For you, the new year and new resolutions may mean a newly improved grocery list!
I know I’ve certainly been feeling the urge for some healthier meals after a lot of delicious, but decadent holiday food. It was very fun, but I can just feel my body craving some simple, back-to-the-basics fuel.
With new resolutions concerning healthy food, it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle! It’s hard to make good choices and it’s even hard to sustain those good choices for months and months. And then, we can’t do it anymore and we crash and burn and end up happily eating a pint of ice cream at 10pm – yum, but not in the plan, right?! So common and it’s exactly what I’ve experienced personally before.
But this is what I’ve found to help me continue eating health long-term: small, gradual steps in the right direction. Instead of eliminating everything single bad or questionable things from my diet at once (which is really, really hard to stick to and I’ve tried it before and failed), I have consistently made small, but meaningful changes. Sometimes, that meant eating chocolate only once a day and not whenever I felt like it. Sometimes, that meant planning one more vegetarian dinner per week. And sometimes, that meant picking up more veggies than carbs in my grocery cart.
These small changes have been sustainable and have helped me eat overall healthier than I did a couple years ago! Of course, I sometimes backslid and get into bad eating ruts again, but some of these small changes still stick and it’s easier to get back to those patterns because they are habits I’ve practiced for a long time!
So, today, I want to share three simple swaps you can make to your grocery list for healthier choices. These swaps are do-able – both now and in the future – and can make a small, but important change to your normal diet. This is just one of those small, gradual steps towards healthier eating that can be instrumental along your path.
Swap regular peanut butter for natural peanut butter!
This is one of the easiest swaps you can make, but, in my opinion, makes a pretty big difference, well, depending on how much peanut butter you eat!
Here’s what’s up: regular peanut butter is filled with added sugars and oils that don’t do anything except put things we don’t need in our bodies. Natural peanut butter is made with peanut. And sometimes a bit of salt. And that’s it! (But, please, still check labels as I have seen some “natural” pbs with hydrogenated oils still in them!)
You’re not going to notice any difference in your peanut butter (though I think natural tastes better), but you’re going to happily avoid lots of junk.
Financial Impact: Negligible. Search for deals on natural pb. It can sometimes run you a dollar or two more than regular, but it’s often on sale at my local Kroger for $1.99 and I stock up!
Swap your typical name-brand crackers for multiseed crackers!
The crackers you see lining the aisle of your grocery store have mile-long ingredient lists and lots of added sugar, preservatives, and salt. Make a simple swap for your normal snacking and grab a box of multiseed crackers. These crackers are typically going to be made with mostly nuts and seeds, mostly healthier ingredients, and far fewer total ingredients. Don’t forget to check your label to be sure.
Financial Impact: Small. You will probably see one or two options in the healthier section of your store, like I do at my local Kroger. They are going to run you about one dollar more than your normal crackers – minimal financial impact here with a positive health impact! As always, stock up during sales!
Swap your normal juice for 100% juice!
All juice is full of sugar – but wouldn’t you rather the sugar come only from the fruit and not added in?? Check your labels and search for a juice that is made of 100% juice. It may be a little tricker than you expect, especially when you start seeing that many juices on the grocery store shelves have only, like, 17% juice – seriously, I’ve seen it!
100% juice will help you avoid added sugar and will only include the natural sugars already found in the fruit!
Financial Impact: Negligible. It is typically about the same price as normal juice. We go to Sam’s Club and buy two half-gallons at a time – ends up to be about $2 a piece, very reasonable!
I hope what I’ve shared is helpful to you and your family! I’m not a doctor, dietician, or expert – I’ve just learned some things about healthy eating along my food journey and they have made an impact. Happy chasing after your new year’s resolutions! YOU CAN DO IT.