Steps To Cut Out Processed Foods

Sometimes it’s good for our bodies to cut out processed foods every once in awhile. It’s easier to take small steps rather than doing it all at once. Here are some great tips by Lisa Leake to cut out processed foods in weeks.

Week one: Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.

Week two: Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup)

Week three: All meat consumed this week will be locally raised and will be limited to 3-4 times per week

Week four: No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Week five: Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

Week six: Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”

Week seven: All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.

Week eight: Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.

Week nine: No refined or artificial sweeteners.

Week ten: No refined or hydrogenated oil

Week eleven: Eat at least 1 locally grown or raised food at each meal.

Week twelve: Avoid all added sweeteners.

Week thirteen: Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than five ingredients no matter what ingredients

clean eating

Author: Lisa Leake– Lisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, and blogger who chronicles her family’s journey on as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. Projects include a 100-day pledge to avoid all processed foods and refined ingredients as well as another 100-day pledge on a food stamp budget. Leake’s award-winning blog is receiving national attention from big names like Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver, and Yahoo! and has also been turned into a nationally syndicated newspaper column.

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40 thoughts on “Steps To Cut Out Processed Foods

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  2. This definitely seems doable. I’m going to give it a try. I’ve been eating very much emotionally for the last 7 months since my Dad had several strokes and became very ill. I’ve been wanting to eat better but have been overwhelmed by the thought of it all quite frankly. This looks like a plan I can follow and feel good about. Clean eating here I come… 🙂

    • It should be but most people have gone so long ignori it that they don’t know what it actually feels like, particularly if you eat processed food. I’m guessing by week 8 you will be more in tune with your body.

  3. Avoid all foods with monosodium glutamate or modified food starch. Let the manufacturers know why you no longer purchase their products. It is not a safe additive, but causes many problems.

  4. Do I build on each week, meaning once I’ve completed week one and enter week two should I still be eating two fruits and vegetables with each meal?

  5. Just curious, because I saw somewhere else yesterday, what is wrong with “lite, low fat, reduced fat” foods? Thanks for a great list!

    • Lara,

      There’s nothing wrong with lite, low fat, reduced fat foods– you just have to watch because in these foods they usually add more sugars/sodium/calories. The same goes for any label that says “low sugar” “low calorie” “low sodium” etc. in foods that are processed– it simply means there is more added to usually the calories, sugar, sodium, or fat.

  6. I am trying to go “clean” with my meals. I’ve organized my panty and fridge to include more fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains. Step by step I’m reducing the amount of processed foods I consume.

  7. I love that this is so simple and doable. I will definitely be trying it out! The seasons changing seems like the perfect time and it may make me a little more responsible come the holiday-time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I pinned this article a while ago, but just read it today. I’m happy to say I only need to include step 9, 11, 12 & 13 into my current food intake. The ingredient list idea is great, for the past year I’ve been really aware of how many unnecessary items are added. It can be hard to find yogurt or sour cream with only 2 or 3 ingredients!! I’ve been readying your blog for a few weeks and love it already! Thanks !!

  10. You do know that coffee and tea are bad for you too, right? I’m surprised the article is about “clean eating” but it doesn’t mention at least limiting coffee and tea consumption. I would eliminate coffee altogether and choose to drink herbal tea only.

    • Coffee’s not bad for you, if you only drink 1 or 2 cups a day and you don’t add any creamer to it, or you use healthier sweeteners and limit them.Tea’s are also good for you as well you just have to limit your cups a day so as to not consume too much caffeine. Make sure that the tea is unsweetened also.

  11. Thank you for this post. I pinned this on my blog. I want all of my friends and family to be happy and healthy. Thanks again for sharing. Now, you will have a few more friends enjoying your blog. Thanks again!!

  12. About week 13, a maximum 5 ingredients in pre-packages foods, what if you are buying a bag of trail mix or a soup mix? Something with more than 5 (but still natural) indgredients?

    • trail mixes in general even “natural” are full of sodium and sugar as well as soup mixes. You have to remember if it says natural it doesn’t mean natural. It’s a marketing scheme they use now to fool consumers to think it’s healthier when in fact it’s not. Best bet is to make your own trail mix and make your own soups. If it’s the “easy part” of pre packaged you are wanting try make things the night before.

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  15. Great Tips Danielle.. I shared it too as I am trying to cut out the processed foods. Sometimes processed foods may be quick for on-the-go to get something to eat but I am learning in the Long Run it helps Pack on the Pounds!

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  17. I love this – it’s totally do-able and allows people to develop these things at habits rather than giving them rules. Small steps each week = big results! Thanks for sharing!

  18. I’m just wondering, if i’m done with the week 1, can i stop in the week 2? Or like if im done with the week 9, can i eat whats in it (in week 9) in the week 10 OR continue the challenge since the day you started it in the week 1 (eating fruits every meal) until to the very last? (I’m very sorry for my bad english)

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