A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the power of clean eating to lose weight. When we eat a clean diet free of so much sugar, salt and preservatives, weight loss doesn’t have to be such a big challenge. In fact, by paying more attention to what we put in our bodies and focusing on more fresh, whole foods, it can actually be fun (yes, I said fun!) to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
That post created lots of great conversation and one of the responses was about the need to execute to eat clean consistently — that it, how does one put great ideas about clean eating into action and actually make them happen?
For me, eating clean consistently, as we do from week to week, has everything to do with having a solid meal plan. In fact, I make meal planning a huge priority by setting aside time each week to plan out clean and healthy meals, yet ones that don’t have to have me in the kitchen for hours. I like to do my meal planning on Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings. I get a kick out of listening to Car Talk on NPR on Saturday morning and that’s often the time I’ll pull out my weekly meal planning form to brainstorm what we’ll have. I take into consideration the week’s schedule, the season and foods that feel inspiring to me.
My goal is to get to the store on Saturday as well as the farmers’ market. We have two farmers’ markets within a 2 mile radius on Saturday mornings and I make it a point to see what’s fresh and local that fits into the week’s meal plan. This time of year there are still amazing tomatoes, corn and squash not to mention the bevy of fall produce that’s coming into its own. To me, this is clean eating at its best.
I also make my way to the health food store or large grocery store for any other items I may need. Because I make a list of everything I’ll need, I can usually knock this errand out in short order – no having to stroll up and down all the aisles. And because almost everything we eat is fresh, I spend almost no time in the aisles with packaged food full of preservatives. I will however, stock up on Kashi frozen meals, as I mentioned in a post earlier this week, that keep me on my clean eating track for those infrequent days when cooking just isn’t possible.
Finally, to put my plan into action, I get busy in the kitchen on Sundays, creating a clean eating feast for my husband Bruce and I. But given that it’s football season and I’m a huge fan (Go New York Jets!), I have to work my food prep and cooking around seeing the game! I cook enough to get our week started — at least healthy lunches that will sustain us through Tuesday and dinner that we eat on Sunday and can repeat on Monday. I also plan in the other days during the week when I’ll have a window of opportunity to cook. This week, it was a simple whole grain rice pasta dish on Tuesday that doubled as lunch on Wednesday along with a healthy salad and a side of sauteed kale (I mean seriously, if that isn’t clean eating, I don’t know what is?!)
What do you do to put your good intentions of clean eating into action? How does meal planning play a part in your clean eating efforts?
If you’re stuck for ideas on how to marry clean eating with weekly meal planning, you won’t want to miss my upcoming teleseminar: Fabulous Fall Seasonal Eating and Meal Planning on Wednesday, October 21 at 8 pm ET. It’s a live, interactive call on how to eat locally and seasonally AND create healthy meals. You can get all the scoop by going http://budurl.com/falleating. Come join us!