In my last post I discussed how to adjust, or at least to be aware of some of your money spending habits. Not being able to afford real food should not be an excuse for filling up on sugary, processed junk. By no means do I think that everyone can afford the highest quality meat, produce and products 100% of the time (check out my post on how to make the best choice for your budget). However, small changes, such as packing lunch and passing on your weekly potato chip purchases at the supermarket, give you the opportunity to make one or two better choices without putting you over budget.
Now that we've addressed money, let's look at the next barrier.
Maybe you are thinking that there are a few changes you could make to your spending and eating habits to fit with the real food way of life. However, you may simultaneously be thinking, "I like the way my food choices taste, I don't want to change."
This is something I hear often. Many times, we know what to do we just don't want to do it. It is also common to feel that we could NEVER give up x, y or z.
To anyone who feels that making changes is not worth the effort or has doubt in their ability to make changes, I strongly believe you do not realize how bad those foods make you feel.
I cannot make you change, or do your grocery shopping for you (though I wish I could). I can give you some tools to start with, and you can use them whenever you are ready.
It's easy to eat whatever will taste the best and is most convenient. With our busy lives it is easy to fall out of touch with how delicious food - real food - tastes and how great it can make you feel. So the expression goes, you are what you eat.
If you feel set or maybe even stuck, in your ways, here is my challenge to you for this week. Pick ONE processed, sugary or just less than ideal food item that you eat everyday and replace it with a "real food" item. This may be a bag of chips with lunch, a low-fat sugar-filled yogurt snack, or pasta for dinner. Whatever it may be, I want you to start with just one of these and replace it with a real food option instead.
If you're not sure what to start with, I recommend breakfast or a snack. These tend to be times when we consume processed and packaged foods because they are quick. But what you eat for breakfast will set the tone for how you feel the rest of the day. (Look out for my favorite breakfast recipe on the blog later this week!)
Here are some examples you might try for this week's challenge:
- Potato chips >>> plantain chips mixed with nuts
- Low-fat sugar-filled yogurt >>> plain whole milk yogurt, add your own fruit (try Fage) or a high protein, low sugar option (try siggis)
- Pasta >>> spaghetti squash
- Cereal >>> Old-fashioned oats made with whole milk, add your own fruit and spices
- Soda (this includes diet) >>> Seltzer water with lemons or limes
- Granola bar >>> choose a bar with real ingredients (like Larabar) or a bar with close to equal grams of sugar and protein
- Fruit juice with your breakfast >>> a whole piece of fruit
- Packaged granola >>> make your own (I will be posting my recipe on the blog soon or find it here)
- Ice cream >>> Dark chocolate with nut butter
Do this for at least a week and see how you feel. Maybe you will notice that your breakfast helps you stay full for longer. Maybe you won't get as many nighttime cravings. After a week, see if you can choose another food to work with. You might be surprised at how great you can feel all day when you use quality foods for fuel.
These are just a few suggestions. Check out my Instagram account (@f00dCOURT) for more meal and snack ideas! Leave me a comment if there is a particular food you want help substituting!