By Theresa Harding
When I first started my journey to a lifestyle change of clean eating, I thought for sure my family would willingly join me willingly, without complaint. Boy, was I wrong! My then 5-year-old son complained and one day yelled, “I don’t like you stinky food.”
My husband would question my dishes before he’d dig into his plate of quinoa, and my other two children would say they weren’t hungry. They weren’t used to seeing vegetables so often on their plates.
I was transitioning my family meals from unhealthy to healthy eating. I thought I was doing things the acceptable way, but it didn’t look that way to my husband and kids. I got the side-eye looks from them whenever I set the table with unfamiliar foods.
Of course they asked questions, like, “What’s this?” Then they would smell the dishes and ask me how come I didn’t cook a certain food. I patiently explained why and I also shared the benefits of my food choices.
Health was never the driving force in our meal planning before our journey to healthy eating. We had the health problems, but we never connected our diet as the cause of our symptoms. That’s when I decided to start educating my family on what unhealthy foods can do to the body.
I didn’t realize that I should have first discussed and prepared them for the changes that were forthcoming. Now, my family was used to me buying 5-6 boxes of cereal, fruit snacks, juice, cookies, sweetened yogurt, and some other processed snacks.
You can see why it was so challenging for them to make the transition to healthy eating. I didn’t make things quite easy for them. It would’ve been easy if I had even started with myself, eating healthy foods and letting them see what was on my plate.
With all that I’d learned, I started buying more fruits and vegetables for snacks, and non-sweetened cereal, or none at all.
I’m sure there were more things I could’ve done to influence my family to get on-board with me in changing their diet. Unfortunately, I didn’t explore those options. While I did lots of research on the healthy foods and their benefits, I didn’t spend any time researching how to help my family make the transition with me.
So, you don’t experience what I did, with my family, here’s what I suggest in your mission to clean eating:
Their first thought to this change is probably going to be, “What can I eat now?” I find it always helps to substitute a good food choice, for a bad food choice. Than let them help out in the kitchen. By preparing your family ahead of time, you’ll find more success on this journey.
How have you prepared your family before you transitioned to clean eating?
By Theresa Harding (updated September 2019)
Now that you’ve made up your mind about transitioning to a lifestyle change of clean eating, you see a higher spending category in your good budget. If you want to learn more about how to eat healthy on a budget then keep reading. I learned very shortly how to do this after spending lots of money on food in the beginning of my healthy eating journey.
Here’s what I did when I first transitioned to a healthier lifestyle. I noticed that children tend to lean more to eating snack foods over a full-cooked meal throughout the day. I took a look at the kind of snacks we were buying, and we noticed they were mostly sugar-laden, puddings, fruit snacks, gogurt cups, granola bars, etc.
Those snacks are convenient but have way over 10 grams of sugar added to them. A great rule-of-thumb in choosing snacks is to never exceed 10 grams of sugar in a serving of sweet snacks.
To save money, we swapped the unhealthy snacks for healthier ones and limited the frequency and servings of the snacks. By setting boundaries, it was easier for us to monitor how often our kids were eating snacks throughout the day.
We also noticed that we didn’t run out of the snacks so fast, with the new boundaries in place. Our kids soon started to accept that they could not eat excessively a particular snack they favored. This also meant that we didn’t have to buy as many packaged snacks each shopping trip.
We increased our fruit and raw vegetable servings and stopped buying most of the sugary snacks. We did, however, allow a treat every now and then.
It’s important to remember that treats should never be given on a regular basis. If you want to eliminate the overuse of sugar in your family’s diet, it’s best to limit the intake and make them a treat.
We started encouraging our children to eat fresh apple slices and fruit smoothies, for instance, to snack on. You can read more here about how I got my family on board with healthy eating.
They didn’t like the change, but after about 2 weeks of complaining, they got used to the change. Again, it’s a lifestyle change and you can do it too if you’re ready.
When we first moved into our home, the first thing we did was purchase seeds to start our own garden. We wanted to save money on homegrown organic produce and we did! If you want to save money on healthy food, consider growing your own food.
You can find lots of information online to guide you through the process of starting a garden. This is a really good book that teaches you how to start a garden that thrives. By growing your own food, you can enjoy the fresh taste of vine-ripened fruits and vegetables.
Having your own garden minimized the risk of the contamination of pesticides or herbicides known to cause gastrointestinal problems and other health problems they cause.
If you can’t start your own garden, and only want to grow your own herbal garden, this book teaches you how to do that too. you can find homegrown produce in your local farmer’s market. We shopped for our products in the local farmer’s markets and found some really great deals. If you’re concerned about buying organic food, but don’t want to spend the extra money, you can find organic foods from the local farmers.
Not only will you find organic food from the local farmer’s market, but the food is fresher and tastes better. Most growers in your area don’t use pesticides, but you can ask them what kind of bug repellents they use. That’s what makes shopping from the farmer’s markets beneficial. You’ll have the ability to talk to the growers and get answers about the food they’re selling, that’s a bonus!
If you’re not sure how to start your own home garden, here is a great article by Better Homes and Gardens to help you get started. They share some tips on how to get you started for success. You could even subscribe to their page to get more tips emailed to you.
There’s nothing better than seasonal produce. During each season around the year, food grows according to what our body needs in that season. When we eat foods out-of-season, we give our body foods that don’t line up with that particular season.
The con to this is that your body doesn’t receive the minerals it needs to thrive healthily in that season. In his article, Dr. Mercola shares some ways to save money on quality foods that’ll give you more information. Not only is this not good for us, but it’s also bad for our pockets.
The food costs more when purchased out-of-season so you don’t save money. For instance, eating melons during the winter season adds more cooling to your body and it costs more! We should be consuming warming foods like root vegetables during the winter months, not cooling foods. This is why it’s important to consume food in season.
The cheapest most nutritious food is whole foods in their natural form. Fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, bananas, carrots, celery, cucumbers, nuts, and seeds. These foods can be purchased in their natural forms and prepared in many different ways.
I like to keep things simple and prepare these foods in simple forms, such as roasting nuts with sea salt. I like to slice cucumbers and have them with a hummus dip or just sprinkled with sea salt. Kids love these snacks as well! There’s a lot of money saved in snacking this way.
What snacks can your family do without? Add more fruit to your grocery list, eliminate the juice, and eliminate the unhealthy snacks and you will see a decrease in your grocery budget. Do the same for cereal.
Cook oatmeal instead, even make overnight oatmeal if you’re pressed for time in the morning. You’ll balance out your grocery budget with the “out with the bad, in with the good” method, in no time.
Here’s a list of foods we no longer purchase on a regular basis, they are given as “treats” on occasion: Sweet cereals, yogurt cups (I buy organic plain and add fresh or dried fruit, or add to smoothies), granola bars, unless they contain less than 10 grams of sugar, pudding cups, fruit snacks (you could try fruit leathers, in moderation), juice (drink more water), and flavored chips.
Try this and they won’t look for unhealthy snacks anymore. I had to get used to the prices of whole foods and realize that I was actually saving money. I understood that I could make my own healthy snacks with whole foods instead of spending more money on processed foods. You can read how to detox your diet here.
It’s always best to make your own, this way you know what’s in the food and you don’t spend more than your budget. This was fun because I would make my own fast food selections that I used to buy for our family, but ours tasted fresher.
With some small changes step-by-step, you can begin a healthy eating journey for your family. Healthy eating on a budget is not impossible to do. Explain to everyone that they can have a choice in the changes and help prepare foods with you. It takes some getting used to, but it is possible.
What are some ways you eat healthy on a budget?
Resources and References
Shopping for healthy food doesn’t have to become a daunting task. In this article, I will share with you simple clean eating tips for your family, as it’s not as difficult as it sounds. For most of us, it’s an adventure, as we learn of new and different food choices there are in our local market.
Patience, planning, and consistency will score you better deals and success in your efforts. The one key thing to remember is, you may not find your entire grocery list from one single store.
When I shop for food, I usually find my complete shopping list from up to 3 different grocery stores. You will find that you might have to do the same. This is because all grocery stores have different inventory of foods and so they are not consistent from store-to-store.
You might find one type of produce in one store, and you won’t see that type of produce in another store. So then, you will have to go to your next best store choice to find what you need.
This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission at no charge to you when you click a link to purchase.
When I first started my healthy eating journey, I didn’t know what I’d find in my favorite stores. I purchased my first bag of organic apples and I remember feeling so proud of myself. I thought for sure I’d win the “mother of the year award”, lol! Then I went to Whole Foods store and spent $50 to $75 more on groceries!
I was trying to continue buying my usual 4 boxes of cereals, but the “healthier” brands cost more. I thought healthy eating meant only shopping at the health food stores. Once I went to my neighborhood grocer, I actually found some of the same brands of food at a lower price.
As you can see, this healthy way of shopping starts small. Start purchasing one food group at-a-time until you feel comfortable with this shopping routine. Then, over time, you can replace one unhealthy food choice with a healthy version. For example, I used to purchase white flour, but I switched to purchasing whole grain flour.
Instead of non-organic apples, I chose organic apples. This is the pattern I followed. For every one product you currently purchase, you just swap it out for a healthy version. Instead of buying boxed potato buds, I purchased the whole potatoes and prepared my own mashed potatoes.
This was not a tough process for me because I really wanted to eliminate the health challenges we were struggling with due to making the wrong food choices.
The health challenges among my family members were High Cholesterol, severe Eczema, overweight, High blood Pressure, Abnormal Pap Smears, and Subclinical Hypothyroidism. Most of these were diet-related and could be reversed with a healthier, clean-eating diet, and it worked!
It is possible to experience some weight loss when eating clean. The reason is that you swap out your unhealthy snacks that are loaded with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and chemical food coloring. These unhealthy ingredients also known as food additives cause all kinds of health problems like food allergies, food sensitivities, food addictions, food cravings, and weight gain.
There is research that shows how a food additive called propionate can cause insulin resistance. This food additive is used in many foods like cereals, dairy and egg-based desserts, some sausages, sports drinks, etc. These food additives are known to present a risk factor to causing obesity in many.
An article published by Science Daily explains how an added ingredient known as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is linked to obesity. This food enhancer is added to many foods like Chinese food, Processed food, canned soups, and many others.
This ingredient is known to be an addictive additive, causing more hunger and food craving. This, in turn, causes unwanted weight gain in many.
When I was struggling with helping my son lose weight, I found that MSG was in most of the foods in my home. Once I started buying more whole, clean foods, my family’s food cravings went away. We were also making healthier food choices to keep us satiated without the need for dessert after every meal!
To eliminate this ingredient from your life and end one of your struggles with unnecessary food cravings and weight gain, go through all your canned foods. If you find MSG in the ingredients list, toss it. This is what I did. Seriously do an inventory of your pantry and refrigerator with a pen and note pad in hand.
Write down all foods you will replace with healthier choices so you can strategically go throughout the grocery store without wasting time trying to remember which foods to replace. I did this and it saved me so much time in the stores.
Instead of buying canned soups, I now purchase bulk pasta, organic chicken flavoring, dried herbs and spices, and fresh carrots and celery to create my own soups.
It’s really simple if you’re patient, as you’ll soon learn that homemade taste better-it’s fresher and your family will appreciate the love you put into your home-cooked meals. Your body will start adjusting to your healthy way of eating and soon you’ll notice the food cravings will disappear along with the unwanted weight. I’ve seen this happen with many people I share this information with.
You don’t have to shop at specialty stores for natural and organic foods today. With the major competition in the food industry, many grocery chains sell natural and organic brands of food. Just choose 2-3 of your favorite stores and make a list of your favorite foods you find in each of those stores, and shop their sales each week, using their weekly Circular.
Always shop from your local Farmers Market in your neighborhood. A lot of the produce sold at farmers’ markets is organic unless the seller tells you they used chemical sprays on their crops. You can ask questions as you’re shopping as a way to learn where your food comes from and the methods used to grow them. This is as close to Clean Eating as it gets!
We love shopping at farmers’ markets, as we find it fun to get to know the sellers and learn more about their farming methods. You learn to appreciate your food more from this experience. That’s always been our experience.
You can always grow your own by starting a garden. This can be done in your backyard, in a small space like on your patio in large pots, or even on your back porch in pots. The possibilities are endless! I’ve even seen someone grow herbs in their cookware!
My biggest concern when I changed my way of shopping is the price of the food I needed. I didn’t want to spend too much on food, but I did want cleaner food, so I had to learn how to eat healthy on a budget.
To counter this, I stopped buying processed snack foods and started buying more fruits and vegetables, which actually balanced out my grocery bill. I found that as I swapped out my unhealthy foods for the healthier choices, my grocery bill almost balanced out.
My shopping cart used to be about 80% processed foods and 20% of whole foods. I spent unnecessary amounts on processed, boxed foods that were sometimes pricey per item! Trading in unhealthy foods and snacks for fresh produce wasn’t so expensive after all!
Instead of buying fruit juices, we now buy fresh fruit and the cost is a balance because we bought more processed food than fresh. This is how we did it.
Many grocery chains run sales on a rotating schedule throughout the month. You must pay close attention when your favorite products go on sale again to know how much to stock up on, so you’ll have enough of that product for the next sale. Use store and manufacturer’s coupons if you have the patience for them and you’ll be well on your way to seeing savings in your grocery bill.
What are some ways that you save money on natural and organic foods?
A healthy diet is one key component that can affect the state of our mind. We must nourish our mind by eating nutrient-dense foods daily. If you need to improve your current diet from a nutrient deficient one to a nutrient-dense one, I have a free Diet Makeover course that teaches you step-by-step how to do this. This is what I did to change the health of my family and I know it will help you too. Click below to get started.
By Terry Harding
What is the healthy lifestyle change? Why is it necessary? That question can be answered by you! Its important to understand that when it comes to our health and well-being, that can only be achieved by being informed and educated on what keeps us healthy and pain-free.
Research tells us that we are living longer than our ancestors did. However, our ancestors lived a different lifestyle than we do today. They followed healthy lifestyle habits than we do today. The food supply is not the same, and our environment is not the same. The food supply has more additives and chemicals added to allow for a longer shelf life on the grocery shelves. In addition, the air we breathe is more polluted with toxins.
Even cancer is on the rise for many who might have been effected by the toxic overload in their body. It was estimated that in 2016 1,685,210 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed. This can be one answer to why it’s necessary to choose a healthy lifestyle.
We need to live a toxic-free lifestyle. Yes, we all will get sick from something, but we can do our best to stay healthy and live longer, pain-free lives.
I’ve asked many people what their biggest challenge is when it comes to changing their lifestyle to a healthy living lifestyle, and most of them say, just simply getting started. They know they should make better food choices to eat right. They just don’t know how to take the steps to adopt consistent eating habits.
My first response is, “You’ve got to change your mindset” about why it’s necessary in the first place. The benefits gained from it far outweigh the bad. Then my next response is, “lifestyle change”. You must be willing to change your lifestyle, then focus only on results.
That’s the motivator when they start seeing results; weight loss, clearer skin, fewer sugar cravings, etc. They will realize why it’s so important.
Here are some ways to get started on your journey to an Eco Healthy lifestyle. Just remember, be patient, be determined, look for results, and be consistent. If you get off track, just get back on and push forward-we’re all human!
First– Look around your home and pantry to see if there is room for improvement, and write them down.
Second– If so, know your “why”, that change is necessary.
Third– Change your mindset to know that results are desired and that you are ready to change.
Fourth-Start taking baby steps in each area of your home and diet to make a change day-by-day.
Fifth– Read more articles found in this blog, and research other areas you need to change.
By taking these steps, you are well on your way to a better and healthier lifestyle change!
How did you start your healthy living journey?