So You’ve Bought Whole Foods … Now What?

Anyone that is into health and fitness will know about the trend of ditching processed foods in favor of whole foods called clean eating to fuel your workouts. It’s pretty easy to buy whole foods at the supermarket, but what do you do with them once you have them to turn them into exciting and delicious meals?

 


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What Clean Eating is

 

Clean eating is a movement towards eating food that has not been processed and had lots of unnecessary things added to it. The idea is to eat more food with a high nutritional content. Whole food meets this criterion because it contains less refined sugars and carbohydrates. This is good for us because our bodies struggle to process it.  Refined food is absorbed quickly into our bloodstream, causing a spike of energy. However it fades quickly too. Our body cannot use enough of it for energy, in this short time, so most of it is converted into fat and stored on the body.

 

What clean eating isn’t

 

Eating whole food is designed to fuel and nourish your body, in a way that you body can successfully process. It isn’t a crash diet. You can lose weight with it but in a steady and healthy way. It is much more of a lifestyle change and can be combined with other methods such as 5:2 fasting.

 


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Home Cooking

 


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The real key to eating a clean diet is how you prepare your meals and snacks. Unless you want to eat raw food 100% of the time, there will be some preparing and home cooking involved. This can be a bit of a shock to people that have been eating a lot of prepares foods. Traditionally premade foods are one of the significant sources of unnecessary additives. They make the food taste good and last longer on the shelves, but have little nutritional value.  Therefore, if you want to cut out the additives, you will need to start cooking for yourself.

 

The good news is that you don’t have to be a Michelin-starred chef to make healthy and nutritious meals. With a bit of meal prep, you can get yourself set up for the week and still eat well.

 

Meal Prep

 

You might have seen some of the posts by fitness types of social media. Usually under the tag of #meal prep, you will get some good examples of how to prepare and store a week of meals.

 

The first step is to do your shopping. Once you have all your fresh fruit, and veg, and whole grains. Then you can start to think about the meals you would like to have for the week. Some people choose to have the same lunch every day to make things easier. It’s really entirely up to you and how much effort you want to put in. If you are pushed for time, keep it to a single meal. But if you like the variety of different lunches, mix and match it once you have got to grips with the basics of clean eating.

 

A great tip for meal prep is to batch cook your veg, complex carb and protein for lunch and portion it into containers for the rest of the week. Vegetables for dinners can be prepped and put in zip lock bags and frozen so all you have to do is tip it out into a pan and then cook.

 

It’s also worth noting that not all pre-packaged food is ‘dirty,’ and full of additives. You can get fruit and vegetable snacks packs that are perfect for on the go clean eating. The same applies to raw nuts and seeds but make sure that they are unsalted. The are even some trailblazing companies that are looking at food production and ingredients from the ground up. They are producing pre-made items made with a whole food approach. Check out the great Hampton Creek videos on youtube for some more information about their goals and how they fit with a clean eating lifestyle.

 

Now we have covered the basics, here are some specific and easy ideas of what to make and how to cook it for your clean eating plan.

 

Breakfast

 

Breakfast is important as it gets your metabolism up and running for the day. The faster your metabolism, the faster you burn those calories. So it’s especially relevant for those people looking to lose weight with clean eating.

 

Good cleaning eating breakfast items include avocados and eggs. Any vegetables, fruit and the occasional piece of wholemeal bread are also acceptable. Nuts and seeds work well too, especially the on trend chia seed. Don’t forget a delicious glass of fruit and vegetable juice too.

 


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Why not crack and egg into the pit if and avocado and bake. Or how about a banana chia seeds and yoghurt bowl? Or you could get ingenious and bake some beaten eggs in muffin teas with spinach and then you have healthy pre-made breakfasts for the week!

 

Snacks

 

Snacks should be easy and portable, with that in mind, why not go for an apple or some celery with a tbsp of nothing added peanut butter. Or how about making your own hummus. Take one can of chickpeas, drain and rinse and then add to a bowl. Add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, a clove of garlic and some smoked paprika and blend with a hand whisk. East with cucumber or carrot batons. Delicious!

 


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Lunches

 


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Why not get a bento box, to store your lunch in? It can make this much easier, and it will remind you to take a variety of food to work with you so you never go hungry. Ensure that you have some lean protein like salmon or chicken breast or tofu if you are vegetarian. Then you want some good fats like nuts and seeds. Some vegetables of your choice. Try roasted veg, perfect for summer. Don’t forget a whole food dressing for your veg to make it even tastier.

 

Dinners

 

While it may take a bit more planning and prep you can enjoy some delicious meals with clean eating. Make your own falafel and serve with a tabbouleh salad. Or replace the pasta in lasagne with aubergine slices but remember to make your own sauces and not buy the ready made ones!

 


Wendy

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