We stopped shopping sales. We’re buying more local, organic, fresh food than ever before. We’re trying new things (well, the kids aren’t fully on board with that one yet). We’re spending more money on food – and I think we’ll be OK with it.
We’ve been testing the 100 days of Real Food challenge for almost a month – ours is a medium-paced, gradual transition instead of an abrupt change. But we’ve made big changes that I think are for the better and I’m not sure we’re going back.
Spending more now should save you later.
I’ve found great, local places that make their food in-house and I’ve begun to notice how much better this food really is. I’ve found a bread shop that I can’t live without (and I thought I had to cut out all bread, turns out it was the processing that bothered me). I spent double on meat this week at the local meat shop I visited for the first time. There were so many options (and I’m one that can go days without eating meat and be just fine).
Sure, when fruit is on sale and in season, I buy it by the case. But instead of looking for what is cheapest, I’m making decisions on what to buy based on what is best. Yes, I’m spending more money on groceries. But, I’ve noticed, I’m buying much less junk food. I know our grocery spending is going to level out a bit – as we continue to eat healthy, fresh food.
If you’re trying to make the switch to healthy food, I’d recommend planning in advance to see what you can realistically afford. Don’t buy the “healthy” packaged stuff. Buy food that isn’t advertised, isn’t fortified with vitamins (those are just added back in after food is stripped). Buy real food. Buy food that you can pronounce all of the ingredients. Buy food that has 5-6 ingredients. Be OK spending money on the good stuff. It will make a difference how you eat and how you live.
Prepping in advance is a lifesaver.
All the healthy food in the world won’t matter if you don’t have time to eat it. Preparing in advance is important and I’d recommend getting it ready by prepping it in single-serve containers. It’s going to take time – I’ve spent three full days in the last three weeks chopping, prepping and packaging food into single-serving containers. It takes forever. But I’ve noticed that when everything is prepped, it makes it so much easier to pack lunches, pick healthy snacks and not have to make decisions when we’re in a hurry or stressed. Having healthy food means you eat healthy food and that is a comfort zone I’d like to keep.
I’ve been using my food prep days as my binge watch TV days, so now I feel justified for both.
I’m thinking about food completely different.
I love snacks and would live on snack plates, if I could. But I’ve realized my choices for snacks might be detrimental to my healthy eating plans. So, I’ve also been tracking what I’m eating (because I think I just love experiments and planning) and I’ve noticed that I wasn’t eating enough vegetables and lean protein. I was filling up with carbs, sugar and cheese (mmm, cheese).
Now, with our 100 days of Real Food challenge and my focus on eating the right amount of the right stuff – I realized I’m thinking about food much more often. But in a completely different way than I ever have before. I’m not desperately trying to lose weight. I’m trying to eat my healthy food servings and drink my 12 glasses of water. But for the first time ever, I’m not exhaustedly counting calories. I’m not stressed out. I’m not starving. I don’t live on the brink of Hangry all of the time. I’m completely enjoying this plan. I feel better, I’m full and I’m happy.
Changing what you eat is a lot of work, but getting to where you want to be really makes a difference. I’m glad I found these plans when I did; it’s been making a real difference in my life and I know that the money and the time we’re spending now, will make a big difference in our health later.