10 Things I Learned from the Clean Eating Challenge!

So I try to eat healthy….when I can. Sometimes I honestly just don’t have the energy or time to figure out what to eat that will be the best choice. I have the knowledge but when you’ve taught 4 classes and have 4 screaming children running around, it just isn’t realistic to “come up with” a healthy (and satisfying) meal! Ladies…I know ya hear me!

Enter the PSF 7-Day Clean Eating Challenge! All last week we challenged our PSF’ers to “eat clean” – stay away from processed foods, etc. and to be conscious of what they are consuming. It was actually fun to learn new recipes and to watch everyone participate…here is are my take-aways:

  1. It’s not all or nothing. A meal plan is a PLAN but it doesn’t need to be followed exactly. Give yourself a break! If you go out with friends and “slip up” – so be it – don’t let that derail your whole week and give up. Get back to it the next day and make more healthy choices. Eating healthy is a lifestyle and not a 7 day program.
  2. Portions matter! If you make the protein blueberry muffins that is awesome…but if you eat them ALL in one sitting…well, that is not awesome. I used my muffin tins for almost all of the recipes where I was baking – even the black bean burgers – so everything was portioned out.
  3. I own a food processor. Yes – I do! I found this out as well as a couple other kitchen gadgets I forgot we even had in the cupboards. I never used them because I either didn’t know how or want to clean them but honestly they all came in handy and weren’t hard to clean.
  4. Don’t put hot items into the freezer. Ok is this common knowledge? Because I had no clue.
  5. Always make things twice! The first time I made most of the recipes, they were ok, but the second time I made them, they were awesome! I used my hand dandy food processor to “mash” the beans, I knew to actually measure out the applesauce for the muffins, etc. Don’t give up on a recipe until you try it (and tweak it!) twice.
  6. Clean as you go. I literally JUST made black bean burgers, protein muffins and egg ‘cups’ in the matter of 30 minutes and with a one year old emptying my cupboards as I prepared. It’s easiest to get one item made and in the oven, get the next made and ready to go in next, then clean up the two, pay attention to said one year old for a few minutes, put the second item in, prepare the third, clean that last one up and be on your way!
  7. Personalize! Some people are completely by-the-book…and that’s great! But if it isn’t realistic for you to follow recipes to a fault, then don’t! Improvise your own ingredients – you should be making food that you will enjoy eating. Spice it up, dial it back, toss in more oats (j/k we have enough oats already)…make it your own so it’s delicious to you.
  8. Accountability is crucial. During the challenge we used an online site to post pictures, recipes, ask questions, etc. It was actually fun to go on and see what everyone was eating (hey your oatmeal looks better than mine!). Everyone was supportive and I got some great ideas (powdered peanut butter? thanks Lacessa!)
  9. My kids actually liked some of this food. Ok so they wouldn’t try a large percentage of what I made – I think mostly based on my lack of presentation. But they did like some things, and they surprised me by snacking on the healthier items I stocked the fridge and pantry with off of the food list!
  10. This isn’t over! 7 days is an awesome jumpstart but hey, I always want to feel healthy…don’t you? Does that mean that you always have to prepare your meals in advance and eat off of certain recipes….no. But hopefully through the challenge you learned what to avoid as far as foods and what to focus on. The goal of our challenge was to become more educated and a lifestyle “clean eating enthusiast”! In other words….keep learning, keep eating healthy, making good choice and just keep at it!

BONUS! Our online group is STILL GOING! Those of you interested in joining us – please visit https://psfnutrition.shutterfly.com to get in on that healthy FUN!

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