“Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” – Cicero
Spartans live healthy. That means training and nutrition. By now, many people have heard the term “clean eating” and may even know a few things about what that means. We’ll also cover some basics on Paleo eating in coming posts.
Clean eating isn’t about a radical lifestyle change (well, for some it may be vastly different from the fast food and overly-processed foods we eat all too often out of convenience, habit, and lack of perceived options) its a healthy way to live as individuals, as families and as healthy, connected communities. It all starts at home.
Clean eating begins with selecting fresh, whole ingredients, I prefer locally grown and organic but I also find clever ways to make clean eating budget and kid friendly. I have two daughters who will eat a salad from time to time, but like most kids can be picky and inconsistent as eaters. I’ve learned that by engaging them in every step of the process, they become more likely to eat the foods we select and then make together. I make it fun and I teach them as we go. They aren’t being conditioned to a lifestyle, they are helping build it by my side. I am teaching them a new culture of food… that appreciating the value and purpose of the food goes hand in hand with taste and enjoyment. They are empowered to make healthy decisions and we cook and bake together making memories, sharing quality time in the kitchen and around the table, and giving our bodies the fuel and nutrition it needs to help them grow strong and keep me healthy.
I am always amazed at how many people assume clean eating is about salads and “rabbit food.” I eat pizza, have pastas, casseroles, pancakes, tacos, and treats. My girls and I regularly bake muffins, bars, cookies and brownies. Fruits and veggies, lean proteins, plenty of fiber and healthy fats become easy to manage when you learn how to incorporate them into your favorite recipes.
With some creativity, a few tricks (baby food and black beans are two of my favorites) and substitutions (you’ll find that refined sugars and salt are easily replaced) you can enjoy all your favorite foods, they will be hearty and filling, will keep you from experiencing those afternoon sugar crashes, and will go a long way in preventing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and a variety of other health issues.
I don’t buy packaged protein bars because they are still processed. I prefer to make my own. These bars are a favorite with friends and family.
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour (or Oat flour)
4 Egg Whites
2 scoops Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
½ cup Splenda, Truvia, or Ideal
½ tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
8 oz Gerber’s Organic Berry and Banana Blend baby food
3 tbsp unsweetened baking Cocoa
1/2 cup Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (oat flower, vanilla whey protein, baking soda, salt, baking cocoa) together in a large bowl.
3. Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, Splenda, Truvia, or Ideal, Berry flavored Baby Food,Water) together in a medium sized bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together. Add oats, chocolate, and almonds.
5. Spray cooking dish with a non stick butter spray and add batter to dish.
6. Bake 20-30 minutes in oven.
Makes 16 squares, serving size is 2 bars.
Calories per 2 bars: 200
Carbs: 28 grams
Fat: 6 grams
Protein: 14 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Quick and Clean Dinner Recipe
Quinoa Stir-fry (two servings)
Prepare 1/4 cup dry Quinoa – yields about 4 cups (you’ll need one cup for this recipe)
Cut up 8 ounces of chicken into cubes (tofu works here)
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli)
2 TBSP reduced sodium soy sauce
Combine ingredients in your pan. Heat through and enjoy!
Nutrition per serving: Calories: 235 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 21 Protein:31 Fiber: 4