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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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Here are 6 ways to eat cleaner without trying... too much
Little swaps give big results.

AS HEALTH KICKS go ‘clean-eating’ seems to be pretty all or nothing… at least from the outside.

Follow any clean-eating Instagrammers or Tumblrs and they’ll show you how they devote hours and hours to research and food-prepping and taking the most beautiful of foodie photos (ok, you don’t have to do that to eat clean, but it seems to be de riguer for most of them).

We’ve rounded up some of the easiest food swaps we’ve come across to help you kick start a clean(er) eating plan.

Shutterstock / B. and E. Dudzinscy Shutterstock / B. and E. Dudzinscy / B. and E. Dudzinscy

First, we spoke to former primary school teacher turned foodie Cliona Hegarty from Boost Bites about clean eating, prepping and how you can incorporate easy changes into your lifestyle that’ll make you healthier without it taking over your life.

Boost Bites Boost Bites

How did you get started on your ‘clean-eating’ journey?

I decided to invest in myself and feed myself good nourishing ingredients.

“While I’ve always been keen and interested in food and loved baking it was when I lived in Sydney for a little while, and I found an abundance of fresh clean food available, and that’s where I really embraced my clean food lifestyle.

There was so much choice and I was leading an active life and you really needed to eat clean to live an active life there. Once I started on this (healthy) journey, I started adding Medjool dates into my diet, Matcha tea, making my own almond milk – I just got hooked. Simply because I could feel the effects on me. My energy levels just increased so much.

Once I started using those ingredients that I previously wasn’t aware of, I just dived in and wanted to learn more and see what else I could introduce into my diet.

When I returned from Sydney, I noticed there was a gap in the market in Ireland. I could see that people were looking for alternatives to processed food and looking for healthy food. And people were interested in what I was making and it got really good feedback and I found that people were on the same journey as me – stepping away from the sugar, which really leaves you feeling empty.”

Have you been doing this for long?

“No, I’ve been on this clean eating journey for about 2 years now. You can find inspiration anywhere, on the internet, it’s not just your little circle of friend.s It’s such a fun world.

It doesn’t get dull either. Once you start eating real food and taking away processed foods, you’re tasting food differently and feeling the effects of the food.”

How difficult is it to stick to clean eating?

“It’s such a lifestyle choice. It’s not a quick fix, it’s about sustaining a healthy lifestyle. You’re feeding yourself from the inside – not only your body, but your mind, your moods, you’re getting everything in sync. So that was how I became a total convert.

Sometimes it’s a little bit of a challenge but it’s easier now that stores are getting on board and products like mine are readily available and easily accessible.”

Do you prep?

“Definitely, yes. It’s the key to eating well. Everyone is so busy – we lead such busy lives, that if you can do a little food prepping or food planning at the weekends or whenever you have a little time, just map out your food and your list of ingredients you need to get because then it’s so easy to stick to.

I’ve such a busy day, I start at 6am and the last thing I want to do is to think of what to eat when I get home in the evening. So to know it in advance is so helpful. Monday to Friday your routine is to have it all planned out and ready to go, it makes such a difference. That’s definitely a top tip to have everything prepared and planned.

You don’t have to have everything made and cooked but just have an outline of what you’re going to do and it’s easy to follow.”

A tasty dark chocolate treat

Cliona shared a recipe for a dark chocolate treat she’s been testing in her kitchen – here you go:

Boost Bites Boost Bites

Easy to make swaps

If you’re starting on a clean-eating journey, you don’t have to make it too hard on yourself. Easy to incorporate swaps will show you that it’s a realistic way to eat (most of the time), so check out our top swaps below.

1. Rice for cauliflower rice

It’s all about replacing less nutritious foods with more nutritious foods - Here’s how to make this swap.

Emma Christensen Emma Christensen

2. Pasta for ‘courgetti’

Another trend is swapping wheat pasta for pasta made of vegetables. You can see how here.

Keyingredient Keyingredient

3. White bread for rye bread

White bread is a high-glyceamic food with little going for it nutrition-wise, so make a swap for a lower glyceamic index bread with more nutrients such as rye bread.

grongar grongar

We all know white bread is a high-glyceamic food with little going for it, so make a swap for a lower glyceamic index food

4. White potato for sweet potato

Sweet potato are high in beta carotene and extra vitamins such as Vit B and C and release their natural sugars slowly so don’t give a blood sugar spike as potatoes can do.

jeffreyw Sweet potato fries are definitely healthier... jeffreyw

5. Sour cream for Greek yoghurt

Ah, sour cream – so tasty, so guilt-inducing. Swap it for the lower-caloried Greek yoghurt and we’re pretty sure you won’t even notice the difference.

avlxyz avlxyz

6. Milk chocolate for dark chocolate

EverJean EverJean

Here’s a nice and easy one. Dark chocolate has less sugar and more antioxidants, so you can enjoy this treat (in moderation) guilt-free.

Have we convinced you to make some clean-eating changes? Let us know in the comments below.

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