Eat Less Processed Food
Have you heard of this before? I had not heard of clean eating until last year when I started my journey of eating better. I came across a blogger who was doing a challenge to eat 100 days of real food www.100daysofrealfood.com/. I tried the challenge and the truth is I lasted five days, it was so difficult to avoid all processed food. So as ever I have my own reachable version of trying to eat better.
Eating Real Food
Changes I have made...
Fruit and vegetables if you do not already love♥ them retrain your brain! Think of these foods as the treats they are! When preparing, enjoy the process of providing your family and yourself healthy foods. Create fruit salads, fruit kebabs, breakfast fruit bowls, snack on sliced vegetables with houmous or peanut butter. Try new varieties, I had flat peaches and flat nectarines this summer for the first time. Make a large bowl of salad, take to the dinner table have seconds until its gone. To keep cost down go to local markets, low priced supermarkets, look for special offers, eat seasonal and buy frozen.
I only buy real butter, or butter spreads that have only been blended with one ingredient. Check the back of the tub to see how many ingredients some of the margarine/butter spreads have, you will be shocked at the chemicals and trans fats they contain.
Many people who are reducing the amount of processed foods they eat make their own bread, I have not done this yet. Mainly because there are five of us and I don't know if I could make enough, and because I think hot homemade bread might tempt me to eat more! The changes I have made are... I have converted my husband and myself into eating wholegrain seeded bread which we now prefer! (my two young adults and my inbetweenager are yet to convert, I keep trying). When cooking with white rice, white pasta and white flour I now add one third wholegrain, this is my way of increasing whole grains in our diets in a subtle way. I only buy wholegrain breakfast cereals.
I plan my meals, before I do my weekly shopping I write a list of the week ahead dinners. I aim to home cook from scratch at least five of them, then I usually have one or two not so healthy quick meals for very busy days. I buy meat or poultry that looks like its meant to and not been turned into something else. Think of a simple pasta dish of macaroni cheese, if you make the cheese sauce you know exactly what has gone into it. Check the labels on your favourite brand's you will be shocked at how many ingredients they have. If you are too busy to home cook, check the labels and buy food products with the least amount of added ingredients in them and make sure you understand what they are!
Crisps, Chocolate, Cakes and Biscuits
I do still sometimes battle to stay away from these, but my thoughts about them have changed. I do not see them as treats in the way I used to, I see them as foods with less nutritious value. I buy less and less of the processed stuff, but try to always have ingredients to make delicious homemade cakes and muffins. Especially as my daughter enjoys making them. You know exactly what has gone into the cakes and biscuits, you can add fruit, wholemeal flour, oats, nuts, you can try and change recipes to make them a little healthier.
I have cut artificial sweeteners from my diet. I used to add two sweeteners to each cup of coffee I drank, I reduced down to one then swapped that for half a teaspoon of sugar. I now find I don't crave coffee the way I used to. Diet fizzy drinks have no nutritional value at all. Some research suggests that the artificial sweetener in them can give you an unnatural sugar high that then leads to a real sugar craving. Drink water you can't beat it!
Tips to Get Started
- Meal plan.
- Check labels.
- One change at time.
- Its not all or nothing - (Rome wasn't build in a day).
- Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.
- For more information on clean eating check out www.thegraciouspantry.com/