The Secrets To A Successful Clean Eating Food List
When you’re working on eating a clean diet, you want to focus on natural and unprocessed foods. The best way to do that is with a good list.
Clean Eating is not the latest diet fad. It’s more about a way of eating that focuses on fruits, vegetables, meats and grains that are in their most natural form.
Although eating pasta, pizza, fried chicken, and bread is considered a normal diet these days, it’s not always what is best for us. Eating a clean diet looks more like steamed broccoli and grilled chicken, or homemade chili with a baked potato and a side salad.
There was a day when we didn’t have a fast food restaurant on every corner. We also didn’t have grocery stores filled with processed foods and ready to eat meals. Clean eating goes back to that time. It is basically going back to that time and eating real food.
The idea behind clean eating is to get back to consuming fresh, mainly unprocessed foods that contain real ingredients. They don’t have tons of additives, preservatives and flavor enhancers either.
How Clean Should You Eat?
How “clean” you eat is up to you. Some clean eating gurus say that you should only consume completely unprocessed foods. Others are comfortable enjoying things like butter, cheese, cured meats and cultivated vegetables like Sauerkraut. How far you take it is up to you. Even cleaning up your diet just a little by cutting out fast food burgers and creating healthy freezer meals will help.
Start with a few go-to meals you enjoy and build your meals around those. Fill your plate with lots of raw or cooked vegetables. Then add some cooked rice or a baked potato and end with some fruit and cheese for dessert. Keep this clean eating food list handy so that you have lots of foods to choose from when deciding what to eat.
Healthy snacks are important when you’re away from home. Make sure you have fresh and dried fruit with you at all times. Have some seeds and nuts on hand for emergency snacking. Drink water and herbal teas. Some like black coffee but be careful about adding creamers and sweeteners.
It might be hard to stomach the taste of real food after being used to eating foods laden with salt, sugar, and flavor enhancers. But after a few days your taste buds should adjust. You will then enjoy the flavor of delicious real food. Your body will thank you for switching over to clean eating too.
Easy Substitutions For Processed Food Favorites
Now that you’ve decided to eat clean, you might find yourself missing your favorite processed foods. It’s hard to pack a lunch when making a sandwich isn’t a clean food option. Here you will find easy substitutions for your favorite processed foods.
Eating clean doesn’t involve eating any pasta so what do we do instead? There are “miracle noodles” that are a mushroom base that are available online and in some health food stores. I’ve heard that they are an acquired taste but haven’t tried them myself yet. You can also substitute organic rice or spaghetti squash for pasta.
The best option to use is squash and zucchini “noodles” made with a spiralizer like the Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer. You could also use a veggie peeler or a knife to cut the squash into pasta shapes. You can eat these “noodles” raw or cook them in a dry skillet until they are al dente. Then serve them with your favorite clean pasta sauce or add tomatoes that have been cooked in olive oil and garlic. Or mix them with other ingredients from your clean eating food list.
Nothing will taste quite like a piece of bread, but if you just need something to hold your sandwich ingredients together, a leaf of lettuce or cabbage works great. Sandwiches and wraps make a great portable lunch. Just put your favorite clean sandwich ingredients in a lettuce or cabbage leaf and wrap them up. Soon you will not miss that bloated feeling you got from eating bread. You will be filled up with good food that will make you feel great for the rest of the day.
You can make some gluten-free baked goods with eggs and flaxseed or almond meal if you like. There are plenty of quick and easy recipes online. All you have to do is search google for “gluten-free bread recipes”. It might not be worth the hassle though.
You can also order gluten-free bread online to keep stocked in the freezer for when you absolutely need bread. This is the brand that has been recommended to me by people who have to eat gluten-free. Sometimes it’s easier to just stick with lettuce as your sandwich holder instead.
If your favorite breakfast is cold cereal, all you have to do to substitute this is to fill a bowl with fresh fruit and chopped nuts and almond milk. This will taste better and give you more energy for the day that a bowl of Cheerios anyway. Make sure you keep the ingredients on hand so that you’ll have this quick and easy breakfast ready any day of the week.
Eggs are also a great breakfast option. Have some eggs and maybe some bacon and you will have the energy to get your day started and make it to lunch feeling great.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to have a big bread crust in order to feel satisfied. Even though our tongue desires that, our body doesn’t. Eat for your body, not your tongue. You can make a great pizza crust from chopped cauliflower. There are lots of great cauliflower crust recipes out there if you just do a google search for “best cauliflower pizza crust”. Choose the one with the ingredients you have on hand or can easily get. When you’re craving pizza this is a great alternative.
Whenever you have a craving or feel like you can’t go on with your clean eating journey, just search the internet for the clean version of your favorite foods. There are some amazing clean food recipes out there for just about anything.
Clean Food Staples to Have On Hand
The secret to keeping a clean diet is to make sure you have good ingredients on hand from your clean eating food list. You need easy to fix meals and snacks to keep you from getting tempted by “bad” foods. When you’re hungry and don’t have ingredients on hand, it’s easy to get tempted by takeout, fast food or convenience foods at the grocery store. Keep these staples on hand for quick and easy clean meals.
Pantry Items or Dry Goods
Keep rice, oats, and cornmeal or grits available for whipping up quick and filling side dishes and breakfasts. Also, keep potatoes, onions, and garlic on hand to mix with items you’ll keep on hand in your refrigerator.
We like to have organic tortilla chips and popcorn on hand for quick snacks that aren’t bad for us. Also keep nuts, seeds and dried fruits on hand for snacking and additions to your morning oatmeal. Add in some seed or nut butters and you’re all set.
Some people that are trying to eat clean include whole grain products and others don’t. If you are using whole grain products, then having whole grain flour and pastas on hand is important. That way you can bake quick breads, homemade bread, and other baked goods with that flour. Pasta, vegetables, and sauce always make a quick dinner.
Eggs and Dairy
Be sure to keep plenty of eggs in the refrigerator. When you have plenty, then boil a dozen or so and keep them on hand for easy snacking. Eggs are versatile and can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you are including dairy in your clean food diet, stock your refrigerator with butter, Greek yogurt, raw or whole milk and cottage cheese. Have some hard cheeses on hand too for quick and easy snacks.
Fruits and Vegetables
These will make up the bulk of your diet. Besides carrots and potatoes, there aren’t many vegetables that can last a really long time without being refrigerated. Keep a good amount of fresh fruits on vegetables on hand for the amount you think you can eat before they go bad. Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables because they were preserved at their peak of freshness. These will come in handy when you run out of the fresh stuff.
Apples are the easiest to keep fresh for a longer time, but other fruits like peaches, plums, oranges, bananas, and melons are fun to eat too. We like to keep a variety of frozen berries in the freezer for a quick snack.
When buying fruits and vegetables, it’s important to buy organic as much as possible. If you can’t buy everything organic, then check the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list and buy vegetables and fruits that are especially toxic and important to buy organic.
Another way to always have fresh vegetables on hand is to have a mini garden on a windowsill. You can grow loose-leaf lettuce along with herbs and other vegetables. When fresh lettuce isn’t readily available in the winter, why not grow your own.
Or take this clean eating food list and grow these items in your own garden. Eat what you can and then freeze the extras to have available when these foods are not in season.
Meat and Fish
These are easy to keep on hand or stocked in the freezer. Canned tuna is also a good option to have occasionally. You can make tuna salad or add it to pasta sauces too.
Our freezer is usually stocked with grass-fed ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breast, and frozen beef or turkey patties. These are all versatile options when we don’t have fresh meat or can’t find what we want at the grocery store.
Clean Eating Tips When You’re Away From Home
Eating clean at home is relatively easy. You have the right ingredients on hand and cook what you want to eat. You’re not too tempted to choose takeout and fast food. Meals get a little more complicated when you’re away from home.
Clean Eating When You’re Traveling
If you’re staying in a hotel, do your homework before you head out. Find out what food options are available on the road and at your destination. See if there are any grocery stores close by and if you will have access to a refrigerator.
Pack some emergency snacks in case you can’t find anything you can eat. Make sure you have plenty of nuts, seeds, fruits, and raw vegetables. Pack a small cooler with other food that’s ready to eat. Also, make sure you have plenty of water and herbal teas if you like those.
When You’re Invited To Dinner at Someone’s Home
If you have a good relationship with the hostess, you can ask what they are having for dinner and possibly mention your dietary restrictions. Either way, it’s always good to have a good snack or mini-meal before you leave home. That way you won’t be tempted by “off-limit” food options if there are any.
Do the best you can with the food that is available there. It’s your decision if you want to avoid the “off limits” foods or if you want to indulge in order to not offend the hostess. In the grand scheme of things, eating a few bits of processed foods won’t ruin your body. Just avoid sugar and wheat if you can and any known trigger foods.
Clean Eating When You’re Going Out To Eat
Research your restaurant ahead of time, or if you’re able to pick where you should go, pick a restaurant that you know has good choices for clean eating.
Most restaurants display their menus online. Start with the online menu and see if you can find entrees that are acceptable to your clean eating plan. You can even call the restaurant and see if they can accommodate you. You may be able to make some substitutions to cut out foods you’re trying to avoid.
Many people have dietary restrictions these days, so restaurants should be familiar with people needing substitutions. It’s always a good idea to be nice to the person on the phone and to your server when you are at the restaurant.
One last quick tip – before you head out, make sure you have a healthy snack with you. That way you will have nuts and dried fruits and some bottled water available. This can hold you over until you get back home to make a clean meal if you are not able to eat much at the restaurant.
Here’s a great Clean Eating Food list from Cassey’s Clean Eating