It dawned on me, as it often does around this time of year, that bikini season is all too quickly approaching *shudder*. It’s a sad time of year for us food lovers, to transition away from hearty stews, pastas, and braised meats, although often a welcome change it’s always hard to say good bye to those wintery delights.
It was a happy coincidence that I stumbled upon BuzzFeed’s Clean Eating Challenge right around the time I was building up to my annual OMFG IT’S ALMOST BIKINI SEASON panic attack. This ‘challenge’ outlines a 2 week meal plan that includes recipes and shopping lists for 14 breakfasts, lunches, afternoon snacks, dinners, and evening snacks. It’s pretty intense! It also outlines that you are to avoid caffeine and alcohol for the entire 2 weeks…I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that.
So far I am on Day 5 of the challenge (missing Day 1 due to Mother’s Day festivities) and I’ve got to say – it’s a butt load of work! There is A LOT of prep involved in this meal plan so if you’re thinking of giving it a try just know going into it that it’s a very dynamic meal plan with no repeated recipes, which is great for those who get bored of eating the same thing but can be difficult when you have to prepare 5 different breakfasts, lunches, and snacks throughout your work week.
The food so far has been totally delicious! Seriously! I really enjoyed Day 2’s Overnight Oats for breakfast (although chai seeds have a bit of a slimy texture that I need to get used to) and the afternoon snack of tomato, basil, and feta. As well Day 3’s Roasted Cauliflower and Lentils dinner was tasty (with the addition of garam masala, because why not?).
The shopping list is very detailed and let me tell you she is LENGTHY! Oh my, this was one of the most expensive grocery store visits I’ve ever had – to make this meal plan for 2 people just for Week 1 groceries I was in for $200, that’s just one week! Normally when I meal plan I shop for 4 dinners, 4-5 lunches, and 5-6 breakfasts and spend between $80 – $110 tops! It is so frustrating that getting the “healthy food” (veggies like kale, avocado, spinach, etc.) costs so much more than 5 days’ worth of Hamburger Helper – something is just not right about that picture! BUT I’m not here to solve the problems of the world so let’s move on.
What I DO like about this challenge is that I think it will be a great way to incorporate some new, lighter, fresh, more bikini friendly meals into my regular rotation. Do I plan to follow the challenge as if it were the law? Oh, hells no! That kind of rigidity in a diet just doesn’t work for me, I am certainly not a “dieter”. However, I recently heard a great theory on life style change and developing better eating habits in the movie Hungry for Change (on Netflix) from David Wolfe, he says, “the best strategy we’ve got is to just add in the good stuff! Eventually it’s going to crowd out the bad stuff”. Basically he’s saying that the more you try to add in natural, clean foods the less room there will be in your life for junky processed foods and it’s his belief that once you start adding in more of the ‘good stuff’ you’ll feel so great that you won’t even miss the ‘bad stuff’. I really like the idea of looking at this challenge as adding in some great new recipes and delicious new products/produce into my food life rather than limiting myself to only the food items outlined in the meal plan. So, we’ll see how that goes.
But in the meantime I’ll try to post about some of the challenge recipes that I enjoy and encourage you to check it out for yourself – it may be a little more expensive and have a bit more prep work then you’re used to but I really do think it’s full of unique, healthy, and yummy recipes.
Oh, and if you spot me out and about enjoying a glass of wine and a cheese plate don’t judge me – a girl’s got needs man! Just smile to yourself with smug satisfaction knowing that I do not posses the willpower necessary to go without cheese and wine for 14 days…it’s just not something I am capable of.