Last year I touched a little on how to get started on a Paleo meal plan and gave some reasons why you might choose to do so. While I do eat mostly this way, I wouldn’t really call myself fully ‘Paleo’. What I actually strive for is a clean eating lifestyle. Notice I didn’t say diet – that word can be so misleading so I like to shy away from using it as much as possible, because really if you are going to make long lasting changes it isn’t going to be through a finicky diet, it has to be a lifestyle change.
Benefits of Clean Eating
- Weight Management – although this isn’t the main goal of choosing a clean eating lifestyle (in my opinion), it is a nice benefit. When you eat a diet full of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, some whole grains as well as beans (not paleo) helps you feel full longer and curb cravings with fewer calories.
- Reduce the Risk of Chronic Disease – Low in saturated fat (don’t skimp on good fats), sodium, and sugar, a Clean Eating lifestyle helps reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity, as well as heart disease, cancer, and stroke – the top three leading causes of death in the U.S.
- Balanced Daily Diet – A balance of whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats helps you stay energized throughout the day and sleep better at night. By eating more vegetables and fruits, you’ll also get more of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to promote a strong immune system and help ward off sickness.
Tips for Eating Clean
Yes, it is going to take a little longer to prepare fresh foods versus of pulling out a box of cookies or nuking a can of prepared pasta. If you are hungry this can be especially trying if you are used to instant gratification but have nothing prepared for a quick snack. Even the best of intentions can go astray when those hunger pains hit. And they will.
To curb this, be sure your fridge is stocked with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. I find that snacking on carrots is always an easy choice for me, and if I have a sugar craving a handful of grapes helps me to curb it. String cheese is also a great choice that is quick and easy, and packed with protein.
You can also prepare meals in advance and stock them in your freezer for those busy nights when you need dinner in a snap. Spend one day preparing your food for the week (or even the month) and you will be set.
Keep it Simple
You may think that taking extra time to prepare fresh foods isn’t worth the hassle, especially if you don’t have the time to stand in the kitchen for hours on end every night to get dinner ready.
The good news is, fresh foods are delicious when prepared simply. Choose recipes that stick to simple ingredients that you enjoy, and perhaps add in a few new ingredients or a complicated recipe here and there when you have time to be more adventurous.
Don’t let one bad choice throw you off the bandwagon. Even for those who go completely ‘all-in” like my husband did, there will be challenges to sticking with any new lifestyle changes (you can read about his indulgence a few weeks into his lifestyle change here), and setbacks are are bound to occur.
The trick is, get back on track right away and don’t let one mistake lead you down a path of no return. Resume your overall healthy lifestyle as if nothing happened and chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Interested in learning more about how eMeals can help you follow a Clean Eating diet? Click to learn more and try a free 14-day trial!
Would you love the recipe for the slow cooker stew featured in the images? Click here for the recipe courtesy of emeals!
Thanks to emails for providing the recipes and information.