While visiting my mom in Florida, her biggest complaint about eating clean was that she doesn’t have time. I will be the first to admit, eating clean can be a bit time-consuming if you want it to be.
But it doesn’t have to be!
- Plan ahead! This truly is key if you are busy. You MUST sit down and plan out your meals for the week. How will you eat clean if you have no clean meals planned? Your refrigerator will probably be empty too. This goes hand-in-hand with the next step.
- Prep! Take an hour or two on Sunday afternoon to prep your food for the week. Bake bread, cook beans, wash and cut fruits and veggies. Make your good food your fast food.
- Bread. I have yet to find a commercially baked bread that I deem “clean”. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “bread from scratch takes forever.” Wrong! Baking bread really only takes 30+ minutes of active work. The key word here is ACTIVE. Most of the time the bread is rising or baking. Start with a simple whole wheat recipe. You may be surprised to find that you actually enjoy baking.
- Beans. I’m a huge fan of beans. And while you can buy canned beans, I’m not a fan of all the added salt or the BPA-lined can. I prefer to soak and cook my own beans. Soak your beans overnight, then cook the next day. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that beans don’t take all day to cook. I can cook a pot of black beans about an hour. The best part is that you can turn them on and walk away. I’ve also cooked them in a crock pot.
- Make a double batch. If you are making soup or a casserole one night for dinner, prep a double batch and freeze it. You can also cook a little extra and have enough for lunch the next day.
- Buy clean! This may seem like a no-brainer, but only buy clean food. If you buy junk, you’re going to eat junk. Buy loads of fresh, seasonal produce! If it’s there, you will eat it.
- Create you own convenience foods. If your family is stuck eating frozen meals from the grocery store, try creating clean freezer meals. Spend a day freezing healthy meals that will feed your family for the entire week (or month, if you’re brave). You don’t have to freeze complete meals either. Below I have (from left to right) a rice mixture (brown & wild rice, black beans, corn, cilantro, and spices), cooked black beans, and sliced sweet peppers (which I saved here). The rice and beans are both fully cooked and can easily be warmed or incorporated into a meal. The peppers are ready to be tossed into stir-fry, or chopped into your morning eggs!
- Watch out for store-bought convenience foods. There is so much hidden junk in prepared foods. That being said, there are a few clean packaged foods. Look for organic items, they are a good place to start. (Think condiments to start off.) But don’t be fooled, everything labeled organic is NOT automatically good for you!
Practice the three P’s: Plan, Purchase, and Prep! If you decide you want to eat clean and make it a priority, it will happen.
Do you have any shortcuts that help you eat clean?