Week 4 Challenge: Eat Clean

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning!

Are you ready for this week’s challenge? Here it is!

week_4_challenge_

Eat clean. It sounds simple enough, right? Well, it’s probably one of the toughest challenges for me””and maybe you too!

As you know, I love dessert and eat it everyday. Of course, this is totally fine if you do it in moderation, but I’ve recently found myself overdoing it a little too often. Gluten-Free Almond Brownies, Flourless Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies, Creamy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Balls, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels”¦ you know what I’m talking about, right?

And when I frequently indulge in these kind of treats, I don’t typically consume a lot of nutritious foods, so when it comes to Baby Haupert, I’m not doing the greatest job with my diet. It’s not like I’m going crazy with the junk, but I feel like I am getting a little lazy with my food choices””grabbing a handful of pita chips instead of making some guacamole and eating it with baby carrots””and, basically, not making the best decisions that I can. That said, this week is all about cleaning up our diets!

I’d go 100% clean with my eats this week, but I know it’s not realistic for me. I’m pregnant with crazy hormones and, honestly, I just love dessert so much not having it in my diet just kind of blows! Ha! But, seriously, I’m aiming for 90% clean eating this week. Feel free to set an individual number for yourself this week too. If you can go 100% clean, do it! If you really love desserts/salty snacks and know you’ll be miserable all week not having them, go with 90% or even 80%. Make your goal a challenge so you clean up your diet, but make it realistic too!

So, what is “clean” eating? I think the definition and practice really depends on the individual, but, for me, it involves these principles below:

  • Choosing whole, natural, real foods and eliminating processed and refined foods from my diet.
  • Making fresh, colorful produce the center of my meals and snacks.
  • Including some protein, carbs, and fat with every meal and snack that I eat.
  • Limiting excess sugar, (bad) fat, salt, alcohol, and other not-so-healthy foods from my diet.
  • Planning well-rounded meals and making conscious choices about what I put into my body.
  • Drinking lots of water.

eat-real-food
[source]

As I mentioned above, I’m leaving a little wiggle room for fun foods this week, so I’ll likely allow myself one treat per day, but not go overboard with it. Maybe something in 100-200 calorie range? I think that’s do-able, and it will allow me to fill up my diet with other nutritious foods while not making me crazy either.

Here are some posts that you might find helpful this week:

And a few products that might be useful:

Questions of the Day

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to clean eating?

What’s clean eating mean to you? 

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56 Comments

  1. I try to eat clean 90% of the time, mostly because my body and mind just feels so much better when I lay off the sugar and heavy carbs. I indulge in a dessert as well pretty much everyday but I try and stick to healthier options through the week and leave the ice cream for the weekend! 😉

  2. I am pregnant too and my biggest temptation is ice cream. I buy low fat varieties. Nuts are great for keeping me on the right track. I just don’t buy tempting chips because if it’s not in our house, I will reach for another option.

  3. My biggest challenge is eating out. I find that it is so much harder to eat as clean as I would like when I dine out.
    To me, clean eating is about eating less processed foods that are made with wholesome (preferably organic) ingredients that you can actually pronounce. Clean eating is free of artificial yuckiness and just good for your body. I am going to step it up this week and try to limit my dinning rendezvous. 🙂

  4. i think that navigating through the slew of packaged foods that claim to be “clean” can be really confusing and misleading at times. there are so many “healthy” things out there that actually aren’t healthy at all!

  5. Eating clean to me is eating whole REAL foods!

    When I did the Lurong Challenge, I found condiments were my hardest thing to give up, or create similiar ones with whole foods. As soon as I saw that this weeks challenge is clean eating, I began to wonder about what you are going to do with your ketchup addiction? There are some pretty clean ketchups out there though. During the 8 week challenge, I could not find a recipe to satisfy my ketchup need though, that is one that is hard to create!

  6. I love your definition of clean eating. I consider myself a “clean eater”… although I hate that term. I don’t advertise it but of course my friends and family know how I eat and the biggest challenge is the judgement other people place and think that I won’t eat something because it isn’t “real”… not true!

  7. I love your description of clean eating. So much more down to earth and realistic than others. But, speaking of the treats, do you have a recipe for those creamy chocolate chip oatmeal balls?

  8. Great challenge this week! I eat clean because I feel better about myself, not because I want this title.
    Eating clean to me is having a balance of fruits, veggies, grains and protein, which are wholesome and are made to help the body grow.
    I have used your beating your sugar addiction tips and those really helped me eliminate the sugar in my diet. I find that I don’t need sugar at night and I can satisfy my hunger with a healthy option like, apple/banana & PB. I no longer have a sugar weakness and I truly credit your post about beating sugar for this reason! So thank you!!

  9. Awesome tips! I eat pretty clean, as I choose whole foods/veggies/fruits/nuts over processed stuff MOST of the time, but I so love some of things like chips & chocolate so I eat those in small portions regularly 🙂 I feel pretty darn balanced!

  10. I consider myself to be a pretty clean eater but my biggest challenge when it comes to clean eating is not packing some sort of snack and then getting home after a long day and workout and just wanting whatever looks good. I’m getting better about meal planning though and that’s helping.

  11. Eating clean is definitely tough. Sometimes I’ll think that I’m eating “clean” only to remember that there’s actually aspartame or artificial sweetener hidden, or that it’s not organic and there’s a hidden chemical. Being educated on what’s “clean” and the truth in the food industry can be challenging!

  12. oof, my biggest struggle right here. but I’m definitely down for the challenge! My clean eating is probably going to be pretty similar to your 90% ratio, with 1 small treat a day.

  13. Sweets are my biggest challenge as well! My husband is known as the “candy man” and has candy almost every night. I always allow myself one treat at night too but it makes it really hard to stay away from it when it is always around you! I am learning little tricks here and there that seem to be helping, but it is still a struggle sometimes!

  14. Ive actually been trying to do this all week! My biggest challenge is going out to eat. Especially with my girlfriends. No one likes to hear that you’re watching what you eat!

  15. Clean eating to me is eating whole, nutrient dense foods which for me consists of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as the bulk of my diet while including whole grains, beans, lots of avocado for fat, organic dairy and peanut butter. I will never give up my favorite desserts but packaged snacks and foods on a daily, regular basis? Minimal to the point where I can say they don’t happen for me all that often. I would rather eat an apple with peanut butter than a 100 calorie pack of cookies any day. I think that as people work on incorporating whole foods into their diet on a consistent basis, they can also realize how much better they feel as a result, making it easy to stick to and easier to skip the processed stuff.

  16. Great post, Tina! It is true that we all have our definition of clean eating since everyone is at a different stage on their journey to health. My biggest challenges are if we plan to eat out on the weekend, but if that’s the case I will usually save my “10%” wiggle room for the weekend.
    Otherwise, I like to eat clean 90% of the time, always leaving that little wiggle room for something sweet. Lately I find that either a cup of cocoa made with unsweetened almond milk, cocoa powder, and a date (all blended before heating), satisfies my sweet tooth (~60calories). If I feel like something extra special, I will do 85% dark chocolate covered frozen banana/raspberr/strawberry bites (~100-150 calories) or a medjool date, stuffed with a little almond butter, then drizzled with coconut butter and frozen for 15 minutes (~100 calories each). Perfect amount of sweetness! 🙂

  17. The hardest part of clean eating for me is also dessert. I LOVE sweets and chocolate, and will eat well ALL day but NEED my treat to round out the day. I don’t know how I’d do for an extended period of time with out it!

  18. I work in food marketing, so it’s challenging to not want to always eat everything in front of me! Also, living in NYC there is food temptation everywhere! As long as I prep my meals in advance, it’s a lot easier for me to maintain a clean diet.

  19. SUGAR is my downfall. And I shouldn’t say DOWNFALL because, well…I enjoy it and I think moderation is key. However this came at the perfect time because now that I am back to work, it is so hard to grab nutritious when I want to just eat everything in sight due to being more busy, tired, stressed. Clean eating to me means seeking nutrient dense foods that fuel my body, not choosing anything that would not serve me.

  20. Clean eating to me is trying to eat real, whole foods MOST of the time (I aim for about 70-80%). Dessert, wine, and beer are my downfalls…If I hated those things, I think I would be eating clean 100% of the time 😉

  21. Tina, this post was especially motivational. I often try and eat clean and then get discouraged when I make a tiny “mistake” and then throw the whole thing out the window. Making a realistic goal of 90% or even 80% clean sounds so much more doable and will still make day to day eating healthier! Thank you!

  22. I’m liking these challenges! I want to keep some of them up for the rest of the year. Your outlook on healthy eating is so refreshing – life’s too short not to treat your body well AND enjoy yourself 🙂

  23. Hmm… I try to eat clean as possible. I guess eating clean to me is trying to buy organic and GMO free as much as possible! Have you ever heard of Fooducate? Its a really good tool if you are in the grocery store and not sure if some products are “clean” or not.

    With that being said I agree with you that treats are good for the soul and to me it doesn’t matter they are “clean” or not 100% of the time… got to let loose once and awhile right? 🙂

  24. I usually do very well with eating clean – I’d say normally I eat about 90-95% clean. However, since the holidays I’ve been pushing the sugar a little too much – eating too many ‘tastes’ of whatever’s around (probably more in the 75% clean area). My goal this week is to knock those grams of sugar back & get back to eating 95%/5%.

  25. I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of clean eating. Whole foods, minimally processed, without a lot of junk (such as sugar, salt, bad fat) in them.

    To me, clean eating always allows some room for a treat. I like to indulge in a piece or two of dark chocolate. It fulfills my craving for something sweet and by allowing myself to have a little treat, I feel I’m always in better control (as opposed to always denying myself, and then ending up binging on something).

  26. Awesome! I’ve really been focusing more on (what I guess you could call) “clean eating” this month. For me, it’s all about ADDING healthier choices in – more veggies, etc. – as opposed to cutting things out.

  27. Great challenge! I have done this for myself for the last month or more of my pregnancy- much “cleaner” in the last two weeks. For me this means cooking all meals but one a week. I too love dessert and have sorbet nightly.

  28. This is a tough one. I think I eat clean, until I really think about it. I use many Trader Joe’s product for fast meals and they are not clean. I will try to use less processed food this week.

  29. I am just about to finish week 2 of my Whole 30 challenge – which is very strict paleo. That’s eating clean!!! I have learned a lot about my relationship with food. Most especially how little veggies I really was eating. And how you don’t need grains to survive. It’s hard but not bad (unless you mI have to stop at shaws she will be home at 6:20ish ok!?iss a meal).

  30. I agree wholeheartedly. I love all the recipes for sweets I see here and on other blogs and it is so easy to grab something to snack on than to make food and sit down. Focusing on whole foods is a really good goal.

  31. This is a great goal as I can tell I feel better when I am eating more nutritious foods. But I must say, a daily dessert is a must for me. I feel best when I don’t deprive myself or put food restrictions and rules on myself.

  32. Artificial sweeteners is something I struggle with but I’ve cut back big time lately and feel much better….I want to cut them out completely!

  33. Wow – I just read your “Ways to Keep Your Marriage from Making you Fat” post and the tip about not having the same serving sizes as your husband is a revelation! My husband is 6’4″ and I’m 5’4″ – no wonder I’ve put on a few pounds since my marriage given that we always have identical sized servings. That stops right now!

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