#1 Most Asked Question: Isn't it more expensive to eat clean?
Short answer: If it were more expensive, I wouldn't be doing it.
Longer answer: Since we are buying a house, the BF and I have had to really dig deep into our finances. Looking both of our 30-day bank statements we realized that between the 2 of us we were spending over $500/month JUST EATING OUT (yes, I had a total meltdown upon this discovery) so needless to say something needed to change. Once I started meal planning on the weekends and cooking/prepping food for the week (thank you Pinterest) we never found ourselves in the "meh I don't feel like cooking" or "there's nothing to eat" mode, and we actually get just as excited about new foods to cook as we used to about getting pizza on Tuesdays. I spend $75/week on groceries which provides 3 meals/day + snacks for 2 of us which averages out to $5.35 per person per day (we both eat 3 meals + 2-3 snacks each day). Even if we ate every meal off the dollar menu we would be losing money compared to this.
Most helpful tips to save $ clean eating:
- Eat what's in season!! Pinterest and my Clean Eating Page have tons of seasonal recipes. I also found this interactive produce calendar.
- Plan ahead: taking 30 minutes on Sundays to plan meals for the week before grocery shopping saves last-minute grocery store trips or having to do carry-out for supper
- Buy in bulk: things like frozen chicken, lean ground turkey, chicken broth, frozen fruit and Greek Yogurt are almost always cheaper to buy in bulk
But really what does clean eating mean?
It means different things to different people, but to me it's all natural food, no processed food. I live by the rule "More than 3, let it be" meaning if an item has more than 3 ingredients in it, I gotta leave it behind. Here is a post I wrote about clean eating and go-tos.
Why did you start doing clean eating?
2 big reasons: #1- see above about our little (ok massive) food budgeting issue. #2- I have a sensitive stomach and I thought it was normal to always feel a little off and make frequent urgent trips to the bathroom (sorry for the overshare). When I started Mr. Shut Up and Train's 30 Day Challenge with some friends a part of the challenge was clean eating for 30 days. Yall, it was as if the heavens opened up and the angels started singing- I had no idea my stomach could even feel like this. Not only do I never feel crampy or sick, but I feel GOOD. I probably have 2 hours of energy added to each day as compared to pre-clean eating days- no sugar crashes, no staying home because my stomach is acting up, and no starving myself before important meetings because I'm so worried about what my stomach will decide to do. Feeling bad takes a lot of energy!
Doesn't it take a lot of time to cook all this food?
I do spend more time cooking now than I used to, but I do everything possible to avoid spending time in the kitchen during the week. On Sundays I line up my favorite podcasts (The Read, This American Life, Ted Radio Hour or RadioLab), cook my breakfast casserole of the week, put something in the crockpot, and prep as much food for the week as possible (i.e. if I'm having caprese stuffed turkey burgers on Wednesday, I completely assemble them Sunday night, put them in a tupperware, then just throw them on the stove Wednesday night). I usually eat leftovers for lunch during the week, but for back up I'll make some Italian Quinoa Bake or something that's easy to grab-and-go. Plus, I posted the grunt work (recipes, meal plans and grocery lists) on this blog with Week 1 Clean Eating Meal Plan and Grocery List, Week 2 Clean Eating Meal Plan and Grocery List, Week 3 Clean Eating Meal Plan and Grocery List, and Week 4 Clean Eating Meal Plan and Grocery List. Stay tuned for my 12 Week Clean Eating Plan with grocery lists and recipes (that's 1/4 of the year planned for you).
Do you miss non-clean food?
The first few weeks I really really really missed non-clean foods. At one point I was dreaming about sour gummy worms, Subway bread, ranch dressing and Butterfinger bars. But the body adapts quickly and after 2 weeks the cravings subsided. It was a hard battle at first, but now it's something I don't even think about- especially with all the clean desserts I've found. I used to live for my once-a-week-cheat-day, but in the last few months I haven't even wanted cheat days that much. Tastebuds change and all that sugary processed-y greasy stuff just doesn't do it for me as much.
What are your staple-can't-live-without-it foods?
Greek Yogurt, fruit, quinoa, chocolate protein powder (still gotta have those desserts), eggs (we go through a dozen + each week), lean ground turkey, honey (I use this as a sweetner in coffee and anything else that needs sweetening up), chicken and frozen veggies.