"Clean Eating": What does it mean and how much will it cost?
Photo by Michael Schaffler via unsplash.com
This panda appears to be noshing on bamboo, a locally grown dietary staple for this cute furry creature. In the panda world this would be considered first class “clean eating”.
Many humans have heard of “clean eating” but not everyone agrees on exactly what that means. It certainly sounds impressive and to be fair, who could argue with the overall goal of eating minimally processed foods that we prepare for ourselves? Furthermore, “clean eating” often inspires us to improve other lifestyle areas such as finding ways to move our body more or prioritizing an earlier bed time.
While “clean eating” does clearly point us in the right direction, it is important to avoid the dietary perfection mentality and here is why. “Clean eating” does NOT allow for the occasional pizza night. Favorite desserts would become a thing of the past. Forget about bacon altogether!
A good landing spot would be to borrow those elements of “clean eating” that we can live with and that truly do make a difference in our health while still allowing for some dietary indulgences. An extra bit of good news is that “clean eating” does not have to cost more.
Consider these thrifty “clean eating” tips:
Have at least one plant based meal each week.
This might be a big pot of meatless chili made with several types of canned beans, chopped fresh onion, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Jalapeno is optional!
Replace expensive and heavily processed packaged snack items with real food.
Instead of veggie enhanced potato chips, try eating crisp sliced cucumbers, carrot circles or celery. A two pound bag of fresh whole carrots is one of the best buys in the grocery store!
Drink more water straight from the tap.
If you pour it they will come! Many kids love icy cold water poured from a pitcher kept in the fridge.
Experiment with high protein whole grains.
Stir barley into soups. Include a side of quinoa. Add chick peas (garbanzo beans) to cooked bulgur and season as desired for an easy meal.
Add chopped greens more often
Keep a bunch of (washed) greens such as kale, collard greens or spinach at all times in the fridge. With kitchen scissors, snip the greens into eggs, beans, salads, rice, soups and even on top of pizza and sandwiches!
Serve seasonal fruit for dessert
Thinly sliced green apples sprinkled with cinnamon, fresh berries when available and on sale, fruit salad, clementine wedges, frozen grapes……these are just a few of the amazingly sweet ways to end the meal.