One of the reasons people tend to fall into the processed foods trap is the convenience and ability to have meals ready in a snap. With a little bit of planning and some wise shopping and preparation, developing healthier eating habits aren’t as intimidating as you may think.
- Take time each week to write out the coming week’s menu. Include meal plans for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, then use your menu to make a grocery list of ingredients you’ll need. If you have a plan and the necessary tools to implement it, you will be less likely to resort to processed food in a pinch.
- Observe the layout of your local grocery store. Notice that the unhealthy processed, packaged and heavily salted and sugary products are within the interior aisles. Sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store will keep you closer to the natural whole foods and away from the tempting, convenient processed foods.
Occasionally you may need to use packaged foods. When you do, check the labels. Many contain high amounts of sugar, sodium and other unhealthy additives.
- If a product’s ingredients list includes multiple-syllable words you don’t recognize and can’t pronounce, leave it on the shelf. Select the brand with the fewest and simplest added ingredients.
- Visit your local farmers market. Fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables are key to bringing flavor and nutrition to the table.
- If you’re really feeling ambitious, nothing is more satisfying than eating a crisp fresh salad made with vegetables you grew yourself. Round out your meal with some fresh organic baked chicken topped with just picked tarragon you grew in your herb window box and you’ll see and taste the difference.
Breaking the processed foods cycle is not an overnight event; you’ll have to redesign your whole style of shopping and preparing food for yourself and your family. It can be done though. It will take dedication and commitment but the rewards will last a lifetime.