You have probably heard the term clean eating a lot lately. It is definitely a new buzz word, or term, that is getting a lot of attention. The actual definition is unclear, and up to interpretation. My definition of clean eating would be Eating Real Food.
In my lectures, I stress the importance of eating food rather than stuff. When people watch their calorie intake, often they only monitor the quantity of the calories taking no thought for the quality of the calories. This may lead to using artificial no-calorie sweeteners, fat free salad dressings, or having a Snickers bar for lunch. With clean eating, or focusing on real foods, you would instead use less of an unprocessed sugar, a high quality vinaigrette, and eat a well balanced lunch of veggies, whole grains and lean proteins.
We need to get away from processed foods. We need to eat the fruit rather than the fruit loops or the chicken breast rather than the chicken nugget. But at the same time, I hope that isnt overwhelming. Eating healthy can fit into a healthy lifestyle with some planning. I know that the Snickers bar is an easy lunch, but a peanut butter and banana sandwich (natural peanut butter on whole grain bread) with a side of veggies can be just as easy. The key is to have the ingredients on hand and prepare it ahead of time so you can grab it and go in the morning.
I think a great tip is to make a meal plan for the week during the weekend. Even plan breakfasts and lunches. Make a grocery list and grocery shop then too. Take into account nightly commitments and plan meals accordingly. So if Timmy has a baseball game in the evening on Tuesday, that dinner meal needs to come together quickly. So what if you made a batch of soup on Sunday and had it Tuesday for dinner? A quick reheat on the stove and dinner is served.
You cant eat real foods or attempt to eat clean if you dont make it a priority. Planning ahead is essential. But once you are in the habit, and notice all the benefits to doing so, you will be hooked.
What benefits have you noticed? How do you plan ahead? I am sure we would all benefit from hearing new ideas!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD