One meal at a time! Choose to make you a priority.
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
4/8/14 6:04 P
Fill up on fresh fruits, vegetables, all kinds of beans, nuts. And, do not buy any processed foods.
4/8/14 5:24 P
I just stopped, cold-turkey. One day, I just stopped going to fast-food restaurants. I would have to bring a packed lunch from home. I knew this was going to entail more "work in the kitchen" and shopping and prepping and cleaning-up (and boy, is it ever!) but I was prepared to make that exchange of my time/effort for better/healthier food.
I still do use some minimally-processed foods in the course of my cooking - canned black beans, canned tomatoes, frozen peas, the occassional condensed soup, that sort of thing. We all need our little cheats and time savers! But it didn't take me long at all to wean myself off "rice-a-roni" and learn to make my own rice pilaf, off the frozen convenience-dinners and on to simple from-scratch ones.
I was *uber* motivated to totally overhaul my life and relationship with food, so a sudden and complete 180-degree turn was what suited my needs best. I've never looked back.
4/8/14 5:23 P
I do not eat processed food very often. I did tonight and I think I was eating glue made out of fake cheese. It was a meal in a box that I bought a long time ago that I thought would make a quick dinner when I was short on time. Chicken Alfredo from the Macaroni Grill. One of my favorites from a fine restaurant from my region. Boy was it awful! It went down like glue and stuck to the pan and plate like glue. This has cured me from eating processed food again. It tastes so much better when make from scratch. Stick to the perimeter of the store.
4/8/14 4:28 P
Start with one meal - say breakfast. Make eggs or old fashioned oatmeal and whole grain toast. Often people say they have no time to cook but will go to McDonalds and order breakfast. An egg at home is faster and cheaper and it's one egg (many fast food restaurants use liquid eggs so you don't know how many eggs were used in your single serving). You can add a piece of fruit too.
Fitness Minutes: (11,594)
4/8/14 3:56 P
"Shop the perimeter of the store, shop farmer's markets and big batch cooking helps me." Same here. I much prefer my own cooking to processed foods. Once you get used to less salt, sugar and fat in your food, you will prefer whole foods to processed stuff. I know I do.
I find a day during the week to make a bunch of staples/meals and mix it up every day. I freeze a lot, too, in individual servings so that when I get home from work, I don't have to fuss much for a really great meal. I do use some canned beans occasionally (mostly I soak dry beans and use those), but I rinse them to get rid of some of the sodium. It makes a difference in the taste for me.
I also agree with making your own sauce. I make mine in a crockpot. It's delicious. I much prefer it to the jarred stuff.
4/5/14 7:39 P
found out that when I am not eating junk, real food tastes really good
I rediscovered the great feeling of homecooking... a thing I never realized how much I missed. I have fond memories of cooking with my mom, or my grandmothers, and the special family favorites we made. They're so much more satisfying, in so many ways, than prepackaged meals.
Some "processing" doesn't bother me. After all, even frozen veggies are "processed". I will buy a rare few canned goods - although I wish you could get some things in jars rather than cans. C'est la vie. Then there are other things I buy out of simple laziness -- it's a chore to me to cook beans to the point I'd like to have them, so I'll (rarely) buy the canned. Not that I use many beans. Same with mayo or ketchup or similar things.
Overall, I'm also a perimeter shopper. I go for the whole foods, produce, meats, dairy... and I shop first in our local independent grocer, who supports the local producers. Natural and pastured products. Yum. I get my eggs from a guy raising his chickens out in his yard, doing happy chicken things. The eggs are incredibly delicious.
I haven't really had to "break" a habit of processed foods. It was a matter of convenience and laziness, for me. I don't mind at all spending a few more moments providing healthy meals... and it touches some part of my heritage I was very much out of touch with. My family is mostly gone now, but somehow I feel like they're there with me when I'm cooking and remembering. It's a soothing connection. We've lost too many soothing connections.
Besides! it's fun to cook as I do! We load up on groceries and cook several entrees at once - usually a weekend fling! lol Then I put it all up in portions and we eat whatever we want, individually, until it's used up. A new tradition. One I plan to hang onto. Now it's me and Mom, and Grandmas *and* the husband - and his family traditions, too.
I wouldn't "break" it for anything. You couldn't pay me enough to go back to the boxed-dinner days.
Big batch cooking and freezing individual portions helps me so that I always have something home cooked and fresh on hand to grab instead of something over-processed and laden with sodium.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
4/5/14 7:50 A
When my kids were growing up, I cooked a LOT of processed foods because it made it so much easier and quicker cooking after coming home from work. Now that I'm no longer working I have more time for prepping meals and have learned a lot of shortcuts. I feel so much healthier now that I'm not eating all those unpronounceable ingredients on the box or can.
A crockpot can be a very big help. I didn't know enough about crockpot cooking back then. Prep the night before, turn the crockpot on in the AM and when you come home, serve your home made dinner. And it's one-pot cleanup.
I recently came back to Spark People. I had lost 30lbs using spark 6 years and it was time to come back and do it again.... I challenged myself to 100 days of no processed food. (my own definition applies) Instead of changing my poor eating habits,I figured this would be a healthier change. So far it has been 14 days. My cheat is sugar in my coffee. Other than that I have stuck to it. Food tastes better. I have no cravings. I have to plan, but that is okay..eating so much healthier. It is not really that difficult.
Fitness Minutes: (79,520)
1,555 4/4/14 9:08 P
90% of the time we cook food at home. It has real ingredients, lower salt and sugar, and no preservatives. It takes more work and planning but we feel better and both of us have lost weight and maintained that weight loss. So we know it works! That is the motivation we need to stick with it.
4/4/14 7:21 P
I do the same thing as PUDLECRAZY; shop the perimeter and try to cook as much as possible.
I shop the perimeters of the groceries store; picking up fresh produce first.
Fitness Minutes: (11,005)
4/4/14 5:28 P
I would love to grow my own garden but not enough sun here and hubby wount cut down trees. so I buy frozen veg, or no salt added canned veg. maybe when the markets open I can pick up some there. I know the fruits are terrible at the store.
Fitness Minutes: (23,601)
843 4/4/14 5:03 P
As many people have said, what does "processed" mean to you? I am a huge fan of some canned goods. I would rather cook my own beans from dried, but a can of black beans or chickpeas in the cabinet makes a whole lot of meals faster than remembering to soak the beans the day before. The same goes for chicken broth. I love having homemade stock in the freezer, but a can of the low sodium stuff makes life easier.
If you like the convenience of frozen meals, you can spend a Saturday making a bunch of different things and making your own frozen meals.
Start slowly. boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be cut into tenders, coated in bread crumbs and baked, and it doesn't take a whole lot more effort than opening a box of chicken nuggets and cooking them.
Plan a couple of meals that are processed food-free and see how long it takes you to prepare them.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
4/4/14 4:41 P
There are some foods where it would be a PITA to make them at home (cheese and yogurt come to mind). But soups, sauces, and breads? Those are pretty simple. Next grocery trip, do your best to shop mostly on the perimeter of the store and only go into the aisles for specific things. Make a list so you go in knowing exactly what you need to get and stick to it. Good luck!
4/4/14 4:30 P
I don't think that's even possible... I mean, most foods are processed... and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I guess it just depends on what you mean by "processed foods"
Fitness Minutes: (147,782)
4/4/14 4:22 P
Don't buy them. I read an article about a woman who ate in her sleep and all the junk she ate and packages she would find the next day. Simple solution - don't have it is the house.
Fitness Minutes: (169,070)
4/4/14 4:20 P
All processed foods aren't "bad" right away, it's really how much you eat of them, and what else you eat besides, calories in, calories out. I buy spaghetti sauce because homemade sauce doesn't taste as good, frankly, no matter what people say. Add steamed veggies on the side, instead of a whole plate of processed food, perhaps. You don't say which kinds of processed foods you eat "all the time", so we are guessing. Portion sizes can be lowered, that would help. More protein might help. Cooking more things yourself helps, but is not the cure all the time either, really. Homemade mac & cheese recipes have lots more fat in them, for one thing, than the boxed kind. See a real live dietitian for some good advice, from a person that actually sees you, that you can voice your likes and dislikes to. She can come up with ideas for you.
I definitely agree with learning to cook, and with choosing your own pace.
I would add that keeping an open mind is key when changing from pre-made to home-made: don't expect them to taste the "same" or even "similar" to what you're used to --- try to taste what you make on its own without comparing.
I would also suggest starting with *adding* things. If your boxed mac n cheese is normally one meal for you, then try having only half of the box but *add* two or three cups of vegetables to your meal. If you normally have chicken strips and fries, then try having half of the amount of each but start your meal with a few cups of salad. The more veggies that you *add* to the meal, the more full you are going to be, and the less you are going to want the packaged stuff.
You should find that as you add more and more fresh foods, your taste buds will change and the packaged stuff just doesn't taste as good anymore.
4/4/14 2:50 P
I would say gradually. Do you know how to cook? Some people eat a lot of frozen & box meals and sandwiches because they really don't know how to cook. Then they try to cook and come out with an inedible mess, which is frustrating, expensive, and disappointing. In that situation eating frozen and boxed meals actually makes a lot of sense.
If that's the issue, then the first thing to do is learn to cook! You could think of it as "starting a new hobby" rather than "breaking a bad habit". There are a lot of different ways to do it, too. Take a class, ask a friend to teach you, get a book, watch cooking shows on TV, read a bunch of websites & blogs, rent a video at the library...lots of ways to get information.
Also, people have different opinions on what counts as a "processed" and therefore possibly unacceptable food, so you'll have to decide what exactly you mean right now by "processed". For instance, I think dried pasta from a box and canned tomatoes and beans are perfectly acceptable to eat, but other people might consider them too "processed". You get to draw the line where you want it, of course, and you can change it whenever you want!
Fitness Minutes: (36,342)
2,545 4/4/14 2:12 P
I suggest start slowly. Pick one type of processed foods that you would like to cut back on or eliminate.
For example, if I wanted to eat less processed noodle dishes I would pick one type, say mac n cheese, and find a bunch of recipes. I would read through the recipes until I found one that sounded good, met my food goals and matched my cooking skills. Then I would quit buying boxes of mac n cheese.
Then I would start experimenting! Make the basic recipe once. Was it good? Could it be better? Make it again and add/change/play with it until you really like it. Now you have a really good recipe that will hopefully be healthier for you.
Same thing with spaghetti sauce. I have never understood why people buy jars of sauce when it is so easy to make. Check out a basic recipe. Make it, experiment till you really like it. Then make a big batch, divide it up and freeze it. Instant sauce that is so much better then jar sauce.
The basic idea is the same for other foods that you like. It just takes a little time to find a recipe that you like. It takes a little more time shop and cook but to me the better food is so worth the effort!
4/4/14 2:09 P
Well, it's really what works best for you.
Some do it in one fell swoop (actually throw it all out one day)
Some just eat up their current supply, and next time when they go shopping only buy whole foods.
Some wean themselves off slowly, 2 processed each day for 3 days, 1 processed each day for 3 days, 1 processed every other day, 1 processed once a week, etc.
There is no right or wrong way to go about it, just what works best for you ;)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
4/4/14 2:00 P
I have always had the habit of eating processed foods because they are already prepared before cooking. I realize that's why I got health problems and obesity because I eat mostly processed foods.
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