So, you have vowed to eat healthier this year, right? Maybe you want to lose weight or just start feeling better? Well, these clean eating meal planning tips are just what you need. Getting healthy doesn’t require the counting of calories. You don’t need fad diets, juice cleanses or special food you can only buy online. I am a huge fan of a food guru named Michael Pollan. If you aren’t familiar with him, his entire philosophy on food intake can be summarized in one phrase. “Eat real food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” These clean eating meal planning tips will help you eat healthier even if you have a very hectic life!
Clean Eating Meal Planning Tips
Start your week with a meal plan:
The number one most important clean eating meal planning tip I can give you is to PREPARE for it. Don’t just rush to the grocery store and throw a bunch of stuff in the cart and figure you will decide what to do with it later. Sit down for 30 minutes on the weekend and list a few breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas. Write down exactly what you need to buy. Make sure to include several snack ideas.
On a clean eating diet, you want to eat 4 to 6 times a day, every day. The key is small meals made of wholesome ingredients and refueling your body every few hours. Healthy food is digested quickly. Take your list to the grocery store and only buy what you need. If you don’t buy donuts, you won’t EAT donuts. Kids want donuts? Too bad, they need to eat healthier, too! Check out this clean eating grocery list before you head out shopping.
Do the prep work ahead of time:
Invest in some nice reusable containers and spend time on the weekend chopping, slicing, and dicing. Grill a few extra chicken breasts and make up a homemade salad dressing. Yes, I know your weekends are busy but an hour or so of preparation on the weekend will make your clean eating meal planning successful all week!
Combine lean protein with complex carbs:
When you are working on clean eating meal planning, don’t forget lots of protein. Lean protein will help keep you fueled up longer and help prevent the urge to snack on junk. Throw some grilled chicken on your salad or pick up some turkey sausage to go with breakfast. You don’t always have to choose meat for your protein source. Beans, nuts, and eggs are also great sources of protein that fit in nicely with your clean eating meal plan.
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Be careful with carbs:
Grains should be simple, whole grains rather than quick cooking ones. These take a long time to cook, which is tough for busy moms. Plan ahead and cook them on the weekend or learn to use your crockpot for cooking these whole grains. Check out Spark People for easy ways to cook whole grains.
Don’t skip meals, even if you are in a hurry:
You need to make time for healthy eating. If your schedule is so busy that you can ‘t take 30 minutes to eat a healthy lunch, you need to re-evaluate your priorities. Skipping meals will make your blood sugar drop, leading to mood swings and poor eating decisions. Don’t sabotage yourself by skipping breakfast. You will just end up binging on office donuts and kicking yourself for it. Want a quick and easy breakfast idea? Try my overnight oats with strawberries, almonds, and dark chocolate.
Other Clean Eating Tips You Should Check Out
- Clean Eating Smoothies Get a Boost With These Simple Tips
- Tips for Clean Eating to Help Take Control of Your Health
- What Does Clean Eating Mean and How Hard is it To Do?
You are not a short order cook:
The hardest thing about clean eating meal planning is getting everyone else in the house on board. This is NOT a diet. Diet is a horrible four letter word that should be banned from existence. Clean eating is a way of life and everyone in your house needs to be eating healthier. Kids don’t like what you are serving? That is too dang bad.
Yes, I get it. Having picky eaters sucks royally. I had one. It was a rough couple of years from 3 to 5. But, you know what? Now I have teenagers. They have ZERO food issues as a result of me sticking to my beliefs and making them eat the same things we did. My kids eat everything that is put in front of them. They are not overweight, nor do they have any psychological issues stemming from food. Stop listening to modern psychology that says ‘they’ll try something new when they’re ready’. No, they won’t.
If you insist on making them chicken fingers every night instead of making them try carrots, they are going to grow up living on chicken fingers. Trust me. I have a few of these people in my family and they never grew out of it. Eat clean. Offer the same healthy foods to your family. Get healthier together.
Plan for a few splurges:
Do not ever tell yourself ‘I can never eat that dessert again’ or you will doom yourself to failure. Understand that 80% of your diet should be whole foods, simply cooked and as organic and natural as possible. That other 20%? That is real life. That is your office party or the chocolates your husband got you for Valentine’s Day. In my house, I am at the grocery store twice a week. Sunday I shop for our weekly meals, healthy snacks, etc. On Friday, I run in and everyone gets ONE treat for the weekend. A bag of chips, cookies, etc that they get to enjoy for a couple of days. Then, Monday it is back to eating healthy. If you ban every single treat from your house completely, your new lifestyle will most likely not be very successful.
Don’t stress out:
Like I said earlier…this is not a DIET. Clean eating is a way of life and it will take time to adjust to the new eating plan. There is a bit of a learning curve, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip every once in a while. Get your family involved in cooking to help make things easier for you, as well as teach them a valuable lesson. Buy a few clean eating cookbooks (yes that’s an affiliate link!) or browse Pinterest for suggestions. Think about ways to convert your family’s favorite meals to a ‘cleaner’ alternative. Take one day at a time but plan ahead and keep your goals in mind when shopping. Clean eating is really very easy but it takes some advance planning and a bit of practice!
Do you have any clean eating meal planning tips to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.