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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Engine 2 Week 2 + Shopping with 3

Well, things have been interesting over here for week 2 of the Engine 2 Challenge. Plus, confession, I cheated.

Rip's Sweet Potato Bowl with kidney beans and pineapple, because sometimes you have to work with what you have ;)

We went to a Grand Opening event at a new Dave and Buster's. Our friend hooked us up with tickets for a night of free food, drinks and fun, and I just couldn't say no! Tom and I don't go on date nights very often, because, ya know, we have 3 kids under 3, so we took advantage and I just had a good time and didn't really think about food. I will say, my stomach felt AWFUL the next day and I was anxious to go grocery shopping and get back on track for my 3rd week.

Other than that, and some oil on Valentine's Day in my vegan cake balls, I'd say I was 98% vegan with my same slip ups with some dairy. Overall, though, it wasn't bad at all. I had a hankering for some eggs one morning but I fought the urge.

A lot of people have asked how my diet will go when this challenge is over and I will say, I hope to keep it up. I do love the shopping lists and meal plans from the challenge, but I know Happy Herbivore does meal plans that are Engine 2 approved so we might consider going down that route and see what happens. I might allow an occasional local, cage free egg in my diet or a piece of free range chicken or beef, but I'm hoping to stay mostly vegan and making that our new normal.

I am still allowing the kids to have meat but it's limited to a few times a week. They eat our diet and an occasional nitrate free hot dog or chicken nugget has slipped in their meals. They also eat a lot of yobaby yogurt so I haven't taken that away. Since I know fat is important in their diets, I'll probably let that stay for awhile longer. As they get older we'll adjust to them eating more of what we're eating and not sneaking in the kid food as often.

I've also had a lot of questions about grocery shopping and how I do it with 3 kids. Well, that is a very interesting question. I do take all 3 shopping quite often, but it has become rarer and rarer as Ben has gotten older. When he was tiny, I could wrap him up, throw the twins in a cart and be on my way. Now I have Amelia wanting to "help", Jackson becoming obsessed with some animal fruit snack thing he saw a few aisles back and baby Ben practically dying to jump out of the cart. trips have become quite strategic.

Favorite places to shop with all 3 by myself: Sam's Club, Target, the commissary.

Last favorite place to shop with all 3 by myself: Sprouts, Von's (equivalent to Giant, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Publix, run of the mill grocery store)

Best places to take 1 or 2 kids with me: Whole Foods (kiddie shopping cart keeps them entertained for days), Trader Joe's (small store so it's usually a quick trip)

I make almost weekly trips to the commissary and trader joe's and since becoming vegan, Whole Foods for a few specialty items. I go to Sam's Club every few weeks. Von's is my emergency stop for things I forget since it's practically next door to us and a quick walk.

So how do I usually make it work? For the commissary trips, I try to make sure the hubby is available to come with me. It's right across the street from his office so he can usually find a few minutes to come over and help me wrangle while I grab groceries and we run through the place in a mad dash to get in and out as quickly as possible. It's definitely where we find the cheapest groceries so we get the majority of our groceries there. I go randomly throughout the week to Trader Joe's. They have some of the kids favorite snacks (and mine too) and a few specialty items and veggies that aren't at the commissary but are cheaper than Whole Foods so that's my #2. I will plan a trip either in the evening or weekend to go to Whole Foods by myself or with just 1 or 2 kids because it usually takes me awhile to find some random things that I'm not used to buying just yet and it's hard to do with too many little hands trying to help me. Sam's I'll go to anytime, doesn't matter if I have all the kids with me or not. It's so kid friendly, has plenty of room for me to let them run around a bit and nice big shopping carts for all the kids and all of our groceries.

So parents of 1 going to 2, or 2 going to 3, my biggest tip is to not be scared. Get used to grocery shopping with extra hands while the baby is still little. This will help you juggle them as the baby gets more mobile and the olders get more "helpful". Obviously, meal planning and making fewer grocery trips saves you the most time, money, and sanity so I really don't go shopping anymore without a plan and a list. Being prepared makes your trip much less stressful.

As far as online shopping and delivery, I'm just not that into it. I actually like to go to the store, check prices, look for coupons, see all the variety of items out there so I can compare ingredients and costs. It takes up more time doing all of that online than it does to get all kids packed up, in the car, and go shopping with them. I know a lot of people are really into it and if you knew exactly what you wanted and could figure out how to get the best deals doing it that way, then go for it, but I just find that it's way too time consuming and I'd rather just go do the shopping myself.

Well, happy eating this week friends!

  • If you missed my first week on the Engine 2 challenge, you can check it out here.
  • Don't forget we have our March for Babies Yankee Candle fundraiser going on until Saturday! Get your orders in NOW! 40% of sales will go towards Team Pepka Twins and the March of Dimes! Thanks for helping us reach our goal!

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