Jump into Spring Cleaning with a Fresh Outlook on Eating

May 3, 2019

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian with Providence Health

Spring cleaning! This is the perfect time of the year with all the fresh produce popping out all over the place to think about making sweeping changes with our food choices.  Clean eating is more about avoiding or limiting processed and refined foods and including more whole foods into your diet.  It is basically an eating plan that focuses on eating plant foods with fewer additives, preservatives and the whole food is intact.  Simply put, clean eating is keeping food as close to natural as possible.  Think about making sure you can pronounce the ingredients or recognize the ingredients that are listed on the foods you buy.  Buying your groceries and preparing your food this way can help the choices be healthier by not bringing in the salt, fat, and sugar that is in so many of the processed foods.

Tips for clean eating:

  • Choose whole foods… whole chicken vs chicken nuggets, fresh veggies vs veggie chips
  • Limit the processed foods that come into your kitchen….try to avoid the colorful boxes and canned options when shopping, choose the fresh, frozen options
  • Skip artificial ingredients…read the food labels and avoid items with “fake” stuff
  • Include plant foods…veggies, fruits, whole foods, unrefined grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats
  • Plan and prep your meals as often as you can

This is an easy recipe to step into a cleaner way to eat!

Fig and Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 (15-oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed

5 ounces fresh arugula

1/2 cup dried figs, quartered

1 medium carrot, shaved

3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss together walnuts, cayenne, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt on a small baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Toss together chickpeas, arugula, figs, and carrot in a large bowl. Top with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. To serve, place 2 cups salad in each of 4 bowls; drizzle evenly with dressing.

Recipe Source: https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/fig-and-greens-salad

Nutrition Information: 403 calories, 24 g fat, 13 gm protein, 35 gm carbohydrate, 565 mg sodium

If you are interested in clean eating and learning more about this lifestyle and the impact of clean on your health, please join Dr. Dana Nairn as a special guest this coming Tuesday, May 6th Providence Cooks! at our Northeast campus starting at 6:00.