Wow, I am SO thrilled at the response I received from my last blog post It Takes 21 Days To Form A Habit: I’m Eating Clean & Feeling GREAT! You guys really took an interest in this whole clean eating thing and I love it, love it, love it!
I had a lot to cover in my last post and I still didn’t get to share all the ins and outs of this new lifestyle change; like my must have grocery items for clean eating, helpful apps that keep me in check every day, and the big question: WHAT DO MY KIDS EAT!! I’ll cover all of that in this post!
Aside from the fabulous reasons to eat clean, such as weight loss, cleaning out your body, feeling good about your healthier lifestyle, and having fun trying new recipes; I also want to share some honest truths about what it means to eat clean – at least in my experience.
The truth about clean eating
Eating clean is expensive. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give it to you straight on this one. I’m at the grocery store 2-3 times per week replenishing my produce that I blow through each week, or getting new ingredients for all the new dishes I’m trying. One thing I’ve found though is that initially you have to stock your pantry with stuff you may not have had before, and then after a while you’ll notice that a lot of clean eating recipes call for similar ingredients.
Eating clean is time consuming. Gone are the grab and go days. Unless you’re grabbing a banana, an apple, or some other whole fruit or veggie, it’s time to get chopping, cooking, and mixing. You gotta plan and make time for this lifestyle, my friend.
I make a Greek yogurt/honey/fruit/granola snack (264 calories) every afternoon and it takes about 5 minutes to put it together. Or if I don’t have time to sit and eat my snack, I’ll make a protein/super foods shake and take it in the car with me (256 calories). These afternoon snacks are filling enough to keep me satisfied until dinner, whereas my old cracker snacks left a void an hour or two later. Then I’m hiding in the pantry with a chip bag 30 minutes before dinner, oh the guilt!!
Eating clean is not appetizing to kids, at least not mine. I wish I could be all Jessica Seinfeld and tell you that I just hide the veggies in my food and my kids happily shove their faces with it. Not the case. If they could live off of pizza, mac & cheese, or cheese quesadillas their whole lives they would. No green stuff allowed, at all.
As my diet has improved, ironically my kid’s diet has gone to shit. I’m so focused on preparing all these new meals that I forget about what the kids are going to eat! Some meals they’ll just turn their nose up and eat fruit only. Call me mom of the year but I’m fine with it. They LOVE breakfast, lunch, and snacks but they’ve always been hit or miss at dinnertime. Their palettes will expand as they get older, I’m not worried.
I have been making them my protein/super foods shake that tastes like chocolate almost daily and they love it! They’re getting their daily allotment of protein, fruits and veggies in that shake, oh yeah!! Amazingly, they both devoured my pasta, spinach and tomato dinner this week! I almost cried.
Now let’s talk must have grocery items!
Clean Eating grocery must haves
- Eggs (breakfast BFF)
- Whole cheese blocks (not packaged processed shredded cheese. You shred!)
- Nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- Unsweetened Almond Milk (Only 30 calories and great for you! Find in Organic Aisle)
- Fresh spinach, spinach, spinach! (A biggie in clean eating!)
- Any of your favorite fruits!
- Like pineapple? Buy the whole pineapple and cut it yourself vs. buying the pre-cut kind sitting in pineapple juice. It’s cheaper, too! Great on top of cottage cheese as a snack!
- Red and green bell peppers
- Red and sweet onions
- Cucumber for salads
- Avocado (mashed and spread on toasted Ezekiel bread every morning!)
- Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes
- Garlic cloves
Canned and Jarred Goods
- Chicken stock
- Tomato sauce
- Black beans
- Fresh salsa
- Black olives (mixed into salads or taco topper)
Breads & Pastas
- Ezekiel bread (Sugar free, made from organic sprouted whole grains, only 80 calories. Found in refrigerated organic food aisle.)
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Whole wheat pastas (penne and spaghetti noodles are standard)
- Organic thin cut chicken cutlets (doesn’t have to be organic, but cut large chicken breasts in half)
- Ground turkey meat vs. ground beef
Spices & dressings
- Extra virgin olive oil (Use daily!)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard (Mix with vinaigrette for salad dressing)
- Ground cumin
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Organic granola (for yogurt topping)
- Raw nuts like almonds or cashews for salads
- Sun flower seeds for salads
- Wine (WEEKEND TREAT, you’ve earned it!!)
Alright, that should be enough for now! Now, let’s talk helpful apps!
Paprika ($4.99) is your meal planning and grocery list app, with recipe saving capabilities as well. I downloaded the Paprika button similar to a “Pin It” button on my phone and I can save recipes online that I like. I’ve started meal planning for each day of the week. There is a grocery icon I can click and it will add all the ingredients into a grocery list and I can remove ingredients I already have. The grocery list is also sorted by categories (produce, dairy, etc.), which helps with efficiency at the store. I come to the grocery much more prepared and I never forget anything or buy a bunch of crap I don’t need.
Pinterest! This is your recipe saving website and it is FANTASTIC for finding clean eating recipes! I use it every single day now and have made most of my recipes in the last 3 weeks form Pinterest.
My Fitness Pal is a MUST. This is your accountability app. You log your food and exercise daily and it gives you a daily calorie goal. When you add everything you eat into this app you are seeing what is actually going into your body and being held accountable. I’m obsessed and log my food daily! My Fitness Pal also has an awesome blog that has great clean eating recipes.
Fitbit – get to steppin! Diet is probably 80% of the battle, but exercise is also a major part of leading a healthy lifestyle. I have a Fitbit One that clips into my bra/sports bra and I never take it off. I have a daily goal of 13,000 steps and I live by this!! I’m a numbers girl and I like seeing my step count each day. You can do challenge groups with your friends to see who can get the most steps in a day or week. My Fitbit step count and active minutes count feeds into My Fitness Pal app and that’s how My Fitness Pal knows how many exercise calories I have earned each day.
So there you have it; the realistic truths about eating clean, grocery must haves, and my favorite apps to support you on this healthier, happier journey to a BETTER YOU! I hope you found this helpful!