This year I took a challenge for myself in an effort to save money and be healthier. I wanted to get away from processed foods completely, so my challenge was to not eat from any fast food establishment. Granted, the past few years I did not eat fast food daily but it was often enough to become a routine. I would stop for breakfast as I ran errands or grab a GIANT sweet tea,cause they were only a dollar right? And who could pass up those yummy, hot, salted french fries!

Well 59 days and counting, I no longer crave fast food. Hmmmmmm…. It has now become my routine. I feel better, healthier and have more energy. So how has our lives come to depend on processed foods? Because they are quick? cheap? Convenient period.

When I grew up, no not in the dark ages as my son would say, I lived up in Long Island, New York. Within walking distance we had a butcher, a local pizzaria(not domino’s – a family owned establishment), 2 bakeries and 3 deli’s. That was our fast food! Walk into a bakery for fresh baked bread or cookies just dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles or visit the deli for a sandwich made on a fresh roll with REAL meat and cheese or eggs cooked in front of you and placed in a hot buttered roll not microwaved and rubbery. For lunch, walk into the pizzaria for a slice of pizza that you know the dough was made that morning with fresh tomato sauce and real mozzarella cheese and hot from the oven where when you take that first bite you have to be careful that the hot cheese doesn’t burn your tongue. Am I making you hungry yet?

Junk food never crossed my mind and as a matter of fact I believe I ate ate a Mc D’s or Wendy’s or a Chicken place a handful of times during my first 20 years. Yeah I said that right…the above mentioned deli’s, bakeries, pizzarias did not have drive thru’s so if you were driving, yes you had to parallel park, an art in itself on a narrow street, get out of the car and walk your butt inside to order your food. Nowadays, people are in such a hurry with their schedules that they rush, rush, rush to and fro home, stores, schools, activities so they just drive thru fast food when they are hungry because it is convenient. How about slowing down, combining errands, cancel a few commitments and plan your menus so you can eat at home? I know, I know, some of you are saying but “there is no time” or “I can’t do it”. MAKE TIME! Get up a little earlier, stop watching so much tv, get off the sofa and take a notebook in the car so that when you are waiting on your precious little ones in the carpool line or at a doctor’s appointment, you can jot down a grocery list or a menu for the next few days. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

Lastly, how about cooking a few meals at home, save those leftovers, and when you go out the next day with all of your errands then you can make a sandwich, pack a snack and drink, put it in a cooler and take it with you. When you get hungry, you have a yummy snack or lunch that you made and you won’t have to go to a drive thru establishment! My challenge to you…can you do this for one week? Let me know how it goes!!!

I will post a couple of recipes during the week to help you get started! Have a great day!

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