Since K and I implemented clean eating a few years ago, we’ve really come to embrace shopping for fresh foods. Of course we aren’t compliant 100% of the time, and we still have days where we want some pasta or pizza, but most of the foods in our diet live in our freezer and fridge. Now, Little A is a different story. But that’s a whole other post.
Implementing a clean eating lifestyle can feel overwhelming at first. Especially when you have little ones that make running to the store almost impossible some days. So having some kid tested and approved items on hand can make those rushed evenings go a bit smoother.
If you haven’t read my first post on how to eat clean, be sure to read that first.
My favorite thing about clean eating is that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a meal. Sometimes less is more. So don’t feel like you have to have 40 different veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and spices on hand at all times just to create one or two meals.
Remember tip number 5 from my how to eat clean post and try to stick to the outside of the store. Except for grains, beans, condiments, spices and some clean snacks, everything in your cart should come from 3 walls of the grocery store (steer clear of the bakery section). 🙂
Here are some of my favorite clean eating foods. This list is by no means 100% inclusive of everything you could eat, it’s just what we usually buy at the store and/or farmer’s market.
Produce // The bulk of your shopping trip should consist of food from the produce section. Fresh fruits and vegetables are key to planning healthy, clean, whole food meals for you and your family. Try to shop for in season produce as much as possible. Frozen veggies are okay as well.
Some of our favorites are:
– Dark, leafy greens (like spinach and kale)
– Brussel Sprouts
– Sweet potatoes
– Lettuces (romaine, arugula)
– Beets & beet greens
– Onions (use onions to add flavor to grains)
– Zucchini and squash
-Avocado (found in the produce section, but considered a healthy fat)
Herbs: Herbs are a great way to add flavor to your meals!
Protein // Try to stick to lean protein when choosing what foods to incorporate into your clean eating lifestyle.
– Chicken breast
– Ground turkey
– Wild-caught fish and shellfish
– Eggs (eat the whole egg! The yolks are a great source of healthy cholesterol!)
– Tofu: Tofu gets a bad wrap, but it’s a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians.
Dairy & dairy alternatives // A lot of people who prescribe to the clean eating way of life won’t eat anything other than raw, unpasteurized dairy because pasteurization is well…processed. But we all live in the real world where raw, unpasteurized dairy is either not readily available or not in our budget. So I say that, in moderation, dairy and some dairy alternatives can be a great source of calcium and with yogurt you can get gut healthy probiotics.
– Greek yogurt
– Almond milk
– Coconut milk
– Milk: go for the good stuff, not non-fat
– Cottage cheese: technically this isn’t clean either, but it is a great source of low-fat protein
– Block Cheese: avoid nonfat and pre-packaged cheeses (like shredded cheese)
Pantry Items // There are some clean eating items that will live in your pantry! And contrary to what most people think, beans should not give you gas and make you feel bloated. At least not the kind of beans you should be eating (stay away from those re-fried beans at the Mexican restaurant). Beans and legumes are a great source of protein and help you feel full longer. Yes, some oils are good too!
Grains: Remember that white flour is one of the 3 white evils and stick to nutrient and fiber rich whole grains. Eating grains is fine, but try to limit what you put on your plate.
– Brown rice
– Whole wheat pasta, bread and tortillas
Beans & Legumes:
– Black, kidney, pinto, cannelini, chickpeas are all great sources of protein.
– Lentils make a great soup
Nuts & nut butters:
– Nuts: Raw almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios.
– Nut butters: Almond butter, natural peanut butter
– Coconut oil
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Grapeseed oil
– Sunflower oil
– Avocado oil
– Walnut oil
Sweetners: Use in moderation & stay away from sucralose.
– Pure maple syrup
Superfoods: These are some of my favorite items to put into baked goods or easy to grab snacks.
– Goji berries
– Chia seed
– Hemp seed
– Flax seed or meal
– Cacao nibs and/or 70% or greater dark chocolate
Spices // Variety is the spice of life! And spices add so much great flavor to your meals. Think cayenne, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, etc. Experimenting with spices can make cooking clean much more enjoyable.
Condiments // I do not recommend you buy any pre-made condiments like salad dressings, ketchup, mayo, etc. But grab these items to make your own dressings and marinades.
– Apple Cider vinegar
– Red wine vinegar
– Rice vinegar
Snacks, drinks and foods for the kiddos // There are some prepackaged items that you can eat! Food for the kids can be tough when it comes to clean eating. But I do my best to find what my daughter will eat and then use them as a go to when she’s being picky.
– Lara bars
– Frozen fruit smoothies
– 100% fruit juice popsicles
– Coconut water
– Green tea
– Coffee (try to limit yourself to 1 cup a day)
Phew! That was a big list! I hope that helps to get you started on your clean eating journey. Once you do it for a few weeks it really becomes second nature.
Question of the day: What are your favorite clean eating foods? Do you have any favorite recipes?