Weekly Wellness Extra: Cleaning up your diet
COLUMBIA - One step in the grocery store can easily lead you and your health in the wrong direction.
There are all kinds of food offered in the grocery store. There's organic food, pacakged food, gluten free, grass fed and local. The grocery store doesn't lack in variety, but does provide seemingly endless options, but one type of food should always be avoided.
"Processed food is just about anything that you get in a box, or a wrapper," Stephanie Wolf, a fitness director at Wilson's on Rangeline said. "If it has more than a couple ingredients, it's processed."
When switching to a healthier diet, the key is to check out the label. Don't look at calories, instead take a look at how the food was made. Many foods people deem "healthy" can have processed ingredients. A small list of ingredients, all of which you can pronounce and recognize, is a good way to keep healthy eating habits in check.
Eating whole, real food, is an adjustment. It isn't the easiest switch to make, but it's just like making a habit, it takes time.
"Chances are, if you force yourself, to say, grab an apple, or a banana, it will satiate the craving, and you'll be fine with it after the fact," Wolf said. "It's the getting over the hump and the hurdle at the very beginning where your mind is telling you, 'no, no I want this.'"
Another helpful hint is to take time to plan ahead.
"Sit down, make a grocery list," Wolf said. "Put it and coordinate it with everything you have going on this week."
Some great alternatives to planning a week ahead is just to plan a few hours ahead. If you know you won't be home until late, plan on putting your dinner in a slow cooker before yuor day gets started. Planning ahead will give you a healthy meal to look forward to and give you another reason to step away from that fast food or that easy frozen dinner.
Although clean eating may not be suitable for every budget, there are ways to increase the amount of real food in your diet. It's all about prioritizing. Wolf suggests to splurge on grass-fed meats and only a certain kind of vegetable or fruit if the budget is a concern.
"You're going to eat the skin of an apple," Wolf said. "But you're not going to eat the skin of a banana."
So if you eat the skin, it's worth the extra few dollars to buy the organic, pesticide free apple.
Removing processed foods from a diet is a process, but it's one the body appreciates and adapts to.