So What Exactly is Clean Eating & Can a busy Mamma do it???
I will have to say that one of the biggest blessings that I have found as my family and I started our journey to eating clean is learning to be creative in the kitchen.
It all started 7 years ago with an allergy test gone wrong for the hubs…which in turn was a tremendous blessing to our family. My biggest fears when we ejected processed food from our daily regime (for the most part) were the following:
1. Our grocery bill would skyrocket.
2. Food would not taste as good.
3. I am not the worlds greatest cook
4. I do not want to spend my entire day in the kitchen
5. Will my kids eat this stuff?
But my Hubs hives spoke louder than my fear and worry, and our journey to clean eating began.
Here are some basic steps I followed that helped me and I hope that they can help you.
1. DO NOT BE A PERFECTIONIST
Choose one thing at a time to focus on and do not try to be perfect…you can’t. As a busy mom and wife as much as I would like my meals to be cover photo worthy, sometimes they were a bomb. And honestly I had to learn to laugh at myself when I messed up, reach out to others for help, and be open to failing.
I would burn soup (yes that is possible), Make foods that we ALL gagged at, and sometimes hit a home run. I had to learn that my cooking and adventures were not the measure of me…and if we ate a lot of eggs because of failed attempts at dinner it was ok.
Also I did not panic at a birthday party if my kids ate cake and ice cream, or drank a little Kool Aid (ok, Kool Aid does make me panic…have you seen what it does to kids??? LOL ). I struggled with a fear of food most of my life…so I make sure my kids learn moderation, and to pay attention to how what they eat makes them feel…that way they learn to not overdo it on the circus peanuts at a friend’s house (not that I EVER did that), or to pay attention when they do to how they feel to help them make a better choice next time.
3. Skip the Isles, Shop what is fresh.
A BIG step for me was to avoid the center section of the store…buying fresh produce (not all organic), and things like beef, chicken, pork, eggs, butter, etc. Foods from the animal with minimal processing. Since moving up here to Ohio we have enjoyed local, fresh produce and eggs through our weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) and we eat what we get. So we meal plan the week after our pick up date.
It does require a weekly trip, and planning a bit since fresh produce needs to be eaten sooner…but we have saved a LOT of $$$ not shopping the center isles for the most part. We do purchase frozen veggies (much better than canned), and grains for baking in the center isles, but for the most part we eat a lot of fruit and veggies here. It is not about breaking the budget. You set the budget and do the best you can.
You may even find as you eat more real food you are less hungry for other things…
3. Read the labels:
Yes this is a tad scary. I could not pronounce many of the ingredients that were listed on the back of these boxes and cans…which taught me this basic rule. Try to keep it to 5 ingredients or less, be able to pronounce them, and look them up if you can’t tell what they are.
It was amazing how much I found in these foods that were labeled as “healthy”, “wholesome”, and even at times “organic”. My hubs main allergy was to soy…which IS IN EVERYTHING…so we tried our best to cut it out 80% of the time, knowing there would be times we missed it.
4. IGNORE the comments, or EMBRACE them !
If you are not living in a community that eats this way than you will probably hear things like “I am not sure if we have food here like you eat”, or “Please do not judge me kids, they eat Cheerios”, or “We don’t have any organic food, so what can you eat?”.
These comments used to make me upset…now they make me laugh. Gasp…my kids eat cereal sometimes too… I do buy Mac and Cheese from time to time to save us on a busy day. My freezer has frozen pizzas too…Gasp!!! Its progress NOT perfection, right?
The beauty is this is YOUR journey for YOUR family, and when you make any changes they challenge others to think about what they do, but it’s NOT that you are weird or wrong, it’s just different and a lot of times misunderstood.
That being said…do NOT be a food snob!!! LOL…we all are in different places in our journey and need to support one another where we are at.
5. Start with the basics and do it ONE STEP AT A TIME
It is so important to take the time to plan and prep in order to stay on track. This DOES NOT mean to overcomplicate things…maybe the first step is clean breakfasts….and then move onto lunch, snacks, and then dinner. Removing one or two things at a time with a better choice. The only way to succeed at anything is to be a life time learner…so I HIGHLY recommend you choose ONE thing at a time. We started with eliminating Soy in most things…then moved on to eliminating cereal for breakfast (which was a HUGE $$$ saver), then onto healthy snack options and lunch options…and now we are still learning creative and fun meals to add to the mix. I will be sharing them weekly here on this blog.
Resources are HUGE!!! Shout out to this amazing website that really helped me get started in my journey…
She has some amazing baby steps that really help with the ONE thing at time and don’t break your budget.
So where are you in your clean eating journey? What do you want to hear more about? What is holding you back? I would love your feedback!