Some people think it’s really hard to get real food into their day. Are you one of them? Are you chained to that diet drink and frozen diet meal for lunch? Well set yourself free. It’s really not all that hard once you make a few changes, slowly and over time.
Mark Bittman asks the question Is ‘Eat Real Food’ Unthinkable? I say it is thinkable so let’s think how!
Here are 5 easy ways to add more real food into your day.
1. Make a smoothie for breakfast. It’s faster and cheaper than the drive through window and so much better for you. Toss into a blender some fruit, vegetables and a little water. You can also add ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds for added Omegas. If you want to feel more full add in a little coconut oil to your smoothie. To make it thick use some of the fruit or vegetables frozen. I like frozen organic spinach and organic wild blueberries.
For smoothie ideas check out g-free mom who had 30 different food bloggers share their smoothie recipes during the month of January.
2. Take a snack with you for that 3pm snack attack, long ride home, running kids around or a day full of errands. Some ideas are bananas, apples, oranges, clementines, and even Kiwi. Just cut the kiwi in half and wrap it before you head out and take a spoon with you. For the apples I like to take out the core and stuff it with my 4 nut butter. Just make sure you’re not driving while eating your snack.
3. Dinner in crock pot. It’s so easy to do and is wonderful if you want to come home to a meal that is ready! If you go to my Recipe tab and on that pull down menu is Crockpot, or click here. There are some recipes to get you started. Also Stephanie O’Dea has written two cookbooks on the subject, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking and More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: 200 Brand-New, Budget-Friendly, Slow-Cooker Recipes.
4. Lunch time head to a salad bar and stick to the non-processed foods. To do this choose wisely which salad bar you visit. If you live in the DC/VA area check out Sweet Green. I love them! If you’re not a fan of what you find on salad bars and you still want to eat out, go to a restaurant that makes your order in a kitchen, not a microwave or a fast food flat top. With the help of the wonderful internet you can check out almost any restaurant before you even get there.
5. Grab some great food magazines or cookbooks, check out food blogs (don’t look now but you’re on one) or download a food app and make something that appeals to you. If you don’t want to purchase the cookbook until you’ve had a chance to try it out borrow it from the library. But do a little meal shopping with your eyes first. Then check out the recipe and see if the ingredients will work for you. Make a shopping list and pick up those ingredients. If you’re afraid to try it on your own enlist the help of a friend. If you think you have no skills take a cooking class.
There are great food apps out there and one of my favorites is Cook It Allergy Free from Kim Maes. You can customize the recipes according to your dietary needs and even create a shopping list from the recipe. Brilliant! Check out the video and info she shared with us a few months back.
Learning how to cook and feed yourself a nourishing meal is the best gift you can give yourself!
So there you have it. 5 tips. I’m sure there are more great ideas out there. If you have some please share!
Diane – thanks for the tips! All good ones. I'm partial to the smoothies and always make sure I bring a snack with me when I'm out for the day. Love the photo of the colorful peppers!
Nancy I love your idea to bring a snack if you're out all day. That's a great way to keep on track.
I eat an overwhelming amount of fresh produce. I just can't help it! Veggies are sooo delicious!
Katrina you can't go wrong with fresh produce.
Great listing, Diane!!!! I'd add having real food in the car always. Apples and nuts are my thing. Sometimes I think I want something else (i.e., something not real food or less real food), but once I eat my real food there, I am happy. A big important way to add real food to one's diet is to only buy real food!!! I am struggling a bit after our party as I have some treats left over.. They're made using real food, but there's too much sugar in them (um, real, but refined, so not so good), so they gotta go. I'm taking a big box of stuff to work today. I admit I feel a little guilty about that, but treats are rapidly consumed by co-workers on a daily basis so I'm trying to rationalize my "gift."
Shirley good for you for sharing those treats with others. I'm sure they can taste the difference good ingredients can make. I think after parties is one of the hardest times. I thought I was going to go insane with all the food from my holiday party where most everyone didn't come because of snow. I had almost all of it still hanging around. Thank goodness for freezers!
just had a breakfast smoothie, but it was a small one (ran out of bananas) so I will be eating more soon 🙂
For me it is helpful to have "quick meats" on hand. Chicken breast that I can thinly slice to make a quick stir fry for dinner, ground meats (husband loves his meat grinder!) to throw together a sausage pasta, etc.
Also, snacks like fruit don't work with my husband … he'll still want cookies or something, so I do homemade snacks like granola bars.
Alisa I like how you talk about quick meats. That's a great idea. Real food is going to fill you up better too. Even homemade snacks are better than the ones on the shelves with chemicals. Great ideas!
Love your suggestions! I’m all about the smoothies — they’re about the only way I can be sure that my husband eats veggies! And I love Shirley’s comment about only buying real food. If the fake stuff isn’t around, it’s just so much easier. Sometimes I get a craving for something that can be easily taken care of with what my body NEEDS instead of what it wants. 🙂 If my fridge is stocked up on the needs and the cupboards are cleaned from processed goods, I’m a much happier, healthier girl!
And I love the idea of stuffing the apple core with nut butter! Mine is always a mess in a snack baggie. Thanks!
And thanks for the tip on your Crockpot recipes!
Heather you're welcome!
Heather I'm finding out that cravings can tell us a lot about our lives and our bodies. Having good healthy options around can make a huge difference. If it's not there and you have to go get into the car to get it, you're less likely to do so.
As I am finishing off my smoothie right now, I will say that these are ALL amazing tips. I keep lots of nuts and seeds on the counter all of the time. And in the afternoons, I cut up a ton of raw veggies and some fruit with some home-made yogurt dip and leave it on the counter to snack on during that "witching hour" when everyone is hungry but dinner is not quite ready. Then I do not worry as much at dinner time if all of the veggies do not get eaten since they have been munching on raw ones all afternoon.
Kim I love a counter top with nuts and seeds! Gosh you guys have the same witching hour as we do. I'm often beating them with a broom stick to get them out so I can cook. Then I have to give them that evil eye. You know the one that says if you eat too much now and don't eat the dinner I'm cooking, I'm cooking you next. I don't think it works anymore.
What a great post Diane! As I read through your list of five ways to eat real foods, I realized, happily, that most of the time, I do all five of them. Another idea I find helpful is to make a menu for the week. Whenever I do that, I can guarantee that my food choices for the week will always be healthy, real food.
Way to go Ellen! LOVE the menu plan idea. Don't know what I'd do without my menu. It's too easy to throw my hands in the air and say lets grab something out when I know what I make will taste better and be better for us. Planning is key!
Hi Diane. Thank so much for the mention. Smoothies have become a religion in our house. My kids friends have even started asking for them when they come over to play. I MUST get a crockpot. Life would probably be a little less chaotic at the end of the day… Loved this list. So simple and straightforward. Thanks!
Nicola I think once you give your body a green smoothie it does a happy dance and then it gets mad if you deny it.
I can't believe there is anyone out there that does not have a crockpot. Yes, go and get yourself a crockpot!
I'm a little behind (as usual), but wanted to say — great tips. I need to pull out my crockpot and give that a whirl before winter is over. I love having food ready at the end of the day. Especially a big pot of nourishing soup or stew. I need to sit down with Stephanie's book and try something new! I say join a CSA, that way you have to learn to use all kinds of wholesome seasonal foods. I even eat veggies for breakfast. Not only in a smoothie, but sautéed in a little coconut oil and topped with a farm-fresh poached egg.
Great list, Diane.
P.S. You're right, don't eat and drive. =)
Melissa I love utilizing my crockpot. I'm a soup girl too. I'm happy if I can eat soup every day. Great tip on joining a CSA. In case you're considering it and you live in Northern VA now is the time they are signing people up for those so get a move on it. Love the greens and poached egg idea too. Sounds yummy. Thank you Melissa!
Great tips! Down here in Mexico it's a little easier to eat real food, but I know how difficult and expensive it can be in the US. Lovely blog!
Great Post… I like all the ideas, especially the last one. I surf all kinds of media to find new ideas, and eventually end up on some great meals for my family. Thanks for posting. Planning is most likely my best tool, and beyond that staying away from the middle isles of the grocery store, going to the farmer's market, but most importantly…defining what real food is and why it is important.
Diane, thank you for all the wonderful recipes and tips. I am new to gluten free, though I feel I have cooked healthy for the most part. I grow a pretty good sized garden, I freeze and can throughout the season. I have been introducing gluten free granola bars and pumkin breads not only to my family but friends as well. I laugh at reactions of friends when they surprise themselves that they LIKE what I serve them.
It is a big adjustment finding breads to make, as my husband is a big bread eater.
Recently my daughter had chia pudding in NYC. Do you have a recipe for this or know where I might find it? She gave rave reviews on taste, texture. I do make homemade gluten free chocolate pudding, but am trying to use more chia seeds. thank you.