Friday, March 28, 2014

Clean Eating Challenge- Part 1

Posted by Tara

Clean Eating is a major movement spurred by people from all walks of life who want to feel good about what they are putting in their bodies. It's about getting rid of the processed and fatty foods we normally fill out diets with and getting back to simple and healthy choices. And now I have decided to try it out for 6 weeks.
Why? Well... I have been in a funk lately. I say FUNK because I don't know what else to call it. It started around the holidays. I was eating terrible, lost my drive to workout (had been working out Mon-Fri for months prior), and didn't want to do anything but lay in bed and sleep. I knew I needed to make some major changes!
I currently do Crossfit with a group in my area. It's not a gym, but a group of us in the community who meet at a park with all of our equipment and do our workouts together. The majority of the group are stay-at-home moms, like me. I approached one of the leaders about my lack of motivation and told her I thought we should have a nutrition challenge. She loved the idea and got a website started and invited everyone in our group to join. This clean eating challenge has helped me a lot. I am on week 2 and I already feel better. I am also trying to workout 5 days a week again. It is challenging juggling 5 kids and a busy schedule, but I have to make it a priority right now if I want to see it happen.
Since I've started this, I have had a lot of friends show interest in how to follow a clean eating challenge and what it is I am actually eating on a daily basis. If you are interested in following a clean eating challenge yourself, here is how I do it!
Basic Daily Guidelines 
  • Protein - 4-5 servings (lean meats, seafood, poultry, eggs)
  • Vegetables - 5+ servings (corn and potatoes are excluded)
  • Fruit - 2-3 servings
  • Water - 2 liters+
(Try to include a protein and healthy fat with every meal)

Good Fats
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Almonds and other nuts (except peanuts and cashews)

Limited Foods
  • Grains - 1 serving/day allowed (brown rice, oats, quinoa preferred). Avoid anything white! Corn and potatoes are included in this category
  • Dairy - 1 serving/day allowed (butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, cream)
  • Legumes (beans) - Try to avoid, however up to 2 servings/week is allowed. Peanuts and cashews are considered legumes.

Foods to AVOID
  • Sugar - granulated, brown, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar. This pretty much includes all desserts! A small amount of honey is OK. Think fruit if you need something sweet
  • Processed foods - this includes protein bars
  • Unhealthy Oils - Vegetable, corn, canola, soybean, etc.
  • Alcohol
  • Soda (regular or diet)
  • Any sweetened drink (fruit juice, Gatorade, Lattes, etc.)

Ok, so now that you know the basic guidelines, what do I actually eat? Here is my menu of exactly what I ate for Week 1 with my grocery list. For the other 5 weeks, I will be eating a diet very close to this. Each week I will rotate my protein (meat) and switch it out, so I don't get sick of the same thing. I also will be switching out my grains. I started with sweet potato and will rotate with quinoa and brown rice. 

One Week Menu Example

Omelette with Vegetables & Sriracha´╗┐

Pre-Workout: Fruit and water
Breakfast: Omelette - 3 eggs, peppers, onions, small handful of spinach, 1/2 tomato, 1/2 avocado, & Sriracha (shown above)
Lunch: 1/2 chicken breast, 1/4 baked sweet potato, asparagus
Snacks: 3 clementines
Dinner: Ground turkey with onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli, and Sriracha (shown below)

Ground Turkey with Vegetables & Sriracha´╗┐

Pre-Workout: Fruit and water
Breakfast/Brunch: Omelette with ground turkey hash, topped with tomatoes and 1/2 avocado
Snacks: Grapes, 1/2 apple
Lunch: 1/2 Chicken Breast, 1/4 baked sweet potato, asparagus
Dinner: Chicken Apple Sausage, 1 link

Pre- Workout : Apple and water
Post-Workout: Omelette with peppers, onions, spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 tomato
Snack: Grapefruit w/ honey
Lunch: 1/2 Chicken Breast, 1/2 baked sweet potato, asparagus
Dinner: Cajun Chicken Sausage with broccoli, peppers, onions
Snack: 4 strawberries

Breakfast/Brunch: 2 yolks 3 egg whites, spinach, peppers, onions, 1 turkey sausage link, 1 avocado
Snack: 2 clementines
Lunch:  1/2 Chicken Breast, 1/2 baked sweet potato, asparagus
Snack: 4 strawberries with honey, lime juice, cinnamon
Dinner: Turkey burger patty (seasoned with garlic, pepper, salt, and rosemary), with roasted pepper, onions, lettuce, and tomato (shown below)

Turkey Burger Patty with Vegetables´╗┐

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1 egg white, spinach, onion, peppers
Lunch:1/2 Chicken Breast, 1/2 baked sweet potato, asparagus
Dinner: DATE NIGHT @ Black Angus
   Appetizer: Lettuce wraps
   Salad w/ dressing on the side (avoid all creamy dressings, only do balsamic vinegar and olive oil)
   Entree: Chicken breast and asparagus

Breakfast: 2 eggs 1 egg white omelette
Lunch: Spinach Salad topped with tomatoes, chicken breast, avocado and drizzle of EVOO, and balsamic vinegar
Snacks: Strawberries and bananas with honey and lime juice
Dinner: Protein shake and fruit

Sunday: (I am at church during lunch hours, so I miss that meal)
Breakfast : 2 slices of bacon, 2 eggs 1 egg white
Snacks: Grapefruit w/ honey, 3 cuties
Dinner: Quinoa salad with chicken and pineapple

Grocery List

Meats: Chicken Breasts, Ground Turkey, Chicken Apple Sausage
Vegetables: Asparagus, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Red and Yellow Peppers, Onion, 1 Bag Spinach, Avocados, Tomatoes, Red Onion
Fruit: Apples, Bananas, Clementines, Grapes, Strawberries, Pineapple
Other: Eggs, Sriracha, Quinoa, Cilatnro

Tips for Meals

Be creative! I have found that I am being more creative with my meals than I have ever done before! If you are bored with your meals, switch them up. Look on Pinterest or Google for new recipes. Make your meals ahead, or at least most of them. I make all my lunches and some extras. I am constantly running around and this helps me stay on track during the week. It takes 90 seconds to warm up my food and I take it with me while I run errands or juggle kids around. Not eating during the day is the worst thing to do while trying to get fit. Making meals ahead of time helps me eat, because there are no excuses if it's already made.
Even though this is not listed on the "Foods to Avoid," try to AVOID increasing your salt. I know for me, when I am trying new foods, the first thing I want to do is salt them. Don't! I even went to the store and bought seasonings that have no salt in them so I don't even have the option. A little bit of salt is fine, but if you know that you are a heavy salter (like me) try cutting back while doing this challenge.

Week 2 Meals

Now in no way am I suggesting you do this like me. This is just how I plan on doing clean eating for the next 6 weeks. Make a plan that works for you and your schedule! Research what foods have the highest nutrition, and make meals with the ones you like. This is so easy that anyone can do this, it just takes some determination to want to feel better and eat right!

Linking up with: Practically Functional, Link Party Palooza, Sunday Funday, Fluster's Creative Muster, Snap Creativity

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At March 28, 2014 at 5:34 PM , Anonymous Sherry said...

I REALLY need to do this!

At April 1, 2014 at 6:42 PM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Now that I am on week three, I am so glad that I started this! I have so much more energy and feel better (body wise). Thanks for stopping by Sherry!

At May 11, 2014 at 4:25 PM , Blogger Tatum said...

I am tired of telling myself life is too crazy for change so I am starting this tomorrow, Did my pre Sabbath grocery store run Saturday night and meal prep tonight after mothers day parties and my husband is doing it with me so. (I'm pretty excited about that! )Thanks for all the pictures and tips. regular reader, love your cute blog!


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