With the growing awareness on health and fitness, clean eating has been one of the attractions for celebrities, youngsters, and older generation to seek a better lifestyle. Clean eating is eating whole foods that are as close to nature and being minimal or totally unprocessed, refined or preserved. (Count me in!)
While modern food and scrumptious recipes have made clean eating quite a challenge, families are trying various means to adapt clean eating habits. I have prepared a whole list of things that you can buy or eat to pursue this habit. Keep this list in your wallet, or take a snapshot on your phone to have a look at it next time when you go grocery shopping.
All sorts of fresh fruits are clean. Fruits like apples, peaches, grapes and strawberries can be taken in organic form. If you wish to have canned fruits, frozen fruits and dried fruits make sure they come without sugar or preservatives. (Hint: it shouldn’t say “in light or heavy syrup”. ) Skip the fruit juices or juicing though because eating the entire fruit gives you it’s full nutritional value including the fiber!
Vegetables are vital when you are following a clean eating regimen. They contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and most of them are low in calories. (Win-Win!) So you can have plenty of them in your meals and munch on them during hunger attacks. Peppers, potatoes (hello resistant starch), and celery can be taken in the organic form. If you are buying frozen or canned vegetables, they too are healthy but watch out for the salt and sauce they add to flavor it up. Also make sure you’ve got a BPA free lining! What we do for vegetables is buy them in bulk at Costco, wash then freeze them ourselves!
Healthy Whole Grains
All whole grains, such as barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, farro, millet are unprocessed and super clean. When you wish to buy whole-grain products, you can purchase whole-wheat versions of pasta, bread, muffins, or pizza dough with no salt and sugar in it. If you crave popcorn, buy the kernels that contain no additives or butter and can easily be made on the stove. If you want to buy flour, however, I’d opt for oat flour or nut flour like almond or coconut!
When you are looking for proteins, get leaner meat for your meals, including chicken breasts, chicken thigh, and lean ground beef, even if you buy grass fed. By purchasing these lean you are in control of how much fat you’d like to add to the meal. Try extra lean meats then add your favorite fats such as butter, ghee, coconut oil or avocado oil to up the nutrients. In clean eating, say no to processed foods such as salami, pepperoni, bologna and hot dogs as they are high in sodium, preservatives and artificial colors. Fish and Shellfish can be another brilliant choice in clean eating. Fish such as Pacific Cod, Wild Salmon, and Tuna contains hearty healthy omega fats and can be better choices. Eggs are super clean (and cheap)! Eat the whole egg!
Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds are healthy too if you eat them in moderation! (Hint: they are easy to overeat so preportion them into snack bags so you know when to stop! In our home, we eat all sorts of nuts and seeds including cashews, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, etc. You can also have plain nut butter, without added sugars, such as almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, and tahini. We like Justin’s!
Condiments, Spices and Natural Sweeteners:
All herbs and spices are clean if they are fresh and bulk packets. Seasoned packets are not clean (aka premade taco seasoning). Avoid blends of herbs and spices, with added sugars, salts and MSG. There are loads of recipes for making your own spices and it is so fun to get the kids involved! Buy cute mason jars, fill them up with your favorite combinations and store them for months! Most people reduce salt in their meals thinking it isn’t clean. You can purchase Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt as a cleaner choice. When it comes to honey and maple syrups, the purer (and more local) the better!
The best way to eat clean is to read the nutrition labels and check for preservatives. You might not get everything clean but you can certainly find most products clean and fresher than preserved.
Which of these tips will you start implementing this summer?