We just finished up our Fresh Start Healthy Heart Challenge and we couldn't be more proud of the group we had participating. Many first time challengers feel VERY overwhelmed at first but after 4 weeks have hit their stride into making CCN not just a challenge but a way of life. And even our repeat challengers are able to dial in more with what does and doesn't work for their lifestyle and food habits. It's a win-win for everyone!
For those that do still feel a bit overwhelmed or those that are scared to try us out, here are a few tips that make our challenges something you will thrive doing and not just survive doing.
1. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Yes, you will get the best results if you follow the plan to the letter but we're all human and schedules and budgets might not allow for 5 different meals a day with all new foods. (We try and use leftovers often but we also want to provide variety). Pick 1-2 smoothies to enjoy the whole week, same with lunches and snacks. Dinner lends itself to leftovers which you can eat for lunch or dinner the next night as well. No shame in keeping it simple and this leads into our next tip....
2. Take your time! Yes, the challenge is set for 4 weeks but it doesn't mean you have only 4 weeks to try out these recipes. They are yours forever to use time and time again. The good news about repeating meals and snacks is you'll be trying new recipes well into the next month after a challenge has finished.
3. Buy in bulk. If you've been around for awhile you know there are certain staples that are eaten weekly, if not daily. Costco is a great place to stock up on chia and hemp seeds, nut butters, and eggs. (A more in depth post about our favorite Costco finds soon!)
4. Meal prep! We can't stress this enough. Yes, no one really truly enjoys taking an hour two out of their weekends to prep for the week (although we've heard some do!) but it's as complicated as you want to make it. Start out by just prepping smoothies, or maybe making a batch of muffins to throw in the freezer. If you have healthy food readily available to eat, you'll eat it! No need to prep EVERYTHING for the week ahead of time. Pick and choose what you can fit into your schedule. Make it work for you by not making more work for yourself.
One past challenge participant, Sara D. got together with 2 other local CCN friends and had a smoothie prep party. Each person brought ingredients to make 2 smoothies of 3 different recipes. They made the smoothies together and each walked away with 18 smoothies ready to go for the freezer when all they had to shop for and prep was for 6 smoothies total. Genius!
Small changes add up and are proven more sustainable over time. Little by little these tips and tricks add up to an overall healthier lifestyle. What are some of the unique ways you make our challenges work for YOU? We'd love to hear all about them!