Happy Motivation Monday!
Many people tell me that they’d like to eat healthily, but healthy food is so expensive. When I ask what kind of food they eat that is healthy, they’ll mention fancy packaged foods – some of which are healthy, and some of which are far from it (but still labeled with “healthy,” “low-fat,” “high fiber,” “natural,” or another often-misleading health claim).
(picture source … These may be “A Fat Free Food,” but I assure you that does not mean they’re the epitome of health)
It can be complicated to sift through all the packaging claims, because they’re put there specifically to be enticing. We all want a magic product that tastes delicious and will make us perfectly healthy in just one bite. We’re all quick to believe something that’s printed on a label, especially if it targets something we’re looking to improve in our health.
We can talk a lot about which of these labels are meaningful (for example, “natural” is a completely unregulated term, and can basically be slapped upon any food product, regardless of the ingredients). However, today, I have an even easier challenge…
Just. Eat. Real. Food.
True health doesn’t come in fancy packaged products. Most of the healthiest foods on the planet are fruits and vegetables, as well as minimally processed nuts and seeds, oils, grains, meats, and whatever else you choose to add.
So today, have an apple and some almonds instead of a sugar-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free (but chemical-heavy) energy bar. Have a huge salad with avocado, several types of vegetables, and grilled salmon instead of a drive-through cheeseburger. Have a few Grab-and-Go Egg Muffins with some tomatoes, avocado, and fruit instead of an Egg McMuffin. Just make one single shift that edges you closer to eating real food. You can do it!
**If you need a bit of encouragement to get back to the basics, focus on whole foods, and feel great, why not join The Lyons’ Share Fall Reset? Sign-ups end on Friday, and we’re already getting started, so join today!**
So tell me in the comments … what is one shift you could make today to eat more real food?
Good post! Eating real food is so important.
Yes! Thanks for the support, Lauren!
Could not agree more! I tend to eat a couple protein bars a day and I need to kick that habit!
Just start slowly, Carrie! Replace one bar per day with real food, and then transition as you can!
So so so true! Couldn’t agree more!
Thanks for the support, Arman!
I agree! Labels these days are so deceptive. I try to look at all the ingredients to make sure I recognize everything and try to avoid buying anything that contains a list of ingredients a mile long. The hardest for me is finding healthy things for my daughter that quite honestly doesn’t require that I make everything from scratch. I try not to stress too terribly, but it’ll get harder when she’s older. Making school lunches is the tricky part;)
That’s the best way to do it, Bre! Just keep reading those labels and doing what you can!
and it’s scary to think people don’t know what real food is anymore, which is why we need to RE-EDUCATE> well done!
My diet can always use improvement! I need to eat more veggies and drink more water definitely
Everyone could use improvement, Sarah! Way to go for noticing it!!
Ahhh love the new layout Megan! This post is right on, and that drives me crazy too! Yes, some healthy things are expensive, and the only way they will become less so, is if we drive demand up! You still can eat healthy, and those things are lower cost. I was looking at hummus yesterday, how cheap it is to make from home, but if you buy it, MUCH more. Just use simple ingredients, and cook from home 🙂
Couldn’t agree more, Tina! Thanks for the support!
I couldn’t agree more! I just had a reader ask me how they could lose weight if they didn’t eat low-fat foods.
Yikes! Hope you were able to help, Megan!
This is one of my biggest pet peeves about food labels! I hate that they claim “fat free” and “organic” or “farm fresh”, etc. It may be true but you don’t really know where it came from or how it got there. Real food is best!
Yes!! Totally agree, Kelli!
I pretty much already eat whole foods because I’m paleo, but it is hard to deviate from quest ars and fsiry products, so that’s on the challenge table this week!
Awesome, Linda! I love quest bars, too :). Lesser of many evils, for sure, and OK in a pinch, but whole foods are still better in a “perfect world”!
Being in the “older” age group……50+…….it has taken me 2 years to FINALLY “get it.”
I suppose a lot of the packaged processed bars and stuff wasn’t available 30 years ago, but also, we were not aware of nutrition in general and it wasn’t a priority. Then when low fat, sugar free, healthy labels appeared, we fell for it big time. It is fun be educated and I am so glad to be more aware of what I eat and put in my body. Megan, thanks for the time, energy and patience of teaching me so much.
Awareness and balance FINALLY !!!!!
Mom, it often takes people a lot longer than 2 years, so I think you’re doing GREAT. I’m so proud of your progress, and the fact that you actually LOVE eating healthy and feeling the results. You are amazing!
I was just talking to someone about this. People are so excited over all this packaged pumpkin flavored crap. I’d rather have a homemade pumpkin-something. It’s better for you, but it also tastes 100x better!
Yes!! Ok, well I may treat myself to a pumpkin-flavored treat or two this season, but 90%+ of what I eat is good, real food! 🙂
I am ALL about the real food – not packaged BS for me! NO NO NO!!!!! I love making my own stuff from scratch, I love to know EXACTLY what I am eating!
Awesome, Gigi! Keep making food from scratch – that’s the best way!
Those ingredient labels drive me nuts! My mother in law always falls for them and then tries to justify feeding that crap to my kids. She is one of those that just doesn’t understand that real food is whole food and not all this processed crap!
That sounds really frustrating, Annmarie! Maybe you can try gently explaining (without accusing) why you don’t like some of those ingredients for your kids. Good luck!
I agree about it being expensive to eat healthy. All those corn subsidies and using non-perishable ingredients make lots of bad stuff inexpensive, sometimes artifically so. My two most processed meals are pre-workout (I am on a granola bar kick, used to do oatmeal but burnt out) and lunch (frozen meal, frequently Amy’s, which I don’t think is awful, eaten at my desk). The AC keeps promising me that when he retires, everything we eat will be from scratch, and delicious and nutritious lunches will be personally delivered to me at work on a daily basis.
Do you think I can hire AC to cook ME made-from-scratch delicious meals every day, too?!?! 🙂
Agree that Amy’s is a good option. Yes, it would be “better” to get fresh foods, but it’s not always a reality, and most of the ingredients in Amy’s are good ones! Some a little bit carb-heavy in my opinion, but you need those carbs for your killer workouts! GOOD LUCK TOMORROW !:)
Those labels always drive me crazy too! Most people don’t even look at the ingredients and just look a those. Something can be all sugar and labeled “low fat”. Crazy!
Yes!! “Low-fat” candy makes me cringe!!
YES. Couldn’t agree more
I knew this idea would resonate with you, friend 🙂
I could always use more veggies in my life!
I think almost everyone is in the same position, Tiff!!