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How giving up “real food” made our family healthier

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I have a confession.

At the beginning of this year, I decided I was done with “real food.” Just done.

Done reading labels. I was done feeling like I needed to make everything from scratch. Done worrying over every little thing that passed through our kitchen or ended up in our stomachs.

I was tired of the pressure, stress, and guilt.

So I decided to give up real food.

Not the actual food itself but the goal of a perfectly real food diet.

I honestly think I had my mom and more than one friend worried when I declared my intentions. Still, a funny thing happened: Without the pressure of a perfect diet (or even trying to maintain a magical 80/20 ratio), we’ve actually been eating better, but without the guilt.

There are a few decidedly non-real food staples in my kitchen these days: lunch meat, crescent roll dough, and frozen French fries. But knowing I have these shortcuts available makes it easier for me to come up with a meal without worrying about making every little part from scratch.

Knowing there are French fries means I can focus on the main dish without making time to prepare a side dish (my hubby isn’t a fan of fresh veggies, which we also have with almost every meal).

I can add taco meat or healthy sloppy joe filling to crescent rolls to make a quick, filling meal.

And lunch meat gives us a quick on-the-go meal option, so we’re not resorting to fast food.

Is our diet perfect? No, not by a long stretch.

But it turns out we’re actually eating much better than we were when I tried to do it “perfectly.”

And that’s a win!

Are unrealistic standards actually hurting your family’s eating habits?