Keep it simple. If you're a self-admitted "picky eater," then you have a solid idea of what you like and what you absolutely will not eat under any circumstances whatesoever. You can still follow a clean eating plan that you'll benefit from and enjoy.
What counts as "clean"? Eating food in its most natural state possible is considered "clean." It's unprocessed or has gone through very limited processing. It's not a diet; it isn't one-way or the highway, and it's not about frequency, portions or weighing. Clean eating is a lifestyle and transformation into improved self control and health.
Your breads, sugar, flour and pasta are all pretty much axed from this list, but you can try whole grains instead. Buy organic produce when you can. Click here to see which foods are best bought with an organic label.
>> Read more: Food Labels Decoded: Does Organic Mean What You Think It Means?
Clean out your pantry. There are a handful of foods you need to say goodbye to if you're going to eat clean. Most of these are store-bought or pre-made. You can replace them with homemade alternatives. Strip your pantry of the following:
- Store-bought salad dressing (Click here for homemade dressing recipes)
- Box cereal (Try some Whirly Bird granola or peanut butter vanilla pancakes)
- Canned soups and pastas, pasta sauce
- Flavored, colored yogurts
- Energy bars (Click here to get the scoop on peanut butter protein bars)
- Soda and artificial fruit juice
- Added sugars (refined), high fructose (via Eating Well and Fit Body HQ)
Prep your shopping list. Skim through this list and cross out the foods you don't like. Whatever you're left with is the best starting point for your clean eating shopping list. It's good to have these foods on hand for quick snacks as well as ingredients for satisfying meals.
Fruits and Veggies
- Apples, bananas, berries, mangoes, melon
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, bell peppers, garlic, onion
- Ground turkey
- Skinless chicken breast or thighs (buy organic)
- Salmon (avoid Atlantic salmon), tilapia, troll or pole-caught tuna
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Full-fat milk (raw if you can find it and aren't pregnant or breastfeeding)
- Whole-wheat bread, pasta and tortillas
- Whole-wheat or almond flour (for baking) (Click here for an Apple Cinnamon Raisin Muffin recipe)
- Brown or wild rice
Condiments and Sweetners
- Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, safflower oil
- No-sugar added mustard or ketchup
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh lemon juice
- Honey, maple syrup
Spices and Herbs
- Fresh rosemary and basil
- Vanilla bean (avoid vanilla extract)
- Black pepper
Bring it all together. List two or three breakfast options that work for you, like granola and Greek yogurt with fresh squeezed orange juice or organic turkey sausage with a whole grain English muffin topped with coconut palm spread and cinnamon. For lunch, try the same thing: dark, leafy greens in a salad with grilled chicken breast or hard boiled egg slices dressed in lemon juice. Develop those go-to meals, which will make your shopping and your mornings much easier.
>> Related: Clean Eating: A Full Day's Menu
Dinners usually need to accommodate the entire family and you can't go wrong with chicken! Chop up some veggies and taters to throw in a casserole dish with the chicken and a little sodium-free chicken broth to bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Try a stir-fry with ground turkey, livened up with black pepper, lemon juice and ginger all on the stovetop.
>> Get ready: 12 Clean Eating Tips
For more recipe ideas, try these Skinny Mom approved resources (not every single recipe is clean, so sub the sugars, flour and condiments with those listed above):
The Bright-Eyed Baker, Nourishing Meals, The Garden Grazer, Clean Eating Survival Guide, Happily Unprocessed.