Consider a real food challenge to help keep you and your family focused on eating the foods that are the very best for your bodies.
Real food—what does that mean anyway?
If you’ve been following the blog 100 Days of Real Food like me, then you’re probably already familiar with the term “real food.”
If you’re not familiar, I’m talking about unprocessed, whole, natural, organic-when-possible foods.
During a Real Food Challenge, you’re only supposed to say “Yes” to certain foods (many found at South Mountain Creamery). Things like whole foods that are more a product of nature, rather than industry, and includes lots of fruits and veggies.
If you eat dairy, you’ll want to focus on whole milk, whole milk yogurt and whole milk cheese (notice a theme?) and grains should be one hundred percent whole-wheat and whole-grains.
As far as meat and seafood go, fish and shellfish should preferably be wild-caught. Choose locally-raised meats like pork, beef and chicken and eat them in moderation.
Your beverages need to be limited to water, milk, all-natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee and tea. Wine and beer are fine.
If you’re looking for stuff to munch on, look for go-to snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and homemade popcorn.
Make sure to have all-natural sweeteners on hand, including honey (look for local honey!), pure maple syrup and fruit juice concentrates, and use them in moderation.
These “yes” foods are based on 100 Days of Real Food principles, and the 100 Days of Real Food Recipes & Resources page has other great real food ideas and recipes to go with them.
So, then, what are the “no” foods?
Many of the products considered “everyday” foods in a lot of households (ours, too) are on the “no” list for the Real Food Challenge and often include refined grains like white rice or white flour (this is the hardest for us), as well as refined sweeteners like white sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice and artificial sweeteners.
The easiest thing to do is to avoid anything out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than five whole-food ingredients listed on the label, and watch out for deep fried foods and commercial fast food.
It can sound really overwhelming and even though it’s a tough challenge, it’s also one that’s worth trying. Plus, even though it can seem like forever, those thirty days will fly by—you can do anything for thirty days, right?