There are plenty of reasons to be worried about how much processed food we are eating. For one, they tend to contain a lot more saturated fats, salts, and additives that have potentially negative effects on the body. In addition, they tend to have far less nutritional value than the whole, natural ingredients they are supposedly comprised of. If you’re worried about your processed food intake, then it may be time to make the switch to a natural diet. Here are a few easy ways to get started.
Start With Beverages
It might sound like a relatively simple tip, but cutting out soda and other sugar-filled beverages from your life can be one of the more challenging but highly beneficial changes to your diet. We unconsciously give ourselves cravings that can be hard to satisfy with other beverages. Drinking a lot more water is always highly recommended, but healthy alternatives like kombucha or sparkling water could make an excellent addition to your diet, as well. Try to give yourself a few different choices so that you’re not tempted to switch back to soda when you encounter a craving for carbonation or sugary drinks.
Find Simple Recipes
If you’re switching to whole foods, then it’s meal preparation that can be the biggest challenge to some. If you don’t have a large repertoire of meals, then the lack of variety can become a hindrance to want to eat at home. When starting to learn new recipes, it’s good to branch out slowly from the kind of foods that you know. For instance, if you’re already used to making soups and pot meals, then you can try this lamb stew recipe that varies the steps just a little to create a wholly different meal. For vegetarian meals, try this recipe for Thai Basil Eggplant or Avocado Hummus Pasta. There are numerous recipe apps and websites you can use as a resource to slowly get more comfortable cooking a variety of dishes.
Get to Know Your Ingredients
The foundation of any great recipe is fresh, flavorful ingredients. Every single item you buy can be used for multiple uses. This will help you to create a bigger variety of dishes and prevent food waste. The more familiar you are with an ingredient’s numerous possible uses, the easier it will be to grocery shop, follow recipes, and even invent your own original dish. One of the best ways to get into this is to practice the many different ways you can cook an egg. Other versatile ingredients that you should keep on hand include Greek yogurt, rice, avocados, potatoes, and tortillas. You can choose a different ingredient to explore each week to keep it up, too.
Snacking isn’t a great habit. When we graze throughout the day, we tend to be more susceptible to our cravings and ruin our appetites, which can make it hard to stick to any diet. However, if you are a snacker, then make sure you find healthy snacks you can keep in the house. Try to plan when you snack so that it doesn’t disrupt your meal times, as well. Unsalted popcorn, carrot sticks, and other wholefood snacks can help you control those cravings. Always portion out snacks rather than eat from the original container, and try not to multitask while snacking in order to increase awareness of what you are putting into your body.
It will take no shortage of willpower to make the switch to a natural diet permanent. However, these tips will give you a great place to start and set you up for success.