Have you ever really stopped to look at the ingredients of the foods that you buy on a regular basis? It’s mind blowing, how much “stuff” is put into packaged foods.
I began my “real food” (aka “clean eating“) journey in 2006, due to health issues and food sensitivities. For me, this means avoiding highly processed foods and sticking with foods that have 5 ingredients or less. (Yes, it can be done!).
I will admit, it has been a struggle to get my kids on board. They are old enough that this feels like “work” to them. We’re working on that 😉
We are in no way perfect role models, but I think that we do pretty well at not eating highly processed foods.
If you’re looking to incorporate more real food into your diet, here are some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way:
- “Real food” doesn’t have to mean “make every single thing from scratch”. It’s okay to eat canned foods, store-bought bread, etc. I have found that for most items, there is a brand out there that does not contain preservatives, hydrogenated oils, etc. Sometimes this might mean that you have to read labels on multiple brands before you find the product in it’s more natural state, but the more you read labels, the easier it gets. You will start to learn which brands are less processed than others.
- Real food doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Shop sales, use coupons, buy clearance items, make foods from scratch. Many items can be stored in the freezer, so stock up or bake/cook in large quantities for use later on.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. This was probably one of the most difficult things for me. It took me a long time to learn that it’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to stray off of the beaten path sometimes – as long as you get right back on.
- Plan ahead! This is probably obvious, but I don’t know how many times I have sabotaged myself by not being prepared and then eating whatever I could get my hands on (and most likely overeating) because I was starving. Freezer cooking is a huge help for me – I try to always have cooked chicken or ground beef, or soups, or frozen meals on hand.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Play around with seasonings and sauces; make it a point to buy something that you’ve never tried before; experiment with new fruits and veggies. I get bored really easily, so I am always looking for new ways to eat foods that I buy on a regular basis.
If you’re needing a little bit of food inspiration, here are some examples of what I have been eating lately (as you can see, I eat very simple meals – this helps me stay on track and not get overwhelmed):
Disclaimer: I am NOT a food photographer. 😛
Mesa Sunrise cereal with frozen berries
Maple Baked Salmon and roasted Brussel sprouts
Salmon scrambled eggs (cooked eggs like usual, but added salmon about half way through – if you like salmon, these are amazing!)Leftover pulled pork, yellow pepper and green beansGrilled chicken salad, with yellow pepper slices and avocado
Chickpea Curry with Rice
Quiche and berries (I buy frozen, then thaw them halfway)
Salad bar salad w/homemade croutons and fresh pineappleOvernight oats w/sunbutter, fruit and Mesa Sunrise cerealPizza (homemade is best…in my opinion 🙂 )Boiled eggs (great for breakfast or snack)
Please note that I am not a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist. I am simply providing this post to show you what is/has been working for me.
What is your favorite “real food”??