Real Food?

Questions I’m asked about REAL food:

1. What do you mean by the term “Real Food”?

When I say I strive to feed my family “real food”, what I mean is that we try to eat food as closest to the natural state as possible. That means as much as it is possible, I stay away from pre-packaged/processed foods.

2. What’s wrong with pre-packaged/processed foods?

Most pre-packaged foods have a very long ingredient list with many ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Many of these are preservatives, dyes, sugar in three or four different forms (including HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup), additives when they take out fat, and fake sugars even in products with real sugar. Many of these foods also contain additives specifically designed to make you MORE hungry which means you also eat more (which means you also buy more of their product).

3. Do you stay away from all pre-packaged/processed foods?

While I applaud the many families that are able to get back to a traditional foods diet, I’ve found for my family (with 3 growing girls who are always hungry) that it isn’t always possible to keep out all pre-packaged foods. I’ve tried it, and with my personality….I get obsessive. I don’t think an “all or nothing” philosophy is good for my family or sanity. I do strive REALLY hard to keep keep our focus on REAL food, and therefore my girls are spared many dyes, preservatives, sugars and unhealthy additives. When I do buy pre-packaged food, I always read the ingredient label so we can stay away from HFCS and dyes. I have certain products I will buy (even if they aren’t organic) because they don’t contain those items.

4. What does your family eat?

We enjoy food from all food groups. We eat vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats. For a complete list of foods I keep in our home, check out My Pantry.

5. Do you buy all organic? Is organic food worth it?

I am a big supporter of organic food and/or food grown without the use of pesticides or that has been genetically-modified. However, it’s not in our family’s food budget to eat all organic. The popularity of organic food, as well as eating locally and in season has really helped with the prices of organic food. Sometimes I’m even able to find organic produce for less than the conventionally grown produce. Just a couple weeks ago I bought organic potoates for $2.99 for a 5 lb. bag whereas the conventional potatoes were $3.99 for the same amount. There is a list of the dirty dozen which are the foods you should definitely strive to buy organic. If I can’t find those organic, we just don’t eat them.

Here’s the list of the dirty dozen and the clean 15. It’s a great place to start. Not only does it list the 12 foods you shouldn’t eat unless they are organic, it gives you good news about produce you already buy. In addition, if you stick to buying and eating food “in season” you also will pay less.

6. I’d like to start feeding my family healthier meals. Where do I start?

With anything in life it’s best to start making a few key changes at a time…baby steps so you don’t get overwhelmed or cause a HUGE uprising in your home 😉 .  I recommend checking out My Pantry list (coming soon) so you get an idea of what is doable for your family right off the bat. Many things you probably already purchase. Try to focus on meals made “from scratch” using as many whole foods as possible.

I have many great recipes here at Creative Kitchen to get you started, and I will be adding many more in the future. There are also a wealth of food blogs full of amazing recipes online. A big source of my inspiration in the kitchen comes from reading food blogs so be sure to check out my Blogs to Digest section. They are chock full of many great FREE recipes that are tried and true! I also add more food blogs that I love as I find them

7. Are there any food allergies in your family?

We are blessed for the time being that there are no known food allergies in our family.

8. Do you have any recommendations or resources to help motivate my family?

The movie Food very enlightening and informative. I think every family should watch it together. Last time I checked it was available through Netflix streaming, or you can probably find it at the library. Also, the second season of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution just started on ABC Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. He’s trying to help bring attention to the school lunches that are being fed to children in our country…which are composed mostly of processed foods.

9. What should I focus on first?

  • Switching out processed foods for meals cooked from scratch for most dinners.
  • Keep plenty of fruit in the house for snacks, and only offer fruit between meals.
  • Start weaning your family off beverages, and start up a “drink more water” challenge.
  • Water tricks necessary to drink water: cold, ice, fresh lemon squeezed in.
  • Eat out less (set goals as a family if this is a hard one).
  • Get kids involved in cooking or meal ideas.
  • Have kids help pick out new fruits or veggies they want to try each week.
  • Learn how to make green smoothies…my girls LOVE them!!
  • Cut back on sweets and treats.
  • Encourage exercise and how great it makes our bodies feel.

ABOVE ALL ~ Remember “baby steps.” Big changes don’t happen overnight. As you get enthusiastic about how eating good REAL food makes you feel, your children will follow suit. Read my benefits of clean eating to motivate yourself on why you should eat better. Food is our bodies’ fuel, and if we eat junk…we feel like junk!!

7 Responses to Real Food?

  1. Caroline says:

    Above you say: For a complete list of foods I keep in our home, check out My Pantry.
    Is there suppose to be a link on the words My Pantry? If not, where is the My Pantry you are talking about? Thanks

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  5. Bethany says:

    Denise, I was searching for Daniel Fast recipes and stumbled upon your blog! You and your family are such an inspiration in Clean Eating ventures. Right now my family is eating fairly well for our main meals, but we still struggle with eating out a lot, sugar intake, and snacking. We just invested in a large water cooler that has helped us cut out coffee and sodas, and that has been a small step for us! Thanks for all the recipes and encouragement.
    Bethany recently posted..Traveling Along the Romantic Road

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