Happy Friday, friends! Take a deep breath. You made it to the weekend! I hope this weekend has a refreshing mix of rest and fun for you! Leave a comment and tell me what you are doing this weekend! We are going to Zoo Boo with both kids tonight. Here’s to hoping it’s a total blast and doesn’t scare anyone this year! 😉
Okay, let’s talk about how you can dramatically create positive change in your family’s diet before you even leave the grocery store! Once I realized this was possible it really encouraged me. All the work doesn’t have to be on me in the kitchen to eat clean. A whole lot of it happens by making wise decisions when shopping.
I am going to teach you three things you can do that will seriously be a game changer for your family’s diet. As moms there are a gazillion things we are trying to do and so many balls we are juggling. I know your time is limited. I know that eating clean can feel like a pipe dream. I also understand that sometimes you can’t even get your kid to eat anything. That’s okay. Just start with small changes. You will be able to incrementally change your family’s eating patterns to set them up for good health you can sustain. That’s why I like small changes. Plus us moms are a little susceptible to being overwhelmed as it is, so let’s not add one more thing to be overwhelmed about. Okay?
Let’s get into these three hacks with the understanding that if it’s overwhelming then you are going to just make one change a week at a time. Alright, let’s get started!
1) Don’t buy items with added sugar or artificial sugars added
You guys sugar is just no good. If you want to keep it in your diet, I totally get it but save it for your desserts! You don’t need it in your pasta sauce, bread, ketchup, or lunch meat. Make it count. If you want to know more about how I attempt to balance special events and just a fun family life style without loads of sugar you can read about that here. And if you are wondering if my kids will get the candy that the Zoo passes out tonight, the answer is yes! I am all about balance.
The reasons I limit sugar are:
- Sugar creates inflammation
- Sugar causes brain fog
- Sugar creates a yoyo effect with your energy level. You get an initial rush and then have less energy than before you enjoyed a sugary treat
- Sugar does not contain anything we need nutritionally and it is crazy addictive
Let’s get practical. How can you do this before even leaving the store?
Read your labels!! It’s a no if it says, “Sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, aspartame,stevia, sucralose, Truvia, or Xylitol”
You may decide you are okay with honey or agave. I am okay with those, but try to save them for our dessert type foods or baking.
You will be shocked to find sugar in bacon, lunch meat, pickles, salad dressing, bread, marinades, and pasta sauce. If you don’t want to make your own and can’t find an item without any sugar, then pick the one with the least amount of sugar. I believe doing this will make a huge difference in how you feel!!
2) Cut out artificial food coloring
Chances are, if you are cutting out sugar then you are most likely cutting out al lot of food dyes. However, I really feel like it’s worth mentioning because it’s in SO much. If you have kids, you’ve probably noticed that food dyes can make a huge impact on kid’s moods. Once I brought this up to my husband, he really started noticing it as well. I didn’t need to do any research to link food dyes to hyperactivity and behavioral stuff.
However, the research I did do kind of shocked me. Here’s the deal we just do not know enough about food dyes. At times, I am all like well back in the 90’s we all lived on food dye and I am still here, so who cares? But as Americans we have upped our consumption of food dyes 500 percent in the last 50 years. Ummm gross.
In Europe artificial food dyes come with a warning label and here’s why:
Yuck, right? I got this table from FoodNework.com and I highly recommend reading the article! There are a lot of articles on food dyes out there, but I feel like they aren’t all highly researched and a lot are using scare tactics. You will find the above article to be balanced.
So does this mean my kids NEVER eat food dye. Nope. It’s unavoidable and I don’t want to be the mom that says, “no!” to everything. One of my kids already has a milk allergy, so most of the dyed stuff is the only safe stuff for her. As a rule, I try to not buy things with artificial food dye and we save splurge moments for holidays and parties as much as we can! There’s absolutely no reason this stuff need to be in our main meals, though!
Side note: My kids have had strep several times lately and get that iconic pink antibiotic. I’ve learned that a lot of times you can ask the pharmacist for flavor that doesn’t have a dye. Unfortunately, not all of them come dye free.
My last tip is shop at Aldi’s! They don’t allow food dye in their food and it’s way cheaper there.
3) Avoid unhealthy oils in products specifically hydrogenated oils
Okay, so oils can be murky territory. A lot of it is politics, but I think everyone can agree that hydrogenated oils are bad for you! Hydrogenated oil isn’t just one type of oil It could be part hydrogenated soybean and part vegetable. Hydrogenated oils are really saturated. They do exactly what you don’t want them to do. Hydrogenated increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol. Boo!
You will have a hard time finding a junk food that doesn’t have hydrogenated oils. I double dare you to find one!
In my house, I stay away from vegetable oil, Crisco, and soy bean oil. I try to use heat safe oils like avocado oil or coconut oil for high heats and olive oil or grape seed oil for vinaigrettes etc. Do your own research and start small. If you are just looking into oils for the first time, I recommend eliminating hydrogenated oils from your diet and if that means keeping the junk food on the grocery store’s shelf than that’s just a win win for your health!