What Is Clean Eating?
This term “clean eating” gets thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? I’m going to explain what it means, the benefits of eating this way and give you some ideas for how to start eating clean today!
Clean eating is a diet and lifestyle strategy that includes eating foods in their most natural, whole state and reducing consumption of processed foods and sugar. It also includes healthy lifestyle changes like mindfulness, exercise, sleep and developing a healthy relationship with food. Some people take it a step further and take out gluten and dairy.
Eat more whole foods - This part stresses eating foods in their natural state as much as possible and reducing your intake of processed foods. If you’re eating foods that have been processed, check out the label and try to find foods with the least amount of ingredients and ones that you actually understand.
Eat for nourishment - Try to eat at home and prepare your meals as much as you can. When you eat out, choose healthier options like grilled meat, veggie sides and whole grains. Also, phase out sugar and empty calories from snack foods and soda.
Eat plant based foods - Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet by including them in every meal. Fill your plate ½ full with veggie sides at dinner. Include non-meat sources of protein like beans, tofu, lentils, quinoa and buckwheat.
Practice mindful eating - Chew your foods well, eat slowly. Eat your foods in a calm, mindful way so you can pay attention to how full you feel and don’t overeat.
Clean up your lifestyle - The clean eating movement isn’t just about your diet, it’s about how you live your life too. So get enough sleep, exercise and do things that make you happy to reduce your overall stress.
Know where your food comes from - Clean eating is about being aware of what you eat and where it comes from. Foods might be shipped long distances depending on season, which adds to their environmental impact. Supporting local producers and growers at your farmer’s market or store can help reduce this impact.
The Benefits of Clean Eating
Can save you money - Eating out can get expensive! Preparing meals at home and taking lunches and snacks with you can be good for your budget too!
Can help you lose weight - Including more whole foods and less sugar often reduces calories at the same time so you might notice you’re losing weight more easily.
More fiber - More fruits, vegetables and non-meat proteins fill you up faster, keep you feeling full longer and contain more fiber than processed foods. This is great for gut and heart health!
Changes your relationship with foods - Clean eating helps you develop a healthy relationship with food because you’re focusing on foods that nourish you rather than “good” or “bad” foods. Foods are "healthy" or "unhealthy", not "good" or "bad."
Expands your palette - Trying out a different way to eat may expose you to new foods or recipes you’ve never tried before. Be adventurous!
How You Can Start Clean Eating
Trade sugary snacks for fruit, yogurt, popcorn, veggies and dip, nuts or seeds
Switch soda for flavored sparkling water or make your own with a Soda Stream
Shop the perimeter of the store where there are less processed foods before shopping the inner aisles
Support local farmers and get super fresh produce by buying from your local farmer’s market.
Replace refined carbs for whole grains like oats, barley and brown rice
Meal prep so you have ingredients on hand for meals and snacks
Start reading labels and look for foods that have ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible and low in sugar
Include protein from eggs, dairy, nuts, beans and fish to feel full longer. Combine them with high fiber foods like whole grains or veggies for a filling snack.
Don’t deprive yourself! This way of eating is about sustainable, long term healthy eating. If you feel deprived, you’re not going to stick with it. Create or find healthier versions of foods you love or indulge once in a while!
Coffee and espresso drinks often have lots of added sugar in the form of whipped cream and flavorings. Opt for coffee drinks with less sugar or choose drip coffee.
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This website is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.