Sorting thru all the various info regarding clean eating can be pretty perplexing for a beginner. Some of the “facts” are contradictory from one expert to the next. Recipes have strange ingredients. Yikes!
I’m going to stick with the grocery-store-perimeter theory, at least for now. When canned or frozen ingredients are called for, we now have some idea about how to read the label.
Chicken — Boneless, skinless breasts are great choices. Whole chickens are a better deal and you get more out of them. If you can afford organic meats, it’s the way to go.
Beef — Choose grass-fed and humanely raised beef.
Pork — Processed pork, like ham and Canadian bacon, should be avoided. like the plague.
Fish — Most fish is considered clean, but be aware of the mercury content found in some types of fish. Also, try to buy sustainably.
Produce — If you are concerned about pesticides, the general rule of thumb is to purchase organics for items with thin skin, like peaches, nectarines and berries. Thicker skinned produce, like bananas and oranges, are a safer bet to buy non-organic if you’re on a budget. Google “The Dirty Dozen” if you want a list of the worst pesticide risks or the “Clean 15” for the safest produce to buy conventionally.
Milk — The best choice is organic, full-fat milk.
Prepared Cheese — Avoid shredded cheese and grate your own.
Cottage Cheese — Technically, it’s not clean. But it’s a great source of low fat protein. Just watch out for high sodium content in some brands.
The rule for most dairy foods, including cheese, yogurt and milk, is to purchase/consume full fat versions only. Lowfat and nonfat varieties have been processed.
Other considerations: Salad dressing — Nothing compares good, old fashioned extra virgin olive oil & vinegar. Watch out for preservatives in bottled dressings.
The easiest clean eating meals are made up of fresh ingredients like meat/poultry/fish and vegetables from the produce aisle. Prepared without extra salt, heavy sauces and bottled marinades, there are endless healthy combinations. It’s pretty easy to grill a piece of meat, microwave a potato and steam some veggies! But if you’re looking for something a little fancier, here are some recipes that qualify, (compliments of http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com) Make sure you read labels when necessary!
Start slowly – Think about clean eating for one meal a day. When that becomes comfortable, look online for new ideas to incorporate!
4 thoughts on “Choosing Clean Ingredients”
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I haven’t tried them yet, but thought they looked pretty good. I like ingredients that are familiar and not too many steps!
Kudos on this enlightening “mini-series”. Have long avoided processed foods, but some are definitely tough to remove (cheese, bacon, linguica/chourice). Your comments regarding conflicting info from experts totaling on point.
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Thanks, Charl. It can be confusing but I’m trying to stick to the basics and at least be aware of what I’m eating.