Dear Heloise: What is “clean eating”? Is this just a media buzzword? What does it mean? — Frances in New York

Frances, clean eating isn’t a fad, nor just a here-today-gone-tomorrow trend. If you’re eating clean, you’re eating healthier and getting healthier. Let’s look at it.

According to the Mayo Clinic (, by eating clean you’re avoiding processed foods and eating more real foods. Processed foods have decreased nutritional value and also can contain high amounts of sodium.

What are the components of a clean diet? It’s eating more plant-based proteins, including beans, lentils and peas, and high-protein whole grains, such as barley, buckwheat and quinoa.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, exercise every day and get enough sleep at night. — Heloise

Holiday cheer

Dear Readers: We’re heading into the holiday season, and boy, do we need some holiday cheer. What better way to get into the spirit than by organizing our holiday decor so we can actually see what we have and what we need to buy?

What theme would you like to portray? Fall leaves, gourds, pumpkins, corn stalks, for Halloween and Thanksgiving, and for Christmas, reds and greens abound of course, but bright blues, golds and purples can be a fun change of pace.

Take inventory now so you’ll know what you have and what you’ll need. Whether you’re looking to go all-out this fall and holiday season, or maybe it will be a more scaled-back, simple celebration, at least you’ll know what you have to work with. — Heloise

Homemade Vinaigrette

Dear Heloise: When I get to the bottom of a jar of jam or jelly, I add olive oil and vinegar, put the lid back on and give it a good shake. Now I have an instant vinaigrette salad dressing — delicious, and nothing wasted. — Sandra S. in Colorado

Keep it cool

Dear Heloise: This time of year I keep my moisturizers, lotions, sunscreens and body mists in the fridge. A cool application feels refreshing during the hot, sticky Texas summers. — Sharon in Texas

Kids and masks

Dear Heloise: I work with kids, and the idea of wearing masks is becoming more comfortable to most, but still scary to children. When I’m talking to a young child and I have my mask on, I get down at eye level and I’m expressive with my words and gestures so they can better understand me.

I also have on hand a doll to demonstrate how a child should wear a mask and that it won’t hurt them. Also, I reassure them that it’s OK to be afraid of a new situation. — Colleen R. in Florida

Cuff it up

Dear Heloise: I cut the cuffs off of old shirts that can’t be donated. The cuff is good to bundle towels, neckties and belts. I lay the grouping over the cuff and button it up. — Mary via email

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to

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