Real Food Tips: 5 Easy Changes

Real Food Tips: 5 Easy Changes for 2013 by 100 Days of Real FoodI hear from readers quite frequently who would like to cut out processed food, but are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. The key thing to remember is that small changes can go a long way – cutting out processed food doesn’t have to be all or nothing! So to help you get off on the right foot this New Year below are 5 easy changes you can implement this month. In fact EVERYONE could start #1 today. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s all about awareness. Pick 1 or 2 items from this list and commit to starting them this week. Once you’ve got those items down move on to the others, and before you know it some of these changes will become your “new normal.”

Speaking of getting off on the right foot this New Year I also want to introduce you to our meal planning sponsor, The Fresh 20! It’s no secret that it can take more time to plan and cook real food day in and day out, but a service like The Fresh 20 can really take some of the weight off your shoulders. Each week they send you 5 unprocessed dinner recipes that you can make from 20 fresh ingredients. For only $5/month the budget-friendly recipes include an organized shopping list, and you can choose from their Classic, Vegetarian, or Gluten-Free plan. If you are already a member of The Fresh 20 we’d love for you to share your feedback in the comments below!

5 Easy “Real Food” Changes

  1. Read ingredient labels.
    Everyone could easily start doing this today…or right now in fact (in your own pantry!). Before you eat or buy any packaged food read the list of ingredients on the back. You don’t even have to change what you are buying or eating quite yet, but just being aware of how processed your food selections are can be the first step in the right direction!
    Some things to think about: Can you pronounce all the ingredients? How many are on the list? Are they all items you would cook with in your own kitchen? Which ingredients are refined or some sort of sweetener (like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, brown rice syrup, aspartame, etc.)?
  2. Start buying 100% whole-grain products.
    Bread products tend to take up a big portion of the Standard American Diet so switching to 100% whole grain could potentially go a long way. Many common grocery products are made with refined grains – things like sandwich bread, pasta, crackers, rice, breadcrumbs, hamburger buns, croutons, etc. So there’s lots of room for improvement here! And being a former “white bread girl” myself I can tell you I used to avoid whole-wheat bread because I despised the taste. I now realize that’s because I was trying grocery store, factory-made whole-wheat bread that was made with a ton of additives and preservatives. We now buy 5 ingredient bread from a local bakery (or make our own) and it thankfully tastes MUCH better!
  3. Switch to organic dairy.
    I’ll never forget something I once heard Dr. Oz say. When it comes to buying dairy products you just cannot peel or wash off your milk like you can your produce…so it’s best to go organic. Just one of many great reasons to avoid conventional dairy products from animals that have been treated with antibiotics and hormones (not to mention their diet and living conditions – you are what you eat eats, too)!
  4. Eat more produce (preferably organic).
    If you aren’t eating a lot of fresh produce today…what’s the reason? Is it because you don’t like veggies, you think they’re too much work to prepare, or because you’d just rather have deep-fried potato chips instead? :) If you haven’t been a big fan of vegetables in the past I encourage you to try fresh/local veggies, some new recipes for your vegetables, and even some new vegetables all together. Fruits and vegetables are (obviously) whole foods and putting more of that goodness on your plate will automatically displace some of the processed stuff!
  5. Offer your kids more real food.
    The average 5-year-old can’t drive himself to McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A and pay for a meal. So let’s face it, in most cases it’s almost completely up to the parent to offer their young children the right choices. Yes, my daughters both like real food, but if I handed them a bag of Cheetos for a snack they would totally chow down (they are kids after all!). So, as a result, I don’t hand them a bag of Cheetos and instead offer them a banana with peanut butter or a box of raisins or some whole-grain pretzels or an organic cheese stick for a snack (Note: None of these real food snacks require much more work than opening a bag of Cheetos). These are all whole foods I know my kids will eat so that’s what I give them when they are hungry. I strongly encourage everyone to do their part by offering their own children more real food this year. You never know…their response might pleasantly surprise you! :)

What do you plan on doing in the New Year to reduce your family’s consumption of highly processed foods?

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!
  • Comments

    1. jamie |

      For me, changing to non processed foods is not an issue of angering the family, or my belly or anything else, its an issue of cost. Its no secret eating healthier is simply more expensive. If the government could help subsidize the cost of eating healthier I’m all for it. Also, having healthier options readily available isn’t exactly easy when you live in climates that don’t promote year round growth. I’d have to goto a grocery 3 times a week to ensure my produce didn’t goto waste, and thanks to the shrinking economy, I simply don’t have time with working multiple jobs. Farmers markets and cost effective produce would go a long way. Alas where I live, we don’t have them except in the summer time.

      • Cheryl |

        Jamie, I completely agree. There is absolutely nothing I can do – including buying in bulk which I already do – that would make eating fully organic and without preservatives an affordable option. Those of you out there who are such strong proponents of this eating lifestyle, please also help find a way not only to evangelize for the way of eating life you support, but think and work together to find ways to evangelize for how more socioeconomic groups can afford the diet you so correctly push.

        • Anne |

          To both Cheryl and Jamie. I am a single person on long term disability and i can manage small changes. Lifestyle choices can be made, can i do organic veg fruit and meat? No i cannot afford it. Can i buy a bag of apples vs applesauce in a jar? Yes and it is cheaper too. The only reason i post is to say maybe you cannot do it all but we can all do something to eat healthier:) Changing even one thing can make you feel proud and successful!

    2. Theresa |

      I cannot believe you quoted Dr. Oz, he operates purely on shock value. I was interested until I read his name. Complete idiot, no credibility.

      • |

        While I agree that Dr. Oz is not very credible, the quote she uses is completely true and she was just mentioning where she heard it from… not necessarily saying Dr. Oz is some food genius or even credible by any means. The statement she quoted is true… you can’t wash the junk out of your non organic milk.

    3. Mary |

      Love your website! So appreciative of what you are doing. I have a question about the dairy though. I have had no luck finding organic dairy products that are not ultrapasteurized. Do you have any suggestions?

    4. Amanda |

      Going back to my roots (well, adopted roots). When I was in college I worked for a small local health food store and did a really good job of cutting out processed foods, and then moved away from that while in various relationships. I went back to it when my daughter was born and then drifted away again when I met my now husband. Two years ago we switched to whole food vegan, and it felt like coming home… Though after a few heart breaks this year we’ve gone to vegetarian at home. I’m bringing back the hippy and vegan dishes I loved and making sure to pre-cook and freeze to give myself a hand.

    5. Elaine Maier |

      I don’t have children at home anymore but I changed #5 “To get my husband to stop eating fast food”. I make sure there is food in the freezer that he can reheat quickly so he doesn’t stop on the way home and can make a meal when he gets home.

    6. Barb |

      love 100 days of real food, yes it does cost a little more money and more frequent trips to the store but sometimes we need to cut back on other things, so we can feed our families healthier. Jaime we do not need more government subsidies too eat well. We have too much government in our lives now.
      Happy, healthy new year to all!

    1 6 7 8

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *