What exactly is real food?
I’ve asked myself this question before… many times. Maybe more times than I should have. You see, there’s so much going on in my head that I have to constantly remind myself of these things from time to time, but in all reality, the answer is very simple.
As a natural mama, trying to raise naturally healthy kids, nutrition and food are going to play a HUGE role in their outcome. In fact, it’s the biggest factor in having healthy children.
The type of diet you adopt for your family matters not to me. I don’t care if you’re a vegan, if you love paleo, if you’re a traditionalist, or if your diet is gluten-free… as long as you’re feeding your family real, whole foods, that’s really all that matters. Of course, I have my opinions on what type of diet is best, but that’s not for me to force on you. You have to decide what’s best for you and your family alone.
But before I answer the “what exactly is real food” question, let’s look at another question.
Why Do I Need To Know What Real Food Is?
Listen closely because this is important.
The only time you need to know what “real foods” are is once a week… when you make your meal plan.
How simple and easy is that? It sure beats having to think about it every single day, weighing food choices, and trying to make the best decisions that will keep your kids healthy.
Seriously… if you plan your meals on a weekly or bi-weekly basis then that’s really the only time you need to think about what real foods are. If everything that goes on your meal plan and grocery list is “real food approved” then the rest of your week will be a no-brainer because you’re following a guide (your meal plan). Am I right mama or am I right?
Now don’t get off on the “how do I meal plan with my kids in mind” rabbit-trail. We’ll be talking about this soon.
Okay, so let me answer the original question…
“What Exactly Is Real Food?”
Simply put… real food is as close to the way God created it. It’s as close to its natural state as possible. It’s unrefined and unprocessed. It’s not been tampered with, packaged, canned, or boxed.
Below are some examples of “real foods” that you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re planning your meals each week. This list comes from one of my favorite “real food” blogs – 100 Days of Real Food. I wanna urge you to pin this list by clicking here, print it off, and put with your meal planning resources so it’s always there to remind you. That’s what I do, and it works.
Real Foods Defined:
- organic or locally grown fruits and veggies (think farmers market or local grocery store chains that carry local or organic produce)
- organic or grass-fed meats
- wild-caught seafood – not farm-raised unless you trust the source (like EarthFare seafood such as tilapia)
- 100% whole wheat/whole grain products with minimal ingredients
- organic or grass-fed sources of dairy products
- natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, fruit/plant sugars that are minimally processed, juice concentrates
- snacks like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, popcorn
- drinks such as water, milk, herbal teas, natural juices, coffee, tea, beer, and wine (organic or minimally processed)
One last thing to keep in mind about real foods.
Just because it’s a real food doesn’t mean to eat a truck-load of it. It doesn’t mean to dump a ton of organic brown sugar in your kids oatmeal in the morning. Sugar is sugar. It’s not all that healthy. Juice also contains sugar. Coffee and wines contain caffeine as do some herbal teas. I’m not saying not to enjoy these things… I’m just saying to use them in moderation.
Alright, so I’m not finished with my real foods for really healthy kids kick. I’ll be talking about how to eat real foods on a budget, how to meal plan, and how to work your way into this lifestyle easily soon. Stay tuned mama.