The topic of clean eating is a hot one. We want to offer the best possible nutrition for our family, but it can be complicated & we’re busy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some tips from a pro? That’s exactly why I interviewed Fran Free, the owner of Oh Baby Foods, to get her tips on eating clean.
1) What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to learn about eating clean?
When I think about “clean” eating, I think about food on a very basic level. I envision a sweet potato. It’s whole, it’s bright orange (which means its chock full o’ vitamins), and its pretty delicious. Step 1): Take that ingredient and think about the different shapes you can make it. Step 2): Think about lightly spicing it up. Step 3): Think about the different ways to cook/prepare it. Now, with each of those steps envision those nutrients and how your body needs them; think about how to preserve them, make them fun and beautiful, and use them to their full potential. Keep in mind nutrition and aesthetics.
For example, a sweet potato.
Step 1): cut it into sweet potato fries
Step 2): toss with coconut oil and herbs (like rosemary) and a touch of salt
Step 3): bake them in the oven.
Another example, green beans.
Step 1): wash and snap off the ends,
Step 2): toss with olive oil and herbs (like dill or mint) and a touch of salt
Step 3): steam them.
Another example, snack time for kids. Step 1) cube some organic cheese, half some strawberries, Step 2): congrats, just skip this step, and Step 3): stack them on a skewer for the kids to eat immediately (or later).
2) What tips have you learned that make it easier on a mom of young children?
Focus on the fun shapes! We don’t make separate meals for kids and adults at our house. We all eat the same things. Sometimes fun shapes are needed to get over that hump of trying something new or when we sit down with kids who have skipped nap time or are feeling particularly cranky. It’s amazing what happens to a full plate of food when you cut it up and stick it all on skewers. I also use little flags and umbrellas.
3) What are some ways to save money on the higher priced items?
(1) Buy in bulk when it’s available.
(2) Go for the organic whole chicken and make several meals out of it. We get up to four family meals out of it, ending with bone broth soup, which keeps us healthy in the winter.
(3) Also, shop by the EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen. You may be spending more money on something that is organic, when it’s not a crop that really requires a lot of fertilizers or pesticides or whose seed is even developed as a GMO, such as avocado or many herbs. You may also be buying something that is not organic, that you really really really should. Strawberries, peaches, and spinach are examples.
4) Where do you go for clean recipes?
Eating is a job that involves the whole body, especially the eyes. I’m not making anything unless it’s pretty, so I spend time on Google images and Pinterest. I rely on Martha Stewart for basic foundational recipes, but often substitute the empty calorie ingredients for more nutrient-dense ingredients. I love Tasting Table for when I have extra time and need a creative outlet, usually for date night with my hubby. Don’t go there looking for healthy recipes, but rather fun and clean, with whole foods.
5) Any tips for kid-friendly clean eating?
Again, go for fun shapes, flags, skewers, anything that turns a normal meal into an impromptu festival where utensils aren’t allowed. We use basic, minimally-cooked whole foods, and add herbs for taste. We stay away from hot spice with our kids, but they love complex flavors as long as they recognize the main ingredient. My two most-used pieces of kitchen equipment are the food processor (to hide sautéed kale and mushrooms) and mini-muffin tins (we make “poppers” out of sautéed veggies, leftover rice, chicken bone broth, pureed butternut squash, etc).
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Great tips! Hope these serve as a good start. We’re love to hear from you! What tips do you have? What works?