This is the question I get asked all the time. I think people assume it’s really difficult and time-consuming. It’s really just a matter of planning all meals and snacks ahead of time. Here are some basic principles of clean eating that you’ll need to keep in mind:
Eat primarily non processed foods. If it comes out of a box, don’t eat it. If it comes from the earth, eat it.
Eat six times a day. This is to keep your metabolism fired up and it keeps you from getting too hungry.
No alcohol or sodas. Drink lots of water and/or herbal unsweetened tea.
Never miss a meal.
Combine lean protein and complex carbs at every meal.
Avoid all saturated and trans fats.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ideas for breakfast would be:
- Steel cut oatmeal (not flakes) with berries and 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
- 4-5 scrambled egg whites with 4 oz. potatoes mixed with red peppers and onions
- 1 c. yogurt with 1 c. fresh berries, 1 slice whole wheat toast
- whole wheat pancakes with fruit
- banana chocolate smoothie
NEVER, EVER skip breakfast!!!! Think about it. You’ve just been sleeping for 7-8 hrs. (hopefully). Your body needs some fuel after not eating for that length of time. Your mother was right. It IS the most important meal of the day!
Okay, here’s where things get a bit more challenging. Most people are home at breakfast time. Not so for lunch. My suggestion would be to pack a small cooler the night before and just grab it when you leave for work in the morning. (This is where the planning comes in.) Anyway, here are some lunch ideas:
- 4 oz. chicken on whole wheat bread with mustard and avocado slice; green salad with olive oil and vinegar.
- 4 oz. chicken, 1/2 c. brown rice, 1 c. low sodium lentil soup.
- 1 c. whole wheat pasta, 1/2 c. low sodium marinara sauce, 4 oz. grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c. broccoli
- Mexican Chicken Wrap
- Easy Chicken Salad
- 4 oz. salmon, 1 medium baked sweet potato and 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 turkey burger patty, 1 baked potato cubed and roasted with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
- pizza made with 1 whole grain English muffin, 1/4 c. part skim mozzarella cheese; salad made with 1/4 c. chickpeas, 2 tsp. cilantro, 2 tsp. minced garlic and 1 Tbsp. honey-mustard vinaigrette
Snacks are NOT optional!!! You will need to eat 3 snacks a day, one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. In the beginning you’re going to feel like you’re eating ALL THE TIME but soon you will get used to eating this way. Believe me, it beats walking around hungry all day. Here are some tasty snack ideas. All snacks should be around 200 calories.
- 1 English muffin with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 6 whole wheat crackers and 1 oz. cheese
- 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt with 1 c. berries
- 1 small baked sweet potato mixed with 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt