I'm so excited to share the results of my Leopard Lunch Box Challenge with you because...sound the trumpets... I did it!  Me, the 'who's Will Power' girl, and the girl whose usual hash tag is 'busy days deserve cafes', stuck to my self imposed challenge of  bringing lunch, eating outside somewhere pretty and walking every day last week. Like anything else, it turned out to be all in the planning.

I almost blew it Thursday because I didn't have a plan for that day and I over slept (something else I need to work on) but some quick thinking and a few left overs kept me on track. I did notice I didn't eat as many salads as I do when I go out to lunch. I'm not a fan of making my own salad for lunch when someone else can make it for me (better.) Although you'll see my salad in a jar which was pretty good.

I always have snacks with me whether I eat out or bag it because I slump mid morning and mid afternoon and I spend a lot of time in traffic. Traffic in LA, a whole other topic, but I find that if I have a green ice tea and something to crunch it keeps me calm.

All my lunches averaged about 300 calories.  If you want to know how many calories you're really eating (and if you have never done this be prepared to be shocked) My Fitness Pal is a free app that has everything you will ever eat, really everything!  It's fun and in addition to logging your calories it will also shows you how many nutrients you are getting as well as track your steps as long as you have your phone on you or in your bag while you're moving through your day.

These are my typical snacks, I try to have one or two things from this group with me everyday to keep me on track, also I'm drinking 4-5 liters of water. To answer the obvious question, yes you will pee your brains out.
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1 cut up apple
  • hummus and cucumbers 
  • nut crackers 
  • berries 
  • raw almonds
  • paleo flour less cookies
  • a shake or a green juice 
  • a small yogurt parfait.  
  • a banana
  • berries
  • grapes
  • an orange

I made one of my favorite recipes to get off to a good start. California Fiesta Quinoa Salad (click for recipe) by Suzanne Landry. We took a cooking class with Suzanne last summer in Ojai, it was so much fun, if you missed that post you can read it here. I also brought my usual snacks hummus and cucs, blueberries, apple, crackers.  More than I'd normally take for snacks at one time but I think I was afraid I'd starve without going out to lunch! Let's call this the withdrawal phase.

I walked to a stunning spot for day one. It's actually a public space on a roof top, it's very new and hasn't been discovered yet. So don't kill me, but I can't say where it is because the person who told me about it swore me to secrecy.


Today's setting was Will Rodgers Memorial Park, it's right across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel. It has a pond with ducks and fish. Day 2 was easy, no recipe just Trader Joe's water packed Tuna, mixed with Vegenaise and dried cranberries for a little sweetness. I eat it on Gluten Free Crispbread. It's so good! Also brought a Skinny Gut shake made with unsweetened Almond milk and frozen cherries. It tastes like sherbet! One Skinny Gut packet has 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and no sugar. One can of Tuna has 26 grams, together that's an entire days worth of protein, guaranteed no slumping!  There's probably something politically incorrect about eating fish in front of fish. My apologies if you're a vegetarian. 



Wednesday I ate fairly quickly and spent most of my time walking through the neighborhood. Pretty cool when the neighborhood is Beverly Hills. On the residential side (called the flats) the homes are gorgeous, each one different from the one next door with landscapes that take your breath away. This was another easy lunch which I usually take in a small size container and have for snack. Today I took it as my main thing. Non fat Greek Yogurt, (1 cup has 22 grams of protein!), half a banana, raspberries, blueberries, apple and almonds, a few whole but mostly slivered, and a drizzle of agave. This is YUM!


The day I almost blew it. Fortunately I had left over quinoa from dinner, some veggies and I always have eggs on hand. So this is my easy quinoa fried rice.  Use what ever veggies you have on hand, for me it's usually zucchini, onions, spinach, stir fry in a pan with olive or coconut oil until your kitchen smells amazing them take the veggies out of the pan and scramble 2-3 eggs in the same pan with the oil. Mix the veggies, eggs and quinoa together and add soy sauce to taste (I use Gluten Free soy sauce.)  It tastes just like fried rice! So good and so quick (although not very pretty) you can also add in left over chicken. I brought two Paleo cookies with this (not shown) they are flour less and sugar less except for the dark chocolate chips and I try to put only 3 in each cookie.  They are made of nuts so they're very filling. Find the recipe here. Also brought a bunch of grapes. Today I walked a great dirt path that I never even knew existed although I've probably driven passed it 1000 times.  It runs along Santa Monica Blvd. from Beverly Hills to West Hollywood. 

This day I walked to the business park a few blocks away.  There's a courtyard with tables and chairs and umbrellas and a soothing fountain, it's a great place and open to anyone.  So quiet and relaxing and the perfect spot for my salad in a jar. This is such a genius idea, you build a salad from the wet to the dry ingredients and when you're ready to eat you just shake it up, that way you only need one container (mason jar) and nothing gets soggy.  I started with balsamic dressing in the bottom, added kale, carrots, cucumber, then the chick peas, cranberries and sunflower seeds on top. There are tons of great mason jar salad recipes on pinterest.


Well I lost 1.5 lbs!  That's great for me in a week. I opened my wallet only twice for Starbucks, probably saved about $100 (I know, gasp!) I found walking and being in quiet places instead of busy lunch spots to be very relaxing. I've decided to try and keep it up at least 2 -3 times a week.  The rest of the time you can find me at one of my lunch spots via my favorite hash tag #busydaysdeservecafes. This was a fun challenge but lunch out makes me happy what can I say!?!