I’m thrilled that so many of you have enjoyed this series. I’ve loved reading your comments, and if there are any other tips you have that weren’t listed, please share in the comments today. I look forward to posting more “health coaching stuff” type of posts in the future :)
Here are a few more basic tips to wrap up the series:
–> ALWAYS read the ingredients list.
This is more important than the “nutrition facts” section, which you really don’t need to ever look at. The most healthful food doesn’t have an ingredients list (because it’s just one whole food), but whenever it does, find out; WHAT is in your food and Where did this food come from. That’s the information that you need to know and that’s what will help you decide what items to choose.
For example, if there is less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving in a packaged food, the company can write “0g trans fat” on the label. They’re legally allowed to round down. But if you read the ingredients list and notice that there’s “hydrogenated oil” listed, you know that there’s some trans fat in that food – and any trans fat is dangerous. See how that can be deceiving?
Some questions you can ask yourself if you’re pondering a purchase that may be helpful: Is what I’m choosing a whole food? Did it come from a plant or animal? Is it one ingredient or ten? How do I feel after I consume this?
Always read the ingredients list so that you know what it is you’re buying and eating.
–> Do some of your shopping online.
I’ve found that there are several staples I like to have in our pantry that I can purchase for a much better price if I purchase them online. For our home, some of those items include; chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed, nut and seed butters, oats and other whole grains, honey, maple syrup, blue corn tortilla chips, vanilla extract, coconut flour, cocoa powder, canned pumpkin, avocado oil mayo, and dark chocolate bars(!) and baking chips.
–> Make your own versions.
Granola, salads (the veg kind or the fruit kind), muffins, snack bars, dressing, hummus, french fries, smoothies, bread, trail mix, kombucha, desserts – there are endless recipes online with a quick google search to make your own versions of food for a fraction of the price. You’ll know exactly what the ingredients are, it doesn’t require much of your time, and it can be a lot of fun to experiment!
(this is where ‘cook once, eat twice‘ really comes into play, too!)
–> Grow your own.
Plant a garden, grow herbs on your windowsill, cultivate potted veggies, etc. (I did this last one the last summer we lived in Minnesota and loved it – I grew bell peppers, jalepenos, and tomatoes right in pots on our front patio).
–> Let go of the pressure and stress.
Never buy something because you think you *should* or *shouldn’t*. Don’t give into pressure, for better or worse – use your brain, trust your instincts, and let go of the stress that can so easily creep in when you’re trying to make “all the right decisions.” A little trial-and-error, nutrition education, and balance will go a long way.
–> Do your best to choose healthful items and be grateful for all of the beautiful, available food we get to nourish our bodies with.
In an ideal world, “organic” wouldn’t be a label on certain, more expensive foods – it would just be how all of our food is grown (as it used to be years ago). Unfortunately though, that’s not how things are now. Do I think it’s best for us all to eat all organic food? Of course. But is it true that organic food is accessible and available to us all? No, not even close. So I say pick and choose what’s important to you, and choose what feels right. Conventional produce is always better than no produce!
I also want to shed light on your WHY – it’s key for you to find your motivation for eating well. Is it so you’ll feel better day to day, with fewer headaches, bloating, or aches and pains? Is it so you set yourself up to have an active, happy future with your children and family? Is it so you can honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) even in the small decisions you make each day? Grasp that why and let it guide your choices.
Find a balance that really works for your lifestyle, do the best that you can for yourself and your family, and be proud of that. That’s enough. That’s what will bring you health.
–> Remember that every time you shop you get to vote with your dollar!
Please feel free to leave any other suggestions you may have in the comments below!