A healthy attitude, a positive mindset, and a major hunger to rid your kitchen cabinets of processed food so you can begin to live a little healthier are all you need to start cutting out processed food.
But if you’re a little skeptic, and not sure if little Johnny or hunky hubs is up for the change (they like their snacks and they’re not looking to lose weight!) I have a few tips up my sleeve that can bring about the change you oh so desperately want (even if it includes giving up certain treats and luxuries — hint, hint).
- Put down the box, the bag, or the package your food resides in.
Just place it back down where you found it and walk away. Don’t look back. Really. Let it go. What you just let go of was a box full of ingredients you probably couldn’t pronounce anyway, couldn’t spell if it were given to you in a Spelling Bee competition, and couldn’t explain to Junior what some of them even were. And if you were familiar with some of the ingredients, like let’s say “corn syrup solids”, can you explain what that is, why it’s in there, and how your body processes it? Like I said, put it down. Your kitchen cabinet doesn’t have to be littered with ready-made convenience “food”.
A simple explanation to your offspring will work wonders here. Kids are not (totally) unreasonable. A slow and steady shift in what you make available to them will allow them the time to adjust. And in all honesty, what I’ve noticed over the years is that my kids adjust and adapt quicker than I ever could. Sure you’ll get the complaints and the whines and maybe a tantrum or two, but it will pass. Stay the course mom, you got this! And if your husband puts the kibosh on the healthy, well then you go right ahead and tell him where he can put his treats. (In a different cupboard, far away from any of your healthy food!)
- Buy many more of the items that are just sitting there, naked, in the produce section.
And the uglier they are, the better! I don’t want that perfectly shaped apple that’s glaring like the summer sun under the lights. Perfectly manicured carrots without a smidge of dirt on them just for me... no thank you! If I had my choice I’d never stop shopping at the farmer’s market where I bring veggies home that have to be scrubbed in order to get the dirt off (and maybe flick off the occasional bug in my leafy greens) To me, that’s real food. Ugly produce is worthy of your attention so don’t dismiss it, embrace it!
- If you want something sweet, or salty, or sinful, make it yourself.
This one is my favorite. I eat chocolate chip cookies. I even eat rice krispy treats (I recreated them to be a wee bit more on the healthy side, and they were a huge hit!). I have buttered popcorn. And I make them all by myself. And boy, what a good lesson for your kids! They can help (and they always want to!) and they learn that treats don’t have to come from a box. A little planning (and a little patience can’t hurt), is all you need.
Trying to incorporate even one of these three steps into your eating routine can go a long way in getting you off overly-processed food, and on the path to better health, a happier more energetic you, and a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. It’s all about taking the first, easy-win step: putting the box down :)