Table of Contents
- Question 1: What ingredients is the food item made with?
- Question 2: Where do these ingredients come from?
- Question 3: Are these ingredients nutritious?
- Question 4: Are the ingredients necessary and something you would cook with at home?
- A real-food lifestyle is all about balance
- Take the next step and get started with a real-food lifestyle today!
Four Questions to Ask Yourself When Shopping for Real Food
We get it, sometimes you may be stretched for time and just need something quick from the store. There are only so many hours in a day. Busy weeknights and half-empty refrigerators are a reality; it happens to the best of us.
Yes, cooking food from scratch is ideal, but we're all for shortcuts if one exists! Thankfully, there’s been a rise in food companies that supply convenient real-food options made with simple ingredients. To take the guesswork out of shopping for nutritious, minimally processed foods, here are a few questions you can ask yourself before putting something in your cart.
Question 1: What ingredients is the food item made with?
Get to know what real food looks like. Real food is about returning to a traditional way of eating and using ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible.
When looking at a label, ask yourself, “Are the ingredients as unrefined and unaltered as possible?”
Question 2: Where do these ingredients come from?
The ingredients listed should be foods that have nourished our ancestors for thousands of years. They’ve been grown, raised or cared for by someone. They have NOT been created in a lab by food scientists.
When looking at a label, ask yourself, “Were the ingredients grown by someone, raised by someone or cared for by someone?”
Question 3: Are these ingredients nutritious?
When you flip over most packaged food items, you’ll find the same “ingredients” listed: hydrogenated oil, artificial coloring, enriched flour and refined sugar hidden behind sneaky names you may not recognize (maltose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, etc.). If our diet is filled with nutrient-void ingredients like these, how can our bodies thrive?
Real food is about returning to a way of eating that consist of foods that contain vital nutrients like:
- Vitamins and minerals
- Naturally-occurring fats that our bodies need to stabilize and function
- Unrefined carbs to supply our bodies with energy
- Natural sources of protein for growth and repair
When looking at a label, ask yourself, “Does the food contain ingredients that will help our bodies to thrive?”
Question 4: Are the ingredients necessary and something you would cook with at home?
When looking at the ingredients listed, take into consideration if they’re actually necessary to make the food product. This is one reason why learning to cook is important. If you make a salad dressing from scratch, would you add Red 40 or maltodextrin? No. Let’s take it a step further, are those “ingredients” even available for purchase at the grocery store? We’ve never seen them on a shelf.
When looking at a label, ask yourself, “Are the ingredients necessary and are they something you would use to make the food from scratch?”
A real-food lifestyle is all about balance
While we believe that the majority of our diet should come from home-cooked foods made with simple ingredients, knowing when and how to sprinkle in store-bought real-food options to simplify our busy lives is equally as important. If you select items based on your answers to these four questions, you’ll dramatically improve your food decisions and put yourself, and your loved ones, on the path to a healthy lifestyle.
Remember, a real-food lifestyle DOES require some extra preparation time, but that DOESN'T mean you have to spend all day in the kitchen in order to make it work. Shop the aisles for simple, real-food alternatives to your homemade favorites. If you can’t find a suitable option, then get creative by combining ingredients in the kitchen to make your own!
Let's shop for nutritious, minimally processed foods — together!
Cheers to a healthy lifestyle and living FULLforLife!
xo, Pam & Kalie
Take the next step and get started with a real-food lifestyle today!
Since making the switch from a highly processed diet to traditional real foods, we’ve gone from lethargic to energized and on our A-game. With a few simple swaps, so can you!
Let us share the proven strategies in the FfL Healthy Eating Made Simple Course that turned our lives around. The video lessons and guides in this course will allow you to take action and stock your kitchen with healthy food that fits your specific lifestyle needs.
If you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about feeding your family healthy, homemade meals and snacks, this guide is an absolute must. You have to check it out!