Jan 6, 2016

Tips for Giving up Processed Foods

Twice a year my husband and I swear off processed foods for an entire month. July is easy! So easy with all the delicious fruit and veggies in season it's easy to give up processed food. But January, well it's pure hell and we've never made it through the month without quitting.

Perhaps this is our year.

I've learned from our past months on what makes me want to quit. For one thing we tend to have an all or nothing mentality with this challenge. One Diet Dr Pepper consumed and we just quit. So this time around we are trying hard not to cheat but we aren't going to let that derail us this time around.

Unless a snow storm closes school for a week, then all bets are off. Mommy can't handle a week at home with the kids without sugar or wine. It's just not going to happen. I'm not that strong.

I'm 6 days into the challenge and I have resisted the biggest temptation. My daughter was picked for terrific kid at school which means she got a special lunch with mom and dad. Of course she requested pizza, that we had to bring to the school.

And have the car fill with that delicious smell. Oh pepperoni. Oh the gooey cheese.

Y'all I didn't eat a single bite. It's was so hard to resist that pizza, especially when a sweet little girl offered me a bite. But somehow I did and I'm proud of myself for doing it.

Perhaps this really is our year.

If you're going to give up processed foods I have some tips for you.

  1. Meal planning is a must! I'm not talking about dinner, you need to plan all your meals and snacks. And keep something on you at all times that you can eat so you're not tempted. 
  2. Use your Crock Pot to make big batches of soup for lunches. It's the perfect lunch and really healthy with very little effort on your part. 
  3. Misery loves company. I couldn't do this alone, I need my husband on board so we can encourage each other. 
  4. Change your routine. When does your sweet tooth rear it's ugly head? My husband and I are terrible snackers after the kids go to bed. We are walking the cul de sac at night instead. That's a double win since we are getting extra exercise. 
  5. Focus on eating real food, not low fat or no carbs. Personally I think it's hard enough giving up processed foods without trying to add something else to the mix. The good news is that real food is generally lower in fat and carbs anyway. 
  6. Find at least one restaurant you can eat at. You will get insanely sick of cooking, especially if you are the only one in the house that cooks. Salads are generally a safe bet if you skip the dressing and croutons. But ask about how the meat is cooked since restaurants are famous for adding mayo to chicken. I love going to a Mexican restaurant for a salad since the salsa can be used in place of the dressing and beans can be substituted for meat. 
  7. Water infused with fruit will save your taste buds. Drinking plain water gets old fast, especially when you don't drink anything else if you don't like plain coffee or unsweetened tea like me. 

Have you ever given up processed foods? Tell me what has helped make you successful.


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