Summer is a great time of year to get started with a clean eating program. But, what does clean eating really mean?
No, it is not eating all your favorite foods while simultaneously cleaning your house, but it is eating fresh foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Think of the difference between eating an apple versus applesauce versus apple pie…clean eating would say “Let’s eat the apple!”
There is no denying the nutritional value of clean eating as nutrients are stripped from foods during processing. People tend to naturally gravitate towards fresh produce items that help to cool the body during hot summer months like colorful salads and fruit and veggie smoothies. Summer also means more availability to local fresh produce compared to the winter and early spring months as Mother Nature comes into full bloom!
Here are my top 3 tips to eating clean and in season this summer:
If fresh food is not within reach and plentiful in your kitchen, then you are much less likely to eat it! The best way to ensure you consume a certain food is to have it available to you. Go check out a local farmer’s market and stock up on berries, peaches, greens, onions, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Buy enough fresh produce to last for the week! If you cannot make it to the farmer’s market near you, buying produce at the grocery store is also a great option and may work better with busy schedules. Any food that is not consumed during the week can go into the freezer for later use, but try to make a habit of finishing the stock!
Clear it out-
This tip can be explained using this questioning sequence: If someone offered you the choice between [insert favorite dessert] and a piece of celery, which one would you choose?
If you picked your favorite dessert, then you would be like most humans!
However, if someone offered you the choice between [insert favorite fruit] and a piece of celery, which one would you choose?
Most would pick their favorite fruit.
The point of this activity is to illustrate that if you stock up your kitchen with fresh produce AND those tempting treats, you may not gravitate towards eating the fresh produce. If you clear out the tempting treats you will be much more likely to consume your fresh produce. Take the time to clear out foods you do not feel are in line with your clean eating program. Out of sight, out of mind!
Jazz it up-
We love to engage in exciting foods and sometimes fresh produce does not seem as tempting as more processed foods. Make fresh food exciting by playing around with new flavor combinations, textures, and preparation techniques. Have you ever noticed mint makes melons taste amazing? Why not try spiralizing zucchini, carrots, or beets and make “pasta” noodles? Have you tried making a salad using each color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, purple, and blue)? For more inspiration on jazzing up your food, turn to one of my favorite simple recipe sites: http://www.oneingredientchef.com/recipes/
For a full list of seasonal produce go here: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-summer
I encourage to adopt a diet that consists of minimally processed, fresh, local foods all year long!