fruit, steamed rice (in the rice cooker), baked meat (in the toaster oven). Cheese, deli meat, pre-cut salads, nuts.
- Pretend like you are camping. What do I take camping? Fruit, nuts, cheese, deli meat, oatmeal for breakfast, veggies, hummus, canned chili, hard boiled eggs (which you can buy already hard boiled now).
- Quick stir fry in an electric skillet. Or scrambled eggs.
- Pretend like you are staying at a hotel with a microwave and a mini-fridge? Maybe it's just me, but I don't like to eat out much on vacation, so I aim to eat several meals in the hotel, so I do some prep before hand.
- Prepared foods from the deli at your grocery store.
See that list? No takeout on that list! I have to admit, some of the ideas come from reading Mr. Money Mustache. In his 2014 spending review, he reported spending $194 on restaurants and coffee shops for the YEAR, and that included cross country trips. For a family of 3. Well, how do you do that? When you are traveling, you stop at grocery stores not restaurants.
The same idea goes for almost any idea or goal. My goal: to be fit. My ideal: to get up and go to the gym. But I don't get to go every day (split days with the hubby). So second best is workout DVDs at home 3x a week. But sometimes the kids are awake and want the TV. It's so easy to say "I can't work out today". Today, I opened a book with workouts in it and did a 20-25 minute workout while the kiddo watched a TV show. Just because the NORMAL way you do things, or want to do things, isn't possible - it doesn't mean you do NOTHING.
So, what other ideas would you give to someone without a kitchen? Do you "Think Outside the Box?" on a daily basis?