Clean eating {getting started}

Last week I shared how I need to get back to clean eating so that I can get back on track with my health.  I invited you to join me too, if you’d like!

Before we go too much further, let me share that the information that I am sharing today is not new.  You can find this information all over the internet.  I’ll even share some links to my Pinterest pages where I’ve been collecting links to information on clean eating.  But I’m going to summarize some of the information on clean eating and share how it works in my life.

What is clean eating?

As with the name, you focus on eating “clean”.  Basically, you try to eat food as close to the natural form as possible.  You want to avoid or minimize foods that are processed or refined.  Here are a few things to remember when eating clean:

  • Choose foods as close to its natural state as possible as opposed to processed foods.
  • Eliminate white sugars and choose sugars like honey and pure maple syrup.
  • Choose whole grains like brown rice instead of refined grains like white rice.
  • Include all food groups into your diet and on your plate.  You should have protein, carbs, and healthy fats in your meal plan.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables.  I shoot for five servings of vegetables a day and two to three servings of fruit.
  • Be careful what you drink!  Water is best.  (Though I will admit to drinking sparkling water drinks sweetened with artificial sweetener.  But I still take in a good amount of plain water.)
I try to eat five servings of veggies a day. The dressings I use are not considered clean but I try to get yogurt based dressings since they are a bit healthier than the norm.
I try to eat five servings of veggies a day. The dressings I use are not considered clean but I try to get yogurt based dressings since they are a bit healthier than the norm.  I’m just not a fan of oil or balsamic vinegar on my salads.

Why clean eating?

For me, clean eating eliminates sugar which is the main culprit of my weight gain.  Also after eating this way, I begin to feel so much better and have a lot more energy to get through the day.

How do you get started with clean eating?

Many proponents of clean eating will tell you to eliminate all processed foods from your kitchen.  Since I have kids, it’s really hard for me to do that.  So I’m going to skip that step while not bringing in foods that I have trouble resisting like chips and soda.  And one thing I must do is bring in food that is on plan for me to eat. 

When I shop for my clean eating diet, I am going to avoid buying foods that are processed.  There will not be many packaged foods for me.  However, I do buy bags of spinach, broccoli slaw, and chopped salad.  These are still on plan and yet very convenient for me during the busy homeschool lunch time.

As for the other foods, I buy them in as natural of a state as possible.   A few ideas are listed below:

  • Proteins:  fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, eggs
  • Carbs:  whole grain bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain pastas and tortillas, beans
  • Fats:  coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, nuts
  • Fruits and Vegetables:  Load them into the shopping cart!
Broccoli slaw is a great addition to a salad and it makes for a quick stir fry too!
Broccoli slaw is a great addition to a salad and it makes for a quick stir fry too!

Do I eat clean 100% of the time?

No, I don’t.  When I am eating clean I do partake of foods that are not on the clean eating lists.  I like salad but I’m not a big fan of just pouring on oil or balsamic vinegar, so I will buy dressing.  I do try to find yogurt based dressings with lower calories but this is an area where I break the rules.

I’m also a fan of sparkling water.  But I do want my sparkling water to have a little sweetness so I choose drinks with artificial sweeteners.  (They do make some without sweeteners but yuck, in my opinion.).  My favorite is the Ice drink (especially the Cherry Limeade!)

And my favorite snack is hummus with vegetables or a tortilla.  Hummus is not an awful thing to have though it is maybe a bit more processed than clean eating guidelines would have.  When I need a little sweet snack, I will usually grab an apple with peanut butter or a small piece of Trim Healthy Mama’s skinny chocolate with peanut butter.

The most important part of clean eating for me is to have a plan and be prepared.  Otherwise, I will just eat whatever is around.  Next time, we will talk about planning and preparing for no-fail clean eating!

My lunch yesterday was not 100% clean. The kids had nachos so I had a serving of the ground turkey taco meat, some beans, and a chopped salad. I add a bit of cheese and dressing that was not clean. It's not pure but a step in the right direction.
My lunch yesterday was not 100% clean. The kids had nachos so I had a serving of the ground turkey taco meat, some beans, and a chopped salad. I added a bit of cheese and dressing that was not clean. It’s not pure but a step in the right direction.

For more information and ideas

I’m including links to my Pinterest boards for clean eating and the 21 Day Fix since it focuses on clean eating so you can research a little more if you’d like.

Clean Eating Pinterest board

21 Day Fix Pinterest board

 

Homework

If you’d like to join me for the clean eating challenge, here’s a little homework for you before next week:

  1.  Research the food lists that I’ve listed above and the lists on the Pinterest links.  Make a list of clean foods that you wouldn’t mind eating.
  2.  Focus this week on eliminating processed foods from your diet – particularly the sugar in your diet.  I promise this one step makes so much difference in how I feel.
  3. Think of the area that is usually your weakest and you seem to cave in to not so healthy food…for me, it is the afternoon hour before dinner.  We will think of ways to be prepared for that time of weakness.

Next week we will meet back and talk about planning and prepping for a week of clean eating.  We want to set ourselves up for success by being prepared!

 

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