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FOOD PAGE: A Q&A on clean eating

on May 01, 2013 10:50 AM

“Clean eating” has been around since the 1960s, but has been gaining popularity recently. Registered dietitian Michelle Dudash, author of “Clean Eating for Busy Families,” explains how simple it is to follow.

Question: Could you explain what “clean eating” is?

Answer: Clean eating is the lifestyle of enjoying foods in their most natural and least processed state, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy and expeller-pressed oils. For example, instead of eating white bread, seek out sprouted wheat bread, which is a true whole grain. Clean eating to me also means opting for in-season foods — not just produce, but seafood, too — whenever possible.

Question: So many foods marketed to kids are processed. How can you eliminate or minimize processed foods, and how can you tell which packaged foods are clean?

Answer: You must look past the healthy images on the front of the package and go straight to the ingredient label on the back. If you see sugar in any form (yes, even evaporated cane juice and brown-rice syrup) as the first ingredient, put it down. If it’s a grain product like a bar or cereal, whole grains like oats or brown rice should be listed first.

If you see more than a few ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s probably been manipulated and is highly processed.

Question: What are some tips for parents to help them prepare healthful, wholesome meals in a flash?

Answer: For one thing, properly stock your kitchen. In the time it would take you to call in your takeout order, drive in traffic, wait in line and get back home, you could have prepared a fresh meal, provided that you had the needed supplies.

In addition, plan meals ahead and have a go-to-recipe arsenal; and make one-dish or make-ahead meals whenever possible.

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