In September, I teamed up with Meaghan (@Joggerof4) for a 5 day work week veggie challenge. The premise of the challenge was simple: have a fruit and/or veggie with every meal. In addition, we planned to keep track of our grocery costs or cost per meal to reiterate that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive! For an added bonus, I wanted to try to remain as plant-based as possible, meaning that I wanted to try not to consume meat as well.
Meaghan and I had similar motivations for pursuing this challenge. For example, we both wanted to show how easy and inexpensive it could be to incorporate healthy foods into your diet. Personally, I also wanted to increase my intentions to move toward a more plant-based diet. Meaghan wanted to urge her family to get involved by encouraging them to think about their choices (and provide plenty of healthy options) throughout the day as she kept a record.
Thoughts during the Veggie Ambitions Challenge
My overwhelming thought during the challenge was “This would be so much easier if you would’ve just meal prepped ahead of time.”
Fact. One of the easiest ways to tackle food challenges such as this one is to do all of the preparatory work ahead of time. That was even the case when I did the Whole 30 at the beginning of the year (you would think I would have learned my lesson). One day of the week, I found myself out late at a back-to-school night and I was absolutely STARVING by the end of it (so thankful that some kids were selling bananas along with their treats or I am convinced that I would’ve imploded). I opted to grab Cava after instead of trying to put together that met the requirements at home. Though it technically added to my grocery budget, I didn’t feel too guilty about the meal because I loaded it with so many veggies (and got falafel as the protein option!). All of this could’ve been avoided if I had remembered to pack a substantial snack for after work. Point being, when something throws a wrench in your plans (i.e your lack of preparation), it is still easy to find healthy options!
Thoughts after the Veggie Ambitions Challenge
The veggie ambitions challenge was a great way to remind me to be more mindful of the things that I am eating throughout the day. Healthy swaps are not as hard or expensive as they seem, it just takes a little more preparation. In addition, it is helpful to just have healthy options that are readily accessible when hunger strikes. For example, Meaghan made sure that she had healthy snack options to get her and her family through carpool after school. Preparing those snacks, instead of relying on junk food, helps create healthy habits and gave her family something to reach for.
One of my favorite things to come out of the challenge was hearing about how Meaghan’s kids began to try to cheat the system haha. No, as much as we would like to say so, potato chips do not count as a vegetable. The next go around of the challenge, we’ll have to extend the length to curb the desire to cheat ;).
Spicy Falafel and Roasted Veggie Naan-wich (pro-tip: Aldi’s garlic naan is AMAZING)
*Don’t forget to check out all the veggie and fruit packed dishes shared by Meghan on her Instagram (@joggerof4)!
My total grocery bill for the week was $24.77, but honestly, it was much cheaper as I still had plenty of ingredients to use into the next week. In addition, apart from some leftover chicken in my soup on day one, all my meals were meatless. I think that having a fruit/veggie with every meal should be more of a rule than a challenge. Mindful eating is essential in giving your body the fuel it needs to take on the day and be the best version of yourself. So, I challenge you, to implement the fruit/veggie RULE into your everyday life.