My Tips for Eating Clean When You Have Limited Resources
I haven’t always lived in a city my whole life. While for the past five years I’ve lived in and around the Seattle area, it’s been easier to access clean products as I started to learn and grow in my health journey. I do know however, when you’re not living near a major city, access to the foods you “should” be eating, aren’t always an option (aka the small towns that only have one tiny grocery store within a 10 mile radius 😉 )
Now that my husband and I have moved a bit farther out of the city, the natural grocers I was once able to access in 3 minutes are more like 30 minutes. But even that is not nearly comparable to the town I grew up in, which is the same town my mom and dad still live in! I’ve gotten a lot of questions over time about products I buy and where to find them. But honestly, if it wasn’t for sifting through aisles in the natural grocers and consistently researching what to eat for a healthy diet, I wouldn’t know the first thing to buy if I stepped foot in a grocery store where the “healthy” options are scarce.
I should state that maintaining a clean and healthier diet over the years was something I found to be extremely passionate about at an early age. (how much sugar is in that pound of ketchup I just put on my plate!?) My mom always made a point to cook from scratch every night. Of course we had the occasional outings (or Kraft Mac & Cheese) but if there’s one thing that taught me: it was to focus on where my food was coming from. I am not a dietitian, but I peaked an interest to learn at a deeper level about nutrition on my own. With all of the information on the internet, learning about health or taking better care of our bodies is right at our fingertips if only we allow it.
I wanted to create this blog post to share how I’ve helped my own parents, and myself to access better quality foods without necessarily stepping foot in a grocery store… I know how frustrating it is for them to want to use clean products, but can’t find them.. and when they do, it’s expensive (shocker). Thankfully there are so many solutions in today’s world with the help of creative minds and the internet to make shopping online for products accessible, affordable, convenient, and healthy.
Another important thing to add: no diet is perfect. It can be so easy to get caught up on social media about how others are eating. I truly believe that what’s most important is finding healthier alternatives to the foods we enjoy eating which can help fuel our bodies, and satisfy our hunger ques. So don’t be so hard on yourself! But don’t let the limited resources discourage you either.
Here’s my tips I’ve shared and learned along the way to maintain a cleaner diet (while still enjoying the foods you love!) when your local grocery store may not carry that one thing called… “coconut oil” 😉
Focus on Real/ Whole Foods
My rule of thumb is always to think about where that food came from. If you’re somewhat puzzled on this- try to think in a more plant-based mind set (fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, raw nuts/ seeds, potatoes, beans, etc.) And for meats I try to stick to grass fed, wild, and pasture-raised, organic when possible. The best part is when I completely balance a meal with wholesome ingredients I actually find myself snacking less (which also means less money spent on packaged items!)
Use an Online Grocer
Of course we still want yummy snacks or convenient salad dressings when we crave them (right?!) Using an online grocer to find products with cleaner ingredients is so, so convenient if you don’t have a grocery store nearby! I personally love Thrive because the prices are affordable, they have healthy staples, and I know I can always grab a few extra fun products to try. Here’s a few others with high reputations: (Most I have tried)
When you do make that grocery haul to the store that has a few more options, or buy from an online grocer, stock up! This makes it so much easier for dinners, lunches, etc. and will keep you motivated to stay right on track with your healthy habits. Another trick I’ve learned: If you have excess fresh items such as meats, fish, fruits, greens, throw them in the freezer to make them last longer.