One of the big concerns when people consider eating clean – or eating healthy in general is cost. Grocery prices have gone up so much in the past few years; it’s hard to find an extra $100 in the budget to spend on healthy food.
Find your local farmers market and scout out farm stores in the area. They are a great source of local produce, diary, and eggs and if you’re lucky, even meat. Since these items don’t need to be trucked in from across the country (or overseas), you’re getting fresh, high quality food at a decent price.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes are another great source of local boxes. You buy a share of a farmer’s produce for the year and end up with a box of assorted fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Go to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ to learn more and find farms in your area that participate.
Eat In Season
Eat the food that’s in season any given month. Again, it will be cheaper, both in the grocery store and at the farmer’s market, but also be fresher. Plus there are additional benefits to eating in season. The food tastes better since it is picked in its prime season and it’s better for the environment when food doesn’t have to be picked early and shipped across the country.
Make It From Scratch
We’ve lost the art of making things from scratch in the past few decades. We spend our hard earned money on sodium free, organic chicken broth instead of boiling up the bones from the chicken we had for dinner last night and making our own.
Learn to cook things from scratch. Cook your own beans, make soups and stews from scratch and make it a goal to learn to make one new homemade thing each week. Try your hand at baking bread or make some homemade barbecue sauce. Not only will you save money, you also get full control over the ingredients.
Grow Your Own
Turn part of your yard into your own personal grocery store. It is very easy to grow your own lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Give it a try. You can even do this in containers on your patio if you don’t have much of a yard.
Growing your own produce is even possible in an apartment. Grow some herbs, have some sprouts sprouting and make a growing salad bowl. You can grow spring greens in a pot or bowl in the kitchen window and enjoy a nice bowl of fresh salad every few days.
As an added bonus you get outside and learn a lot more about where you food comes from and what it takes to grow healthy fruits and vegetables that are good for our bodies.
Buy In Bulk
Last but not least, let’s talk about buying in bulk. You can purchase staple foods like rice, whole grain flour and even dried beans and peas in bulk. See what your local grocery store has to offer, or see if you can get even better prices online.
Buying these items in bulk will save you quite a few dollars on your food budget and it makes weekly grocery trips easier since those things are already crossed off the list.
Please don’t let budget constraints keep you from eating healthier. Not only is it very doable on a limited budget, you’ll be saving even more down the road in avoided health care costs.
Switching to a clean diet that consists of real food, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat and whole grains will put you on the right track to a healthy weight. But there are a few things you can do to speed things up. This is particularly important if you have a lot of weight to lose or are pre-diabetic.
Watch The Sweeteners
Clean eating cuts out all white sugar and artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners like honey, agave syrup and maple syrup are usually allowed though. While they are fine to use in moderation, be careful about not going overboard. Replacing your sugary treats with “clean” versions that contain just as many natural sugars won’t help you lose the weight and isn’t good for your blood sugar.
Careful With Carbs
One of the best ways to lose excess weight is to curb carbohydrate consumption. Fill your plate with low carb, non-starchy vegetables, add a few berries and go easy on the potatoes.
Tracking carbohydrate consumption for a few days can help you get a feel for what clean foods are high in carbs and how lowering your carbohydrate intake makes you feel.
Plenty of Protein And Healthy Fat To Stay Full
With sugars and carbs out of the way, what should you eat? After all a big salad will only satisfy you for so long. Make it up with plenty of lean protein and healthy fats. Both take a longer time to digest and will help you stay full.
Include things like chicken, low fat cottage cheese, Greek Yogurt, ground turkey etc. with each meal or snack. Nuts are another great option full of healthy fats. Be careful of portion sizes though. The same holds true for healthy fats like cold-pressed olive oil or avocados.
Don’t Forget The Water
Often we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water first. Not only will it fill you up with zero calories, staying well hydrated also makes it easier for your body to process body fat into energy your body can use. In other words, drink your water and melt that fat right of your body.
Move Around More
Eating the right type of food in appropriate portions will make a huge difference when it comes to your weight. But so will moving around. We’re not talking about heading to the gym each day or gong for a 5 mile run. While those are great options, even moving around just a little more can have a positive impact.
Go for a short walk after dinner, park a little further away at the mall or dance around the kitchen to your favorite music. Not only will this burn extra calories, it also puts you in a better mood and kicks your metabolism into high gear.
Eating clean at home is relatively easy. You cook what you want to eat and provided you have the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry you shouldn’t be too tempted by takeout and fast food. Things get a little more complicated when you’re away from home.
When You’re Traveling
Do your homework before you head out. What options will you have on the road and once you arrive at your destination? See if there are grocery stores close by and if you will have access to a mini-fridge (if you’re staying in a hotel).
Pack some emergency snacks in case you can’t find anything you can eat. Stock up on nuts, fruits, seeds and raw vegetables. If you can, pack a little cooler with other ready to eat food. Having water and herbal teas on hand will also help when you’re traveling.
When You’re Invited To Dinner
Depending on your relationship with the hostess, you may or may not want to mention your dietary restrictions. In either case it’s a good idea to have a substantial snack before you head out the door. You don’t want to arrive hungry and be tempted by all the “off-limit” food options.
Make the best choices you can. After that it’s a personal decision if you want to avoid most food or have some foods you wouldn’t normally eat in order to avoid offending the hostess. At the end of the day, a few bites of processed foods won’t kill you. Just avoid any known trigger foods and if you can, stay away from wheat and sugar.
When You’re Going Out To Eat
Research the place ahead of time, or if you have input in where you should go, pick a restaurant that you know has choices that fit into your eating plan.
Most restaurants offer their menus online. Start there and see what you can find that’s at least close to being acceptable. Then give them a call and see what they can do to accommodate you. You may be able to make some small tweaks in the menu to cut out foods you’re trying to avoid. Stating you’re on dietary restrictions or can’t handle certain ingredients will help. Of course it always helps to be nice to the person on the other end of the phone line and your server once you get to the restaurant.
One more quick tip. Anytime you head out, even if it’s just for a few short hours, carry a healthy snack with you. Keep some non-perishables like nuts and dried fruit in your purse along with some bottled water. No matter what happens, you’ll have your snack and can make it until you get back home to cook a clean meal.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
By using the Compliments website, you agree to the following:
The material appearing on this website, including Meal Plan system(s), Fitness Plan system(s), health behavior tracking/logging system(s), live webinars, pre-recorded webcasts, documents, video and Q&A sessions, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare provider(s) before beginning any new food regimen, exercise regimen, or treatment of any kind. Stop exercising immediately if you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have read on this site. Health, nutrition and fitness research is ever-changing and although we strive to provide up-to-date, relevant information, new research may exist that could impact the educational information provided on this site, and advice found here may not be based on the most recent findings or developments. Therefore, the use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.
Compliments LLC, Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S., partners, contractors and associates assume no responsibility or liability for any consequence resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction any person may take based on the information found on this website or material linked to this site.