The 1/3 Less Challenge: Less Shortcuts

by Rachel on April 27, 2011

Welcome back to the 1/3 Less Challenge!

If you’re just joining us, this is a contest I’m running with prizes provided by KRAFT Singles. The “1/3 less” comes from the 1/3 less fat (2.5 grams of fat per slice compared to 4.5 grams in the leading process cheese slice) that KRAFT Singles Made with 2% Milk have. There will be three 1/3 Less Challenges over a six week period and each one will have a prize. To be eligible to win, you’ll have to set a goal and then check in on my blog two weeks later to let me know how it went. If you enter each challenge, you’ll be eligible to win the grand prize — a $100 Visa gift card! If you only enter one or two of the challenges, you’ll only be eligible for that week’s prize.

We’re currently two weeks in and just finished the first challenge — the 1/3 Less Excuses Challenge. The winner of this challenge and the $15 iTunes gift card is…Corey!

Congrats on sticking with your goal and your iTunes gift card — I’ll e-mail you today to get your mailing info!

Now that we’ve taken on fitness, the next challenge is a healthy cooking challenge.

For this challenge, you need to take 1/3 less shortcuts with your food. Now, some shortcuts are OK and totally smart (like eating frozen veggies instead of fresh). In this case, I’m talking about shortcuts like…eating cereal for dinner. Or peanut butter and jelly. Maybe warming up a can of soup when you could put in the effort to dump a few ingredients in a pot and make something delicious. We all have those go-to meals that aren’t terrible for us, but just aren’t that great. Over the next two weeks, try to skip your “shortcut meal” a few times and put just a little effort into making something that tastes delicious and makes you feel good.

The winner of this challenge will receive a $15 grocery gift card and everyone who entered last week and enters again this week will be one step closer to the $100 Visa gift card!

To win you must:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me about your shortcut meal. (Example: “When I don’t feel like making dinner, I just have an omelet. But…I’ve been doing that every night for the past two weeks.”) You have until Friday 4/29 to leave a comment to be eligible.
  • In said comment, let me know how you’re going to cook/eat your shortcut meal 1/3 less in the next two weeks. (“I’m going to put dinner in the slow cooker in the morning more often so I don’t have to worry about it when I get home after a long day.”)
  • Come back to my blog in two weeks and leave a comment on the challenge wrap-up post (to be posted Tuesday 5/10 — I shaved off a day because I’m leaving on vacation on 5/11) and let me know how the whole thing went for you. (“I only had eggs for dinner once! And I tried some delicious new recipes and generally enjoyed my food more!”)

I’ll pick a gift card winner at random from the people who left comments on both posts! And every time you find yourself skipping a shortcut because of this, you can Tweet @ RachelGettingIt and @Kraftsingles with the hash tag #BetterForYou. You can also like Kraft Singles on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you did for a bonus entry!

Fine print: You have to be 18 years or older and a US resident to be eligible to win.

Get to it!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dori April 27, 2011 at 9:43 am

My shortcut meal is bread and hummus. I eat it almost every night.

I’m going to cut that shit by 1/3 by buying fresh ingredients that I will feel guilty if I do not use! If I buy mushrooms, you bet I’m going to feel compelled to make a mushroom pizza for myself.

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2 Catherine April 27, 2011 at 9:45 am

My go to cheater dinner is a plain old cheese quesadilla or 1/4 loaf of french bread cut in half with cheese melted on it. Do you see a trend of carbs and cheese?? I do this 2-3 times a week. I need to get more creative in the kitchen and stop being so l-a-z-y. My 1/3 less plan is to allow myself a cheater dinner of carbs and cheese once a week and the rest of the time force myself to get cooking. I plan on using my various cookbooks and Cooking Light magazines to plan meals out and then go ingredients shopping. I will also try and do as much prep for the next nights meal the day before, like chopping veggies, thawing frozen meat and laying out all the ingredients I need to make my meal along with the recipe.

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3 Stina April 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

My short-cut when it comes to cooking is not cooking at all, and I’ve been taking that short-cut a lot lately – especially when it comes to breakfast in the morning.

I’m going to use my short-cut meal 1/3 less by limiting myself to one breakfast or lunch and one dinner out per week. This means I need to get my diligent meal planning skills back on track.

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4 Melissa April 27, 2011 at 9:52 am

Love this challenge! I usually short cut my breakfasts, eating a granola bar or dry cereal when I don’t have time to make something. I’m going to try to eat more fresh foods, like fruit and yogurt, homemade muffins, or an egg sandwich for breakfast for the next 2 weeks. This comes at a good time–I was getting sick of the granola bars anyway! :)

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5 Frances C. April 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

Pasta is my fallback. Any kind of pasta. Usually with a little bit of butter and parm.

I am going to plan out my meals so that they are more balanced (lean protein and veggies) and try to limit my pasta intake to once or twice a week.

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6 Elina (Healthy and Sane) April 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

Love this idea! I’ve been relying more and more on shortcuts lately as I get lazy. Over the next 2 weeks I hope to get back to basics on some of my go-tos – like granola bars, hummus, waffles. I hope to make them from scratch one day to enjoy for weeks to come- I’m sure it will be very rewarding :)

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7 Eirinn April 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Lunches! UGH. I almost dread making them. I run out of ideas because when I’m at school I can’t usually heat anything. SOOOO I get lazy and my shortcuts are PB and J or cold cuts (ew) and I don’t enjoy my lunch. I love making breakfast and dinner and I have no problem packing snacks.
Yesterday for lunch I packed a pita with tons of veggies and an avocado and it was soo good and easy. (but today I have a PB&J)
Some other options I might try to avoid using my shortcuts 1/3 of the time are– making a cold pasta salad that I could use throughout the week, a real salad, or burritos. All would be healthy and yummy options!

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8 Michelle April 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

My short-cut meal is an egg sandwich. Since my husband has been out of town this week, I have had an egg sandwich for dinner the past 3 nights! Over the next two weeks, I will take the time in the morning to put something out to thaw so that it is easier to cook when I get home at night.

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9 SquatLikeALady April 27, 2011 at 11:13 am

My shortcut meal is breakfast. I have the same breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY… 2 eggs over easy (or poached if I’m feeling particularly adventurous), 21g of oat bran, 1/4 diced apple, 1/4 cup apple sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, and splenda. Delicious but it’s getting boring! So I am going to have a different breakfast at least 5 days over the next 14! I’m excited :D

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10 SquatLikeALady April 27, 2011 at 11:14 am

Oh and JUST to confuse you. I entered the last two weeks as Sable or Sable@SquatLikeALady. Wordpress doesn’t seem to like the name Sable anymore though? I don’t know. So yeah. Sorry. I’m a mess.

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11 Maeve April 27, 2011 at 11:16 am

My short cut meal is peanut butter and bread…and lately I’ve been eating it 2-3 times a week for lunch or dinner, in addition to my standard oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast! I need to remember that there are other forms of fat and carbs I like, and I’ll enjoy my breakfasts more if I didn’t eat the same thing for dinner the night before…I need to buy avocados and hummus and brie and pasta….

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12 Jules April 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

i totally eat cheese + crackers for dinner three nights a work. especially on long days when my first instinct upon arriving home is to pour myself a glass of wine!

i have a full-time job and am a full-time graduate student so i always think “i don’t have time,” but really.. how much time does it take to make, let’s see: an egg sandwich. a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and spinach. a salad with fun ingredients?

answer: like 5 minutes. so i will try harder 1/3 more often :)

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13 Sarah April 27, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’ve still got a few weeks left of college, which means a meal plan (ahhhhh). Weekends are the only real opportunity to cook something delicious. Lately, though, I’ve just been going out to eat or eating cereal because I don’t have a kitchen (excuse!). I can take 1/3 less shortcuts by making plans to cook with my friends in their kitchens at least once a weekend. I will also not take the “shortcut” of eating whatever is served in the caf when I can just as easily make something healthy while I’m in there.

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14 Missy Maintains April 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

My cheater meal has been Morninstar Farms veggie burgers cooked in the microwave with frozen veggies. I’ve also been picking up salads out and bringing them home for dinner. I am going to buy fresh salad ingredients and real chicken or fish and make my own awesome salads at home.

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15 Stefanie April 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm

My short cut meal has been toast with jam and soy milk. Every now and then its ok, but I have been having this about 70% of the time in the last couple of days.

For this challenge I will make a big batch of brown rice with my rice cooker and use it over the week to make better meals by adding different types of veggies and protein.

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16 Nikki April 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I almost never eat breakfast, or I eat toast while walking to work. For the 1/3 less challenge, I’m going to try to cook breakfast 3 times during the week! Maybe an omelet?

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17 Corey April 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I live in a dorm with a meal plan, so I actually never cook anything. BUT, I will be going home this weekend for the summer, so once I’m there, I can definitely take part. When I’m home, I have a lot of shortcut meals. Usually its some form of egg scramble with bread (egg sandwich, eggs and toast, etc). When I get home, I will try to not eat this for every meal. Instead, I’ll try to take over dinner duty a few times, and make new something for the family. If they’re depending on me for food, it’ll be harder to make an excuse, right?

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18 Corey April 27, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Sidenote: So excited I won! Thanks so much!

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19 Cynthia (It All Changes) April 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Our last month has been super busy so our short cut meals are either stuffed grape leaves from the co-op or an egg scramble. I haven’t cooked a “real” meal in weeks.

Instead I’m going to make a few staples like some quinoa and beans that can be mixed and matched to make things like stuffed peppers, salads, etc.

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20 Lea April 28, 2011 at 5:36 am

My shortcut meal is, sadly, a restaurant meal. I’ve been doing this, hmm…about twice a week lately. Since 1 and 1/3 fewer restaurant meals is a little tricky, I’m going to go ahead and round up and say that I’ll dial that number back by HALF, and only eat out once per week for the next two weeks. My strategy for achieving this is going to be to plan an easy meal for home eatin’ that is something I never have at home, but love…to make it feel as special as eating out.

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21 Cameo April 28, 2011 at 8:28 am

My go-to lazy dinner is prepared food from my local natty food store. I get the sunshine burger patty served with grilled veggies and it’s DELISH and healthy but it is also like, 9-12$ a pop. For that I could buy veggies for the week! SO, my goal is to stop being lazy and buy some damn produce!

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22 Manon April 28, 2011 at 8:50 am

i’ve actually eaten just pasta with olive oil and parmesan cheese for dinner more times than I’m proud of because I’m too lazy to do so much as heat up sauce or frozen veggies/protein to add. Seriously tragic. I need to get my ass to the grocery store, prep veggies, and have them ready for the week!

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23 Arien April 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

I’m at college, so my situation is a little bit different: I love to cook, but I need to use up my board points so as to not waste money. And since I have extra points to spend, plus I’m maintaining my weight (for now), plus I just finished lent . . . it’s easy to find a lot of reasons for why I should indulge in gelato, or a bowl of cereal, or just some of the bread I said I would cut back on. So my goal is to stick to my healthy meals at the cafeteria instead of getting, say, biscuits and gravy at breakfast. Also, I’m going to recognize that food that I haven’t bought still counts towards my daily intake–“it’s free!” isn’t always a good excuse.

I actually had a lot of resistance to entering this challenge (finals are approaching! Must start consuming cereal and potato chips!), so I think it’s good to articulate some guidelines.

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24 Isha April 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm

My shortcut meal is always Morningstar Grillers sandwiches. I eat them at least twice a week. I LOVE these things, and since I’m a vegetarian (with occasional fish) I pat myself on the back when I get that easy dose of protein, but I could really do without all the sodium and preservatives and soy stuff. My replacement will be to grab a can of beans or tuna and use that for sandwich filling instead. I’m aiming for only ONE Griller a week instead of… uh, so many I lose count, apparently.

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25 Lindsay April 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

My go to meal is scrambled eggs for dinner! I probably eat them once a week, maybe twice. I’ve been a busy grad student lately and lazy with my cooking, but for the next two weeks my semester is winding down so I have no excuses. I need to plan out better dinners and go grocery shopping. I’m going to vow to not eat eggs for dinner at all in the next two weeks cause I’m sick of them!

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26 ashleigh April 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm

My short cut meal is eating something over salad… like pasta, “meatballs”, eggs on top of some spinach… 2-3 times a week I have this. I am going to take less short cuts by making real meals and if I want a salad have it on the side instead of being lazy and using anything possible as a random salad topping.

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27 Margaret April 29, 2011 at 12:27 am

My shortcut meal is turkey hotdogs. I recently started a yeast-free, sugar free diet, and found the hardest part was actually FINDING a shortcut meal. It has been so expensive and so time consuming to cut out all of the processed food, bread, cereal, and sweets, that sometimes (more than sometimes) I will just cook up a couple of hotdogs for lunch instead of making a meal. Instead of this shortcut, I’m planning for more salads with added protein like grilled chicken that I can do the night before. My worst shortcut, however, is skipping breakfast almost everyday. Giving up most of my breakfast foods has been very hard, and by the time I feed the baby, I usually just wait for lunch (and turkey dogs) to roll around. I know how unhealthy that is, and I want to make the effort to eat breakfast at least four days a week for the next two weeks, and add more days from there.

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28 Ana April 29, 2011 at 2:02 am

My shortcut meal is a flat out veggie wrap. It usually goes with a piece of fruit and some soup. I have been eating this about twice a week. I made my grocery shopping list for the next two weeks, and I am going to try 3 new recipes. I am super excited!

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29 Emily @ Relishments April 29, 2011 at 9:49 am

My kitchen shortcut is never making lunch. I usually just get a bunch of yogurts at the store and then make my husband scrouge around in the cupboards before work to find something for both of us to eat at lunch. Over the next 2 weeks I’m going to make real meals on Sunday that we can take for lunch during the week.

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30 Michelle April 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I’m moving next weekend, so I’m busy packing, taking finals, and hauling stuff around. The temptation is to order food instead of taking a few minutes to cook something, but I’ll try to only eat out twice a week during this time. :)

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31 kate May 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Damn. I totally missed the entry window. I’m going to throw one out there anyway. Our short cut meal is definitely pizza, frozen or delivery. We usually have it once a week. 1/3 less short cutting I have dinners planned out for this week, simple. no fuss and probably the same amount of time as heating one of those frozen pizzas or waiting for deliver. This coming weekend I’ll plan another week of meals.

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