You guys know how much I love a challenge, right?? I haven’t done a challenge in a couple of years, so I was kind of itching to do something new. January is the perfect time for resolutions and challenges because there’s nothing else going on, so it’s easy to stay FOCUSED. I’m sure I’m going to need a reset after all this holiday food, so for the entire month of January I’ll be doing a 31 Day Vegetarian Challenge! 👏BRING ON THE VEGETABLES!
Why Do A Challenge?
I love doing challenges because it forces me to think outside the box, reassess my current habits, build new habits, and show you guys how this whole “budget cooking” thing works in the real world. During my challenges I share as much detail as possible about what I buy, cook, and eat so you can see how everything comes together. You’ll see what worked, what didn’t work, and everything in between. And hopefully, sharing these experiences will inspire you to get busy with your meal planning and budgeting, regardless of what dietary practices you follow.
For this year’s vegetarian challenge, I especially want to demonstrate that it is possible to eat a diet full of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and all the other “good for you” foods that are often assumed to be too expensive. So whether you want to try vegetarianism on for size, or just want to work more plants into your diet, I hope this challenge inspires and encourages you.
What to Expect:
Each week I’ll post a couple new recipes, as usual, but I’ll also be posting weekly recaps. The recaps will include a very detailed breakdown of what I bought, cooked, ate, and what went into the compost. I’ll show price break downs of everything so you can see the comparison between the total costs of my meals vs. the total cost of my receipts. And I’ll likely offer a short reflection at the end of each recap discussing what worked and what didn’t.
The format will be very similar to my previous challenges: SNAP Challenge and September Challenge, although I am not limiting myself to a specific budget. Instead, I’ll just be using the Budget Byting Principles to keep my overall costs low, and I’m excited to see where my total costs land.
We will also have a dedicated 31 Day Vegetarian Challenge newsletter, which will provide weekly previews of my meal plans (so you can compare them to the end of the week recap and see what was a success or a #fail), plus extra tips for sticking to your budget. The Challenge has now ended but you can read my recaps here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.
What Not to Expect:
The purpose of this challenge is not to tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat, or why. People eat vegetarian for so many different reasons and I don’t plan to “sell” you on any of them. What you eat is your decision, and yours alone. I chose to do a vegetarian challenge for several reasons, but will only discuss the budget-related aspects here (okay, maybe a few of the health aspects, too). I aim to inspire, not convince.
This challenge is not going to be all tofu and tempeh. While I might use those ingredients on occasion, my favorite vegetarian recipes are the kind that just happened to be vegetarian. The kind that makes people say, “Wait, that was vegetarian?” after they wolf down their meal. ;)
- Maintain a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for 31 days (all plant ingredients plus dairy and eggs are allowed, no meat, poultry, or seafood)
- Eat as many vegetables, legumes, and whole grains as possible, while not relying too heavily on pasta and rice (my weakness!).
- Develop vegetarian recipes that are easy, satisfying, and equally enjoyable to omnivores.
- Plan each week’s meals ahead of time and shop only once per week.
- Eat all home-cooked meals, aside from one date night out per week. I will stick to the vegetarian diet even when eating out, but date night costs will not be included the total food budget.
- Keep costs as low as possible, while finding a personal balance between budget, convenience, and splurge items (hello cheeeeeeeeese 🧀).
The Countdown Begins…
So that’s it for now! I just wanted to give you a heads up about what’s coming in January, give you an opportunity to sign up for the challenge newsletter, and provide a place for you to ask any questions ahead of time. You can leave your questions in the comments below!
I’M SO EXCITED! 🥦🥑🌶🍳🥗