Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
Credit: Rebecca Longshore; Styling: Rebecca Longshore

October is here (I mean, as of tomorrow), which is currently blowing my mind. It feels like the months continue to get shorter and shorter every year--and as we all know, they're about to start flying even faster. Hello, holiday season.

Now, we all know that there we've got some guaranteed splurge moments in the very near future, even before Halloween. Fall means football, Oktoberfest, chili cook-offs and more—and along with plenty of fun(obviously), these are activities that come with an array of most excellent food and booze options. So, to avoid completely depriving myself from the good stuff (but without packing on extra pounds), I aim to eat clean roughly 80% of the time, and indulge 20% of the time. I find that just setting a little mental goal like this really helps me balance healthy choices with enjoying all of the fun and festivity this season has to offer. Plus when I do indulge (or overindulge), keeping that percentage goal in mind motivates me to jump right back on the clean-eating bandwagon the next day. I'm all about thoroughly enjoying the splurges here and there, but I honestly do love keeping the majority of what I eat clean of artificial anything, excessive added sugar, etc. Once I really got into eating this way, I found it to be an easily maintained lifestyle that keeps me in good shape and energized throughout the day.

Before the holiday season takes flight, and you find yourself in January of next year feeling exhausted and little loaded down with the past few months' worth of indulgences, set yourself up for success by cleaning up your diet now--one meal at a time. Because let’s be real, it only gets harder and harder after Halloween.

As far as where to start, I'd suggest at the beginning, with my favorite meal of the day: breakfast. Kicking off on a healthy note with your first meal sets a positive tone for the rest of the day, even if it's a day you're planning to indulge. Here are some of my favorite clean eating go-to's for starting the day off right, try adding one or more into your own breakfast rotation this month.

Eggs: Eggs are your best friend when it comes to eating clean. Poach, scramble, bake, or make into an omelet—the options are endless. Try them in this super nutritious Omelet with Turmeric, Tomato, and Onions for a breakfast that will keep you satisfied and energized all morning. Not a morning person? This Make-Ahead Shakshuka is a great recipe to prepare on the weekends, freeze, and enjoy throughout the week, or further down the road.

Make-Ahead Shakshuka

Make-Ahead Shakshuka

Pancakes: Oh yes, pancakes are my go-to recipe on weekends when I want something that feels a little special, but is still squeaky clean. Clean eating pancakes have revolutionized my weekend brunch game. I especially love these simple Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes that feed one. They’re packed with protein and fiber, yet ring in at less than 320 calories per serving (which consists of a short stack of four pancakes). I also, love these amazing 3-Ingredient Pancakes that you can clean up by swapping out whole-wheat flour for whole-grain oat flour.

3-Ingredient Pancakes

Smoothies: Easily customizable and portable, smoothies are a great option for those busy mornings where you need something fast. I love this simple Berry-Banana Smoothie, but swapping out the milk for almond milk. To save even more time in the morning, I prep banana slices, strawberries, and raspberries in freezer zip-top bags for multiple smoothies on the weekends, so all I have to do is dump and blend with almond milk and flaxseed throughout the week.

ay-Berry-Banana-Smoothie Edited

Greek yogurt: 2% Greek yogurt is a great option for weekday mornings. With only 150 calories per 7-ounce container, it packs in 20g of protein, which helps you stay satisfied throughout the morning. Add in your favorite fruit, or even a tablespoon of peanut butter powder and cinnamon to add flavor and additional health perks. My personal favorite Greek yogurt is FAGE (plain), because of its clean ingredient list.

Oatmeal: Serve them cold, warm them up, make them sweet or savory, oats are a versatile and delicious way to incorporate fiber into your diet. You can also plan ahead and make them overnight by soaking the raw oats in almond milk so they’re soft and ready for breakfast the next morning.

Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats
| Credit: Image: Rebecca Longshore; Styling: Rebecca Longshore

Overnight Oats