Depending on where you live, real food might be easier or harder to find, but it’s worth looking for and doing the best you can. In no particular order, here are some tips:
- One of the first and best tricks is not really anything new, but still worth repeating — shop the outer edges of the supermarket. That’s almost always where the produce, meats, seafood, and dairy will be. In other words, the items that are, themselves, a basic food. Not a conglomeration of ingredients, many of which will be additives and chemicals such as you’ll find in the whole rest of the store!
- Check out some of the newer supermarket chains that focus on “real food” — Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Aldi, Natural Grocers, Sprouts just to name a few. Not everyone has one of these options but you won’t know unless you at least look!
- Buy as much food as you can with the least labeling. Counter-intuitively, some of the best labels to shy away from are the ones that make “health claims.” (Use your common sense here, of course — a bag of organic salad greens that touts its health benefits is just fine, a box of breakfast cereal probably not so much.)
- Explore food sources that aren’t the supermarket at all! Do you have a farmers’ market nearby? Farm stands? A friend or neighbor with backyard chickens that produce great pastured eggs? We recently discovered a local source for wonderful pastured/grass fed ground beef, at a price that competes with the cheapest “pink slime” version at the supermarket. How’d we find it? A sponsored post on Facebook came across a friend’s feed and she took the initiative to call and investigate.
- Check out online resources. Several companies now offer high quality food ingredients online which can sure help if your local resources are limited.
- Grow your own. Even if you don’t have room for a huge garden, almost everyone can grow something! I try every year to channel my daddy’s green thumb and while my success is limited, even just some fresh tomatoes right out of the garden make it all worthwhile.
And remember, it’s not a competition and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every single fast food or packaged convenience food meal that is replaced with wholesome fresh ingredients is a step in the right direction.
And keep watching this site for more resources and ideas!