During Week 8 of #challenge26, I asked, is it possible to eat right on the road? I challenged myself to make healthy food choices during a week long trip in an unfamiliar state. Overall, I would consider it a success. I chose far more healthy meals, sought out restaurants that offered a variety of fresh and sustainable choices. I also focused on alternatives, such as grocery shopping and fresh food stands. I had a mindset for healthy eating, so even when comfort and convience were easier, I took more time or went out of my way to make the challenge a success.
However, I did find myself falling towards the end of the week. During a stressful day, faced with a long drive ahead and sitting in traffic. I failed. I splurged and chose a drive through fried chicken, gravy and french fries. This was not a small splurge, this was an all out comfort, fattening feast. And, I did feel comforted. After my indulgence, with 3 hours of car time, I got to thinking. How often do I turn to food when stressed? To me, food has always been equated with comfort. Taking a family member a casserole during a time in need (the worse the situation the more cheese and sourcream gets added), taking a girlriend to get icecream ove tears, or sharing beers at the end of a busy week. This “treat” has often felt earned, by whatever situation I seemed to get through. So, last week when I successfully completed a stressful, busy day – I felt as if I earned that chicken dinner and I didn’t have the time to seek healthy options. In fact, according to Whole Living we often find ourselves making the most impulsive food choices in times of great stress.
So, overall this was a great week of successes in finding new food options and making smart choices. I also learned about myself and my habits in seeking comfort in food during stressful times. I will certainly keep this in mind on the road and at home, to make smart choices at stressful times when I actually need it the most.
Speaking of keeping healthy habits in mind at home… Week 9 of #challenge26 focused on food, as well. This time, my husband and I decided to see if we could stretch our food dollar, while still making healthy choices. After some major budgeting recently (new car, new lease!) we got to thinking about how our money is spent on food. We found a recent receipt at a local restaurant where we spent $80 on a meal and some wine. The meal was okay, the wine was good… but this was an indulgent night (after a stessful week, go figure!). During my Week 9 Challenge, we thought we could better use $80 at the local grocery store and eat in, pack lunch and make dinner on $80.
We did it… and in good taste, too! We made smart choices to make our meals stretch. Coupons were cut and sales were utilized. We both packed lunches, with very different tastes and did not eat out. We ended the week on a high note with a split piece of chocolate cake and cappacinos. We are going to carry this activity over into week 10 and beyond, as well.
So the answer is YES, you can eat healthy on the road and eat well on a budget at home. I have learned to be more mindful of my stress and comfort food habits. It’s all about your mindset and focus… if you make choosing healthy and budget friendly choices a priority, and be a little creative… you will not sacrafice taste or experience.