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The One-Month No-Groceries Challenge


This weekend I planned a ten-day trip to Carnevale in Venice and it’s just a month away! I cannot wait to eat all my northern Italian favorites: risotto, gnocchi, cicchetti (think Venetian bar snacks), Italian hot chocolate...mmmm. And, thanks to friends who live there and a brother who works for an airline, this trip is going to be pretty affordable—but I’m still concerned about my budget! Sure I’ll be cutting back on social expenditures this month but taking a close look at my finances, most of my money goes to good food! Guess those more than weekly trips to Chelsea Market and Murray’s Cheese have finally caught up to me! So I’ve decided to cut the financial fat: I’M NOT BUYING FOOD FOR A MONTH.

I know this may sound a bit crazy but don’t worry; this is not a diet! First off, I live alone and have a kitchen stocked with more food than you can imagine. If I make a lasagna or grill a large steak there’s no way I can finish it on my own before it goes bad or I get bored with it so I’ll freeze half. This will be the perfect opportunity for me to finally finish some of those frozen meals that I always seem to add to and never remember to take from. Secondly, my cabinets are full of sauces, broth, beans, grains, and all sorts of non-perishables I often forget about. And thirdly, I write about healthy eating for a living. There is always food at work! I’m continually trying new products for stories so this will be a great opportunity for me to test new options, and hopefully share some great finds with you!

My only concern with this plan is fresh produce. Sure I’ll be fine with what’s in the fridge this week but what about February 10th (my last day in NYC before the trip)? Will I have run out of fruits and veggies long before then or be clinging to the last few leaves of limp lettuce? Here’s what I’m working with:

Fresh Produce:
1 head of Romaine lettuce
1/3 head of cabbage
1/2 a bag of carrots
a few scallions
½ a bag of white baking potatoes
1 apple
1 (really large) butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 cup of broccoli (cooked last night)
1 ½ onions

Frozen Veggies:
1/2 bag of corn
1 bag of broccoli
1 bag of spinach
1 bag of Brussels sprouts

As I type this it looks like a long list, but veggies are by far the biggest part of my diet and where is all the fruit? I have a feeling I’ll cruise through this list in no time, especially the greens. Stay tuned over the next month as I try to make healthy meals using ONLY the ingredients already found in my apartment. I’m not saying I won’t bring home leftovers from a dinner date—Le Verdure anyone? ;) But that’s the only way food is coming in!

Stay tuned all month as I get creative in the kitchen and please share your tips and tricks with me. You can tweet me at @Shape_Magazine or leave your comments below.  

Buon appetito!

As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.


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