One of the biggest challenges to following a whole foods eating plan lies in the fact that there are so many unhealthy food options available! Most grocery stores have MORE processed/refined food choices than whole foods. This blog post is designed to help you be successful as you are cutting out the processed foods and including more whole foods in your eating plan.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind as you are making the transition to a healthier eating plan:
1. Get rid of the processed foods that are already in the house. You are asking for failure if you stock your cupboards with chips, cookies, and refined breads… they are too tempting to pass up! Instead, take some time to purge the cupboards so that you can start with a clean slate.
2. When you go grocery shopping, plan ahead. Writing out a list (and stick to the list!) will help you to walk out of the store with the foods that comply with your new eating plan. When you put your grocery list together, plan out your meals for the week so that you have the ingredients on hand to prepare healthy meals.
3. Know what your backup plan is, and stick to it! You know what your weaknesses are, so decide ahead of time how what you are going to do when the temptations quit. Know which foods are substitutes for the unhealthy snacks that you usually eat. For example, if you usually have a candy bar during your break in the afternoon, have your favorite fresh fruit on hand instead. Planning ahead is a critical part of success!
4. If you are not ready to completely give up processed foods, cut back on your portions. Fill your plate with healthy, wholesome foods first, and then consider the processed item as a small side to the rest of the meal. Also, be sure that you only prepare small portions when cooking, because leftovers in the fridge can be very tempting!
5. Give yourself some time to adjust. One of the biggest complaints as a person begins to eat more whole foods is that the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains don’t taste as good as the boxed foods. Remember that the processed foods are filled with addictive (and unhealthy) chemicals that enhance the flavors and over-load your body with sensations. As you cut out the unnatural ingredients, the natural flavor in whole foods will come out and you will begin to love to taste of the healthy foods. But, it takes time! So, be patient and stick with it until your palate adjusts.
Any step in the right direction is better than status quo, so make a commitment to decrease the amount of processed foods that you eat this week.