A Nutritionist shares her top 5 tips on how to eat more REAL FOOD for optimal health and wellbeing.
The food we eat has such a profound impact on how we ‘show up’ in life each and every day. If we choose to fuel our bodies well with wholesome, nutrient-dense REAL FOOD we give ourselves the best shot of really ‘lighting up’ our lives, from the inside out. But for many of us, we simply don’t know where to start.
So here are my top 5 tips to help you make the switch from processed, packaged (read, nutrient-void) foods to nourishing REAL FOODS to seriously improve your wellness today.
- Shop smarter. Shop at farmer’s markets or your local fresh produce store, butcher or fish monger and make ‘fresh’ foods the majority of your shop each week. Your trolley should contain a beautiful, eclectic array of colours from the foods you have picked up, not from packaging.
For my top 5 tips for market shopping, click here.
When shopping at the ‘all-in-one’ grocery stores make sure you ‘stick to the perimeter’ as this is where the ‘REAL FOOD’ is. Pick up the majority of your shop from the dairy, meat section, fresh produce area and freezer section (frozen fruit and vegetables only). Don’t trawl the aisles. The only healthful ingredients you can find in the aisles are herbs and spices and some condiments like vinegars and oils. So be careful when you do venture into the middle aisles and don’t be tempted by any fancy packaging.
Learn how to read labels, so you can compare products and make more informed food choices. Eating more whole foods doesn’t mean you have to abandon packaged foods all together. If a food is packaged, make sure you read the ingredient list. Choose foods that use the same ingredients you would use at home, period, and the fewer the ingredients the better. Or better still, work out how to make it at home yourself!
Set small achievable goals. Rather than throwing out every packaged item in your cupboard and radically changing your diet in one hit (read…..overwhelm and huge expense), why not start setting yourself small achievable goals (or steps). For example, this week you may choose to focus on diversifying your breakfast options by replacing your cereal or bread and jam with 2-3 easy REAL FOOD breakfast options like boiled eggs or homemade porridge. Each week set a new goal. Small, consistent steps are the key to sustainable lifestyle change.
Meal Planning and Preparation are essential to ensure you enjoy a diverse range of real food ingredients over the course of the week and to ensure you aren’t forced into making poor food choices when you’re tired, irritable, stressed or time poor. Planning your week in advance will allow you to prepare things ahead of time when you know you are going to have a ‘crazy day’ as well as providing insight into the diversity in your diet. Plan your meals around your vegetables. They are your base with meats, dairy and grains being your garnish. And make sure you have some healthy meals ready for those nights which require you to ‘freezer dive’. Par boiling vegetables, making a stack of hard boiled eggs, chia puddings, homemade granola and double batches of tasty meals will save heaps of time and energy throughout the working week.
Find inspiration and keep it simple. Start trawling the internet for simple ‘real food’ or ‘wholefood’ recipes that you can create at home and start cooking. You don’t have to cook every meal, but learning a few simple recipes will allow you to see how easy and cheap REAL FOOD cooking can be and reduce your reliance on pre-prepared meals, or last minute take-out ‘unhealthful’ options.
Start making double and having ‘dinner’ for lunch or brekkie. Cook once, eat twice. Replace the sandwich, wraps or store brought soup with leftovers from your hearty, nutrient-dense home cooked meal the night before, and you not only save time but you will also avoid the processed foods so many of us conveniently reach for at lunch.