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What ‘Clean Eating’ Really Means

This guest post, sponsored by GoVibrant, provides the low down on clean eating and how to get the most out of the food we use to fuel our bodies.

What ‘Clean Eating’ Really Means

By Jennifer Kelly Geddes for Discover and Play

You want to eat healthfully, so cutting back on salt, sugar and fat seems to make sense. But lately all of the talk seems to be about “clean eating” — an older trend that’s making a comeback — and it has a few people scratching their heads (as in, the food I ate before wasn’t “clean”?). “Clean eating means consuming whole foods that are minimally processed and have no additives,” explains Eileen Behan, a registered dietician and author of For the Love of Food: The Diet That Works. For example, a homemade stew made from beef and vegetables is clean, while a canned version with rehydrated potatoes, modified food starch, flavorings, caramel coloring, dextrose and monosodium glutamate is not.

Here’s the rundown on how to eat clean and make clean eating a part of your daily diet.

Hit the Store

When you’re shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store. Fresh items like dairy (milk, cheese, eggs), produce (fruits and vegetables), and fish and meats are usually found in the outer aisles, while less-perishable, processed foods tend to be stocked in the middle aisles. Flour, rice and other grains are fine to stock up on, too, though try to stick to whole-grain, high-fiber varieties.

Check the Labels

Clean eating includes “real” foods you would put on a grocery list or that are prepared from things on that list (eggs are clean, and so is the omelet you make with them). “We don’t put high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), food starch or artificial flavorings on a shopping list,” points out Behan. You can also hark back to your grandparents’ days — if they didn’t eat it, chances are it isn’t considered clean.

Size It Right

Consider eating five or six smaller meals a day, rather than three bigger ones. The idea is to stay ahead of your hunger so you won’t be tempted to eat a pastry or chips from the vending machine (which are often full of preservatives, so they’re not clean choices). Also, including some protein at every meal or snack will help to curb your appetite by keeping you feeling fuller, longer. Think peanut butter on whole-grain toast for breakfast or grilled salmon on your salad at lunch.

Downsize Drinks

Sodas and other pre-sweetened beverages contain all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients and therefore shouldn’t make it into your clean grocery cart. Ditto for high-calorie coffee drinks (some add an extra 400 to 500 calories a day!). It may sound boring, but reaching for good ol’ H2O when you want a drink with a meal or snack is the cleanest choice you can make. If you tire of water, unsweetened tea, skim milk and 100-percent fruit juice are also fine clean beverages.

Reap the Benefits

Whole foods are more flavorful, usually a better source of fiber and lower in salt, says Behan. You’ll also consume more nutrients if you focus on choosing a wide variety of clean foods. Desserts made from scratch with real sugar, instead of processed ones with HFCS, have a more satisfying flavor. And you just may be able to control your weight better on a clean diet — choosing processed foods may lead to overeating, while eating clean can help to naturally balance your food intake.

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who has written for Parenting, iVillage.com and Time Out New York Kids. She frequently contributes to Go Vibrant.


10 Ways to Make Flavored Water

This guest post, sponsored by GoVibrant, gives us ideas how to flavor water so we’re drinking more!

10 Ways to Make Flavored Water

By Jessica Remitz for Discover and Play

H2O is far from the most exciting drink in the world, but it is the healthiest. Just a few of water’s many benefits are helping flush toxins out of your body, helping to balance blood sugar, aiding in digestion and regulating body temperature. Now that we’re facing summer’s heat, getting plenty of water every day is crucial to keeping cool and staying hydrated. While drinking plain ol’ H2O can certainly be a boring task, there are numerous ways to revamp what’s inside your water bottle without turning to sugary, store-bought sodas or juices.

Here are 10 refreshing and exciting ways to make flavored water and ideas for coming up with your own custom flavors.

1. Add citrus: Slice up some of your favorite citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, grapefruits or blood oranges, and add them to a pitcher of water or a water bottle with a wide mouth. Squeeze some of the juice from the fruit into the water for an even bigger burst of flavor, or let the juice from the slices infuse your water throughout the day.

2. Add some veggies: We all know how refreshing a few cucumber slices can be on our eyes to help them de-puff, but consider adding them to your water for a refreshing burst of flavor and a way to reduce bloating.

3. Consider herbs: Adding fresh ginger, mint, tarragon or lemongrass to your water — with some fruits and veggies or on their own — can help switch things up while making your water taste a little like a chilled, summery cocktail.

4. Use seasonal produce: Take advantage of whatever fruit is in season, like strawberries, blackberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple or mango, and drop a few handfuls of each into a pitcher of water for a boost of flavor that’ll also provide you with antioxidants and vitamins.

5. Brew some tea: Skip the store bought variety and make some fresh iced tea at home to quench your thirst. Place four to six tea bags in a two-quart container, fill it with water then move it into the sunlight to steep for three to five hours (depending on how strong you want your tea to be) and refrigerate when complete. Brew up a batch of your tried-and-true favorite flavor, or experiment with something new, like green or white teas.

6. Try some homemade lemonade: Mix the juice of six to eight lemons with three to four cups of water and one cup of simple syrup for tasty lemonade that’s not too sweet. To make simple syrup, use one cup of water and one cup of sugar (or sugar substitute) and dissolve the sugar into the water in a saucepan over medium heat.

7. Revamp your ice cubes: Freeze berries and/or herbs in water and then drop them into your water for a slower release of flavor that’ll also help preserve the berries a bit longer. You can also freeze cherries or slices of clementine and have something to nosh on after they defrost.

8. Add a mixer: Make that water taste even more like a little happy-hour treat with a splash of sparkling water, tonic of seltzer. Try traditional cocktail flavors (sans alcohol) or consider adding a fresh fruit flavor along with the carbonation, like lemon-lime or mango.

9. Try a sugar-free substitute: If you’re a juice drinker, cut the sugar by combining half a cup of water with half a cup of sugar-free juice, like cranberry or pomegranate. You can also consider adding a sugar-free tea or juice mix to your bottle of water for a boost of flavor.

10. Put it all together: Try mixing and matching some of your favorite flavors, like a bit of fruit and some fresh herbs or making a batch of half-tea, half-lemonade. Experiment with a variety of fun and fresh flavors. The more exciting you make it, the more you’ll be encouraged to drink delicious flavored water all summer long.

Jessica Remitz is
a freelance writer and web producer living in Brooklyn. Her work has
been featured in a variety of health and lifestyle websites including
Spafinder, FitPregnancy and Everyday Health. To see additional writing
samples and learn more about Jessica’s work, visit her


Reusable Cutlery for Packed Lunches

sistema to go cutlery | Lunchitpunchit.com
I had a friend ask for advice on finding reusable utensils silverware or flatware for her kids’ packed lunches.

She wanted something affordable because she was going to buy two sets per child and didn’t want to use silverware that might be confused with utensils offered by the school’s lunchroom.

Sistema is a brand of plastic containers I like because they’re sensible in design, are clear so contents are easily seen and have colorful accents. They also make plastic utensils.

A friend of mine introduced me to IKEA’s KALAS children cutlery years ago. This colorful cutlery set can be found as a 6-pack of utensils so it would be great for households with multiple lunch packers.

ikea cutlery |lunchItpunchit.com

This spork won’t scratch cookware, won’t melt in boiling water, and is dishwasher safe. It works well in packed lunches, purses, picnic baskets and more.

Light My Fire Spork | Lunchitpunchit.com

For those interested in non-plastic options, To-Go Ware offers bamboo utensil sets, which offer spoon, fork, and knife in a little canvas pouch.

To Go Ware | Lunchitpunchit.com

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links


Fresh Thyme Cincinnati

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati opened in August 2014 and I’m really excited to have new grocery store option especially one so close to my gym!

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati |udandi.com

People who haven’t been or don’t have a store in their area have asked what it is like. It is a smaller grocery store, which doesn’t mean it offers less so much as it focuses on produce and then has bulk items, bakery, butcher, sandwich making deli, frozen foods, diary, vitamins, wine and beer. This isn’t the place you’ll go to buy clothes and greeting cards in addition to your groceries.

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati udandi.com

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati udandi.com

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati udandi.com

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati udandi.com

Fresh Thyme Cincinnati udandi.com

I was really excited to see they offer some lunch packing supplies!

Fresh Thyme Lunch stuff

Fresh Thyme Lunch stuff


Cold Brew Iced Coffee at Home

All my life, my parents have been coffee drinkers. I never liked hot coffee, but a couple years ago I started drinking iced coffees because I needed a new way to waste money and a source of ridiculous calories.

No, really it was the result of wanting an afternoon work break outside of my cube and building. Then, I won a gift card from Dunkin Donuts (they’re always having contests on Twitter) and summer 99 cent iced coffees became my drink of choice.

Yes, each job I develop a habit. This site was started after my coworkers and I felt like we were eating out too much and our desire to eat out stemmed from wanting to leave the work environment.

lunchitpunchit.com Iced Coffee at home

After seeing options for cold brewing at home with cheesecloth that ended up messy, I bought a cold brew coffee pot, some flavored coffee from Target and creamer. Now, I can make my own iced coffee for home or put it in a to-go cup to take to work and enjoy an afternoon break in my car.

lunchitpunchit.com Iced Coffee at home

I bought the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker because it makes 1 quart and it is big enough for my hand to reach in to clean unlike the Hario 100ml Brew Coffee Pot

After I brew a pot, I pour it into another pitcher. I brew the grinds a second time and then freeze them as ice cubes. I know some people use a French Press, I don’t know how that works since I don’t own one. I do like that this gives me the option for iced coffee at home and without cluttering up my kitchen counter top.