12 Clean Eating Hacks

Diet is 90% of your physique journey, which can be difficult if you don’t know how (or don’t like) to cook. Use these 12 easy ways to get the nutrition you need without a culinary degree.

By Carey Rossi | March 3, 2015

Having difficulties keeping your diet clean without OD’ing on protein shakes and cooking all day twice a week? It’s enough to make you more tired than your toughest workout. Luckily, the rest of the world is now eating the “bodybuilding” way. What pro bodybuilders have been doing for decades has now been given a fancy, buzz-worthy name—Paleo. And food manufacturers are taking notice, which means eating for your physique and optimum performance has gotten a whole lot easier. Read on to find out simple ways to eat clean without spending an entire day prepping food. Some of the following options require minimal prep but offer a whole lot of benefit.

The New Primal Jerky

When it comes to convenient-to-carry meat, jerky is a no-brainer. That is until you see the amount of added sugar. Sugar is part of the drying process but The New Primal Jerky uses pineapple juice and honey, which is a more natural (read: less processed) sweetener than sugar. Both beef and turkey varieties are available. One packet can deliver 20 grams to 24 grams of protein.

Hard Boiled Eggs

When it comes to grab-and-go breakfast, hard boiled eggs may be the go-to. It is one of the easiest things to make ahead of time, too. Put eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water. Then put the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let the eggs simmer for about 10 minutes then turn off the heat. Remove pot, drain water and put eggs in the refrigerator. Grab and peel when hungry.

EPIC Bars

Consider this jerky beefed up (pun intended). Epic Bars take meat like lamb, bison, beef or turkey and pair it with spices and dried fruit to give you a complete snack in a bar. Coming this year are a few new flavors: Beef; bacon; pulled pork plus pineapple; chicken sesame; and chicken sriracha. All bars are gluten-free, low in sugar, and made with humanely-treated, hormone and antibiotic-free 100% grass-fed meat.

Pre-Sliced Fruits and Vegetables

If you like to munch on raw fruits or vegetables, look to your grocery’s produce department for pre-sliced fruits and vegetables such as jicama, celery, bell peppers, watermelon, pineapple, mango and more. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, berries, apples, pears and bananas are also great go-to’s for just reaching and eating.

Frozen Fruit

Easy add-ins for blended protein shakes, oatmeal, pancakes, and cottage cheese (thaw first in this case) frozen fruit slices and dices favorites like mango, pineapple and cherries. There is no washing involved or making sure something is in season. Just make sure you read the label since some bags have added sugar.

Frozen Vegetables

Who wants to clean and chop a bunch of vegetables? In many cases, the frozen varieties are just as healthy as fresh. Best part is that most can be roasted from their frozen state: Preheat the oven for 400 degrees F. Toss vegetables with a bit of olive oil and spread out on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes.

Cans of Tuna, Salmon and Sardines

Nothing is easier than popping open a can of fish for a quick lunch. Just make sure you grab cans that are packed either in water or olive oil.

Nut Butters

Whether you prefer peanuts, almonds or cashews, nut butters are easy ways to get a little fat in your diet (as well as a clean substitute for ice cream if needed). However, many jarred varieties can add sugar and palm oil, which doesn’t make it a clean option anymore so be sure to check labels. The ingredients list should just list nuts.

ProCakes Pancakes

Protein pancakes just got a lot easier. ProCakes pancake mix just needs to be mixed with an egg and milk and cooked in a frying pan for a little over three minutes for a tasty breakfast that delivers 20 grams of protein. Whey protein, cinnamon and sweetness are already in the mix so no seasoning or pumping up is necessary. They were so good we ate them plain.

Whole 30–Approved Products

The Whole 30 is an elimination diet plan that strips your eating to very clean foods—no sugar, no sweeteners, no additives, no preservatives, no legumes, …you get the idea. The goal is for the participant to be aware of the foods he is eating and re-establish his relationship with food. Many see it as the first step to a Paleo diet. If you look for foods with this seal you know that you’re getting foods without added crap. A good example of this is the Whole 30 Emergency Food Kit offered by Barefoot Provisions.

Oatmeal

Like oatmeal but don’t like to cook it? Sure, you can eat instant oats but that doesn’t provide the nutrients you need. Overnight oats are simple. The most basic recipe is: ½ cup of oats mixed with a cup of milk in a sealable container. Put in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, add your choice of sweetener and berries and eat. For more oatmeal recipes, see 5 Ways to Boost Your Oats.

Sweet Potatoes

Nothing can be easier than baking this clean carbohydrate source for about 45 minutes at 450 degrees F. Top with a little almond butter and you have a filling side to accompany your chicken breast.



About the Author

Carey Rossi

Carey Rossi

Carey Rossi is a journalist specializing in health, fitness, nutrition and mind-body topics. Her career has run the gamut of working in an immunology lab, launching a women's fitness magazine and being the news editor at a health website. Her work has appeared in Oxygen, Fitness, Fit Pregnancy, Glamour, Health, Prevention, Self, Shape plus a dozen more publications and websites. You can follow her @CareyRossi or +CareyRossi.