Monday, July 9, 2012

Quick Start to Better Eating (5 Small Changes)

(After reading the title, I'm going to guess at least half of my readers let out a big sigh and thought "Thank goodness, this isn't going to turn into a complete mommy blog after all." You're welcome :-P)

Even before Henry was born, I started to look more critically at the way Stephen and I ate. I even wrote a bit about it before and talked about some changes we've made (mostly from a financial angle). We've been slowly working on a better eating plan and determined that means eating more "real" and less processed food. Here are 5 steps we took so far to meet our eventual goal.

(1) We found solid examples and resources for eating real food. Some of our friends are already healthy eaters and we look to their lives as examples. This blog has been one of my go-to resources for information, relevant products, grocery shopping tips, recipes, and meal plans.

(2) We identified some specific items to get completely rid of right away. My husband found his weakness in soda (mainly Mt. Dew) and decided to give it up. I got rid of most of my candy habit (save for dark chocolate things), sugared soda (still working on the diet soda thing), and my fried mozzarella stick addiction.

(3) All boxed meals/sides had to go. In college, both of us lived on things like Hamburger Helper, Pasta sides, ramen noodles, frozen tv dinners and pot pies, etc. After we got married we certainly cut back on that stuff but still ate them often at home. As of right now, we've stopped buying all of these types of products, and I'm about 95% of the way in going through the ones we had already bought.

(4) Switched to "real" versions of the staples. Our milk, eggs, and beef now come from a general store with food from a local farm with ethically raised animals. We get our bread from Great Harvest, whose wheat bread is baked fresh daily and has only 5 ingredients.

(5) We've made at least a 200% increase in the number of fruits and vegetables we buy at the grocery store. Because we were not as used to eating these with every meal, it's been a work in progress to increase our consumption, especially of vegetables. We try to buy organic when we can but the local grocers don't have organic options for everything.

This is just the beginning, hopefully! The next steps will probably be upping the amount of fresh food we buy, attempting to further decrease our sugar consumption, utilizing the local farmer's market, drinking more water, and that (terrible) moment when we realize we have to give up most fast food (Nooooooooes).

Anyone else trying to cut back on processed food? How are you doing so far?


  1. We are taking baby steps. It's difficult with lots of kids and both of us working outside the home full-time. We no longer buy milk with hormones (it's from a local dairy). And we use the local farmers market for most of our produce. The meat is the hardest because that's where you see the biggest difference in price between the grass-fed/hormone-free and the other. But we're slowly getting there. I'd love to decrease the processed sugar at our house, but I'm struggling to see a way to do it. My kids are used to having certain things around and whenever I've switched things up in the past, it hasn't gone well. *sigh*

  2. I love the general store idea for more "real" staples. That's a switch I have yet to make. Realizing I was gluten intolerant did force me to give up most processed foods and learn how to cook my own stuff, so it was a blessing in disguise. Recently I've been turning to fruit or flavored seltzer when I have a craving for sweet stuff.

  3. I think avoiding the box meals is the best thing I've ever done. I try to just snack on fruit when I'm hungry and have smaller snacks during the day with a smaller meal for dinner so I'm not eating a lot at once.
    Good tips!

  4. I know I should probably avoid box meals more than I do, but once I came to terms with the fact that I hate cooking, it became just an easier road. Well, actually more of a slippery slope. We rarely eat out and neither of us are soda/coffee people, so I'll justify it like that for now. And we're not doing purees for the baby, so that's something, right?