So you want to make the transition to eating healthier, "real" food - first of all, good for you! This is a very important decision you've made, and you've made the right one.
It can be hard to know where to start, though. You might be concerned about how you're going to feed your family this way, and what they will think about it. You might have budgetary concerns, or children who are picky eaters. Furthermore, you may not be sure what foods to even begin with - do you throw everything out and start over?
Here are some tips to help you with all that, and you're well on your way to transitioning into a healthful diet.
First, it pays to take a little time to research. Look for consistencies in food information - this will help you avoid "fad diets." Find out what really makes a food healthy, and decide what food groups you are going to keep or discard (some people decide not to include dairy in their diets, for example, or they will lean toward a primitive diet that does not include grains).
Once you are comfortable with what constitutes a healthy food, you can make a chart. This can be so helpful in making out grocery lists and planning meals, and in making the transition in general. To make the chart, you will need two basic columns (if you are into the details of nutrition, such as glycemic index and nutritive value, then you might want more columns).
On one side of the chart are the foods you normally eat. On the other side, put a replacement. For instance, you might have doughnuts on one side; you can put whole wheat cinnamon toast on the other side as a replacement.
If you aren't sure what to replace with what, a good rule of thumb is: replace white with brown, artificial with natural, and processed for whole. For instance, traditional pasta can be replaced with whole grain pasta; fruit snacks can be replaced with natural dried fruit; and potato chips with a sack of organic potatoes.
You'll want to make the transition gradually; health experts agree that this is less shocking to your system. This is where the chart comes in handy - you can choose one replacement a week or even month.
Increase How Much You Eat
That sounds ironic, doesn't it? But sources say that the "crowding out" theory can really work for some. If you load up on healthy food, you may simply not want the unhealthy stuff. Making a point of eating lots of high-quality, whole foods will theoretically leave less room for the bad stuff - and this is true for your grocery budget as well. Some find this makes for an easier transition than cutting out unhealthy foods and feeling deprived.