Some people might be surprised to know that our family eats frozen pizza from time to time. In fact, we just had it last night. My husband is on a work trip and it was time for mama to wave the white flag. So, instead of preparing a nutritious and well-planned dinner like usual, I served up frozen pizza with a side of salad, fruit, and a stress-free mom. Would homemade, whole-wheat pizza have been a better option last night? Yes, but I just didn’t have the energy to execute it last night. I knew that the kids had a well-balanced lunch yesterday, too.
Why am I telling you this? Because there is a misperception that real-food families never stray from real food. Maybe that’s true for some families, but not for ours. For our family, it’s all about BALANCE. (Will I ever stop asking myself questions in this blog post and then answering them? The jury is still out on that one.)
The idea of balance will help you incorporate real food changes slowly and will help you feel less overwhelmed by the process. Making one small change at a time is so effective and easier to manage.
Here are the most common hesitations I hear from people when they first start a real food lifestyle. Each hesitation comes back to one solution: BALANCE.
1. “I’m overwhelmed by all of the changes.”
It doesn’t have to be a 100% leap right off the bat. In fact, going all-in right away will most likely backfire. Our family is at about 95% and probably never will be at 100%. Small changes and small victories will lead to the overall lifestyle change in the long run. Start by switching from white flour foods to whole wheat foods. Or perhaps kick off your real food lifestyle change by commiting to stop eating foods marketed as “light”, “low-fat”, and “low-calorie”. Baby steps are your friend.
2. “My kid/spouse/dog/mailman isn’t ready for the change.”
Incorporating a real food lifestyle does work best with a commitment from everyone in your household. Buying fake foods for everyone else in the family while you’re trying to hold strong with a real food lifestyle just isn’t realistic. Get everyone involved in the label-reading habit. Once everyone is educated on what to look for, it will be easier to make the changes. Also, ask each family member which baby step they’d like to take and incorporate those first. They’ll be more likely to get on board if they can contribute to the decision making.
3. “I don’t have time.”
It’s true: a real food lifestyle takes a little more time. If you dedicate a few hours a week to planning (meal planning, food prep, baking and freezing family faves, etc.) it will make a big difference. Again, balance is key. Try to just focus on breakfast food changes first then ease into lunch, then dinner. Or if you’re serving a whole wheat pasta dish, don’t stress too much about the salad dressing just yet. Everything worth doing in life takes a little extra time and effort. A real food lifestyle is well worth it.