There’s a lot of talk these days about eating clean or eating real (I’ll admit to being part of that chatter!). What’s all the talk about? The basic concept is getting to a place where you and your family are eating mostly one-ingredient, whole, unprocessed foods. The advantages to your family of getting “real” are many:
- Real, unprocessed food is naturally high in vitamins and minerals.
- Real food is naturally high in ﬁbre, and low in sodium, added sugars, and unhealthy fats.
- Avoiding artiﬁcial ingredients and chemicals in processed food means less work for our bodies in detoxifying and eliminating those “non-foods”, or ingredients with no nutritive and useful value.
It can be overwhelming to think about transitioning your family over to mostly whole foods, especially when you are eating the “average” diet in Canadian households which is largely processed foods. The best way to approach it is to take it one manageable change at time.
How do you get started? Here are just 3 suggestions. Pick one that resonates with you and work on it for a month or so as a family until it’s become habitual, and then move on to another one:
Whole grains: Are you eating 100% whole grain foods most of the time? If not, would your family revolt if you switched over? If no, switch! If yes, take it a step at a time: for example, if they like white bread, switch to 60/40 then eventually whole wheat bread. If they’re hooked on white rice, switch ﬁrst to brown basmati or jasmine, then to short or long-grain brown. Start by serving the whole grain foods “under or in” things, like brown rice under chili or in a soup.
Healthier Snacks: Do you, like most Canadian families, rely on processed reﬁned-carb snacks like crackers, pretzels, cookies and cereals for your go-to snacks? Start switching to whole grain and other whole food snacks, like nuts and seeds, dried fruits, whole grain crackers, raw fruits and veggies, unsweetened applesauce, homemade popcorn and granola bars. It’s easier than you think, and these types of snacks provide a nutritious alternative to the “empty calories” in most pre-packaged processed snacks. Here’s an easy granola bar recipe you can try:
Packaged Side Dishes: Packaged sides, like Lipton Noodles and Kraft Pasta salads are low in nutrition and high in undesirable additives. Deli sides are often high in sodium and unhealthy fats. Slowly grow your repertoire of healthy sides by trying one new quick recipe a week. Ideas include homemade coleslaw, pasta salad, sweet potato fries or whole-grain biscuits. Click here for a simple, delicious coleslaw recipe here to get you started.
Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better! She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 8 & 9. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.