Can Clean Eating Be Fast?

Yes!  And affordable.  I’ve recently put myself, with the endorsement of my doctor, on a “Whole Food Only” diet, or clean eating.  I’m only eating fruits, vegetables, and protein, basically.  Sure there are some products that claim to have only these items in them, but I’m still going to steer clear until I get my current Crohn’s disease flare up under control. I don’t always eat this way, and I’m not endorsing clean eating as the sole diet for everyone. I think our diets are unique to our bodies. I’ve found this one to work for me and many others.

For many people, I think the whole foods or clean eating diet is appealing in an intuitive sort of way.  Those sweets, breads, and dairy products are just so tempting!  I’m right there with you, and I will indulge in small quantities after I get myself sorted with this Crohn’s flare.  It might be a while, but that’s the plan.  Anther obstacle to this type of eating is that it can be expensive and time-consuming to prepare your meals.  Enter: the beauty of supply and demand.

A lot of salad greens for small amount of real estate in my backyard.

There are more and more products available that support a clean diet.  My go-to lunch or dinner, I try not to do both to avoid burnout, is a salad.  My husband has planted some greens for me in our small garden, so I have an abundance of salad green supply, but I still buy some greens from the store for a little diversity.  If you have the space to do it, I’d highly encourage you to plant some salad greens.  You’ll save some money right there!

Here are my tips for making clean eating fast and sustainable:

1. Cook enough for leftovers.

This week, I marinated a lot of chicken thighs with a store-bought marinade and cooked one night for dinner.  I bought the marinade at a local grocery store, not a specialty store. The leftovers have made about another three meals for me, allowing me to have an easy and tasty protein to throw on my salad or to turn into a different meal.  We buy five-pound bags of carrots and roast about half of that at a time.  I like to roast carrots with oil, salt, pepper, and some orange juice or orange peel.  Now I have raw or roasted carrots to add to a salad or meal, which keeps it interesting

Leftovers with a few fresh ingredients makes for a quick and flavorful salad.

2. Invest In Good Protein.

I don’t really buy meat at the store anymore.  I get a monthly box of protein delivered to my house.  It’s not cheap, but when you have good quality ingredients on hand at any moment, you end up going to the store less and throwing out less food.  Good quality protein tastes better, which means you’ll eat it more. Going to the store less means you probably have less to throw out at the end of the week. I use Butcher Box for my protein.

3. Invest In Flavor.

There are so many shelf-stable products that make meal time easier and tastier, you just have to choose the right ones.  I don’t have time to make a vinaigrette every time I eat a salad and I won’t keep eating salad if it’s always the same vinegar and oil.  If you keep the flavors interesting, you’ll be able to sustain and speed up clean eating meals.  Those ready-made sauces for dressing a salad, marinating, or saucing are a sound purchase if you are checking ingredients and nutritional info.  Also, don’t skimp on the fresh herbs! If your clean eating is bland, then it’s not going to be sustainable. You want food that tastes good!

Mother Raw Marinade and Chicken Thighs from Butcher Box

People often complain about the high cost of clean eating, myself included, but our bodies are a sound investment.  It is especially true if, as science supports, the foods we eat can prevent our need of costly medicine and medicine procedures down the road.  In my experience, clean eating is still cheaper than insurance or healthcare, in more ways than just money.

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