Baby Steps to Better Eating: Part One

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The information about what we should and shouldn’t eat is overwhelming, at best. As I’ve shared before, I had a hard time knowing where to start when I knew we needed to make changes based on Finn’s allergies. Because it’s impossible to make huge changes overnight, baby steps helped us gradually move forward in our effort to better eating. I also knew that as the meal planner, grocery shopper and main meal-maker, I have a tremendous opportunity to influence what my family eats.We still have a long way to go, but – like most people – we have to balance better eating with a monthly budget. Yes, real food and organic food costs more, but Justin and I look and feel better, visit the doctor less and use little to no medication when we eat well. Below are the first few steps we incorporated to better eating. More steps will be shared throughout July!

Research. Read what you can. Watch what you can. Study what you can. There is a plethora of information to be consumed. Consume it. That alone will help you more solidly walk down the road to better eating. The Unhealthy Truth and In Defense of Food are two great reads. Food Matters, Fresh, Food Inc., The Future of Food, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Forks Over Knivesare all great documentaries. Most are available on Netflix.

Fill Your Trash Can. Take an hour and dig through your kitchen. Read labels. How many ingredients are there? Can you read them? Does your food contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or monosodium glutamate (MSG)? Start with one or two items you will commit to no longer buying or consuming. HFCS and MSG are great places to start. Start tossing things in the trash! For a frugal girl, this was hard, but I felt so free when all the junk was out of our house.

Meal Plan. Look at your week. Create a menu from real foods, not canned/boxed/frozen convenience foods. For instance, instead of buying a packet of taco seasoning containing MSG, season your own meat. Make your shopping list based on your menu and stick to it. Bring cash into the store so you’ll stick to your menu and your budget.

Go Organic: Dairy. The switch to organic is a hard one. Does it taste the same? Mostly. (Although some produce tastes so much better!) Does it cost more? Yes. Especially dairy. If you want to go organic, I strongly encourage you start with dairy. Going from $2/gallon to $6/gallon is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s worth it when you learn what is in most milk. Dairy is where hormones and antibiotics are heavily used, and you are getting them secondhand. My guess is that, like us, you will eventually start consuming less dairy, which is actually a really good move health-wise!

Re-evaluate. After a month, how is it going? Where can you make improvements?

Check back Thursday for Baby Steps to Better Eating: Part Two.

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