Want to be your best self for your children or family? Are you hoping to lose some weight and get healthy? Gain knowledge and tools you need to gain confidence, feel better and fit into your clothes by learning more about clean eating in our upcoming class.
Fitness magazine defined it well when they said “clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.”
I’m not sure if being asked to write this edition of TRIO was a compliment or a test, especially after the holidays. I don’t particularly like to cook. When I set out on my healthy eating journey in April, my goal was to eat better, cut back on sugar and learn to prepare more fruits, veggies and healthy foods.
I’m a mom of a four-year-old and I wanted to be my best self. I did a 30-day plan to get started. I’m sure I stood out during my multiple trips to Sprouts as the newbie. Looking for almond butter in the refrigerated section had to be the giveaway. But I wanted it bad enough, and you can change to a healthy lifestyle, too, if you try. Disclaimer: I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do want to share a little about what I’ve learned. Here are some tips to help you begin your healthy eating journey.
Superfoods are good for your overall health – though there doesn’t seem to be a true official list. Foods like turkey, blueberries, strawberries and kale fall into the superfood category. Here’s a more detailed list of superfoods that I find easier to prepare. Adding superfoods to your diet doesn’t have to be hard. For instance, I eat pistachios for a snack in between meals. I use blueberries on my cereal. I often add strawberries to my Greek yogurt or eat a hard boiled egg for a snack. I love to use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream on tacos. Once I learned the health benefits of superfoods, it was easy to find way to include them in my meals.
Eating organic can eat up your budget, so what does it really mean? This informative article from the United States Department of Agriculture does a good job explaining the details. “USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible … As for organic meat, regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones.”
If you need to keep things on the frugal side, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the dirty dozen and clean 15. The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that you should try to purchase organic. They include foods like apples, strawberries and spinach. Here’s a list and how they rank. Those on the clean 15 list are OK to purchase non-organic if you’re closely watching your budget. They showed little trace of pesticides, due in large part to the protective outer layer. They include foods like avocados, pineapple and sweet corn.
Google to my rescue. Before April, I had no idea what either of these were.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah … now you can impress your friends) isn’t technically a grain, but it acts like one nutritionally. It’s healthy, and it tastes good and has countless benefits. It’s high in protein, fiber and B vitamins and has many other healthy attributes. I prefer to make a batch as I’m ready to use it. This is my favorite breakfast recipe. Remember – I don’t like to cook, but the recipes Danette May provides are easy and tasty.
Cacao is a source of antioxidants, is less processed and is considered a superfood. Here’s more info on the difference between cacao and cocoa. I like to use cacao in my coffee to give it the taste of a mocha. I also use cacao nibs in a no-bake cookie recipe to give it the taste of chocolate chips.
I’m so passionate about this topic, I’m giving you a bonus #4 on a blog that’s only supposed to have three tips, and it’s the no-bake cookie recipe. This is the one recipe you have to try if you try nothing else. If you’re a chocolate lover like me, the transition to fewer sweets won’t be easy. It’s my go-to protein snack and dessert – chocolate peanut butter bites. Healthy and so delicious. Put them in the freezer and make sure you use raw honey. I prefer peanut butter over almond butter. I’ve tried rolling the cookies in coconut flakes – it’s good, but the cacao nibs taste event better.
Want to be the best version of yourself and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle? Join us for the upcoming Clean Eating class. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Dana Wallace is the Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at Meridian.