Goodbye 2020 + Our 2021 January Challenge
Join us for our January meal planning & self-care challenge!
Though 2020 brought us the best gift yet, our daughter Skylar, just like everyone else on earth we’re saying goodbye, good riddance and see ya later to 2020, and we are welcoming 2021 with opening arms! As this new year begins, we are looking forward to healthier times, in more ways than one. We’re making plans to focus on ourselves and our families a little more this year, to get us through the winter and beyond. We’ve got a challenge for ourselves, and we want you to join in!
Let’s Meal Plan Together!
Let’s face it, 2020 was hard. I think most people are in this boat: many of our routines, norms, and even standards have been thrown out the window. And for good reason– we’ve all needed to pivot in 2020. But I’m craving some normalcy in my life, especially after welcoming our daughter into this world and as we cross over into 2021! I’m accepting that this is the perfect time for a little kickstart on self-care, sitting down for home-cooked meals, and some normalcy all around. This new year, I’m going to focus hard on meal planning for my family, and making sure to sneak in at least 1 self-care item for myself every week. We can all do this, right?
Why we are doing this in January:
Who doesn’t love creating exciting goals for themselves to be the best version of themself? January is of course the time for resolutions and making new intentions for yourself. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t set goals and make resolutions all year, but January feels fresh, and like an easy time to reset.
And while we aren’t necessarily calling this a resolution, we think it’s the right time to make a goal for yourself to take a few minutes out of your day to think ahead to what your week is going to look like, and put in place the motions to actually achieve those goals (IE. buy the groceries you need for the meals you plan to make/eat, take out your meat so you’re prepared and follow through to avoid waste).
Because in order to reach any outcomes goals you may have for yourself, creating smaller weekly habits goals is crucial in order to get there! However, even though this is a collective “challenge” that will be for January, we do hope (and think!) that you will figure out some ways that this challenge has worked for you, and carry it forward long-term! This is a great way to spend the month building habits to use the tools throughout the entire year and beyond.
For this challenge we hope that we collectively will:
- Create healthy habits and routines
- Find renewed joy in cooking
- Get the family involved
- Take some last-minute decision making off your plate
- Reduce anxiety and create a little order for the week
- Nourish our bodies & really just feel great
What is this challenge?
- Each week we challenge you to sit down and do the obvious: make a meal plan! We’ve created a template for you to use (and share on social media, if you’d like to get involved AND enter the giveaway) or you can just go ahead and use whatever recording system that works for you.
- More than just picking out a few random meals for the week, truly think about what your week looks like, and how much time (if any) you have to make a meal. Do your best to not overpromise yourself in making a meal that takes an hour to cook if realistically you have like 15 minutes to throw something together. Gather any recipes you might need, and of course, order or go to the store for the ingredients needed.
- Do what you need to do to set yourself up for success for the week. Planning doesn’t have to necssaerily mean COOK… Think ordering a smoothie box for breakfasts or making smoothie packs!
- This is not a diet!
- This is not a 30-day reset with hard-fast rules.
- This is a lifestyle kickstart, not a 30-day only challenge.
- Think of this as a low-key fun January that will kick start our whole year!
- Use this as a template that will fit into your lifestyle, rather than trying to this challenge into your life.
- The goal here is to make this a simple and achievable challenge, and specifically one where you do not meal prepping for hours.
- Be realistic. This isn’t’ a challenge to see who can create the best looking meals. This is a challenge to figure out what works for your family consistently, which then results in healthy meals that leave everyone feeling nourished.
- Use whatever resources you can to make this work: think smoothie boxes or other prepurchased food that works for you. There are a ton of services these days that help get healthy real food on the table for you.
- It’s also important to keep in mind that just because you planned out your meals for the week, you can still change up what you’re having without any guilt! This is not meant for you to make a plan, break it and then beat yourself up over. It’s more of an inspirational plan that helps build habits.
Making a commitment to sit down at the beginning of each week and simply plan out most of your meals for the week, can leave us with the right start to the week. And it takes the last-minute decision making off our plates! In addition, we think it will help us enjoy a variety of nutrients and flavors, reduce the anxiety of overwhelm at dinner time and feel motivated within our community!
While I know it may seem like an easy thing to simply plan your family’s meals at the beginning of each week, but this simple task often gets pushed aside. That can leave us scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out what to make for dinner. This leads to either making less healthy choices or reverting to the same old boring meals we’ve all got on standby.
Self Care Goals:
This year has show us more than anything that self-care is important for our mental health. In addition to meal planning, we want to challenge you to plan out one self-care goal for the week. We know even fitting this into your life can feel like another thing on the to-do list, but this one is important.We want to think about doing something for ourselves that is truly going to make an impact. Try to fit it in at least twice a week, for a month. After the month, see if consistently doing something for yourself, whatever it may be, has made a big difference.
This is truly a matter of what does self-care look like to you. But here are some of the common things we are often trying to achieve:
- Drink more water: Drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water daily.
- Move your body: Commit to exercising 2-3 days a week. This could just be a short walk around the neighborhood each day if intense exercise isn’t for you, or an online yoga or exercise class. Making movement a habit can be even more beneficial than focusing too much on intense exercise! Do what works for you.
- Work on eliminating toxins from your home: Think cleaning products, self-care products, etc. Also consider getting rid of items that no longer serve you!
- Do something for you this week: Maybe that’s one night of not cooking, a massage, a date night, shopping, Spring cleaning, decluttering, a nice bath, etc.
- Sleep: Aim for good quality sleep, and 7-9 hours a night.
- Screen time: I’ve talked about this time and again, but reducing screen time on devices, especially at night, has helped my sleep and so much more.
- Declutter your home to reduce anxiety: Tackle one room in your home each day. Decluttering your home can alleviate stress and bring clarity.
- Practice a form of art therapy: There are online events for everything these days, including for activities like knitting or art. Or you could just pick up some watercolors, a blank piece of paper, and paint whatever feels right!
- Call friends or family you haven’t talked to in a while: Catching up with a loved one can reduce stress and increase your happy hormones.
- Send thoughtful letters to friends: Writing out your thoughts and connecting with loved ones can bring you so much joy.
- Read a good book: Reading improves brain connectivity, increases your vocabulary and comprehension, empowers you to empathize with other people.
- Practice mindfulness: Set aside 10-30 minutes each day to listen to a guided meditation on Spotify or do a free 30 minute yoga class from Youtube.
- Gratitude journal: Write 5 things you are grateful for each morning before you begin your day. Gratitude can improve the energy that you bring into your own day and others.
- Take an online class in something that you’re passionate about: This could be cooking classes, a class to increase your performance with work, on a hobby or topic that brings you joy, etc.
- Clean out social media: Unfollow 5 Instagram and/or Facebook accounts that don’t serve you and possibly bring you more stress each day.
- Bonus: Make an effort to do something nice for someone else once a week! Maybe that’s calling a friend to say hello, cooking for a neighbor who’s sick or with a new baby, volunteering, etc. For some, filling someone else’s bucket is important in filling their own bucket.
Remember, you aren’t picking everything! Pick something achievable and add it to your template! Share it for accountability and to enter the giveaway!
How does it work?
- Nothing crazy here, friends! Simply pick a day and fill out the meal plan template(s) with your 4 meals (below for ideas) and a self-care goal (above for ideas). I’m doing mine on Sundays!
- Follow on Instagram (@Lexiscleankitchen) to see what we’re making, get inspired with new recipes we have coming, and get inspired by older recipes we are sharing! Tag us wit what you’re cooking + your weekly meal plan to be entered to win the giveaway!
A few tips:
- See what you already have on hand in your refrigerator freezer and pantry and plan your meals based on that to reduce waste.
- Pull out meat in the beginning of the week (if it’s in your freezer) or do your shopping over the weekends. We find we aren’t going to let the food go to waste, so we make sure we use it! A way to stay accountable.
- If you don’t follow your plan exactly… DON’T SWEAT IT. That’s why we aren’t doing a meal for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc., because it’s more about showing up!
For some end-of-the-month fun, every entry will be entered to win a Staub Dutch Oven and a Zwilling Fresh & Save Glass Vacuum Starter Set ($350 value)! We will pick 2 winners, at random, on 1/31/20 at 8pm EST.
How to enter:
- Use the templates below and upload them on your Instagram stories anytime this month and tag @lexiscleankitchen #LCLchallenge! Not on Instagram? Post in our private Facebook group here!
- Bonus: Tag us in recipes you are making on Instagram (@lexiscleankitchen #LCLchallenge) or in the Facebook group! Make sure to use the tags and be public on Instagram for us to be able to track your entries.
For Instagram Stories: Save me to your photos on your phone!
We will also be sharing ours every Sunday on Instagram for you to screenshot, too!
Not on Instagram? No problem. Post either in our private Facebook group here!
Get started with some of our favorite quick & easy meals
- Mexican Breakfast Casserole
- Eggnog Overnight Oats
- How to Make Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs
- ‘Mounds’ Chocolate Coconut Smoothie
- 3-Ingredient Breakfast Skillet
- Cherry, Coconut and Chocolate Granola
- The Ultimate Guide on How to Make Oatmeal
- Everything Bagel Hummus Breakfast Toast
- Sheet Pan Classic Breakfast Bake (Eggs, Bacon, & Home Fries!)
- Baked Apple Pie Chia Pudding
- Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal
30 Minute Meals
- Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry
- 3-Ingredient Dijon Salmon (In 10 Minutes!)
- Philly Cheesesteak Skillet
- Easy Taco Soup
- Cajun Blackened Fish
- 30-Minute Loaded Taco Skillet
- Healthy Hamburger Helper
- Paleo Orange Chicken
- Easy Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup
- Spaghetti Carbonara
- Easy One-Pan Eggplant Chicken Dinner
- Frozen Veggie Fried Rice
- Potato Leek Soup
Sheet Pan Meals
- Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies
- Sheet Pan Root Vegetable and Sage Pesto Salmon
- Sheet Pan Buffalo Chicken and Veggies
- Sheet Pan Marinated Steak Tips with Veggies
- Sheet Pan Herb Butter Salmon with Blistered Tomatoes and Green Beans
- Sheet Pan Curry Chicken and Vegetables
- Sheet Pan Chorizo and Eggs Mexican Breakfast
- Sheet Pan Lemon Cod with Green Herb Sauce
- Sheet Pan Ranch Chicken and Veggies
Easy Instant Pot Meals
- Turkey Chili
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Southwest Chicken Soup
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli and Rice
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Two-Ingredient Salsa Chicken (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
- Pork Carnitas (Instant Pot and Slow Cooker)
- Instant Pot Rice
- Classic Chicken Soup (Slow Cooker & Instant Pot)
- How To Make The BEST Taco Meat (In The Instant Pot!)
- How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot (plus check out this chicken marinade recipe)
- Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken
- How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs
Slow Cooker Meals
- Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Brisket
- Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Brisket
- Beef Barbacoa Recipe (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
- Slow Cooker French Onion Soup (Gluten-Free)
- Slow Cooker Carne Asada
- Loaded Egg Salad
- Smoky Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats (Easy Lunch Idea!)
- Greek Lentil Salad
- Cheeseburger Salad with Mustard Dressing
- Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- Southwest Tuna Salad
- Spicy Shrimp and Citrus Salad
- Chicken Fajita Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Taco Salad
Other Helpful Meal Inspiration Posts:
- What to Cook When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking
- 30 Smoothie Freezer Packs (Budget-Friendly)
- Everything You Need to Know About Leftovers
- Simple Pantry Recipes and Guide
- Healthy 30-Minute Meals
Our Nutritionist Made Meal Plans:
Don’t want to pick out meals yourself? Our meal plans curated and tested by our in-house nutritionist Gabby, are broken down to fit specific dietary needs, lifestyles (looking at you busy parents!), goals, seasons, and more. Choose a meal plan that works for you, and go have fun in the kitchen!
- 30-Minute Meals
- Gut & Skin Reset
- Mediterranean Diet
- Low Carb
- Postpartum Nursing
That’s it! Are you in? Our whole team is doing this and we are so excited for you to join us! Cannot wait to see what you’ll be cooking up.
January 1, 2021
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