Are you wondering what to make for dinner tonight?
Do you hate having to come home tired from work and scraping something together that everyone will like? Yup. Me, too.
So today I said GOOD-BYE to haphazard meals and HELLO to something that would keep us full and make those mouths happy...especially hubby's.
Tonight's dinner? Pulled pork, twice-baked secret mashed potatoes, green beans, and a homemade cranberry banana bread.
Everything was CLEAN.
Clean? Really? Yes.
No white potatoes were harmed in the making of this dinner.
No bottled sauces were opened.
What is "clean eating" mean, anyways?
These are the seven principles of clean eating found here.
1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
3. Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein. (Which is why Shakeology is PERFECT for my breakfast every, single day!)
4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so energy doesn’t lag.
6. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor). Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.
7. Get moving.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
These are the principles that I started incorporating in my quest for better health a couple years ago. Through these "rules" I literally CLEANED out my pantry of processed foods, and redirected my brain on how to think about food.
OK, on to the meal.
I generally do not by pork. We eat a LOT of chicken breasts and turkey, while carefully watching to avoid added ingredients, antibiotics, etc. This week, I decided to splurge and buy the cleanest pork I could find and change things up.
I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back. It was time to give it a go. I threw this stuff together (literally) before I headed out to work in the morning. By dinner, it was done and AMAZING!!!
Check out the entire blog post here.
The Best Pulled Pork in a Crockpot
Next, I decided to make one of our family favorite side dishes: What I like to call, twice-baked secret mashed potatoes! The secret is that they are completely made from cauliflower, NOT potatoes at all! The best part? The kids LOVE them! AND I know they are getting that extra serving of veggies with no fighting! :)
Here is the recipe for our super secret yummy potatoes:
Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4) I doubled it for our family so we have leftovers!
Place cauliflower in a large pot covered with water. Bring to boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook with lid on for 8 - 10 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drain well. Put the cauliflower back in pot with lid on and let stand for 5 minutes. This ensures the cauliflower doesn't get watery. Don't skip this step. Place cooked cauliflower in the food processor with Parmesan Cheese, Yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Pulse until it becomes whipped/consistency of mashed potatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mashed cauliflower in a greased casserole dish. Top with onion, bacon and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until heated through and then broil for a couple of minutes to crisp up cheese. If you make the mashed cauliflower ahead of time and it has been refrigerated bake for 30-35 minutes and then broil for a couple of minutes.
The greens beans were simply a big bag of frozen long green beans. Mmm...love green beans!!! Easy side there!
The last piece to the dinner puzzle was also used as our dessert: Cranberry Banana Bread!
I had made a promise to my son that I would make this particular bread recipe for him, so now it was time to make good on that promise. Breads and desserts were a staple in my house growing up, so I was used to having both of them at EVERY meal. Looking back, I can't believe that we didn't think about how many carbs and sugar we were consuming. I am thankful to be able to show my children moderation and replace those high-sugar treats with healthy, whole foods.
So, without further ado, the final recipe for the day...
Whole Wheat Cranberry Bread
1 ¼ c whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil or butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ c + 2 tbsp mashed banana (about 1 extra long 9” banana)
2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1/3 c chopped cranberries
So there it is! An entire, yummy, CLEAN meal your family will love! Let me know what you think when you give it a go at your house! Comment below and share this post!
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.