Yes, you read that right. Clean eating can be fun! You don’t have to subsist on leafy vegetables and dread every meal. You can eat flavorful foods and satisfy your cravings for “dirty” foods. Whether you just started researching this clean eating thing or you want to make it fit into your busy lifestyle, here is a list of 10 ways to make clean eating fun. Hopefully you will see that adopting a clean eating lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. It can be easy, fun, and sustainable!
1. Ditch the Boring Boxes
Boxed, packaged, and canned foods are boring. Get rid of them! Prepackaged foods are full of preservatives, chemicals, sodium, sugars, and fat; none of which you need. You can make your own versions of these packaged foods in almost the same amount of time using fresh, wholesome ingredients. There are some exceptions of course, such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, canned beans, etc. Just read labels and skip on anything with more than a few ingredients listed or containing items that you can’t pronounce.
Eating clean doesn’t need to break the bank, either. Try these 7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget.
2. Use Ingredients You Actually Like
Don’t try to cook with anything that you have a strong aversion to. You will be far more likely to cook and eat dishes containing ingredients you actually like rather than force down those you don’t. Also, your chances of sticking to a clean eating lifestyle are greater if you enjoy the food you are eating.
Thankfully, you can still indulge in your favorite comfort foods when eating clean. These 15 Healthy Comfort Food Recipes will satisfy your cravings without unhealthy ingredients.
3. Find New Ways to Sweeten
The average American consumes more than 3 times the recommended daily allowance of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s hard to pass on your favorite sweet foods when a craving hits. Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to sweeten foods without adding sugar so you don’t have to!
- Fruits are natural sweeteners that also come with added bonuses like fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. You can puree them into smoothies and sauces or use them as toppings in oatmeal, yogurt, or salads. Dates and bananas are especially good for sweetening.
- Honey is a natural sweetener that is often called liquid gold because it has incredible health benefits. It can alleviate allergies, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, sooth a cough or sore throat, fight infection, and boost immune systems. Enjoy in moderation, though, if you struggle to maintain a healthy weight as it packs 64 calories per tablespoon and can raise blood sugar levels. Honey can be enjoyed in tea, coffee, oatmeal, drizzled on fruit, or in baking recipes.
- Coconut Sugar is sap that is extracted from the blooms of the coconut, which is then heated and, through evaporation, we get coconut sugar. It is coarser than regular sugar, but can be used almost interchangeably. It is high in vitamins and minerals and, as a bonus, is low on the glycemic index.
- Maple Syrup, like honey, has many health properties such as the ability to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. It is rich in antioxidants, but also like honey, is high in calories and can raise blood sugar levels. Enjoy maple syrup drizzled over breakfast items, in sauces or glazes, and in baking.
- Stevia is a new favorite natural sweetener in healthy eating circles as it has zero calories and zero glycemic impact. It is also 200 times sweeter than sugar, but some people do report experiencing a metallic taste after consumption. It is best used to sweeten beverages like coffee or tea, oatmeal, smoothies, and even yogurt. Baking with Stevia can be tricky, so just be sure to look up tried and true recipes from trusted sources if you decide to try it.
You’ll love these Skinny Desserts with No Sugar Added!
4. Travel the World
Okay, you don’t really need to travel the world, but your taste buds sure can! Other countries and regions all over the world have tasty dishes like stir-fries or curries that are perfect for clean eating. Thanks to modern technology, amazing recipes from around the globe are just a few keystrokes away. So go wild with it! Take a culinary tour around the world! Try ethnic recipes from different regions and just tweak them as needed (like substituting brown rice for white).
5. Eat Your Favorite Dishes
No one should have to have their leg pulled to eat their favorite dishes. There is always a way to clean up your family’s go-to meals. Mac-n-cheese, spaghetti, pizza, ice cream, you name it; there is a clean recipe out there for it. You will have more fun finding ways to transform meals that you enjoy than you will struggling to reinvent the dinner wheel.
Try these healthier versions of your favorite recipes: