The other day I ran out.
I ran out of time, creativity, patience, ideas… gumption!
And that is the short story of how I ended up in drive through lane picking up lunch. Not my proudest moment. (But possibly the shortest story I’ve ever written).
Our switch to eating whole foods has been a long process that started probably six years ago. The truth is, we haven’t always “eaten healthy,” so,
I get how it’s far easier to eat “whatever” (premade foods and fast foods are everywhere!).
I get why people don’t cook at home or from scratch (piles of dishes in the sink three times a day!).
I get why people don’t buy local or organic (have you seen the price differences?).
Still, from a health perspective, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to eat natural, unprocessed and organic foods. And that’s a whole ‘nother blog post waiting to happen.
Until then, if you’re already trying to switch to eating whole foods, here’s a few ways we made this big change.
And not just the labels on food you’re buying now. Empty your pantry and read ALL the labels on food you have stored in your house. You’d be surprised what is hiding in the back of those cupboards. The first time I took ALL our stored foods out and put them on the kitchen table I was shocked. MSG, high fructose corn syrup, dyes… they were in many of the foods we commonly ate back then. Get. Rid. Of. It.
2. Go slow. Pick just one or two foods.
Ummm, I will confess when we decided to move to organic food I gleefully went out to our local Whole Foods and did all our grocery shopping. You don’t even want to know. I am sure you can guess. Not the way to go unless your money grows on trees! After that, we picked a few things at a time to switch to organic so the sticker shock wouldn’t be so abrupt. We started with organic milk, then apples, and then moved down the list of the dirty dozen produce. Every few months, we would add one item to our list of buying organic… and we’re still working on the list!
Has our grocery spending gone up – yes. But gradually and as we were able to afford it. It’s easier to spend an extra $3 on organic milk a week than an extra $300 the entire month for full organic.
3. Menu plan.
If you’re used to eating fast food, or premade foods (which, not all are bad!), you’ll need to add planning time to your schedule. Prepping and cooking foods from scratch takes time and coordination. But again, the effort is worth the benefits!
To start, make a list of the top 10-20 main dishes your family loves to eat; modify them as needed so you use natural, whole ingredients. List out the ingredients for these “fan favorites” and keep those items in stock in your house. Stocking your pantry with only healthy ingredients makes choosing to eat at home that much easier.
4. Use a meal planning service like eMeals.com.
I’ve been using eMeals for the past year, and I love it. They actually HAVE a natural and organic plan you can follow, taking ALL the guesswork out! They include the seven meals for the week, recipes, and a separate shopping list! For some stores they even include the cost of each item on the list too so you can see in advance how much you’ll spend at a particular store!
If you’re comfortable making sure the recipes use whole foods, try some of their other great plans like clean eating, paleo, or slow cooker (I have tried all three over the past year because you can switch your plan if you want!). Take a look at this yummy dinner from the eMeals Clean Eating menu:
I love using eMeals to give me new ideas and keep me focused on feeling my family quality meals. I really want to try their breakfast and lunch menus because I feel in a rut on that front!
Have you switched to eating whole foods? What are some ways you made the changes?
I am writing this post as part of the eMeals blogger program and received a complimentary subscription. All opinions are my own.