Tips for Going BoxlessSep 21st, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: show tips, the show
Kristi Willis curates the blog Ditch the Box, where she guides people on simple ways to start moving away from a diet filled with processed foods, to a diet lush with fresh, ripe seasonal produce, meats and dairy.
She was kind enough to share some tips with us:
- Get clear on your goals. It’s important to know why you want to make the change. For example, I wanted to feel healthier and have more energy. I noticed that when I ate processed food, I felt lethargic and would often have a stomach ache. Being clear on your goals will help you make other choices in the process.
- Purge the pantry and fridge. Clean out the foods that you no longer want to eat. You can donate unopened foods to your food pantry or throw them away, but you want to clear out the things that aren’t helping you reach your goals. That doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything. If microwaved popcorn is your favorite snack and you aren’t willing to give it up, then that is okay, but be clear about why you are keeping it.
- Shop with a new plan. Head to your grocery store with ideas for replacement foods. Buy plain pasta and tomato sauce rather than Hamburger Helper. Think about the snacks that you want to add back in. Maybe you buy pretzels instead of the crazy flavor of the month potato chips that have a number of additives.
- Learn to read labels. There are ingredients in many processed foods that you wouldn’t expect. For example, I went to buy a bag of frozen peas and it had added sugar. It never would have crossed my mind that a company would add sugar to frozen peas. You have to flip over the package and read the labels.
- Fill your basket with fresh foods. I spend most of my time in the produce and meat aisles and very little time in the middle aisles. By the time I get to the cereal, my basket is half full. Experiment and explore new vegetables to add variety to your diet.
- Skip aisles you don’t need. Don’t go up and down every aisles of the market if you don’t need anything on that aisle. You are less likely to buy junk if you don’t see it. I organized my shopping list by area of the store making it easier for me to skip the things I don’t need, which also saves me time.
- Skip the grocery and shop at the farmers market. I start my weekly shopping at the farmers market which forces me to focus on fruits and vegetables and then fill in with things from the grocery store. Some weeks, I find so many great items at the market, I can skip the grocery completely.
- Start cooking. I cook almost every night and the meals are rarely fancy, but they are healthy and tasty. For a simple formula, pick a protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish), a few vegetables and a grain (rice, pasta, quinoa). You can quickly make a stir fry or pasta dish any night with that combination and I often leave out the protein and do a pasta primavera or veggie stir fry over a grain. Or if I don’t feel like cooking, I make a great salad.
- Have fun! Food is fun. Sharing a meal with the family is fun. Cooking with my niece and nephew is a joy. Let yourself enjoy your food and the sharing of meals again.