Short-Term Challenge Leads to Long-Term Changes

There is one more week left in my Lenten challenge of not eating packaged snacks.

It has been going pretty well so far and I am pretty surprised at my ability to cut out my daily crunchy pretzel/goldfish/pita chip/Wheat Thin snack.

I’ve replaced that snack with a handful of almonds and dried cranberries and it has been satisfying enough.

To be honest, I am definitely going to continue with this new habit. That also does not mean I won’t indulge in a box of Cheez-Its every now and again. Just now there won’t be a need to be purchasing packaged snacks every week or so at the grocery store.

Saving money, saving packaging, and saving calories.

Snacks Sans Packaging Leaves Me Hangry

I am almost a week into my package-free snack Lent challenge.

During the workday, I have been doing okay. I stocked up on fruits and nuts and double downed on carrots and hummus.

Now that I look back on the week, it is cool to open my lunch bag (which is more than just lunch, I pack food for the entire day) and see that everything in it is a whole food.

My troublesome area so far is when I come home from work. I am pretty famished and just want to eat the first thing I see when I open the kitchen cabinet. The usual bag of popcorn (or pretzels, wheat thins, whatever it may be that week) is off limits and I have eaten enough fruits and vegetables throughout the day that I don’t want to snack on an apple when I get home.

On Friday, my third day of this challenge, I made stovetop popcorn for my after work snack. As annoying as it sounds, and much more time consuming than opening a packaged bag of popcorn, it really isn’t that much more work. It takes maybe 5 minutes and tastes way better.

It may just be my saving grace.

So I will share it with you!

popcorn recipe

If you don’t end up eating it all (which is hard), I was able to keep it fresh until the next day by storing it in an airtight container.

Do you have any other snack suggestions? Please share!

See Ya Packaged Snacks

It’s Lent for you practicing Catholics out there, a time to give up something that you are accustomed to, or make a sacrifice.

I tried giving up plastic for lent the other year and that was rough.

This year, after much discussion, I have decided to give up packaged snacks. It is not that I eat individually wrapped granola bars every day, but like snacks that come in a plastic bag or in a box.

I am looking at you pretzels and wheat thins.

Those are my go-to for a snack at work. Not only will this be a challenge of my own will, but it will help reduce waste and my processed food consumption. A win-win right?

Now, what should I eat for the next 40 days!?

Day 24: That Look You Get From the Cashier When You Bring Your Own Bag

I have been keeping an eye on things and over the past week here are some of the plastic-avoiding actions I did:

  • Refused a plastic lid and straw, went for the paper cup only at dinner on Tuesday
  • Refused another straw at lunch on Thursday
  • Used my handy dandy reusable bag (I will post about this at another time) at Target, the mall, and the grocery store this week

Side note: I love when I check out at the store and say, “I have my own bag,” and then pull this magical re-usable bag out of my purse. I would say by that by the time the cashier has finished ringing me up, 50% of the time, they have forgotten that I brought my own bag and start to put my things in a plastic bag. I gently have to remind them that I will not be taking their store-provided bag of plastic.

Day 16: They Wouldn’t Put The Smoothie I Ordered In My Water Bottle

So last night I was at yoga class that ended at 8:15. I had not eaten dinner beforehand and figured a smoothie at the gym’s cafe would do the trick for some post-workout sustenance.

Problem is, it comes in a plastic cup with lid and straw. Although the cup and lid are recyclable, that straw is not.

While giving my order, I asked if I could have the smoothie be put in my now empty water bottle. They said no.  At least I tried. It wasn’t even that good of a smoothie anyway, so I guess that is what I get for still buying it.



Day 1: Legitimately everything I own is made of plastic

By 9:30 AM, this is what I have encountered so far in my day that involves plastic:

  • alarm clock
  • glasses
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste tube
  • contact lens case
  • contact lenses
  • contact lens solution bottle
  • face wash bottle
  • moisturizer bottle
  • laptop
  • mouse
  • pen
  • date planner
  • cell phone
  • TV remote
  • blah
  • blah
  • blah
  • everything

I would be here all day if I noted everything that is made with plastic. I am not going to do that. I am going to focus on things that I can make a decision on whether or not to use it.

Giving up wearing my contacts and glasses (since both are plastic) would be  a nightmare, simply because I wouldn’t be able to see. So things like that I am not going to touch, but things where I can make choices, that is my goal.

I will let you know how it goes.



Things I have Given Up for Lent: Ice Cream, Chocolate, and Now Plastic

I always struggle deciding what to give up for Lent. I go for the standard indulgences like ice cream, dessert, and
chocolate. Actually the other year instead of giving up something, I intended to floss everyday. Now that was suffering.

This year, I was inspired by this article to try something a little different and give up plastic. I told my mom this morning and of course her reaction was, “How are you going to do that?” Which of course made me think that there have to be some guidelines to this type of Lenten sacrifice.

Plastic is in basically everything, so I am not going to give up everything. I am going to give up the plastic that would generally be tossed in the recycling bin or thrown out on a daily basis.

Some Examples:

  • No straws or lids
  • No Ziploc bags (which isn’t a huge worry because I love my Snack Taxis)
  • No plastic bags from the grocery store (I usually have a reusable bag in my purse anyway)
  • No carryout containers from restaurants (Must.Remember.To.Bring.My.Own.)
  • I am sure I will come across more ways

The first day of Lent is Wednesday, February 10th. I have a little less than a week to really figure this out.

I am going to attempt to keep track of every time where I get the option to refuse plastic and what my alternatives were, as well as the things I will have to go without because they will be in plastic. That will be fun.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Let me know!