Sometimes we have to make an immediate drastic, change to our diets. A diagnosis or health condition demands a complete 180 degree turn. These thankfully are rare moments, and most us can take time to make careful 2 degree changes that, over time, correct the route we were traveling. Studies show that these small changes often have a greater lasting effect.
My heart is with the mom who is longing to make changes but is too tired, confused and short on time. I have been the mom at the grocery store with four little people. There is not a chance that I am reading every single label when I am shopping with one kiddo in the cart, wearing another and have two helpers on foot. Please don't misunderstand, I am all for label reading. It is eye opening, inspires change and enables me to make healthier choices. That should be the goal, but I know that sometimes you just can't. This list is a little 2 degree shift for healthier choices that can be made with a baby (or two or three!) in tow.
1. Stick with thick skinned fruit. Organic fruits are not always available or affordable for all budgets. Eat fruit with a thick skin and peel off the area that has been sprayed and treated. Oranges, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple are all examples of great choices.
2. Grab a roast or chicken for sandwich meat. Families on the go love a quick and easy sandwich. Lunch meat is often full of MSG, preservatives, fillers and nitrates. Buy a roast or chicken (whole or breast) to season, slow cook and shred for great sandwiches instead.
3. Skip the fruit snacks. They are an easy diaper bag staple because they are easy to store, transport and allergy friendly, but fruit snacks are basically candy. (Yes, even the ones that contain real fruit juice.) Boxes of raisins or fruit leather are a nutritional snack without all the extra sugar and artificial coloring.
4. Buy HFCS free ketchup. High Fructose Corn Syrup is getting a lot of press so companies are starting to use that for marketing. Take advantage of the bold statement on the front of the bottle and avoid HFCS.
5. Switch to natural peanut butter. You can even stick with your favorite brand while avoiding both HFCS and hydrogenated oils.
6. Buy real butter. Please, please don't buy margarine anymore. I know that it is cheap, cheap, cheap, but it is not good for you. Margarine is highly processed, hydrogenated and is high in (bad) Trans fats.
7. Trade out the processed cheese for real cheese. In the same light as butter/margarine, skip the processed cheese. (It is not really cheese.) Avoid it in the block or in slices. Our family loves provolone slices, blocks of raw while cheddar and mozzarella sticks.
8. Leave out the packaged cookies and mixes. If you want sweets make them yourself. I can almost guarantee you will make them healthier than the package without hydrogenated oils, Trans fats, HFCS, or preservatives.
9. Try whole wheat flour. My family was not a fan of our switch from bleached white flour to whole wheat. We settled on white whole wheat pastry four. The texture works for us.
10. Avoid any thing that says "Low Fat" or "No Fat." For some this is a big jump, but keep the fat in your food. Not only are calories often added when they make things "fat free" or "low fat," but it is highly processed. God put the fat in foods for a reason. It serves as an aid in vitamin absorption, and is vital to cellular and brain function. The Washington post starts their article on the mistake of the low-fat diet recommendation with this: "Low-fat diets do not protect women against heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer or colon cancer, a major study has found, contradicting what had once been promoted as one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle." I am not saying that the full fat bag of Doritos is a healthy choice by any stretch. I am saying don't take healthy sour cream and make it less beneficial than it should be. My husband often teases me for my aversion to "Low fat" foods and jokes, "When they take out the fat, they put in the poison!"
This is a starting point. I would love to know what you think. What is the hardest? Where do you want to go from here?and http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com/