Healthy eating (whether that’s clean, paleo, IIFYM, whatever floats your boat…) really doesn’t have to be that difficult. Eating right (especially if you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds) isn’t just having plain salads and dry chicken. As I’ve taught myself the clean way of eating (mantra: “It’s a lifestyle, not a diet”) it’s just been a case of relearning the way I eat – simple changes and simple rules that make planning and choosing the healthy option easy. And it’s been the best thing I’ve every done.
Using these rules to make healthy and clean food that other “non clean” people enjoy eating makes me really happy – I use my fiancé as the benchmark as he’d rather eat the naughty option given half a chance! As I’ve taught myself to cook clean I’ve found these simple switches for typical “bad foods” are a great rule of thumb to make any plate a healthy plate.
1. Sweet potato. Replace ‘bad’ refined carbs with sweet potato. A really simple switch means you get all the goodness of slow-release carbohydrates. For example make sweet potato wedges for a side dish by baking slices for 30 minutes. I always make sure I have one in the cupboard! Voila – you’re having healthy chips.
2. Almond/coconut/buckwheat flour. Cakes, biscuits, bread – you can eat them with this simple swap. If you’re gluten free these lovely alternative flours mean cakes are back on the menu. These flours are made from grinding up these nuts and plants, so you’re getting the goodness of these ingredients. I am in love with my coconut flour pancakes.
3. Agave syrup. I replace refined sugar with this natural alternative when I’m craving sweet things. You need less of it as it’s much sweeter, and it’s filled with natural vitamins and minerals. All hail the natural sweetener!
4. Almond milk. I don’t like drinking animal milk because of the higher fat content. Soy is probably the worst thing you can drink – it messes with your hormones! Nut milk is a healthier alternative and you won’t taste the difference. Almond is my favourite as it has a soft and sweet flavour.
5. Seasoning. Find an easy combo that works for you; I like paprika or cayenne. Suddenly a ‘boring’ turkey steak and vegetables dinner is the most tasty plate of food (fiancé approved!)
6. Lean meats. Swap fatty meat cuts for turkey and chicken. So simple and so effective – my turkey chilli is a weekly staple in our house!
7. Omega 3: When is doubt, eat a trout. We’ve swapped a takeaway curry for a clean and healthy home made fish curry. Mackerel salads make lunchtime easy and delicious. And who doesn’t like fish and chips (grilled cod and sweet potato wedges!). I often choose the fish course when eating out, meaning I’m not missing out on a delicious meal and still getting a whole plate of goodness.
8. Unrefined carbs. I swapped out all the white rice and pasta in our house for bulgar wheat, quinoa, cous cous and wholewheat pasta and brown rice. Slow release energy without the nutrients stripped out. Quinoa is a source of protein too – perfect!
These simple rules were all I followed when I started out eating clean and I never felt like I was missing out.
What do you do to make your plate healthy?