Clean Eats on a Dime (And 6 Costly Mistakes to Avoid)

Clean eating is delicious
Clean eating is delicious


As a Coach, Nurse Practitioner, and host of The Clean Eatery, I often hear clients and patients say how expensive they think clean eating is.

At first, I didn’t understand. I didn’t find it expensive at all. In fact, it’s much cheaper! I soon realized why. There are six mistakes people make that cause clean eats to be more expensive than eating processed foods.

Before we look at how cheap clean eating really is, let’s look at the common mistakes people make that can inflate the cost unnecessarily.

 

Costly Clean Eating Mistakes to Avoid

  • Filling the Fridge with Good Food

    It sounds weird, doesn’t it, that putting good food in a fridge is a mistake? But it is. People get all pumped up, fill their cart in the produce section, and set it in the fridge… and it’s more than they can or will use in a week, so it goes bad. Money effectively flushed.
  • Buying Pre-made

    It can be tempting, especially as a beginner, to buy pre-packaged food. It’s certainly easier, and if you’re in a pinch for time, sometimes it’s worth the cost. Buying pre-cut fruits and veggies, for example, is much more costly than buying the whole fruits and veggies and cutting them yourself. You’ll pay more for a pre-packaged parmesan chicken breast than a plain chicken breast that you season at home. (You’ll also save yourself the chemicals, but I digress…)
  • Going Organic

No, despite immense pressure from the foodie community and those who can afford such luxuries, buying organic is not actually required. Especially if you’re starting out or on a limited budget, there just has to be some flexibility on this point. Eating clean is not an all-or-nothing deal where you have to eat all organic, fair trade, locally sourced, or don’t even bother. It just isn’t. Listen, a carrot or salad is better than crackers or chips any day of the week – organic or no. I know there’s a lot of pressure and social status attached to one’s food choices these days, but trust me on this – it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to go non-organic, and a carrot by any other name (organic or not) will taste as sweet.

  • Buying Frozen Produce

    Despite popular belief, fresh produce actually tends to be less expensive than frozen. This is highly debated, in part because of how fresh produce prices fluctuate seasonally, but I found a third option that’s even better. I buy fast frozen vegetables. They have a longer shelf-life, and their nutritional value is often more intact than raw or canned vegetables.
  • Eating Clean and Dirty at the Same Time

    The most expensive option I can think of is to maintain old shopping and eating habits while also buying items for a clean diet. When people double up like that, they inevitably must throw lots away. Lettuce wilts, tomatoes go uneaten, and the drawer of good intentions – er, I mean the crisper, fills with microbial lifeforms. It wastes both food and money, and nobody eats any cleaner because of it.
  • Lack of Planning

And I’m not talking about meal planning. I’m talking about thinking ahead so when you’re stuck in the middle of a day of errands and appointments and suddenly get hungry, you’re not stuck doing drive through. Forgetting to eat before you head into your day’s activities leaves you stranded, having to buy unnecessary extras on the go.

 

Clean Eats on a Dime – Keeping Costs Down

 Clean eating doesn’t have to cost much. If you start by avoiding those six common mistakes and doing the opposite instead, you’ll be saving money on your grocery bill, not spending more.

Keep costs down by…

* Buying only one week’s worth of food at a time.
* Avoiding pre-made – make your own meals from whole and not processed foods, cut your own veggies.
* Buy non-organic produce.
* Don’t assume fresh produce is more costly than frozen. Compare prices often.
* Commit to clean eating – financing both old and new diets is expensive.
* Plan your day – eat ahead, and pack food along – to save on expensive convenience foods.

 

Clean eating is actually super simple and cheap.

If you’re just starting out and feel overwhelmed, or feel this whole clean eating thing is complicated, check out this post on how simple and minimalist it can really be. I hate cooking too much to be inventing new, sophisticated recipes with obscure ingredients. My plan’s got to be fast and easy. And it is.

Also, if you’re looking for some motivation, community, or help along the way in your clean eating journey, come on over and join The Clean Eatery, my Facebook group. We’d love to have you.

CLICK HERE to receive a FREE printable guide re: getting started NOW with Clean Eating!

The Simplicity of Clean Eating (5 Things I Do to Keep It Simple)

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Tossed together in 5 min into slow cooker and ready to cook!

Confession: I hate cooking.

Always have.

So my clean eating plan is super simple. It’s also quick. It has to be because I work crazy hours, care for my grandson, maintain a country property (I spent many hours just clearing my driveway last week), and run a fitness business. Oh, and I blog too. I don’t have a lot of time to cook, even if I did want to. Which I don’t.

People think clean eating has to be complicated though. I hear it from my patients, coaching clients, and even in my clean eating challenges. New recipes, different items on the shopping list, and trying to eat new things can seem daunting.

Thankfully, it’s much simpler than all that.

The Simplicity of Clean Eating

Here’s how a crazy-busy woman who hates cooking gets it done:

 

The Slow Cooker is my Best Friend

It’s almost wrong how easy it is to toss some stuff in the slow cooker. One of my go-tos is to throw in some frozen chicken breasts, dump a can of tomatoes over them, tomato paste and pile on the salt-free seasonings. When I get home hours later, I serve it with salad for a filling, clean meal.

 

Eat What You Know

Clean eating doesn’t mean having to source new recipes with obscure ingredients every week. Eat what you know. If you eat chicken, beef, and fish normally, keep that up. If you normally eat brown rice, eggs, sweet potatoes… those are all fine.

Basically clean eating means avoiding processed foods. So certain breads, white enriched pastas, chicken fingers and boxed pizzas are things to avoid. Replace them with whole grains, vegetables, and clean proteins.

Wondering what to make?  I am planning to add recipes to this blog – simple ones. Click here if you’d like me to zip them to your inbox. In the meantime, check out my 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge that runs monthly HERE.

 

Stock up on Staples (And I don’t mean office supplies)

If I have a few specific things on hand, I can toss together a day of clean eating in under five minutes. This is a big help for making lunch for work, especially on those days when I haven’t had time for much food prep.

Some of the things I make sure to have on hand are 0% plain Greek yogurt, raw unsalted nuts, cottage cheese, fruit and veggies, bags of mixed salad. These are grab-and-go items. I also keep on hand some basic food items like chicken breasts, canned tomatoes and eggs. I can grab any of these items – or even leftovers from my slow cooker supper – toss them in my lunch, and I’m good for the day.

 

A Little Pre-Made Goes a Long Way

Sometimes I’ll pre-cook a pot of quinoa or rice to last the week. It’s a great grab-and-go accompaniment to slow cooker meals. My lunches sometimes include a boiled egg or two, so boiling them ahead of time helps me pack with speed in the mornings.

I’ll also pre-cut veggies, maybe even pre-bagging them for lunches. I’ll also buy a variety of raw unsalted nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, cashews – and mix them together. Then I put them in little baggies and I’m set up for the week for grab-and-go lunch items.

 

Plan For Success

When I have a day off – and they can be hard to come by at times – I’ll take the opportunity to plan protein source meals for until my next day off. I’ve never been one to plan weeks ahead. One week is plenty for me.

I’ll make the very basic plan, make sure I have ingredients, and add to the shopping list. The plan will inevitably include fast and easy things I can toss in the slow cooker or make into goulash. Because that’s how I roll.

 

Clean eating really is simple. I suppose it could be more complicated if you wanted it to be. If you love cooking perhaps, or are a foodie who adores trying new recipes, go for it! No one’s stopping you from making Pork and Spinach Stuffed Kabocha Squash or Bacon and Guacamolie Sammies.

If you’re a beginner or, like me, a straight forward keep-it-simple kind of eater, clean eats can be very simple.

For more tips, ideas, recipes and motivation, check out my Clean Eating Community Facebook group or just say the word and I’ll inbox you upcoming posts with tips and recipes for your clean eating journey.

 

It is simple to get healthy

Keep it simple
Keep it simple

To become healthy is very simple.

I really only had to learn about a half a dozen things in order to become fit and healthy…a half dozen! Anyone can learn only a half dozen things!

When you boil it down to the simplest of choices that move us in the right direction, it all starts with an apple. Yes!! An apple!!

We have all heard the saying …”an apple a day…”
The basis of our choices really does begin with choices this simple… We can choose to have an apple a day or we can choose to have a Hershey bar (or something similar) per day. By choosing our food, we are choosing how we want to feel and ultimately how our health will be in the long run. Yes, we choose how we will feel by these simple choices 😊

The key thing is that I only had to learn a half dozen things in order to turn my health around. It’s truly simple. It may not be easy, but it is simple and not hard to learn 😊👍

#keepitsimple #FitnessGal1969 #AthleticGrandma #healthissimple #noteasybutsimple #choices #choosehealth