Young Professionals Perspective on EATING CLEAN…

October’s CLEAN EATING blogs were written primarily from my perspective and I personally started eating clean post babies and husband.  Starting clean at this point in my life takes on it’s own challenges.  Having said this, I recognize that there are unique challenges of trying to clean eat while working a regular 9 to 5 job or cooking for one that I was unable to address.  This is a different “animal” and adaptations need to be made.  Having said this, INCREDIBLY the 3 “cleanest” eaters in my studio were young professionals.  They navigated the business lunches, eating out with friends, and weekend travel—and still came out on top!  KUDOS.  I asked if they would share just a few tips or reflections from their month in hopes to help and inspire other young professionals who see the clean eating journey as TOO difficult to attempt!
I would say the biggest thing to success in eating clean is to PLAN.  I know you have said this before but it completely makes the difference. You have to plan what you are going to eat–everything from breakfast to dinner and snacks in between before you go to the grocery.  You can’t just walk around and pick up the groceries that are clean and hope they can all go together.  You have to think about what are some dinner, breakfast, lunch, snack options.  
PREP is another big part of success.  Make the meals ahead of time (even salads) and have it divided out in the containers so that it is easy to just get and pack or eat.  If that means one dish for the week that you take for lunch, that’s great.  Just add other items for variety and make sure you also have enough recipes to rotate! 🙂  That is what I have done and it makes the world of difference.  I don’t want to waste the food so I have to eat it!!!  
I think it’s also so important that you have places to find information or ask questions.  That has been huge for me this year and I think a big difference.  Are these really clean?  What should I buy here? Going shopping with someone who eats clean was helpful as well.  
One last thing–you have to give yourself grace.  I know that there are times when one isn’t going to eat completely clean and you have to realize that it is ok.  October is a crazy time with football games, the fair, etc. (as is every month–there is always something) and I knew that it would be hard on football days to go to tailgates.  So I took the clean foods and then tried to eat more of those than the un-clean food.  To me, that is success.  Even if it is not considered a clean day, I know that it is a journey… 

Kate Garrison
Typically, my daily meals are looking like this:
 – Breakfast: Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats with almonds and banana
 – Snacks that I pack and take to work to eat throughout the day: Apple, Lara Bar, Baby Carrots, Dates, Almonds, Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread, Apple Sauce
 – Dinner: Steamed Vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) with hummus and a smoothie (spinach, mixed berries, a little bit of coconut milk (unsweetened), water, cinnamon and protein powder). OR Brown rice, black beans, peppers, onions and SPICES (I have a newfound love for spices)! I have made sweet potato fries a few times with plain sweet potato slices, cumin & pepper
-I also still drink coffee w/ soy and cinnamon some days
-Water has been huge for me. I think it helps stop cravings that lead to bad food choices for me. I always have a water bottle with me now to make sure I’m drinking enough throughout the day. If I don’t have it, I get headaches that I attribute to hunger.
Eating out is still really tough I think. I don’t have any good pointers on this one. In general, I’m learning it’s best to just pack snacks everywhere I go!

Kristen Zwingler

This is no challenge for a procrastinator…preparation and thinking ahead is key!  The facts are simple–the days when I’m successful in my clean eating are the days that I’m prepared.  Likewise, the days that I fall short of clean eating are the days when I leave my meals to chance.  There is power in declining a lunch invitation from colleagues at work because I have brought my lunch.  NOT ONLY have I packed my lunch, but I have made an intentional trip to Trader Joes to buy my food, taken the time to chop my veggies and wash my fruit, AND brought it to work.  I’m NOT wasting all that effort just to go indulge in some mexican lunch that will only make me feel overly full and sluggish for the rest of the afternoon
I’ve learned that I most often leave my meals to chance when I’m on the road, out of town, or traveling.  Being away from home and out of my routine throws a kink in my schedule and eating for convenience becomes even more tempting.  So, I’ve taken this 30 day challenge to see if I can eat clean even when I’m on the road.  Sarah and I took a weekend trip to Charlotte for a wedding and we packed just as many groceries as we did clothes!  It made so much sense-when we got hungry; we just reached for our water bottles and grabbed our carrots and hummus out of the cooler that we packed in the backseat!  We laughed as we realized how accustomed we’ve become to the mentality that ‘road trip=fast food.”  Our hotel room had a table full of protein bars and other clean snacks and we never woke up starving and itching to make a quick run to Starbucks!  So my advice is to NOT over think this–just be prepared!  Just like you are with your outfits for work-you have to make sure the dry cleaning has been picked up, the laundry is done, and everything is ironed because you HAVE to get dressed everyday.  You HAVE to eat too, so prepare for it!     
Emily Utz
So very proud of each and EVERY woman that participated in POWER’s clean eating challenge.  Continue to take what you have learned and keep going!  This is just the beginning…

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