cooking challenge with foodcourt

the quick fix dilemma

Have you noticed how often challenges, cleanses, and quick fixes appear on your social media feeds? They range from 21-30 days and include everything from cleanses and shakes, to vegan/vegetarian months, sugar detoxes, fitness challenges with (unpersonalized) nutrition plans, and more. Just about all of these plans call for some sort of restriction: Restricting meals and replacing them with shakes, restricting sleep and replgacing it with exercise, restricting HEALTHY foods and replacing them with foods you have to choke down. Why does every program stem from the idea that restriction = healthy. It doesn't. And this is not what being healthy, or happy, is about. These types of plans can backfire when the allotted days are over and you find yourself right back where you started; craving sugar, overeating, and not listening to your body.

some plans would "not allow" this because oats, peanut butter & jelly would all be out...seriously? 

I don't want to completely bash these challenges, because seriously, they can help people. It can help jump start weight loss, or help people discover how good they feel when they move more and eat less "junk". One of these plans may be right for you, but remember, they're short for a reason. They are not meant to be followed forever, yet I see these serial challenge do-ers and wonder, what else is going on here? If you find yourself needing to do a challenge/ fix/ plan/ cleanse every other month just to "reset" then I would recommend you start thinking bigger. Start thinking about your forever health, and how you are going to maintain a healthy (and happy) lifestyle for years to come. Easier said than done, right? Listen, I know the strict "tell me what to eat" plan is enticing. Revisit my post about calories and be reminded why nutrition is not and should not be about an arbitrary number, or about a food you resisted for 21 days in a row.

Restriction does not equal healthy

How can you stop this cycle? (because yes, relying on these plans every other month is essentially a restrict/binge cycle) What do you need to do to find a consistent, happy, and effortless relationship with what you eat? What is a challenge you can do that doesn't involve restricting yourself? I believe it starts with food.

egg bake on egg bake on egg bake

I am human and I am not immune to the pressures of marketing strategies and enticing cleanses. Just like you, I have big events and special occasions I want to look my absolute best for, so I contemplate what going on a cleanse or detox would be like. But I know deep down that restriction is not the answer because it is not sustainable for me. I love food too much. I enjoy getting a drink on a Friday night, and sometimes, I just really want some peanut m&m's. In an effort to take the focus away from what you can't eat, I decided to embrace the delicious, real food, that we all should eat. I came up with this cooking challenge for myself. I hope you all will do it with me. just need a glass of wine

Cooking challenge with Court


  1. Embrace and enjoy food. Instead of thinking about all of the things you can't and shouldn't eat, think about all of the delicious, healthy foods that you're excited to eat.
  2. Experiment in the kitchen. Try cooking with new ingredients and use those kitchen tools that are collecting dust.
  3. Use your cookbooks. You bought them for a reason.
  4. Get out of a cooking rut. Guilty here. I keep things simple, simple, simple. I could stand to have at least one exciting meal mixed in.
  5. Eat more home cooked meals. When you cook at home, you eat at home, and you pack your lunch. All of a sudden you're saving money AND eating better quality food.

What to do: 

  • Pick a cookbook that you were excited to get but never really used. Don't have a cookbook collection? Pick a Pinterest board or a blogger that you like.
  • Pick a section of the book, personally, I am starting with casseroles and chilis because they are all in one meals that last a while and freeze well.
  • Pick a recipe, one per week, and make it. What this will look like and how you will accomplish this may be a different. For me, I will select the recipe on Saturday, food shop and prep on Sunday, and then eat throughout the week. 
  • Cook through the section, selecting a new recipe every week for 4 weeks (or longer!). You can jump around if you want, but I think going page by page will take some of the thinking out of it! For me, the selection of what to prep is the hardest part, so I don't want to to make this difficult.
  • Post about your success! Use #CookingChallengewithCourt

What might happen... Maybe you'll find a tasty recipe that was way easier than you imagined. Maybe you'll find a new veggie you like. Or maybe you'll just enjoy some diversity in your meals. My goal is to work through several cookbooks and continue this throughout the fall. Remember, no repeats!    

This was my first recipe of the challenge. This buffalo chicken casserole is layered with sweet potato, kale, homemade shredded buffalo chicken, bacon, and cheddar cheese.

I can't wait to continue this challenge with myself on Sunday. Follow along and see what I'm making by following me on Instagram! I already have another dietitian friend who is doing it with me! Will you join us?

Post what you're cooking and eating on Twitter or Instagram and be sure to tag me (@f00dCourt) and hashtag #CookingChallengeWithCourt so that we can see each others yummy eats. I will share some of my favorite posts along the way! If you need suggestions of a good cookbook to pick up or a good blog to follow feel free to comment below or reach out to me on social media. I am so excited for this!!! 

one last thought

If you're a chronic quick fix plan do-er and in need of consistent, healthy, sustainable diet habits then let me help you! Check out my services and lets start making changes (specific changes that tackle your current struggles and needs) that stick - once and for all.


Happy cooking!