I talk a lot about clean-eating, and I realize for a lot of people, that feels very overwhelming.
I get it; I used to eat a lot of processed foods even though I thought I was making healthy choices.
I ate a lot of quick ‘health’ foods like granola or protein bars, packets of flavored oatmeal, fat-free yogurts, frozen lean cuisine-type meals, canned soups, national-brand bread, pretzels and crackers, etc. My dinners were generally pretty good, but breakfast, lunch and snacks were usually a bunch of packaged foods I thought were healthy with a piece of fruit thrown in.
Beyond eating a bunch of hidden sugar, I was getting a bunch of chemicals. What I didn’t realize was it was those ‘food-like products’ (as Michael Pollan calls them) that were making me feel so crappy. Low energy, picking up every cold, digestive issues…the list goes on.
I was often hungry too. If you’re not eating real food, your body is still looking for the nutrients it needs!
Fast forward to today and my meals and snacks are 99% real food. Not usually fancy, but real vegetables, proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits and fats.
If you’re thinking you want the benefits of eating real food, but you’re not used to spending time in the kitchen, this can be a big change. So pick one food you eat all the time and upgrade just that one.
Just switching out one staple per week, or even one every few weeks, can have a huge impact on your health over the course of a year. All the baby steps add up, so don’t discount the value of one healthy choice!
Ideas to get you started:
- Replace sugar-free or fat-free versions of yogurt with full-fat plain and add your own fruit.
- Replace your afternoon granola bar or pretzels with a homemade trail mix of raw or dry-roasted nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit with no sugar-added.
- Replace your morning toast or English muffin with a ‘clean’ version like Great Harvest bread (ingredients you could easily replicate at home) or Ezekiel sprouted varieties.
- Replace cereal with oats or quinoa.
- Replace processed lunch meat with ‘real’ meat. Cook chicken breasts in a crockpot for shredded chicken or cook a turkey breast over the weekend to slice for sandwiches and salads all week.
- Replace frozen meals with homemade ones. Freeze leftovers in single-serve portions and thaw as needed.
Getting an idea of where you’ll start? Post below with questions or items you are stumped on, and I’d love to help!