Why Clean Eating?
Humans are not meant and designed to eat processed food and your mother is telling the truth when she told you that junk food isn’t good for you.
But why does a lot of people still eats them? Because junk food tastes good. And the food industry knows what they are doing. These processed foods are engineered to hit all the right taste buds. That’s why “once you pop you can’t stop” until nothing remains in the container of Pringles.
This has resulted in a fatter and unhealthier society to a level that’s epidemic. And we can’t seem to stop craving for processed and junk foods. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s much more convenient than hunting down real food that’s actually good for you.
To stop and change this you need to take back control of what you eat and where that food comes from. It’s time to change your eating habits and give your taste buds a chance to recover to the point where they can experience the subtle flavor of a plain potato that isn’t deep fried and covered in a salt and spice mix. You need to get back to enjoying clean food that’s nutrient dense and gives you what you need to stay healthy and happy.
That’s what this article is all about. Give it 30 days… 30 days of nothing but real clean food that’s good for you.
Think of it as a way to reboot your system and finally kick the junk food habit to the curb.
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Set Yourself Up For Eating Clean Success by Removing the Temptations
I still remember a quote I read years ago “Availability governs usage”, you most probably eating whatever is beyond your reach. Start by setting yourself up for success. What you want is to eat clean over the next 30 days with real clean food. This includes fruits, vegetables, some whole grains if you like, a little milk, real butter, yogurt and cheese along with meat, fish, and eggs.
What you don’t want is most of what’s in your pantry right now. You don’t want the pre-made pasta, cereal, canned soups, potato chips, and candy. Its’ time to skip the soda and get rid of anything filled with white sugar. Cupcakes and candy bars aren’t on the menu for the next 30 days. And neither are those freezer meals.
To make sure this will work well and you won’t be tempted by those potato chips hiding in the kitchen drawers, grab a big trash bag and get rid of all the processed foods. If it has more than one ingredient and needs a label, chances are you don’t want to keep it around for the next 30 days.
Hopefully, you’ll never go back to a lot of these unhealthy foods, but for now, let’s focus on the next 30 days and see how it goes. You can toss the food or donate anything still in its unopened original container to a local food bank.
Once you’ve gone through and have gotten rid of everything you won’t be eating any longer, it’s time to head to the grocery store.
Be Prepared – Stock Up On Clean Food List
Fill your pantry and fridge back up with food that’s good for you. Keep it simple in the beginning and branch out as you get tired of clean eating recipes the same things over and over again. I’ll talk about specific clean eating meal plan in the next section in a little more detail. For now, let’s keep it simple.
You want to eat three clean meals and a couple of snacks or six meals spread out through your day. And for that to happen you want plenty of easy to fix and easy to eat food in the house.
Here’s what most of your clean eating diet will consist of.
• Fruits and Veggies
• Eggs and Dairy
• Lean Meat and Fish
• Nuts and Seeds
• Healthy Fat
• Grains and Legumes
Drink mostly water with some coffee or tea thrown in. When it comes to grocery shopping, most of what you buy will be at the perimeter of the store.
Aim for fresh produce when you can. Frozen is another good option. Canned fruits and veggies should be a last resort.
Come Up With Some Go-To Clean Eating Meal Plan for Busy Days
Next, you want to come up with a few easy go-to clean meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. We’ll talk about healthy snacks in the next section, so let’s focus on breakfast, lunch, and dinner first.
Keep it simple. Most of us don’t mind eating the same few things for breakfast. Some good options would be a bowl of oatmeal, or some eggs and cheese. Add a little-sliced avocado for an even more filling meal.
Or if you need something quick and easy grab some fresh fruit. Bananas and apples make great portable breakfast choices that will keep you going until it’s time for your first snack.
Salads and homemade soups make great lunch choices. Boil some eggs or top your bowl of lettuce with some leftover grilled chicken and you have an easy portable lunch. Speaking of leftovers, cooking extra so you have lunch to take to work the next day is always a good option.
For dinner, keep it simple. Roast, grill or bake some chicken, cook up some lean beef strips or bake fish. Add a side of steamed veggies and some brown rice and dinner are done.
Now is not the time to get inventive with foods you’ve never tried. Keep it simple until you get used to eating clean diet. Find a few meat and fish dishes you like. Add some rice, whole wheat pasta or potatoes, and some veggies or a side salad. And don’t forget about eggs. Omelets are a great dinner that you can whip up in minutes.
Find a few things you and your family like and then mix and match to keep it interesting.
Many families find it helpful to have a plan for clean meals for the first few weeks of eating clean. It helps to make sure you have everything you need from the store and you don’t have to spend a lot of time and energy each night figuring out what you can cook.
Anything new and different is hard at first. At the end of the 30 days, cooking and clean eating diet will be a lot easier but right now you are probably spending a lot of time and energy figuring out what you can and can’t have.
That’s where the clean eating recipes plan comes in handy. Come up with a few go-to meals and put them in rotation in your clean eating meal plan. Build your shopping list around that plan and go from there.
Check out this post for other clean eating recipes:
- Clean Eating Lettuce Wraps with Chicken and Avocado
- Clean Eating Chicken Fried Rice
- Clean Eating Pineapple Dole Whip
- 29+ Most Pinned Clean Eating Recipes
- 40 Clean-Eating Dinners in 30 Minutes
Stock Up On Healthy Snacks
Next, let’s talk about snacks. You are constantly surrounded by tempting food be it from the office vending machine or the fast food joint around the corner. A hot pizza or a bag of Chinese takeout is never more than a phone call away.
The best way to keep those temptations under control is by having plenty of healthy snacks around.
Here are some ideas. Some snacks will work well kept at room temperature, while others require refrigeration. Stock your fridge at home and work with those and consider keeping a small cooker around with some yummy snacks to tie you over until you make it home for your next meal.
The key is to never be unprepared. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you’re ready to give in and hit a drive-thru because you’re stuck in the office past dinner time.
Here are some ideas for healthy snacks worth keeping around:
• Fresh and dried fruit
• Raw veggies and dip
• Hummus / Baba ganoush and crackers
• Tortilla chips and salsa
• Bowl of oatmeal
• Homemade Trail mix
• Cheese sticks
• Yogurt or cottage cheese
• Nuts and seeds
• Rice cakes with peanut butter
Stock up and have some snacks ready anywhere you go. Keep some bottled water and a pack of dried fruit and nuts in your purse or briefcase. This way, no matter what happens, even if you are stuck in traffic, you’ll be able to stick to your clean way of eating.
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Switch Your Clean Eating Food List And Keep It Interesting
Once you have a few days of clean eating under your belt, you may start to get tired of grilled chicken, Brussels sprouts, and brown rice. When you get to that point, it’s time to switch it up and keep things interesting by introducing new clean diet foods. Now is a great time to try a new fruit or vegetable. How about a different type of grain for a side dish?
When you start to get bored with eating clean foods you fixed for the first week or two, it’s time to hit the web for some fresh new recipes. There are plenty of websites, cookbooks, and Pinterest boards out there with all sorts of fun dishes to try. Look for clean food, clean recipes, and clean eating ideas.
The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom is another great source of inspiration. In fact, the Whole 30 book is a great resource to help you through this process of eating clean foods for 30 days.
Another great strategy to switch things up is to eat what’s local and in-season. We are all guilty of finding a few dishes we really like and sticking to them. Branch out and take a look at what your area has to offer.
Visit a local farmers market or find an organic farm in your area that sells directly to consumers.
Talk to your parents or grandparents about the foods of their childhood. Or find a few old cookbooks. They are a great source of tried and true recipes made from whole foods. This is how everyone ate before the advent of supermarkets and convenience foods.
Another way to switch it up is to stop thinking of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts for dinner. And there’s no reason you can’t eat leftover steak and roasted broccoli for breakfast. Fold it up in an omelet if that makes it seem like more of a breakfast food.
And on busy days when you’re too tired to cook, just fix yourself a plate with a few of your favorite healthy snacks and call it dinner. Do whatever it takes to make this work for you and your family.
Be Careful About Recreating Your Favorite Junk Foods With Eat Clean Recipes
There is one thing I want to caution you about and that’s recreating your favorite junk foods. When you start to look for clean food recipes you’ll come across ideas to make “healthy” versions of your favorite candy bar or fast food dish. It’s tempting to give it a try, after all, it’s made from completely healthy and compliant food, right?
But there’s an issue that goes beyond the list of ingredients a recipe is made from. Having something that looks and tastes very much like your favorite dessert, candy bar or another type of junk food can trigger a craving for the real thing.
While your black bean brownies won’t have the refined sugar and white flour in them that the real ones have, tasting those gooey, chocolate treats may have you craving the real thing. While it’s fine to indulge in these types of treats every once in a while down the road, during these first 30 days you’ll be better off sticking to real food and avoiding anything that looks remotely like junk food.
And this is particularly true if you’re recreating something that’s always been a favorite.
Don’t put yourself in a situation where you could cave in. You’ll come across plenty of those without trying.
Once you start to eat clean for 30 days you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel and how much more energy you have once you get all that processed food, refined flour, and white sugar out of your system.
Be warned, even with all the preparation, it is not going to be easy. You’ll be tempted by the smell of pizza or the box of doughnuts sitting in the break room. And you may cave and eat a slice of birthday cake or grab a handful of chips without thinking. We’re only human and we’re going to mess up.
What’s important is to remember why you’re doing this and getting right back on track. It will get easier and the rewards are well worth the effort.
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