I have been overwhelmed by the response of the Life: Simplified Project kick off and am excited to dig in and share some of my goals and projects with you in the coming weeks!
Today I want to talk about food. I have been a struggling menu-planner for years. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what the problem was and why I felt overwhelmed and stuck by the idea of menu planning. But one of the major reasons finally hit me: too many choices.
Our grocery stores are filled with endless choices of just about everything. The overwhelming choices cause me to freeze. I just don’t even know where to begin. Though we aim to eat healthy, there is still room for improvement and in order to simplify our choices, I decided last year to eliminate as many processed foods as possible.
I am still on this journey and will continue to eliminate more items and replace them with more homemade, whole foods. Today I am sharing 5 processed food items that we have swapped out for more whole foods. These are some of the most simplest food items to change out.
We stopped buying margarine, which is mostly hydrogenated vegetable oil and water. Although it is inexpensive compared to butter, the health benefits just aren’t there.
I understand some people cannot eat butter due to special health restrictions, but for those of us who can, I recommend it over margarine. It has a higher fat content, but the fats are healthier than those in margarine and you can save money and calories by cutting down your portion.
Not far behind, we swapped out our vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil. Again, healthier fats. Buying this in bulk will save lots of money in the long run.
I have also heard of many people using coconut oil, which is something I tend to add to our pantry stables but have not yet found a local place selling it at a decent price.
Canned Chicken Broth
High in sodium and void of wonderful nutrients, I have stopped buying canned chicken broth in favor of making my own homemade. It is super easy and it doesn’t even compare to that stuff in the can.
Simply use bones from a chicken, add water, some carrots, celery, and an onion and simmer for 8-10 hours. I put mine in the crock pot over night. You can add seasonings to your liking, but the broth comes out so full of flavor, you don’t need them, or could always add them later, when you use the broth for soup or other dishes.
I’ll be sharing on this in more details in a later post.
No, I don’t make my own cheese. But I do buy it as little processed as I can. We have stopped buying pre-shredded cheese in favor of the blocks and just shred it ourselves. The shredded cheese is coated with a substance called dextrose and calcium sulfate, otherwise known as corn starch and a synthetic salt. Both created in a lab, yet pretty easily eliminated in this instance. This substance is to prevent the cheese from sticking together.
I am currently doing some research on American cheese. While we stopped buying the individually wrapped slices, we are buying the deli-style, but am not sure that’s much better, honestly. So, my research on that continues.
I know, yes, I am one of those mom’s who buys the packaged pancake mix and while it seems perfectly fine, it’s really not. It has elements in it to preserve the mix and, if used passed the expiration date, has been known to be deadly. Scary thought, huh?
It’s really quite simple to find a good, healthy pancake recipe. Whole wheat, topped with fresh fruit? Yes, please.
What processed food would you like to simplify, or swap out for real food? I will share more as my journey progresses.
You can link up your Life: Simplified post here. Share your goals or projects for simplifying your life in 2014. If you’re reading this in your email, you can click over to the blog to add your link. Prepare a post and join us each Monday!