Planning ahead is key when it comes to avoiding processed food, and in my second cookbook 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous I’m sharing exactly how to do just that – including meal plans, shopping lists, snapshots of how to buy real food, food prep guides, and 100 beautifully-photographed quick and easy recipes. In general, though, there are several lifestyle changes you can make that will go a long way when it comes to avoiding processed food.
So get ready to clean up your act by kicking these bad food habits to the curb and, trust me, when it comes to the health of your family, you’ll be so glad you did!
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5 Bad Food Habits to Break
- Not having a dinner plan for the week.
Your dinner plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but just jotting down at least five simple meals you can cook the upcoming week (and purchasing the ingredients, of course) can make all the difference. Even if your family can’t all eat dinner at the same time on busy weeknights, don’t let that get in your way of preparing a wholesome meal that can be reheated later!
- Buying the processed stuff.
It’s hard to dig your hand into that bag of messy cheese puffs if it never made it from the store to your house in the first place. Now, this is not a complete “out of sight, out of mind” promise, but I think you can eventually get pretty darn close. There are some simple ways to avoid processed food that you can start doing today.
- Not being armed with healthy snacks on the go.
When out running errands or toting kids to and from activities, it’s inevitable that hunger will strike. So be prepared with a stash of wholesome, filling snacks– such as trail mix, Larabars, whole-grain crackers, or an apple or banana. Having a few “emergency” options in your glove box or purse will help satisfy your hunger until you can get back home for your next meal.
- Not knowing what your next meal will be.
On that note, if you get caught hungry – or worse, hangry – with no plan for your next meal, you’ll become desperate and lower your standards just to eat something. So rather than being tempted by the drive-thru, mentally have an idea of what you’ll do for your next meal (i.e., leftovers from dinner last night, defrost something you previously made in the freezer, eat what you’ve packed in the cooler in your backseat) so you can be prepared when that time comes. Better yet, write it down! See how I use my Meal Planner to stay on top of my weekly meals, including school lunches.
- Not having prepared real food on hand.
I often say, if you just got back from grocery shopping and your kitchen still appears to have no “food” – just ingredients! – then you’re doing something right. But that means it’s up to you to spend a little time (on the weekend or whenever it’s convenient) turning all those fresh ingredients into something edible. Whether you simply boil eggs and pasta or whip up some homemade muffins and chicken salad, it’s important to start the week with wholesome items you can grab and go.
Check out my second cookbook for more fast & fabulous make-ahead ideas along with some helpful food storage charts on pages 35 – 41. The goal with this one is to make your life easier! :)
Which bad food habit are you going to break first? Let me know in the comments!
Need some ideas for dinner this week to help get you started on those healthier habits? Take a peek at what I feed my family with this FREE Weekly Real Food Dinner Plan, complete with 5 dinners, side items, and a treat.