Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box

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.
- Smoothies
- 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?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Budget Update

Well, the weight loss is stalled a bit, so how is the budget?  Better, I have to say.

A month or so ago, I was getting budget fatigue, and decided to increase the budget by a $20 a week, every other week.  It's amazing what a difference $20 makes when you are used to less.  With that little extra breathing room, we are doing okay.  Here's the status.

Total spent for the year: $1877 (plus $950 for the CSA)

Total spent since I started the challenge: $1545.64.

I'm $15.58 over still, and I'm not sure why that number is what it is.  Hm.  Not feeling up to checking the spreadsheet though.

You can see in the blue the $100 weeks.

It's not only budget fatigue, it's cooking fatigue, and calorie counting fatigue, and DAMMIT WILL ANYONE COOK A MEAL OR PLAN A MEAL BESIDES ME?? Fatigue.

Ah well, I'm saving buckets of money, so that's good!