Clean Eating began in the 1960’s and has dribbled along among fitness buffs for years and has finally made it’s way to mainstream America. I’ve read several articles and most tell you to stay away from this and that but don’t tell you what TO eat.
Step 1. Ditch the processed foods. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you probably shouldn’t eat it.. This one I struggle with. My father-in-law likes to spoil my kids by getting them their favorite junk snacks and cookies. There are people out there that will probably call me a bad mom and say I should throw out the food but if you saw my kids you might chill out. Not one of them is in any danger of being obese. My 10 year old son has bones sticking out of weird places due to his dad’s hereditary high metabolism. It’s me that needs to shed the weight so they can eat the Fruit Loops and I’ll eat egg whites (belch).
Step 2. Beef up the veggies. Veggies are loaded with vitamins and fiber to keep bones strong and keep your belly full while keeping your calorie count low. Celery and natural peanut butter or carrots and hummus are great snacks. I love adding onions and peppers to my eggs. Of course fresh veggies are always better but if you’re like me and only go grocery shopping about once a month keep this in mind- fresh, frozen, canned. Right now we have lots of fresh veggies in the fridge because we went shopping last week. Next week we’ll hit the frozen stash and at the end of the month break into the cans.
Step 3. Change saturated fats to healthy fats. Saturated fats are found in butter, meats and cheese. Try using olive oil, canola oil, fatty fish and nuts. When I go to the store, I buy canola oil. When Hubby goes, he buys vegetable oil. He also grew up in a Southern family where his mom fried a lot. I grew up in a Yankee family that didn’t fry anything. I’m not really sure about switching mayo for avocado and cream cheese for peanut butter but I’m not really a cheese person so I wouldn’t mind having nuts on my salad instead. It takes an open mind.
Step 4. Reduce alcohol intake. Ummm, excuse me? I’m not an alcoholic but I am a mom of four. When people say, “I don’t know how you do it!” I’m not kidding when I say, “Alcohol.” LOL We can still have one drink per day (depending on which clean eating plan you follow). I won’t tell you the size of the Screwdriver I used to drink 7 nights a week but have cut down to weekends. My ‘one drink’ varies a little from the recommended one drink which is 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of liquor or 12 oz of beer. A friend of mine recently discovered she lost a few pounds when she didn’t drink beer for a few days. She switched to vodka and club soda. 😉
Step 5. Kiss the sweet stuff good-bye. The American Heart Association recommends 6 tbsp of sugar for women and 9 tbsp for men. This has been one of the easiest things for me to cut out. I still have soda now and then and may steal a cookie but I no longer crave candy bars, cake, ice cream and candy except last night because I was sick all day and hadn’t eaten anything but broccoli cheese soup. My strawberry swirl ice cream was yummy with a crushed Oreo). My indulgence is Publix fat free yogurt with banana and strawberry which apparently isn’t good for me to eat but it sounds healthy so I eat it anyway.
Step 6. Shake the salt. The daily recommended amount is 1 tsp. Processed foods are loaded with salt. Before you zap that Lean Cuisine in the microwave, check the amount of sodium first. I know it’s quicker to make tacos and mac and cheese out of the box but it’s much healthier to make it from scratch. This is something I’m getting much better at but my kids will not touch homemade mac. They prefer the icky Kraft stuff. Be careful on how much salt you reduce though. I cut out salt completely a couple of years ago while working out with a trainer and was getting light headed during workouts. She told me to add a small amount of salt back in and it made a world of difference. There are lots of seasonings out there you can substitute like Mrs. Dash.
Step 7. Look for ‘whole’ grains that still contain the bran and germ. Eating whole grains can help cut down on belly fat which a lot of us women have issues with. My kids will eat whole wheat spaghetti but Hubby notices the difference. I buy either honey wheat or whole wheat (depends on Publix’s BOGO) and am surprised the kids eat either- I grew up on white bread. If you are a gluten-free family, more and more foods are ditching the gluten. There’s a gluten-free pizza place in SoHo and I saw gluten-free pasta at Publix last week.
Step 8. Save the cows and chickens! If you can stomach veggie lasagna and tofu, have at it. We eat meat almost every night but not in big portions- I’m actually surprised at how little my family eats. If it’s larger than the palm of your hand, it’s larger than the recommended serving. Picture a deck of cards and search for lean meats.
Step 9. Fruit picking time! Fruit is one of the easiest changes to make. It’s sweet and most fruits are eat ready once they get a quick shower. Fruits, like veggies, are loaded with vitamins and are a great snack after lunch. It’s not very difficult to eat 1.5 to 2 cups per day.
Step 10. Cut out refined grains. Cutting out white flour should be one of the easiest changes in eating clean. Grab a peach instead of a Little Debbie or fresh cucumber slices instead of crackers.
I hope this helps a little if you’ve been wondering what the whole clean eating thing was about. I know I learned a lot! Below are articles I used for this post and a challenge for you if you think you can Clean Eat cold turkey.
Buzzfeed Challenge (I got to the NO BOOZE part and quit reading lol)