No caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy, no gluten, no processed foods, no refined sugars and no eating after 7 p.m. I decided it was time to challenge myself and start the 10-Day Shred.

Why I Decided to Challenge Myself

After I had my son Cohen, I joined a boot camp training program. I was tired of having high blood pressure, being tired all the time and running out of breath going up and down the stairs. Just because I was a new mom didn’t mean I needed to give up on myself.

I have been doing this program on and off for about four years now. I even participated up until I was eight months pregnant with my daughter Collyns. It helped keep the excessive weight gain off during my pregnancy, kept my blood pressure lower (which was a problem with my first child) and helped me get back into a workout routine after I had her. No, I’m not a stick figure. I weigh more than I did in college, and my muffin top isn’t going away. But I know I’m healthy.

Even though I exercise, I wouldn’t consider my eating habits to be healthy. This also includes my husband and my kids. As I stated in a previous blog post, we recently decided to make only one dinner for the four of us instead of a dinner for mom and dad and a different dinner for the kids. My training program offered a challenge called the 10-Day Shred, and I decided to jump in with both feet.

How to Eat Healthy on a Family Budget

Usually, I’m reluctant because healthy food costs more money. Plus, it takes a lot more prep time, and I didn’t think my family would want to join in on the “fun”. Normally, we budget around $100 a week for groceries. But trying to eat healthy on a budget meant one thing…I had to start couponing. I started cutting out coupons for every ad I needed at every grocery store.

The 10-Day Shred provided a recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I made a list of what I needed from the store and tried to find the sales or coupons for each item. I started at one grocery store, then went to another, but I ended up buying the bulk of the items from Sam’s Club, where most items were cheaper than the sales or ads at others. And I’m lucky because my mom is a member!

I tried to pick the recipes I thought my kids would at least try. I got them involved in the cooking process, and I only made them try the new recipes I made for dinner since my son usually has hot lunch at school and my daughter attends daycare. If they didn’t like my healthy dinner choice, I would then allow them to have another option, but I still tried to stay healthy with having them eat more of their favorite fruits. I was pleasantly surprised with their willingness to help cook and try the new foods. The recipes usually made enough for leftovers so I had them for lunch the next day.

Prep time was a little more time-consuming because I had to plan out each day’s meals. I had to make my breakfast—usually a green smoothie or overnight oats—and then I put it and my leftovers in my lunchbox with a piece of fruit or veggies and hummus. The 10 days actually flew by, and I pretty much stayed on budget!

Lessons From the 10-Day Shred

What I learned from this challenge was that buying healthy food on a budget is possible and cheaper than taking the family to a fast-food restaurant. It does take some planning and effort but if you make it fun and include your children it won’t feel like its an extra chore.

I don’t think I will continue with the shred, but I will try to incorporate some of the meals in the kitchen. It helped me realize some better options for me and my family to choose at the grocery store that taste great and don’t cost a fortune!

Learn to Incorporate Healthy Eating in Your Routine

March is National Nutrition Month! Learn more about healthy eating from Jill Rolfson, registered dietitian and challenge yourself to include healthy eating in your routine during March and beyond! Listen to her podcast “Building a Healthy, Balanced Plate” now!

Mallory Connelly

Mallory Connelly

Babies & Toddlers

In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!

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