Clean Eating

What Does "Clean Eating" Mean?

Shutterstock #631739033

Shutterstock #631739033

The first time I heard the word ‘clean’ in relation to food was back in the mid 1990’s. Supermarkets noticed that customers were beginning to look beyond info like calories, and towards ingredient lists. Health conscious shoppers were starting to pay attention to how foods were made, and exactly what they were made from. As a result, health food stores—which stocked fresh foods and simple ingredient products—were attracting more and more consumers, and traditional grocers took note.

Fast forward to today, and clean eating has gone mainstream, fostered by people from all walks of life, who want to feel good about what they’re putting in their bodies. This includes moms, who want the healthiest, most nourishing food for their children; millennials, who value natural living; and older adults who are motivated to maintain wellness and support longevity.  

The basic principle of clean eating is to let ingredients guide you. While it’s not realistic to never eat anything that comes out of a jar, box, or bag, it’s important to choose packaged foods with all natural, recognizable ingredients. For example, chickpeas from a can would be considered ‘clean’ if the only ingredients are chickpeas, water, and sea salt. The same is true for bagged greens with the only ingredient being kale, or frozen blueberries with no additional ingredients.

The idea is to slash your exposure to artificial additives and chemicals used in highly processed foods, as fillers, preservatives, flavor enhancers, colors, and the like. Recent research has shown that exposure to these man-made ingredients can harm health, from taxing immunity, to fueling inflammation, and possibly even contributing to obesity.     

But clean eating is also about how the foods we buy impact the health of the planet, and our ability to support an eco-friendly and sustainable food supply.  All of these vital issues are why clean eating is not a trend, but rather an important consumer movement.  

In addition to seeking out foods with ingredients you easily recognize, clean eating involves putting them together to make nutrient-packed meals and snacks. Some simple swaps to trade processed fare for fresh, clean food include: eating oats or a smoothie made with fruits and veggies for breakfast instead of a muffin or danish; snacking on nuts and fruit or veggies and hummus rather than chips; or whipping up a veggie-packed stir fry instead of microwaving a frozen entrée.

There are dozens of tasty recipes on www.rawl.net to guide you, and you’ll notice that many use simple, all natural ingredients—like extra virgin olive oil instead of margarine, and whole quinoa or beans in place of refined starches. That’s a big part of our Back to Fresh philosophy.

Tell us about the clean eating changes you’ve made and your favorite whole food-based recipes and meals in the comments or on social media @naturesgreens!

Oh, Sweet Kale Of Mine!

This July, we are focusing on sweets. Sweets can be healthy and nutritious too, right?  Of course!

Try to incorporate a healthy and delicious leafy green, such as kale, in your favorite sweet treat. Here are 4 ways that will help you keep your favorite desserts “Back to Fresh”.

Photo Credit: Buzz Feed

Photo Credit: Buzz Feed

1.       Use neutral tasting ingredients to cut out unwanted calories!

Sugars and sweeteners in desserts help mask the taste of other ingredients. Researchers from Idaho State University found that 8 in 10 people enjoyed fudge made with tofu just as much as they did with butter. Replacing butter with a healthier alternative is a great way to cut calories and carbs. Livestrong.com averages that one brownie of 35 grams, can have at least 20 grams of carbohydrates in it.

Kale is a great ingredient to add in desserts. The sweetness of the dessert tends to cut out the bitterness associated with the leafy green. Also, if your kids aren’t a fan of kale, try our recipe for our delicious Brownie Points, they won’t even know it’s in there.  Cutting these ingredients in half or eliminating them can go a long way in helping you cut calories while enjoying sweet treats!

 

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

2.       Use a puree instead of the butter, oil or shortening!

Making a puree and cutting out half of the butter, oil or shortening in your favorite sweets can go a long way and help you stay on track with your weight loss and diet goals. Using kale, beets, and plant proteins like beans and lentils are great options for the “filler puree”.  

Using a puree also allows for you be sneaky with adding greens. These purees help hide the taste and texture of bitter veggies that people sometimes do not enjoy.

 3.       Mix leafy greens directly into the batter!

Make sure you get your daily 5 to 13 servings of fruits and veggies recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by adding kale or other leafy greens into your batter.

Finely chop kale and incorporate it into your dessert batters. This is a simple way to add some veggies into your baked goods, and make sure you get your daily 5 to 13 servings of fruits and veggies. Doing this makes the texture and flavor of the greens less noticeable in your sweet treats!

 4.       Use dessert recipes that accent kale aesthetically!

 We’ve talked about mixing greens into your dessert so that you cannot see them or taste them, but sometimes embracing the fact that you have added kale is not a bad thing!

Why not impress friends and family with their favorite sweets that have kale, but taste great? A great example of this is our Kale Key Lime Pie. Key Lime Pie has a strong flavor in general, so adding kale to this very tart dessert is easy and as simple as adding to the wiped filling.

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

Tips like these do not take a lot of time, baking skill, or effort. Making these simple changes will help you find ways to embrace starting a “Back to Fresh” journey.

Make sure to check out our website for hundreds of more great leafy green recipes. Follow along on our “Back to Fresh” journey on social media, and share your tips on dieting, weight loss, and healthy eating using the #BackToFresh hashtag!

 

 

 

 

 

15 Minute Meals

One of the biggest obstacles to healthy eating my clients encounter is time, and the struggle is real. One report found that working women spend, on average, less than one hour a day preparing, serving, eating, and cleaning up after meals. And to clarify, that’s not less than an hour for each meal – it’s less than one hour per day, for all meals combined. If you experience the same type of time crunch, one of the best tools for successfully eating well is to find a handful of 15 minute go-to recipes. With quick meals at your fingertips, and the ingredients at the ready, you can whip up balanced, satisfying, and tasty dishes, and still have time for everything else on your plate. To gear up, rely on some healthy shortcuts.

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/clear-glass-with-red-sand-grainer-39396/

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/clear-glass-with-red-sand-grainer-39396/

When you’re pressed for time, completely from-scratch meals just aren’t practical. Fortunately, there are a number of good-for-you convenience foods you can rely on to significantly slash your prep and cooking time. Some items I frequently recommend include: eggs; canned wild salmon; canned pulses (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas); frozen vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and pre-cooked shrimp; bagged ready-to-eat greens; jarred pestos and olive tapenade; nuts, and seeds.

For example, mix canned wild salmon with stone ground mustard, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning, served over bagged greens, topped with avocado and a scoop of canned chickpeas. Or for a quick grain bowl, toss thawed pre-cooked frozen shrimp and frozen steamed veggies with jarred pesto, served over a bed of bagged kale, topped with thawed frozen pre-cooked brown or wild rice, and sprinkle of nuts. Eggs are another easy breezy meal option, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sauté frozen veggies and bagged greens in extra virgin olive oil with turmeric, black pepper, and Italian seasoning, add eggs to scramble, and serve with a side of frozen, thawed berries. Or hard boil some eggs to keep in the fridge, then peel, chop, and toss with bagged greens, olive tapenade, and canned white beans. 

Source: WPRawl

Source: WPRawl

Once you have a few fast meals down pat, they’ll be even easier to rely on as healthy back-ups when you’re in a time crunch. And for the nights you simply don’t have time to make anything, consider combining some items in your fridge with healthy-ish take out. For example, serve a Thai or Chinese order of shrimp and veggies over a bowl of bagged greens, with a small scoop of brown rice, instead of a larger portion or rice or noodles.

For more options check out our recipe collection for 15 minute Back to Fresh dishes, and tell us about the quick recipes you’d like to see added. We’re all about making healthy and delicious totally doable!     

BBQ Time!

The birds are chirping, the grass is green... time to break out the bar-b-que grill!  When hosting friends and family this spring, don't feel limited on the dishes that compliment your meal.  Here are great ways to keep your guests eating fresh and clean this grilling season. 

#1 Kale Slaw is a MUST!

This light and refreshing treat is a great twist to your normal coleslaw. Why not ditch the unhealthy slaw and substitute with a superfood packed with health benefits?  Find the recipe for our Gingery Kale and Purple Cabbage Slaw here.

Source: WP Rawl

Source: WP Rawl

#2 Leafy Greens... on the grill!?

Grilling leafy greens such as kale not only gives it a delicious smoky flavor, but it also removes some of the natural bitterness. Massage both sides of the leaves, place them on a piece of aluminum foil and grill them whole. Grilling makes the leaves crispy, almost like chips.

Source:  Bon Appetit

Source: Bon Appetit

#3 Chips are meant to be dipped

Add a fun and unique dip to your table with our Zesty Mustard Greens Watermelon Salsa! Mustard greens are high in antioxidants, a great source of immune-boosting Vitamin C, and help lower cholesterol.  Watermelon is high in water content and delivers many other important nutrients, including lycopene and vitamin C.  

Source: WP Rawl

Source: WP Rawl

#4 Breakfast Me!

Ever thought about  breakfast on the grill?  Whether camping or relaxing in your backyard, the grill can be a nice change of pace to your normal routine. Try things like, breakfast burgers, roasted eggs or pancakes on the grill.  

Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/G25MV730AV

Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/G25MV730AV

Fooled by Greens!

When most people think of greens, salads and sautés probably spring to mind. But with a little out-of-the-box thinking you can incorporate greens into nearly any recipe, from savory to sweet, any time of the day.

At breakfast, greens can be whipped into fruit smoothies, added to omelets, egg scrambles, and frittatas, blended into pancake batter, and folded into oatmeal. If you’re scratching your head, thinking, “Really, pancakes and oatmeal?” give my recipes a try. When combined with fruit, and ingredients like coconut oil, maple syrup, ginger, and cinnamon, greens are incredibly palatable, and add color, texture, nutrients, and volume to your meals, all for very few calories. 

Another way to work more greens into your diet is to toss them to meals that don’t normally include them. For example, stir chopped greens into a yogurt, fruit and nut parfait, hummus, potato salad, homemade burger patties, a bowl of mac and cheese, or a batch of soup or chili. Crisp, chilled fresh greens also add a layer of crunch and nutrition on top of piping hot pizza.

Greens also make a perfect bed for lean protein, including chicken breast, seafood, lentils, or beans. To incorporate greens into a side dish cut your usual portion of rice or pasta in half and fill the space with a handful of chopped greens. 

And while you may not think of greens for dessert, there are delicious ways to work them in, from adding baked kale chips to dark chocolate bark, to folding pureeing greens into brownie or cupcake batter.

All you need to do is keep greens handy, and get creative. Feeling inspired? Please share the various ways you’ve incorporated more greens into your recipes and eating regime. We can’t wait to learn about your green-infused meals, snacks, and treats!  

Fool your friends and family with some hidden greens recipes! http://www.rawl.net/recipes.aspx