What Is a Whole Foods Diet? Meal Plans & Shopping List
If you have ever read a health or diet blog, you must have seen the term ‘whole foods’ pretty much everywhere. Most people casually throw this word around without knowing its real meaning. In this guide, we’ll talk about ‘what is a whole foods diet’ and what it means to consume whole foods.
Plus, we will help you devise a sample grocery list for shopping if you want to go on a whole foods diet. Having said that, let’s talk about this diet and who it is good for.
What is a Whole Foods Diet?
To put it simply, whole foods refer to foods that are the closest to the form in which they exist in nature. Basically, there are no added flavorings, starches, or sugars in these foods. Therefore, these foods are the opposite of what we call processed foods and they are made in factories.
That’s why they are considered much healthier than processed foods. While these foods are rich in natural ingredients, processed foods contain artificial flavoring agents, coloring chemicals, and a lot more that are not necessarily needed by or for the body.
More importantly, whole foods are not addictive. One of the things that most people do not understand is that processed foods are designed to be addictive. That is why you tend to eat a lot of sugars despite wanting to stop eating them.
If you choose to eat a whole foods diet, you will notice a healthy change in your body. Plus, your diet will be higher in fiber, which is good news for your digestive system. On top of that, this diet is more natural than the junk food or processed foods you get ready-made from the market.
Some people refer to a whole foods diet as eating clean. Here’s the thing: there are no rules on how you curate a whole foods diet. The basic necessity, in this case, is to ensure you’re not eating processed foods.
Some diets that can be considered close to the whole foods diet include the TLC Diet and the flexitarian diet.
What Can You Eat On a Whole Foods Diet?
Now that you know what is a whole foods diet, it’s important to know what you can and cannot eat when you are on this diet. The general idea of this diet is to make sure you are eating whole foods.
For instance, instead of making potato chips, you should eat potatoes. Similarly, you should not make chicken nuggets and rather eat chicken breast. Can you see a point? The aim here is to eat foods in their closest to natural form rather than processing them by frying, cutting, or reshaping, etc.
It is also important to know that when you go shopping for groceries, you should steer clear of foods that contain processed ingredients, such as coloring or flavoring agents. Instead, you should focus on eating foods that are natural and haven’t been processed in any way. Here are some foods you can eat on a whole foods diet:
Along with this, you should also know about the foods that you cannot eat on a whole foods diet. First of all, you need to give up on all the sodas since they are not only making you obese but are also unhealthy for your body.
Additionally, you should not eat foods that are rich in sugars or artificial preservatives. Keep in mind that these foods are considered processed since they have been changed or altered in some way from their natural form.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the things you can eat and others that you cannot eat when on a whole foods diet.
What to Eat
- You should eat fruits and veggies since they are not only healthy for you but are also in their most natural forms.
- You should also eat beans and seeds since they are rich sources of protein. Make sure you buy them fresh.
- Milk is also a good whole food. Keep in mind that you should not add it to a cake or cornflakes to drink it. Instead, drink it right from the bottle in its closest to natural form.
- Similarly, you can eat organic seafood, poultry, and meat as per your preferences.
- If you want, a few minimally processed foods won’t hurt every once in a while.
What Not to Eat
- Do not go into a supermarket and pick up a pack of pre-made food as this is not good for your body or in accordance with your whole foods diet.
- You should also not eat heavily processed foods. Again, cake is a good example in this regard since it is a processed form of a lot of ingredients, including sugar and milk.
- You should also not eat refined carbohydrates since they are rich in calories and are not in their natural forms.
- Similarly, do not eat foods that have added sugars or artificial sugars since they are also processed.
What About Poultry and Meat?
Now, here’s the gray area in the whole foods diet. Some people do not want to eat meat and poultry products since they contain hormones and antibiotics. Thus, in a way, they have been processed from their natural form.
However, on the other hand, some people tend to opt for the organic options of these foods. So, at the end of the day, it comes to your personal preferences. If you want to eat meat and poultry but do not want to consume their processed forms, you should get them from a farmer’s market or a store that sells organic produce.
One of the reasons some people end up adding processed foods to their shopping carts is that they do not know how to differentiate between processed and whole foods. We have curated a sample shopping list for such people.
The next time you head out for grocery shopping, you should keep this list in mind:
- Leafy Greens: These are very important for your body since they are healthy and also give you the fiber content your digestive system needs. Make sure to add kale, spinach, and other greens to your shopping cart.
- Veggies: While you’re at, make sure you also put some veggies in your cart. Some good options include bell peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and carrots. If you have a preference, you can also eat it once a week.
- Fruits: One of the things to keep in mind about fruits is that the fresher they are, the better they will be for you. Some good fruits to make a part of your diet are bananas, oranges, berries, and apples.
- Healthy Fats: Let’s erase this misconception once and for all. Fats are not all bad. Some fats are not only good but also necessary for your body. So, if you are not consuming enough fats, you are depriving your body of essential nutrients. Some good fats to add to your diet include walnuts, chia seeds, olive oil, avocados, and almonds.
- Dairy Products: If you’re a fan of dairy, make sure to put parmesan, feta cheese, and Greek yogurt in your cart. You will surely be overwhelmed by the number of recipes online that include Greek yogurt. Plus, it will be the best breakfast snack if you are on a whole foods diet.
- Legumes: Dry legumes should also be a part of your diet if you want to follow a whole foods diet. Some options include lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. You can cook all these foods in a lot of different ways, so there is surely room for variety there.
- Grains: When you are on a whole foods diet, make sure to eat whole grains too since they are imperative. Some good options include brown rice, barley, and quinoa. If you are currently eating white rice, maybe switch it to brown rice.
- Fish: Fish is a rich source of protein and fatty acids. You should try to eat a fish item at least once a week. Some options include salmon, cod, and shrimp.
Drawbacks of Whole Foods Diet
Sure enough, eating a whole foods diet is really good for your body and much better than eating processed foods. However, it has some drawbacks that you should know about.
First of all, a whole food diet will be expensive since these foods are costlier than their processed counterparts. Secondly, eating processed foods is more convenient, especially if you’re a busy person. On the other hand, you would have to plan and prepare whole foods, which will add another task to your daily life.
At the end of the day, it is important to find a balance since your body needs all kinds of foods. Yes, you should be eating healthy but that does not mean depriving your body of ice cream or french fries every once in a while.
Your aim should be to eat healthily. Plus, you should make sure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.