One challenge families have when they start eating trading processed foods for real food is that it’s either:
- a) Too expensive
- b) Too complicated – it takes too long
- c) Too … different
And it’s true, you can run into all of these challenges when you’re switching up how you eat. But you don’t have to. You can keep it simple and make the real food switch a lot easier by opting for better versions of foods you already eat.
Try switching to plain yogurt with lots of probiotic cultures. (You can always sweeten with berries, raw honey or pure maple syrup if you don’t like the tart flavor). We have some Oregon dairies that make great yogurt, full of probiotics, minus lots of sugar.
This is a far cry from the yogurt we used to eat, which was mostly sugar. If buying the best yogurt you can find is too expensive, try making it yourself. Even if you buy the best quality milk (bonus points if you use raw milk), you can still make 2 quarts of yogurt for the price of one.
Try switching to free-range eggs. We’re blessed to get free-range eggs from my mom’s chickens. Most days, my kiddos go outside and gather them in their little baskets. The yolks are a deep orange color, full of nutrients. And they taste delicious!
One easy switch is to start eating free-range eggs, rather than eggs that come from chickens in awful living conditions with no access to the outdoors, which offers sunshine and a variety of foods that increase the nutritional quality of the eggs. While you can find free-range eggs at health food stores, try checking out Craigslist or local farms for better prices.
3. Peanut Butter
Try switching to peanut butter made only from peanuts. Most peanut butter you find in stores contain sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils, additives that are unnecessary. Instead, look for brands that only use peanuts.
You’ll notice oil on the top of that jar – that’s normal. Or you can get even fresher peanut butter by grinding it in store (cheaper) or making it your blender with fresh peanuts and a touch of salt (even cheaper).
Try switching to butter instead of margarine. We use organic butter, from grass-fed cows if we can (like Kerrygold butter). If that’s too pricey, I go for butter with no rbST (growth hormone). Real butter is a great source of essential vitamins and helps fat-soluble vitamins get absorbed into your body. And it tastes delicious!
5. Coconut Oil
Try switching to coconut oil for cooking and baking. While store-bought vegetable oils are touted as healthier, they’re often oxidized due to heating or sitting on grocery shelves, which can cause free radicals (hello cancer!). Coconut oil is a great alternative with many benefits.
6. Bone Broth
Try switching to real bone broth, instead of bouillon. We used chicken bouillon for years until I found out it has MSG, a damaging neuro-toxin. Then we switched to organic chicken stock. And then I had a light-bulb moment when I realized I could save money, reduce waste and get lots of nutrients by making bone broth with leftover bones from the whole chicken we had each week. Win!
Try switching to kombucha instead of soda or juice. This probiotic beverage is beneficial in a number of ways. It promotes health by helping your body detoxify, strengthening gut health, improving joint health and boosting your immune system.
Plus, you won’t find excess sugar and empty calories, like you would in juice or soda and you can save lots of money by making your own kombucha.
8. Fresh Vegetables
Try switching to fresh veggies, instead of canned or frozen. This might seem like a given, but this was actually a challenge for me as I grew up on canned veggies. The difference in taste is amazing, especially if you eat local veggies that are in season.
If you’re also used to canned veggies, try eating those same veggies fresh. Once that’s part of your routine, try branching out with other vegetables you’re not used to.
9. Natural Sweeteners
Try switching to natural sweeteners like raw honey, sucanat and/or pure maple syrup. Got a sweet tooth? Me too. Fortunately, I don’t feel deprived because I switched out refined sugars for natural sweeteners. These sweeteners taste just as sweet (sometimes even sweeter) and contain minerals that are stripped out of processed sugars.
Need more help?
Well, I know how hard it can be to do that, especially when you’re just starting out. Do you know what would be most helpful? A simple roadmap.
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What real food switches have you made?