Eating clean – especially if you’re involved in a nutrition challenge – can be tough initially.
So here are three of my favorite meal prep tips & tricks to help you stay on track (and out of the candy bowl).
3 Super Simple Tips for Eating Clean
The last thing you want is to leave eating clean to chance. Because chance equals unplanned snacks. And donuts. And maple syrup. And non-compliant dressing.
Eating Clean Tip 1: Prepare
If you find yourself doing meals on the fly more often than not, take some time to create a menu for the upcoming week. Even if it’s just some ideas, you’ll be more likely to stick to eating clean meals if you make that your goal and map out a plan in writing.
Meal prep is huge when it comes to succeeding with clean eating. Designate a day or two each week when you shop, chop and cook batches of food you can make multiple meals out of all week long.
And, PS: whenever you go to a restaurant, don’t be afraid to be “that person.” Ask your server about ingredients in a dish before you order. Or better yet, take the time to scope out the menu ahead of time and even call in advance with questions.
If you find a dish that sounds delish but there’s a non-compliant ingredient, just ask your server for options to help you stay on track.
Make sure you have ways to store your food. I love my glass storage containers. And since Pyrex is a super-durable glass, it’s the perfect storage for all of those slow-cooked meals you just made.
Plus, since it seals up tight, you don’t have to worry about dangerous plastic leaching into your food. (Read: Endocrine Disruptors: What Are They? How Do I Avoid Them?)
Bonus, you can microwave it, wash it in the dishwasher and even put it in the oven.
Eating Clean Tip 2: Read Labels
If you only take one tip with you today, it’s to start reading labels. I get it, it’s overwhelming when food marketers use buzz words, like “all-natural” “free-range” and “functional” that are misleading and aren’t regulated. For now, just focus on the ingredients list. Is the list a mile long?
Be a smart consumer.
When looking at the ingredient list, consider each ingredient individually. Is it something you would buy separately to cook with in your own kitchen? Are you unable to pronounce the words on the list? And look for hidden words for sugar.
Did you know there are more than 60 different words that mean sugar?!
A good rule of thumb when it comes to assessing ingredients on a food label? Look for minimal ingredients that you recognize as real, whole food.
In the end, remember that a clean diet should be more about eating the rainbow and be mostly comprised of fresh (and frozen) foods. In other words, you won’t have too many labels to read!
Eating Clean Tip 3: Slow Cooker (Set it and Forget it)
My favorite meal prep tool is the slow cooker, especially in fall and winter. The Instapot is amazing, too.
Prep your ingredients the night before, refrigerate, then just toss your ingredients in the Crock-Pot in the morning. Set your slow cook timer for eight-hours and by the time you get home from work, dinner is served.
If you want to add some ease to your healthy lifestyle, consider this simple Butternut Squash Soup recipe in the Crock Pot (or Instapot).
Here are a few more easy recipes to try: