Let me start this blog post with a confession: I like to eat. And I like to cook. So dieting has never been a really good option for me. I lost 33 pounds on Weight Watchers years ago, but as they say it’s not a diet, it’s making lifestyle changes that you can live with long term. And I did make some very important lifestyle changes through the program: I stopped drinking Coke because I couldn’t stand the aftertaste of Diet Coke; I had a reality check on portion sizes (especially when eating out); and I learned about coping strategies for emotional eating. I actually became a WW leader – I shared my story and helped to support those trying to lose weight.
Why did I quit after 3 years? I found that there became too much emphasis on processed food – not just Weight Watchers products but products from the grocery store that had the lowest “points”, not taking into account their lack of nutritional value.
Which takes me to the topic of clean eating. Clean eating is nothing magical: it’s eating the way people did 100 years ago, when the general store wasn’t full of mass produced, highly marketed food items. People cooked and they ate foods as close to the natural state as possible. And that’s what clean eating is in a nutshell.
Yes, it can be time-consuming preparing all your foods from scratch but there are ways to minimize the time spent on food prep (more on that later). It can also seem pricey as healthy foods can seem, ironically, more expensive. But in reality, if you cut out some meat from your diet and reduce your intake of pre-prepared and restaurant food, you’ll end up saving money.
So here are some practical tips on Easy Clean Eating:
- Try to eat at least one meatless dish every day by adding beans and legumes to your diet in the place of meat. They’re healthy, high in fiber and cheaper.
- Take one day per week and do a cooking blitz: prepare tomato sauce from scratch, cook rice or pasta and put it in portions in the fridge; chop veggies for salads and stir-fries.
- There are some convenience foods that can help you eat clean if you’re not into cooking: a precooked chicken from the grocery store is one. When you bring it home, take the meat off the bones and throw away the skin. Chop into small pieces to throw into your bagged salad.
- Try to eat in season – the cost of fruits and vegetables are lower when they are local.
- Set yourself up for success by making one change per week. For instance, start with eating 2 servings of a different fruit each day for a week.
For more tips, here are some links: