Go ahead and enjoy the cookies and candies this week but once January hits, these tips for clean eating are going to come in handy. I am all for enjoying the abundance of holiday food this month but it definitely isn’t the norm when it comes to my diet. Although, I hate the word ‘diet’. I prefer to consider these clean eating tips part of a general healthy lifestyle. While I follow my healthy lifestyle eating tips, hopefully I will lose a few pounds, tone up, and improve my overall health. But, it isn’t a DIET. That four letting word is not available in my house! If you want to take control of your health in the coming year, these tips for clean eating will come in handy. And if you are super busy? Check out my clean eating meal planning tips for busy moms. Yes, you CAN eat healthy in a hurry!
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What You Need to Eat Clean
Before you get started, you need to figure out what you need to eat clean. The list isn’t long. Number one on that list is dedication and patience because this is a lifestyle change that is going to take some getting use to. Here are a few things that might help make the process easier:
- Clean eating cookbook: If you are using processed foods and not familiar with cooking from scratch, you are going to need help. Even basic items like store bought sauces, mayonnaise, and veggie dip are out.
- A source of clean food: You can do most of your shopping at your local grocery store, however, it gets a bit tricky if you want more than just meats and produce. You may want to consider a Thrive Market subscription to make finding clean foods easier.
- Weekly Menu Planner: You cannot ‘wing it’ on the clean diet. One of the best tips for clean eating I can give you is to plan ahead and use a weekly menu planner. Make lists. Plan menus. Prep ahead on the weekend. You do not want to wait until you are starving to think about your next meal.
- Nutritious Supplements: There are a number of nutritious supplements that boost the health value of your smoothies, coffee, baked good, and made from scratch meals. Check out my post on nutritious products for healthy living for more ideas.
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What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is all about eating foods in their simplest forms. It is about avoiding artificial ingredients and foods that are heavily processed. There is a focus on choosing local, organic ingredients whenever possible and avoiding foods that have been stripped of their nutritional value. Rice is ‘cleaner’ than pasta and brown rice is even cleaner than white rice. An organic apple would rank higher on the clean eating scale than grapes that traveled from Chili and were sprayed with pesticides. However, clean eating isn’t a defined diet plan with rigid rules. It is more of a broad concept of being conscious of the things you put in your body and striving for simplicity. Here are a few tips for clean eating to keep in mind while you shop and cook.
Tips for Clean Eating
- Eat small meals every 2 to 3 hours. Eating 5 or 6 small meals a day improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Drink lots of water. You are aiming for about 2 liters a day. Yes, you will be peeing a lot but it helps flush toxins out of your body.
- Become a label reader. If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it.
- Avoid overly processed foods like white flour and refined sugar. Aim for whole wheat flour and natural cane sugar instead.
- Avoid conventionally raised meats. Look for local, free range and humanely raised meat products. You can occasionally find these in your major grocery store but search Local Harvest for farmers closer to home.
- Choose organic whenever possible. It is better for you and better for the planet. Of course, a non organic apple is better for you than organic cookies. Common sense must apply here…
- Focus on plant based foods and reduce your meat consumption. Meat should be a small portion of your diet. Humans do not need anywhere near as much protein as most people think and you can easily get a lot of that from nuts, seeds, etc.
- Make sure your fats are coming from healthy sources like avocados, nuts and olive oil rather than transfats or hydrogenated oils.
- Slow down, savor your food, and learn to enjoy it’s flavor. Stop rushing through meals and make your food something special!
- Make it from scratch whenever you can. Peanut butter made in your kitchen from real peanuts will be fresher and more nutritious than peanut butter you bought at the store, even if it is organic and natural.
Baby Steps to Clean Eating!
While splurging on junk occasionally is totally understandable (I do it myself frequently!) it is best to try to overhaul your diet for a healthier life. However, don’t let time or budget constraints sabotage your attempts at eating clean. Do your best with the money and time you have available. Every baby step you take to eating a simpler diet matters in terms of your health.
Have any other tips for clean eating to share?
More Clean Eating Tips
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.