Yesterday I wrote about what clean eating is. Today I wanted to share with you my tips for making clean eating easier in your own house.
First off, since there is no definite definition of “clean eating” you need to figure out how you define “clean eating.” I define it as taking anything processed, enriched, full of chemicals, or refined out of your diet. Basically, I avoid feeding my family anything that is not natural (i.e. it must come from nature or animal). I would also like to point out that I’m not a dietitian…Just a mom trying to keep her family healty.
Tip #1: Read the Ingredients
Avoid packaged foods containing ingredients you would not normally keep in your pantry. Avoid any food that has high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list and the word hydrogenated. Those two ingredients are beyond bad. As for all those other crazy ingredients dipotassium, ethoxylated diglycerides, Ammonium sulfate, etc.…Don’t know what these ingredients are? Neither do I. That’s why I don’t eat them! Heck, I cannot even pronounce them!
Tip #2: Eat healthy fruits, veggies, lean meats, and seafood.
I don’t think I need to list all of these for you. They all go great when put together in a meal, so have a great time cooking and eating them.
Tip #3: Take your time to sit down and plan your menu and grocery shopping list for the week.
I know you are busy and it takes time to figure out what you will feed yourself and your family for the week. Sometimes you just swing by the store on the way home and grab something frozen to heat up. Please stop doing this. The ingredients in those frozen meals are slowly killing you. By planning out your meals and snacks you will get a chance to look over the ingredients in your recipes and decide if they are “clean” or just processed/chemicalized junk.
Tip #4: Nothing White
When it comes to food, white is synonymous with refined, processed, enriched, etc. That means all those good nutrients have been wiped out of your food item so that it looks pleasing to the eye. Again, read those ingredient lists. You want flours and items made with flours to say unenriched or 100% whole wheat flour. If it says enriched put it back.
Tip #5: No Alcohol (so some say)
This one is a bit different depending on what “clean eating authority” you subscribe to. Some say that some wines, hard liquors, and beers that are not chemicalized and don’t have sugars added to them are okay. Others say no alcohol at all. The jury is still out on this one, so all I can say is this…Alcohol is just empty calories, so drink wisely and with moderation. And yes, I still have a drink here and there.
Tip #6: Your Clean Eating Budget
Somewhere along the lines produce was the cheapest thing to buy in the grocery store. Sadly this is no longer the case. Like you, I freak out when I see that a small pack of blueberries costs $5.97! So, what to do…First, focus on eating produce that is “in season.” That is where your cheapest items will be. Second, if available, shop at farmers markets. There you will find fresh produce that costs so much less than the grocery store. Third, buy in bulk if you can, because it is cheaper. Then make large meals for the freezer. Fourth, bake your own bread. You will save a butt load of money by doing this. I know you are rolling your eyes at me, and saying, “When do I have time for that!?!”. There is time, and I know you will find it. The cost of 100% whole wheat bread in stores is ridiculous! I make our own for about $0.32 a loaf! My bread maker paid for itself in less than 6 months. Finally, as I said earlier, make your meals from scratch and plan them out for the week.
Tip #7: Take your time and be patient.
Take your time to adjust to this new style of eating. It is about taking baby steps to begin with. Start off by trying to branch out once or twice a week with a new recipe that uses whole foods to create a “clean” or healthy meal. This way you don’t feel so much pressure to begin with.
Now, I know what it is like to pace the house at night wanting something sweet or salty that is totally bad for you. Instead, when you feel like splurging look at your recipes or find some on Pinterest. Most recipes can be converted into “clean eating” recipes. That means you get to keep those special treats in your lives! No one has taken my chocolate cake from me! Instead, I make a “clean” version that tastes great and fills my sweet tooth (remember to eat in moderation). I’ve also made clean baked doughnuts too! I’m still working on a “clean” watermelon martini recipe
Tip #8: Clean Eating = Nutrient Dense Foods
Your favorite grocery store is packed with all sorts of junk foods – some more obvious than others. Know that most often the simpler the list of ingredients, the better the food. Make sure the simple foods you choose are also nutritious. Remember, choose simple nutrient-rich, unprocessed ingredients.
There are a ton of great books, magazines, cook books, blogs, etc. all dedicated to clean eating. Please check them out and do your own research too. After all, it is your life and you are in control of it! Here are some of my favorite blogs on clean eating: