In her new book, Unprocessed, author Megan Kimble shares the story of what it was like to spend an entire year ditching processed food and finding affordable ways to embrace clean eating.
She admitted that it wasn’t easy, “But I found that once I got going and formed new habits and figured out favorite meals, it became automatic.”
Kimble also shared her favorite tips for living la vida “Unprocessed,” listed below:
Read the label on everything you buy
“If the ingredient list contains a word you don’t really know, the food is probably processed,” Kimble advises. Think additives like modified food starch, soy lecithin, and xanthan gum, and added sugars and artificial sweeteners such as dextrose and high fructose corn syrup. Mustard, marinara sauce, and salad dressing are often surprising sources, she notes, adding, “Luckily these foods are easy—and cheaper!—to make at home.”
For more on that, check out my tips on how to read a nutrition label.
Pick up single-ingredient foods
Buying products with only one ingredient (like milk, oats, honey, and fruit) is the simplest way to avoid emulsifiers, preservatives, and other additives. Says Kimble: “These whole foods are 100 percent real.”
For a better deal, try to purchase them in bulk!
Create versions of your favorite unprocessed treats
Rather than trying to conquer your cravings, satisfy them with healthier options. “I personally have a raging sweet tooth,” Kimble notes. “But instead of chocolate chip cookies, my former snack of choice, I’ll reach for a banana with almond butter, or some yogurt with honey and fruit.” Do you crave salty foods? Try homemade kale chips or roasted sweet potato fries.
For a little insight into how I make my sweet potato frites, check out my savory recipe here!
Join a CSA
“I found that Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs offer the best organic and local bang for your buck,” Kimble notes. “My produce conveniently comes with a newsletter featuring recipes that incorporate vegetables from that week’s box.”
Websites like LocalHarvest.org will help you locate both CSAs and Farmer’s Markets in your local community, and you’ll often find that CSAs will take food stamps/SNAP funds and even offer SNAP users a discount (sometimes around half off) to join!
Prepare food in bulk
It saves money and time, and ensures you have unprocessed options at the ready, Kimble says. Roast veggies at the beginning of the week, make a big batch of grains, cook dried beans in your crockpot, or keep cornmeal on hand for quick polenta.
And, lastly, check out my post on how I bought food for 3 for under $85 at Whole Foods, including all-organic veggies! I talk a bit about cooking in bulk in there, as well!