Here are two quick steps to get you started. I won't go into to much detail yet.
Step one: PURGE!
This is the hardest step of them all. But you can't eat it if you don't have it! So if it's not a whole food, THROW IT OUT (or give it away!)
A few weeks ago, my cabinet was full of rice, pasta, and baking ingredients. After handing these out to my roommates like Oprah's big giveaway, all I had was some garlic and maybe an onion.
What are you getting rid of?
Any refined grains. (bread, muffins, pasta, tortillas, crackers, cereal, etc)
Any whole grains. (rice, corn, barley, oats, quinoa, etc)
Any foods that have been through a factory before getting to you.
Any pre-packaged or pre-made meals. (granola bars, chips, hot pockets, pot pies, mac&cheese, etc)
Basically anything that is not a whole food.
Now at this point--if you are like me--you're wondering what how the hell you're going to survive. I'm a cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner kind of girl.
Don't worry, you will survive. Just bear with me.
Step two: Gather your basics.
By basics, I'm referring to your cooking oils, seasonings, etc.
Coconut Oil (my new favorite!)
These are the ones I personally use the most, but this list can go on forever. Follow your own taste buds. Spices will become your best friend. I used to sprinkle cheese on EVERYTHING for flavor. This is a habit I will have to break.
Some handy basic foods I always have around
Bacon (save the fat!)
Onions (yellow, white)
Fresh Basil (for flavoring ANYTHING)
Blueberries (in season)
Frozen chicken breasts (extremely useful on a college budget)
Something green - spinach, kale, chard (you can throw these onto any meal)
I constantly have these basic foods in my pantry/fridge. You can combine them a hundred different ways to make quick, cheap meals.
Listen to your tummy! If something on here doesn't agree with you then don't force it down. Find an alternative.
And be patient with yourself! This is a BIG change and it's hard to drop the old eating habits. So don't freak out if you accidentally buy a snack bag of Cheetos because they were only a dollar and you're just used to eating them. (oops!)
Hopefully this helps you get started!
It's scary, isn't it? I'm lonely without my mac&cheese and I'd kill for a quesadilla right now.
Next time I'll explain why we're giving up what we're giving up and why it will be better to eat the things we will start eating.