One week down on my clean eating 30 Day challenge. I am pretty proud of myself. I usually get off track in two situations. One, is when people come to visit. Two, is when I am catering. I tend to skip meals. This weekend I catered four events and had eight house guests – and I stuck with my plan!
What is clean eating? Wikipedia’s very vague definition is “…eating foods without preservatives, and on mixing lean proteins with complex carbohydrates.”
Fitness Magazine takes a deeper and less specific definition:
“Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of ingesting more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer calories or more protein), the idea is more about being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.”
Clean Eating Magazine has by favorite, but long definition (I’ve paraphrased a bit here).
“The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time.
Eat five to six times a day
Three meals and two to three small snacks. Include a lean protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal. This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.
Choose organic whenever possible
If your budget limits you, make meat, eggs, dairy and the Dirty Dozen your organic priorities.
Avoid processed and refined foods
This includes white flour, sugar, bread and pasta. Enjoy complex carbs such as whole grains instead.
Know thy enemies
Steer clear of anything high in trans fats, anything fried or anything high in sugar. Avoid preservatives, color additives and toxic binders, stabilizers, emulsifiers and fat replacers.”
My Clean Eating regiment is a lot like the one above. I eat five to six small meals a day. I eat a lot of lean protein (chicken, turkey, and fish). I have some complex carbs (oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice), but I eat them early in the day. I generally avoid wheat and gluten. I sometimes have a piece of toast or pita bread, but it is always the Ezekiel brand, which is sprouted grain and a complete protein. I eat some fruit and TONS of veggies. I am careful to limit veggies that are high in starch and sugars. I limit fats (even the good ones).
I do count calories. It helps me keep track of my day from meal to meal. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I keep my calories around 250-300. My snacks are around 150-200. That gives me some wiggle room. If I have a really long workout, I can eat a little more after, or sometimes I am really hungry after dinner.
My fitness pal is an app that is a great way to keep track of calories. It also keeps track of protein, carbs, fat, sugars, etc. It can seem a bit tedious at first, adding everything in, but once you get some foods established, it goes more quickly. It’s very important to measure your food.
1 cup of oatmeal or ½ cup of low calorie granola with ½ cup unsweetened almond milk.
4 ounces of lean protein, 4 ounces brown rice, quinoa or sweet potato, and unlimited (approved) veggies.
6 ounces of lean protein, and unlimited (approved veggies).
The snacks vary. I make my own gluten free banana bread and protein bars. Smoothies, 2 Hard boiled eggs, frittata, rice cake with sun butter and raisins, greek yogurt, cottage cheese…
I will be posting some meals and snacks through my 30 Day plan.
Below is a recipe for my low calorie granola. I eliminated the honey and cut down the almonds from my original post on this blog. ½ a cup with ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk in the morning is about 200 calories. I look forward to it in the mornings.
SKINNY ALMOND GRANOLA RECIPE
10 cups rolled oats
2 cups slivered almonds
8 Tablespoons flax seeds
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon Diamond Krystal kosher salt (use 1/2 the amount if using Morton’s)
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups raisins
¼ cup powdered stevia
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Measure oats into a large bowl. Measure almonds, flax seeds, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and kosher salt into the bowl. Stir well to combine.
- In a liquid measuring cup, place, water, and almond and vanilla extract. Using a small whisk or spoon, and stir to combine liquids.
- Pour liquid mixture over oat and nut mixture. Using your hands or a spoon, stir well to combine.
- Spread the mixture in a single layer between two sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Place the pans in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and toss with a spatula. Return pan to the oven on opposite racks. Cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove pans from the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of raisins and half of stevia evenly over each pan. Allow granola to cool completely. Place in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
Makes about 16 cups granola. Recipe is easily halved.