This page is for recipes, meal plans, tips and tricks for those hoping to drop some pounds and eat clean.
Eating Clean? What does that mean?
To me, eating clean is eating as much natural and unprocessed foods as possible. I fill my diet with natural foods as often as possible. However, we live in the 21st century when quick food is easy, convenient and abundant. When I purchase processed foods, I still go for the healthiest and ‘best’ choice. Certain grocery stores, such as Trader Joes, carry foods with No GMO’s and few to no preservatives. I limit my processed foods to as little as possible.
SWEETS!!!! and Other Junk Food
Everyone has a different relationship with sweets. I for one, CAN NOT even have them in the house or I will obsess about them and probably eat every crumb. For certain foods, like chocolate, Doritos and sour candies I chose to not even allow them in the house until I knew I could handle it. Some people can bake brownies for the family and only eat one. I can not. So I don’t ‘make brownies! If I do bake a treat, I make sure I’m taking it somewhere so I only have a small amount for me to eat. I do enjoy sweets outside of the house on occasion. The hubby and I have a local bookstore with a killer coffee place with killer lemon squares. Every once in a while we will splurge and split one. Moral of my story: If I knew I couldn’t handle it, I just didn’t bring it in the house.
Alternatives: There are some treats that I use to fill those cravings. 100 calories packs are a great way to portion how much you can have, healthy homemade recipes, fruit to cure the sugar craving or healthy bars such as Luna of Clif brand. These add a little sweetness to your diet until you can more easily obstain from sweets.
Cravings I fear, are inevitable. However, I can tell you over a year later there are certain foods I don’t even want anymore. Right away in my diet I cut out unnecessary sugar and soda. I did this by avoiding soda in favor of water, choosing sugar free options and cutting out candy. Now, I can’t even look at a doughnut or have more than a sip of regular soda. Eventually your body will ‘reset’ without these usual cravings that you’re used to. My typical cravings now are green apples, hummus and still……..skittles. Life can’t be totally perfect right? On the other hand, you will not be able to avoid your favorite foods forever. Prove to yourself that you CAN have one cookie, or one slice of your favorite take out pizza or chicken nachos instead of triple steak.
If you can’t cut it out, DON’T! I left room in my eating for foods that I love such as: pizza, nachos, COFFEE, cheese, chips, ice cream……. I gave up things I didn’t really care about like soda, cookies, and donuts. If you think a food is going to throw you off the wagon, work it in to your calorie count or try to find the healthiest version of it that you can. Instead of Ben and Jerry’s try sorbet. Instead of 5 meat carry out pizza, make one at home. Nachos…..I’m still working on that one! Melted cheese is my kryptonite. OR if you MUST have stuffed crust extra cheese galore, have ONE piece and a salad. You can’t spend the rest of your life avoiding every food you ever loved!
Don’t drink your calories! You’d be surprised how many calories are in standard drinks. A large McDonald’s Coke has 310 calories and 86 Grams of sugar. That’s 28 packets of sugar. Gross right? I’d consume one a few times a week. A Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappacino at Starbucks is 590 calories. (WHAT?!) Fruit juice, while it has it place as is ‘healthy’ usually has a lot of added sugar, so be careful here. Swap it for water, flavored water, ‘natural’ sodas, or plain coffee. My Starbucks Order: Grande Americano with Sugar Free Vanilla. (Once I add half and half, 20 calories!) My hubby, who is an avid cow milk drinker his whole life, switched from real sugar and real milk in his coffee to fake sugar and soy milk and dropped 10 pounds without making any other changes. Little things add up FAST!
As I began losing weight I began reading about the best ways to do it. One tip that I had always heard but never understood or tried was eating SIX TIMES A DAY. How can that make sense? Then I tried it. It works. I found myself getting genuinely hungry at the right times. When you eat only three times a day, your body holds on to those calories until the next meal. If you eat six times a day, your body is constantly burning calories because it knows it is getting another meal in a short amount of time. See below for my typical eating schedule and sample meal plan. ONE OF THE WORST THINGS YOU CAN DO IS SKIP MEALS. This feels like it’s ok but it is hurting you in the long run. This trick will work for a few days and then stop. It is also very unhealthy and can lead to symptoms of an eating disorder. When you skip meals, you are much more likely to overeat at your next meal. Also, you are literally starving your body of the nutrients it needs to function. Your body goes into survival mode thinking, “This is all I’m going to get, I better hang on to it! Eating six times a day feels wrong at first and everyone will think that they see you eating all the time. BUT IT WORKS.