Hello Nena & Co. friends! Shannon here. I’m a wife, mother of three, and the voice behind Clean Eats & Treats. I have a passion for whole foods, the flavors and textures, and I find joy in serving my family fresh, delicious recipes, one green veggie at a time! I was honored when Ali asked me to guest post and share my favorite hacks for eating clean in 2017!
So your New Year’s resolution is to eat cleaner? Yay! Whether that means eliminating processed foods, saying goodbye to sugar, fewer trips through the drive-thru, or drinking more water each day, little changes lead to big victories, and I’m excited to be a small part of your journey. Virtual high five for taking the first steps to making healthier choices this year! I can’t wait for you not only to see but also to feel the benefits of eating clean.
Changing your eating habits is a big step. You’ve made the decision. You know your goals. You’re ready to dive in. But where do you start? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider these simple clean-eating principles to get you started:
- Eat whole foods straight from the farm. Simple as that. Whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, quality dairy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods. When you do eat packaged foods, make sure to read the labels. The fewer ingredients, the better. Avoid buying foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce. (Except quinoa. You should always buy quinoa.)
- Eliminate refined sugar, and say goodbye to empty calories. Sweeten dishes with raw honey or pure maple syrup. You’ll be surprised how good whole foods naturally taste.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store—meaning focus on produce, dairy, and fresh meats, organic when possible. Avoid the inner aisles; nothing good happens in there. Go home and immediately wash, chop, and store your produce to make it easier to use and avoid waste.
- Drink up! Water is your best friend. Aim for 2 liters a day to start, and work your way up from there.
- Eat five or six small meals a day. By eating smaller meals throughout the day, you can rev up your metabolism and reduce the chances that you’ll snack unwisely out of hanger. Hanger is real, my friends.
- Cook your own meals. Simple always wins. Trying to create Pinterest-worthy meals every day is exhausting. Stick to the basics. Balance your plate with lean protein, loads of veggies, and a single serving of whole grains.
- Meal prep! I repeat: MEAL PREP! Eating clean does not have to be difficult. It just takes a little extra planning and preparation. When you have healthy choices readily available, you’ll reach for those options first. Turning your fridge into a fast food restaurant will ensure your snacking is on point.
- Make it a family affair. Involving your littles in the process will get them equally excited. Let them meal plan, prep, and cook with you. My own kids have always been more likely to eat something new if they prepared it themselves.
- Be kind to yourself. Celebrate small victories, and allow yourself grace. Every journey has a bump in the road. If you fall off track, hop back on and get back at it, girl!
Once you’re comfortable with these basic principles, staying on track will be a breeze! The more and more you practice your new healthy habits, the easier they will become. Remember, you’re creating a lifestyle change. It takes time and patience. Here are three of my favorite recipe hacks to ensure you stay on track.
Clean Eats Hack #1: Omelet bags! Saving me daily. I prep a week’s worth of bags in advance and keep them in the fridge or freezer. Just dump, sauté, and add eggs. Breakfast is done in under 10 minutes! You’re mother was right: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Don’t skip it!
Clean Eats Omelette Bags
makes about 6 bags
- 1 purple onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes. peeled then spiralized
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- Cilantro or fresh basil to taste
- 6 plastic or reusable baggies
- Combine diced peppers and onion into a bowl. Mix.
- Add 1/2 cup of the diced peppers and onion mix to the bottom of bag.
- Layer 1/2 cup spiraled sweet potato plus one large handful of spinach in the bag.
- Add any herbs you'd like, cilantro and basil are great choices.
- Add your choice of oil to a medium pan and heat to medium.
- Dump the bag contents into the pan and saute until potatoes are tender.
- Add eggs and scramble.
- Top with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!
*Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze if desired.Clean
Eats Hack #2: The snack box. Always in my fridge for days when I have less than 15 minutes to get out the door. Packed full of healthy snack choices, these boxes will keep you away from the drive-thru. They’re simple, nutritious, and satisfy cravings for both sweet and salty. I rarely leave home without one.
Clean Eats Snack Box
- Apples provide a sweet fix packed with fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.
- Peanut butter contains healthy fats and protein to keep you full.
- Raw veggies give you a whole array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- A boiled egg provides much-needed protein. Eat the yolk; it contains the majority of the egg’s beneficial nutrients.
- Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and added protein.
- Crackers give you some carbs that’ll help avoid those energy crashes mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
You can easily substitute other items in your snack box (e.g., raw nuts, seeds, or dried fruits to add some extra variety). Customize to your liking!
Clean Eats Hack #3: POWERBALLS! Stay fueled with these sweet and delicious treats. Packed full of protein, healthy fats, and whole-grain carbs, not only are they the perfect on-the-go option and pre/post-workout fuel, but they’re just the ticket to curb those sugar cravings! A properly fueled body will crave less and have more energy to get you through the afternoon slump. These win all the things!
Clean Eats Powerballs
yields 3 dozen balls
- 2 cups old fashioned oats (slightly broken down in the blender)
- 1 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder
- 1/8 cup hemp seeds, ground flax or wheat germ
- 1 cup mix-ins (mini chocolate chips, dried fruit or chopped nuts are our faves)
- 2/3 cup raw local honey
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- Combine all dry ingredients in kitchen-aid mixer bowl.
- Mix on low until ingredients are well blended.
- Add wet ingredients to blended dry ingredients.
- Mix on medium speed until a "dough" forms.
- Scrape sides of bowl with a spatula and mix again if needed.
- Remove bowl from Kitchen-aid stand.
- Using a 2-inch cookie scoop form dough into balls.
- Set balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet or storage container and refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to eat.
- Keep refrigerated up to one week, if they last that long! Enjoy!
I hope the information I’ve shared today will help you on your new journey! Mine began over a decade ago, after I was diagnosed with a series of severe digestive issues. I wish I’d had more knowledge way back then. I’m grateful to all who shared their stories and tips with me. I’ve learned so much over the years. Nothing makes me happier than passing that knowledge on to you.
Good luck and best wishes to you all!
You can find more clean eats inspiration and over 117 tips and tricks in our eBook Clean Eating. Simplified. Available now.