Eating healthy shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, I believe that generally speaking, the more complicated a recipe = more fat.
I often get asked the same question: how do you stay on a clean eating diet? Today, I want to talk about organization.
Here are my tips for staying on a clean eating diet:
1. GROCERY SHOPPING DOESN’T NEED TO BE ROCKET SCIENCE:
If I get asked one question the most, it probably is “what should I buy from the grocery store?”. At first, I found this question strange. This is why I take the time on my blog to introduce my readers to new ingredients – especially in the vegetable aisle. I am always surprised to find out that people do not venture out of their comfort zone with new vegetables – or even spices – for that matter.
Remember to stick to the outer walls of the grocery store. Have you ever noticed that all the bad stuff like cookies, chips and other processed foods are all in the centre aisles whereas the good stuff – fruits, vegetables, meats and fish – are always located on the perimeter walls? Don’t do the aisles and you will be less tempted to buy the bad stuff.
Which leads me to my next point: NEVER EVER GO GROCERY SHOPPING ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. You will buy the bad stuff. There is a scientific reason for this, I am sure. Just don’t do it. The same way you never go to Costco with your spouse because you are bound to get into a fight. Don’t grocery shop hungry. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Here is a sample of my weekly grocery list. Feel free to use it if you like:
-Organic wild salmon
2. PICK A DAY THAT IS CONVENIENT FOR YOU TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING AND PREPARE YOUR MEAL PLANS:
On Sunday, I go grocery shopping. I come home and wash and cut all my produce and place them in separate “green bags” in the fridge. I then plan out my entire week’s eating schedule – breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I know on Sunday, what I am eating for lunch on Wednesday, let’s say. Planning out my meals saves me and my family loads of time. I have a board up in my kitchen and I write down all the meals for the week. That way my family knows what we are eating and there are no surprises or last minute bad decisions (we’ve all been there – last minute pizza take-out).
3. PREP YOUR PRODUCE, MEATS/FISH:
I prep all the vegetables in advance. For instance, if I am eating asparagus and broccoli that week I will steam both those vegetables then place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. I then put them in “Green Bags” and store them in the fridge. That way they stay good all week and all I have to do for lunch and dinner is mix them into my salads. That drastically cuts down my weekday cooking time.
I will also place the chicken breasts in Ziplock bags with marinade and let them marinate until I use them. Same goes for meat and fish.
4. MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR SLOW COOKER:
Many people think slow cookers are for old people or just shabbat. Truth is, in the dead of winter, it can produce easy and hearty meals for your whole family while you are busy doing something else. Another great advantage of slow cooking is it is extremely economical. You can buy cheaper cuts of meat, for instance, which require longer cooking times to tenderize and feed a whole family on a tight budget. Ask your butcher for good slow cooking meats.
5. FREEZE IN PORTIONS:
When I go grocery shopping for chicken breasts, fish filets, or any other protein, I buy a lot. I do this because I freeze it right away.
Ziplock makes “Perfect portion” bags. I can’t tell you how much I love these. I used to individually wrap each salmon or chicken breast portion in plastic wrap but this just makes it so much easier. I place each portion of my protein (fish, chicken or meat) in a Portion Bag, then I place those individual bags into a large Ziplock freezer bag. I seal the bag, label it with the name and date, then I freeze the bag. When I need to make, let’s say 3 portions of salmon, I pull out 3 individually wrapped frozen salmon filets and defrost without having to defrost the entire bag. This is massively time saving and much more economical since I only defrost what I need.
6. DIVIDE SNACKS IN ADVANCE:
I like to prepare my snacks in advance. When I am running out the door, all I have to do is open the fridge and my snack bags are ready. When my kids come home from school, they know that snack bags are always ready in the fridge. This helps when you come home famished and need something immediately to hold you over until dinner. It also helps when you don’t have time in the morning and you can just grab a snack bag and throw it in your purse or bag and have something always healthy to eat on hand.
My different snack bag ideas include:
-About 10 raw almonds
-Cut up peppers. You’d be surprised, but sliced peppers last a good 3-4 days in Ziplock bags.
-Berries and pumpkin seeds
-Cucumber and orange slices
-Carrots and celery sticks
7. STICK TO THE PLAN:
So I know this person – who will remain nameless – who always has the best intentions. When there is a new kitchen machine out, she will get out there and buy it. If a new diet craze hits the media, she will run out and buy the book and follow the diet for 3.5 seconds. She will jump on the clean eating bandwagon but it never lasts more than a day. When she does loose weight, she rewards herself with a trip to TCBY.
You see, sugar is an addictive agent. When you get your palate used to sugar, it craves it. It will be hard the first couple of days to eliminate sugar, but then you will loose those cravings and your body will adjust itself to the new way of eating. Believe me, your body will thank you for it. It thanks you by relieving you of constipation. It thanks you by giving you better sleep than you’ve had in years. It thanks you by growing healthier hair and nails and by giving you and abundance of energy and vitality.
The point is, make realistic goals for yourself. If you jump into a program of a strict eating and workout regime, you will probably die out. Ease into it slowly and DO NOT REWARD YOURSELF WITH FOOD!
When I was loosing weight, the way I rewarded myself was for every pound lost, I put 10 dollars into a jar. After 2 months, I would reward myself by buying something I wanted…in my case, it was a pair of shoes. If I didn’t loose weight, I wouldn’t touch the jar (meaning I wouldn’t remove some money). I would just have to wait longer to get the pair of shoes I wanted. This was a positive way for me to stay on track and to reward myself properly without undoing all the hard work.
Soon enough, clean eating will become a way of life. You will become faster and more efficient. If you have great ways to stay organized in the kitchen and tricks to eating clean, I would love to hear from you!
1 Salmon filet, deboned and skin removed
5 asparagus spears
1 cup mixed greens
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
3 tbsp. lemon infused cold pressed olive oil
Steam the asparagus. When they start getting bright green, remove from steam and place in a bowl with ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. Roughly chop.
Boil the beets. Once fork tender, remove from water, peel and dice.
Place salmon on a baking tray sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and dried oregano over salmon filet. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes.
To assemble the salad: Place mixed greens, mandarine slices, diced beets and asparagus in a bowl. Drizzle lemon infused olive oil on top.