Dana has been answering the question 'what is clean eating?' ever since she has been writing about it.

There are clean food staples that will allow you to have a healthier diet without adding too much stress or extra work. Just having these few items on hand will make your life so much simpler!

Processed food substitutions can include subbing lettuce for bread.

Here’s the secret to sticking to a clean diet – make sure you always have something in the house that makes it easy to fix meals and snacks. It’s easy to get tempted by fast food, takeout or even the convenience food section at the grocery store when you’re hungry with no easy-to-prepare food in the house. Here are some clean food staples you should keep on hand for quick and easy healthy meals.

What is clean eating?

1. Pantry Items or Dry Goods

 Having things like rice, oats and corn meal or grits on hand helps whip up quick and filling side dishes and breakfasts. Keep your pantry stocked with potatoes, onions and garlic and you can whip up some quick dishes with just a few things from the fridge.

We like to keep corn tortillas, tortilla chips and popcorn on hand for quick snacks that are healthy for us. And speaking of snacks…nuts, seeds and dried fruit are perfect for snacking and make great additions to oatmeal in the morning. Wrap it up with some seed or nut butter and you’re good to go.

If you’re including whole grain products, keep whole grain flour and pasta on hand in the pantry too. You can bake up some quick loaves of bread and other baked goods with the flour. Make these clean food staples work for you and your family. Don’t feel like it has to be all or nothing!

2. Eggs and Dairy

Always keep plenty of eggs in the fridge. Go ahead and boil a dozen or so and keep them on hand for easy snacking. Eggs are such a versatile ingredient and they can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you aren’t lucky enough to have chickens and ducks lay eggs for you as we have at Sugar Water Manor, look for Farmers Markets to get your own fresh eggs.

Depending on how much dairy you are including in your clean food diet, stock the fridge with butter, raw or whole milk and some Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. We also like to keep a few types of hard cheese on hand for quick and easy snacking.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Processed food substitutions can include subbing lettuce for bread.

Let’s get down to the stuff that makes up the bulk of our diet – fruits and vegetables. Aside from things like carrots and potatoes, there aren’t a lot of shelf-stable vegetables out there. Stock up on plenty of frozen and canned vegetables to use whenever you run out of the fresh stuff.

Find 25+ tasty zucchini recipes here.

Another great thing to keep on the counter is a growing salad bowl. Loose-leaf lettuce is pretty quick and easy to grow. Give it a try for fresh, organic produce from your window sill. Check out this post for more tips on growing your own food!

When it comes to fruit, apples are your best bet for shelf-stable food. As part of our clean food staples, we also like to keep a variety of frozen berries in the freezer for quick smoothies.  

4. Meat and Fish

One of my clean food staples is grass fed beef to make dishes like Beef Vermicelli Bowls

Let’s wrap this up with a few things from the meat and fish department. Canned tuna is a good option to have on occasion. You can make tuna salad, or add it to pasta sauces or even as a pizza topping. We don’t have it often but it’s a good ingredient to have on hand. Try to buy water-based tuna (as opposed to oil). The flavored tuna packets are actually really tasty and work well for on-the-go lunches.

When it comes to meat, you won’t find my freezer without some grass-fed ground beef, ground turkey and a few bags of chicken breasts. They are all versatile options when I’m out of fresh meat or can’t find anything decent at the grocery store

Bottom Line: Having these clean food staples in your kitchen will help you achieve your goals!

The easiest way to enjoy your clean food journey is to have delicious, clean foods on hand at all times. It will limit temptations and help you to put the best fuel in your body. Don’t think you have to overhaul your pantry on day one though! Start slow and add these clean food staples in and you will see how much easier it will be to eat clean!