Clean Eating {Foodie Friday}

May 16, 2014

Instead of focusing on a particular recipe today, fellow MSWB gal Annalee Patrick from Life is Good Today blogged about Clean Eating. She breaks down what it means, why it’s good for us and how we can get the lifestyle change started.

If you would like to share how you menu plan, clean eat or meal prep, let us know and we would love to share your tips and tricks!

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Atkins. The Cabbage Soup Diet. The Zone. Sugar Busters. Slim Fast. Jenny Craig. The Raw Food Diet. Eat Like a Caveman. Paleo. Juicing. Gluten-Free.

eat clean

There have been a host of fad diets over the years, but it seems as though 2013 had more diet trends than any year thus far. One of them? Clean eating. It may seem like another trend, but “clean eating” is actually just a specific term for eating healthily.

The principles of clean eating are simple:

1)   Drink lots of water (and don’t drink your calories)

2)   Avoid junk (i.e. processed foods)

3)   Eat small meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism going

The goal for clean-eaters is not necessarily to lose weight but to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle. They eat lots of things from the earth (fruits, vegetables, grains) and meat. They avoid labels with long ingredient lists and anything with three or less ingredients is ideal. The basic rule of thumb is if it can go bad, it’s good for you. If it can’t, stay away from it.

bad food

Some of the obvious options for clean eating are fruits, vegetables, and meat because there is only one ingredient in those items.  There are, however, plenty of other options to keep your tummy entertained: quinoa, steel-cut oats, honey, nuts, whole grain wraps, eggs, and Greek yogurt.

You might have to make some substitutions here or there, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. Try substituting yogurt for sour cream, applesauce for oil in baking, or oats for breadcrumbs in meatloaf. Thinking you can’t kick your sweet tooth? Sprinkle banana slices with cinnamon and honey and bake until brown or add smoothies into your morning routine.

eat real food

You have to be extremely disciplined to maintain any healthy lifestyle; however, I have found one surefire way to keep me in line… meal prepping. I could write a whole other blog post on weekly meal prep because I believe it is the basis for staying on track. Because my husband travels a good bit (plus I teach all day, work out every afternoon, then pick up my kids just in time to get them fed and bathed), I don’t have much spare time for myself. I used to either scrape by on the leftovers from my kids’ dinner or binge after they went to bed.

A few months ago, I saw many of my friends posting about making their meals for the week ahead of time. DUH! So each Sunday I devote time to getting everything ready for the week. This week I’m feasting on spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and light tomato sauce along with steamed broccoli. Last weekend I cooked everything and divided it into five containers. Voila! Lunch for the week. It’s a lot easier to avoid fast food or spontaneous lunch dates when you already have a plan.

meal prep

Clean eating requires the same discipline and lifestyle change. Choosing to eat clean means picking only the freshest, healthiest ingredients. You will become very conscious of what goes into your body. Where a Lean Cuisine might have seemed like a decent choice for lunch before, you will now be painfully aware of every additive in that perfectly portioned pre-packaged meal. They include partially hydrogenated or fractionated oils (i.e. trans fat), which are bad for your heart, and tons of sodium for preservation.

If you don’t already, start paying attention to the labels when you’re shopping. Try to buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or frozen, and avoid processed and refined foods. You will feel so much better!

I have come across several clean eating blogs and recipe sites, including Clean Eating Mag, The Gracious Pantry, Clean Eating Chelsey, and Funeral For My Fat. Pinterest is also a great resource for finding ideas and recipes to get started eating clean. Try CoachMMorris’ clean eating board, Eating Well, and Nichole’s Clean Eating Board.

food heart

headshot_2012Annalee Patrick is a masters degree-educated stay-at-home mom turned school teacher. She enjoys traveling with her husband, crafting, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her rascals. Visit aarpatrick.blogspot.com for recipes, travel tips, craft projects, and family updates.

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