Keeping in mind this week’s challenge, I started this morning with a healthy breakfast: a French Toast Breakfast Scramble with sliced banana, dried cranberries, and a couple of big scoops of almond butter. I also had a glass of freshly pressed juice. In the mix: romaine lettuce, mustard greens, apple, lemon, celery, carrot, and ginger.
So, how are things going with clean eating this week? Things went fairly well for me, but I honestly can’t say I was at 90% all week. I probably hit about 80% most days, which I still consider a success, especially compared to the previous couple of weeks. Improvement is improvement, right?
A couple of things that worked for me:
- Snacking on fresh fruit. I know fruit is not dessert, but I splurged this week and bought (expensive) organic grapes and apples to snack on after dinner as a sweet treat. As you know, I hate wasting food and money, so having really delicious fruit in the fridge encouraged me to eat it, which meant I didn’t go nuts on chocolate or other desserts.
- Incorporating at least two different veggies at lunch and dinner. I’m good about including protein and healthy fats in all of my meals, but making sure I had at least two different veggies on my plate also helped to satisfy me while getting some more nutrients into my diet.
A couple of things that I struggled with:
- Dining out. When I dine out, I typically splurge a little, but knowing that I had this clean eating challenge on my plate this week definitely made it difficult. On Monday night, Mal and I went out to dinner with a couple of our friends. Right from the start, I knew my eating wouldn’t be 90% clean, but I did the best I could. I shared some fried pickles with everyone (obviously, not clean), but I ordered what I thought was a fairly healthy meal: a bowl of chili (still trying to increase the iron in my diet) with a side of broccoli. Not terrible, but it was still kind of a challenge to eat clean.
- Afternoon snacking. I found myself getting hungry around 3:30/4:00 PM on a couple of days this week, so I’d end up snacking on random bites here and there. They were usually healthy (grapes, almonds, pickles), but sometimes they weren’t (tortilla chips, granola, peanut M&Ms). And once I started to eat those not-so-clean snacks, I couldn’t stop. For instance, one handful of granola led to like 10 handfuls of granola. In the future, I either need to eat a more substantial lunch or use my plate method and actually take the time to make a well-rounded snack to eat.
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Questions of the Day
How’d things go with your clean eating this week? What worked for you? What was tough for you?
I find eating out to be the biggest challenge in eating clean! It is a work in progress. I am trying to not order fries anymore- or get 1 order of fries and 1 of fruit to split with whoever I am out with!
HAVE to try the scramble idea!!! I’m not a big scrambled eggs fan but I bet with the banana its awesome!
I would have to agree with you on the 80%. I have started lifting and I am hungry all. the. time. Some days I reach for whatever I can get my hands on and this can just spiral into not eating the best snack. My meals are 100% on for clean eating but the snack in the afternoon and afternoon need some work! 🙂
10 am and 4 pm seem to be my worst times for snacking. What sort of portable snacks would you recommend?
Here you go! http://carrotsncake.com/2012/09/healthy-travel-friendly-eats.html
@Tina: Perfect! Thank you!
For me, it was helpful to kind of have a cut-off time for when I stop eating. Usually when I eat stuff late at night, I don’t choose the healthiest foods. I decided not to eat anything after 7pm, which was nice. I went to bed earlier, and feel so much better after a couple of days!
I have done good this week-I think it easier that I am at work ant not home to pick at anything in the house. Packing my lunch/snacks works for me to stay on track.
If I am home and need something to eat (either crave or need a bite or two to hold me over) I go for dates with PB. YUM! and 3 are enough to satisfy.
What is that green soup bowl in the pics? Looks so good!
Broccoli + potato soup!
After a weekend of pizza and too much alcohol my body was ready for a week of clean eating. So far I’ve done well and only splurged today on a whoopie pie that was for dessert at my sorority house at lunch! Scrambled eggs with spinach have been a favorite and meal prep has saved me at lunch!
Hey you’re totally right – improvement IS improvement. So yay for that. I believe I always read that 80/20 is perfect. There is no reason to be 90/10 cause that’s just a lot more unrealistic and difficult. Only adds stress. So yay 🙂
Veggies are my challenge. I am always struggling to new and creative ways to incorporate them into meals.
I’m currently challenging myself to a vegan diet for 30 days. You can check out what I’ve been eating on my blog! It’s basically clean eating 100% of the time (I miss cheese so much haha). But when I’m craving something sweet or need a snack during the day, my favorite go-to is toast with peanut/almond butter and slices of banana. It’s so good! I eat it for breakfast sometimes too. And for non-vegans, a drizzle of honey makes it even better. I hate wasting food/money too but this diet is forcing me to eat healthy and not allow food to go to waste.
I ate off a clean plate most of the week, does that count?
Hi Tina! Thought of you.. Hope all is well. I don’t read your blog much anymore because I am eating a high raw vegan diet and so any blogs that are based on that I would love you to recommend!
Just curious — why do you consider granola to not be healthy? I know that not EVERY brand of granola is healthy because of long ingredients and stuff, but I feel that granola can be pretty substantial/relatively healthy. Just curious to know your thoughts on this!
Most granola is pretty unhealthy and loaded with sugar. Of course, it depends whether it’s packaged or homemade. You could probably make a pretty healthy granola at home, but I haven’t had much luck finding a packaged one at the grocery store. In the end, it’s all knowing your food/reading ingredients/nutrition facts! 🙂
@Tina: Thanks! That’s exactly what I was thinking the rationale was behind it 🙂
It’s always funny to me — if I’m eating apples or veggies I never over do it. But when I eat things like granola, chocolate, or sweets, I can NEVER GET ENOUGH.
I didn’t do quite as well as I wanted to. Still pretty decent but I’d like to improve my diet a bit more. On the bright side, I fully intend to continue improving until I reach my healthy balance.
This week has been pretty good for me – I’d say I’m at about 80-90% clean. Meal prepping my lunches for the week and making healthy snacks like protein balls really helped because they’re grab ‘n’ go…I find when everything is already prepped, it’s much easier to stay on track. Dining out is always hard and also if I have a couple glasses of wine, sometimes that lowers my self control – gotta keep working on that.
Nice job this week! 🙂
I decided to do the challenge! I cut out candy, chocolate, coffee, and anything processes or “not clean”. BAsically, I’ve been eating protein pancakes, brown rice, chicken/steak, veggies, fruit, some greek yogurt (my only form of sugar), and cottage cheese.
IT HAS BEEN ROUGH! Sugar with drawl is no freakin’ joke!!!! I have until this Sunday and then I’m going back to my beloved coffee!!!
Kicking sugar IS tough! Nice job!!
I always do great with clean eating during the day but then as soon as night hits it gets REALLY hard.
I did surprisingly well with eating clean this week. I normally never think about my eating in terms of percentages or fractions, but looking back on the week I can say I probably ate about 85% clean.
I didn’t eat out, so that wasn’t an issue. And the only not-clean (dirty?) foods I ate were a couple of handfuls of Cheetos, a mini bag of M&Ms (but they were peanut, so that half counts, right? haha), and the pump of vanilla syrup I got in two lattes this week (I don’t think a latte is necessarily bad, but rather all those extras we add are).
And while your fried pickles aren’t the cleanest food, in the world of fried appetizers, they rank higher than most (like mozzarella sticks and fries), so I think they should half count. haha
I’ve been kind of sick the last two days and have had zero appetite, so it’s been a struggle to eat anything, let alone the types of foods I usually stick to. I did manage to force down a healthy smoothie of almond milk, protein powder, a tbsp and a half of nut butter, chia seeds, and spinach both yesterday and today but salt and vinegar chips have been the only thing to really sound good, so I’m trying to find a balance and hopefully I’ll be feeling back to my normal self and have my appetite return soon 🙂
I might have to try that breakfast scramble tomorrow. I’m not usually one for eggs in the morning but it DOES look really good”¦ 🙂
I read recently you should have snack between lunch & dinner, it helps keep your metabolism stay at a good normal level. I usually pick something with some protein like a granola bar, or nuts n chocolate that also satisfies the sweet tooth!
cara cara oranges are in season and I picked some up at trader Joes, there my favorites so I have been snacking on those at night.
I’m doing a Whole 30 so eating 100% this month and feeling great! I do best with strict guidelines when it comes to food. Once it’s over I intend to be 90% clean with my eating so your post has been really helpful.
I find that the weather definitely influences my sweet tooth. When we are snowed in I crave sweets and comfort. Not sure why. So this week has been a major fail in the clean eating dept. : (
I’m right there with you on the difficult parts of clean eating – dining out and snacking are definitely the toughest for me! Especially with dining out, I think it’s important to find the middle ground between not depriving yourself and still being mindful (because let’s be real, I refuse to go to a nice restaurant and just order grilled chicken with steamed veggies :P)
I struggle with the little bits of this and that before meals!
I find I really struggle with over-snacking between 4-6, and a big problem I have is too much nut butter (is there even such a thing??). Not that nut butter is unhealthy at all, but hellllooo too much of a good thing 🙂 I am working on increasing my lunch size, which is helping!
I definitely always struggle with dining out / eating clean balance. I love trying new restaurants but it’s hard to be good when doing so!
This is a great post. Unfortunately, I can relate to the sugar problem. I never was a sugar person until I lost weight. I haven’t figured out if I’m not eating enough or frequent enough. I like your comment about eating more real food. If I were to do that, I believe I would be less attracted to sugar. Anyway, you’re not alone!
I totally relate to the snacking monster! The plate method is def the best way for me too. My go to snacks are sliced granny smith apple or celery and hummus, roast sweet potato, small bowl hot soup, lots of green tea. With refined processed snacks and sweets, I just keep them out of the house – they’re manufactured to induce appetite and addiction- which our bodies aren’t naturally meant to handle.
I did pretty well this week. Same as with you–about 80%. My big problem this winter has been my hunger. It has been monstrous and I don’t know what to do about it! Is it my body telling me I really do need more fuel or am I still out of whack from the holidays? I swear the recent arctic temperatures are telling my body to prepare for a long, cold winter ahead and put on some fat! Anyone else have this problem?
I’ve had a HARD time eating clean this week. We were low on our grocery budget for the month, and we’ve been scrappin along. The good news? I finally created our new HEALTHY recipe for the challenge! :http://simply2suitcases.com/2014/01/get-healthy-stay-healthy-challenge-try-a-new-recipe.html
Its nice to see people committing to eating clean during their exercise workout. A lot of people (especially those wanting to bulk up) tend to cram a lot of artificial foods like weight gainers into their diet, they don’t always know they can get results just as effectively from eating the right natural things!