I’ve come to realize that everything nowadays revolves around food. Not good, wholesome, healthy food…junk food. It’s everywhere and we can’t get away from it. Whether it’s birthday parties, school parties, first day of school bus stop treats, lollipops at the bank, snacks after sporting events, rewards for good behavior, extracurricular activity treats, BBQ’s, hanging at a friend’s house, church snacks, work vending machines, break room sweets, etc. It’s everywhere!
We obviously try to practice healthy eating but it often seems like everyone around us is making it more difficult. So how can you change your life, stay healthy and stay on track when those around you are not on the same page?
Create a Healthy Home Environment
When your home is filled with real food you will eat real food, right? In a perfect world we would have access to real food everywhere we went, but that’s not reality…yet. I feel good knowing when we are in the confines of my home, my family and I have access to real food whenever we are hungry. Don’t know what to keep on hand? Check out what’s in my real food pantry or real food refrigerator. Sign up for our newsletter to get access to a real food grocery shopping list or let me help clean out your cupboards!
Bring Your Own Real Food
After eating real food for the past 3+ years people know me by now and it doesn’t phase them when I show up with my own meals at parties or bring lunch/snacks for my kids to playdates. It’s not uncommon for me to pack a few bags of food when we go visit family or take a vacation. In a world when a lot of people suffer from allergies, I believe it’s not taboo to bring your own food. Just give your host a heads up prior to your arrival.
- Work-Brown bag your lunch, keep a stash of healthy snacks in your desk and steer clear of the break room.
- School-Since my kids were in preschool I have been packing their food. In preschool they had their own “snack box” they picked out of each day when the snack brought by the other kids wasn’t on my “approved” list. I even made their own cupcakes on birthday party days. That way, they still could participate, but didn’t consume the store bought, blue icing treats being brought in. You can even pack school lunches with items that look like their processed food counterparts. Lunchables, baked chicken nuggets, homemade pizza, breakfast for lunch or homemade Go-Gurts.
- Parties-Offer to bring a dish. We recently got invited to a BBQ where they were serving hamburgers and hot dogs. Because we allow the occasional hot dog or grass fed burger from time to time, I told the host we would love to come but due to dietary restrictions we would be bringing our own hot dogs and veggie burgers (for me). This way my kids still “fit in” but I felt better knowing that at least the hot dog was organic and grass fed!
- Playdates or Other Activities. Don’t leave it up to other families to provide snacks for you. This summer, I started making my own Otter pops using these Zipzicles to bring to our community pool. If parents rotate snacks for sporting events, volunteer to be the team mom and send out an email asking they consider bringing fruit and water instead of chips and cookies. Offer to bring a healthy snack for playdates, church activities or school functions
Request Substitutions at Restaurants
We rarely find going out to eat enjoyable anymore. Mainly because we usually come away disappointed knowing I could have made the same thing at home, cheaper and with better ingredients. But if you do go out to a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Only order meat dishes if they are grass fed, pastured and/or local. Sub fruit or salad for fries. Order kids dishes off the adult menu since kid menus are usually full of fried foods. Request foods not be cooked in margarine or oil as they can usually bake or steam them. When it doubt, order a salad with all the veggies they can find and top it with salsa or balsamic vinegar.
Be a Leader
You may be presently surprised that your commitment to eating real food inspires others to follow. Ask to pick the restaurant when going out with friends. Eating with the work crew? Suggest a place to go with a healthy menu. Generally speaking, people want to be healthier (New Year’s resolutions anyone?!) but maybe need some support from others along the way. Be that person, but don’t offer advice unless you are asked. Otherwise, keep your trap shut. The best thing you can do is show people what real food looks and tastes like by setting a good example. Let them watch for themselves as you feel and look better.
Remember, life happens and sometimes we need to just go with it because we can’t be perfect in every situation. But that also doesn’t mean you need to compromise your values and beliefs just because “everyone else is doing it.” Going along with the crowd has gotten us to where we are today, a nation that is fat, sick and unhealthy. Sticking with an 80/20 rule will still allow you to feel and look your best.
Tell me how you stay real in an unreal world?
Until next time, keep it real.
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