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How to Get Started with a Healthy, Real-Food Lifestyle

Struggling to create a healthy, real-food lifestyle? These simple steps will help you cut out processed food with ease.

There are countless reasons you may choose to kickstart a clean, FfL-friendly, real-food diet. Maybe you...

  • Are trying to overcome health issues
  • Have the desire to model healthy eating habits to your family
  • Are concerned about the possible link between ADHD and processed foods
  • Want to maintain a healthy weight without crash diets or restrictions
  • Are constantly fatigued and want to choose foods that fuel you, rather than weigh you down
  • But, as soon as you’re ready to get started with a healthy, real-food lifestyle, a wave of overwhelm crashes over you and you shut down.

We’ve been there too and can completely relate to the feeling of fear and defeat. The decision to eat real food is the easy part, actually getting started is what’s most challenging.

The good news is that cutting out processed food in a realistic, manageable way is possible. And we’re here to share with you how to make the transition simple, stress-free and seamless.

Just Watch the Video Below & You'll See How Easy It Really Is!

Don't try to transition your kitchen all at once.

When it comes to making the switch to healthier, whole foods, you don’t have to swap out everything at once—in fact, we don’t suggest it.

Rather than feeling completely overwhelmed by wanting to eliminate ALL the processed food in your home, focus on making a few small changes at a time. And by that, we mean only swapping a handful of ingredients each week.

"We've found switching out three processed foods for healthier versions is very manageable. Any more and it becomes exhausting."

Each week, come up with THREE food items you want to swap with healthier, real-food versions. This allows your palate to adjust, minimizes both your grocery bill and wasting food, eliminates overwhelm and makes the transition more smooth. This way your family won’t feel like you’re making drastic changes to their diet all at once.

If you’re not sure which food item to transition first, narrow down the list by considering:

  • Which foods are eaten in your household most frequently? Possibly a breakfast item like yogurt, a snack food like granola bars or a lunch staple like bread?
  • The foods that are most concerning in terms of heavily processed, potentially addictive or harmful ingredients—the “biggest offenders.”
  • Food items you’re already running low on. This gives you time to start researching how you can replace the item with a less-processed alternative.
  • What’s the less intimidating switch? For example, if you LOVE your salad dressing but could care less about the granola you top your yogurt with, then it’s a lot easier to swap the granola first.
  • Ingredients on your meal plan and grocery list for the upcoming week. You’ll be shopping for them anyway, so it’s a good time to find a healthier version.

Now that you’ve chosen your three food items to replace, you can find suitable alternatives.

When purchasing something in a box, package or can, reading the ingredients list is the only way to know what’s actually used to make that food and tell if it’s nourishing or nutrient-deficient.

To find suitable alternatives, you need to gain an understanding of the ingredients to look for and those you should avoid. This may mean finding a suitable store-bought version or buying ingredients and preparing the food item at home.

Let’s use the peanut butter below as an example. It has 15+ ingredients, many of which we can’t even pronounce. We’d recommend looking for one that has two simple ingredients: peanuts and salt.

Another example is flavored yogurt. Many flavored yogurts sound healthy but are loaded with sugars, natural flavors, artificial colorings, preservatives and sometimes even synthetic vitamins.

Because a store-bought, real-food flavored yogurt is almost impossible to find, the easiest swap is purchasing plain Greek yogurt and flavoring it yourself with ingredients like honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, fruit, homemade jam or Homemade Cranberry Sauce.

If you’re unsure how to find a suitable alternative, you’re in the right place! We’ve done all the legwork for you so you’ll know what ingredients you’re looking for when making the swap and what to steer clear of.

"Without reading the ingredients list, you can't make an informed choice about your purchase."

An amazing resource for beginners is the Healthy Staples Roundup that we have right here on the FULLforLife site. This roundup provides an easy-to-understand breakdown of each food category and some fun ways to ensure healthy, real foods are making their way into your family’s diet.

Pro tip: Make sure you look into suitable alternatives before you get to the store. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself aimlessly wandering the aisles looking at labels, scratching your head and frantically Googling “real-food ingredients.” All this while your kids are tugging on your shirt and sneaking a box of Oreos into your shopping cart!

Build a list of the healthy food swaps you've made and love.

Because you’ll only be swapping out three food items a week, building this list does take some time, but it will save you from stressing about products in the future because you have a list that’s already been given the stamp of approval. Make it an ongoing list. When you try a new food product from a company you love and trust, add it! As time goes on, you’ll build a master list and seamlessly switch over more and more food items.

Keep in mind that not every swap you try will be a total hit. For example, you may purchase a bread and it just doesn’t have the taste you were hoping for OR you may buy ingredients, bake your own but the recipe doesn’t come out as you’d hoped. That’s okay!

Use this transition as a learning process and make choices in the future based on what did and didn’t work well in the past.

Celebrate the journey and remember it's about a long-term lifestyle.

A real-food lifestyle is about taking responsibility for your diet (not going on a diet), and learning how to prepare food so you can nourish your body with simple ingredients. Congratulations on being your own advocate for your and your family’s health.

Once you start eating healthier, FfL-friendly whole foods and see how much of a positive impact they have on your health and well-being, you’ll never go back to heavily processed foods. Remember, with every switch you make, you are one step closer to living a happy, healthy, FULL lifestyle—and that’s something worth celebrating!

Action Steps

  1. Decide on three food items/ingredients you will swap with healthier, real-food versions this week.
  2. Investigate ingredients and decide what your healthier alternative looks like before heading to the store. Consider looking at the brands your supermarket carries and the aisles they’re located in so you can quickly and easily find them while shopping.
  3. Repeat next week with three new items. Keep going until your kitchen has completely transformed into an FfL-friendly, real-food kitchen. And celebrate your successes along the way!

Let's make the transition to a healthy, FfL-friendly, real-food lifestyle simple, seamless and stress-free—together!

Cheers to a healthy lifestyle and living FULLforLife!
xo, Pam & Kalie

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Hi beautiFULL, We’re Pam and Kalie

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