This is something I’m asked often – “What is clean eating?” “How do you do it?”
Eating clean is about hitting refresh on your eating habits – eating more of the healthiest options in each food group and less of the not-so-healthy. Eating clean means you’ll finally understand why your Mom always told you to eat your greens: because they’re good for you!
It’s about paying attention to what’s going into your body and how your food affects you!
Here’s the simple answer to these questions – clean eating is eliminating (or trying to) the processed foods from your diet. It’s about making healthy and informed choices.
I say “try to” eliminate processed food because, let’s face it, we’re all busy. We’re all running from point A to point B at a million miles per hour; we all need food that’s convenient and fast. But that doesn’t mean the food needs to come from a vending machine or drive-thru window. With a little bit of know-how and preparation, we can all eat cleaner and live healthier lives.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Limit processed foods: Most processed foods are full of unnecessary ingredients like sodium, sugar and fat. There’s a reason why that bag of candy is two servings and a reason for why you eat it all at once!
Simple tip: If the list of ingredients is long and unpronounceable, chances are that “food” contains A TON of processed junk!
- Eat more vegetables: Vegetables are high in vitamins, fiber, low in calories and just all around good for you! The recommended daily amount for most adults is 2 ½ to 3 cups.
Simple tip: Squeeze your veggies into a morning omelet, have them as a midday snack or incorporate some into a healthy smoothie!
- Last call for alcohol: Eating clean also includes cleaning up what you drink. Staying within the recommended amounts per day is a safer way to some spirits without breaking the scale the next day.
- Lose the sugar: Reducing your added sugar intake is one of the easiest ways to jumpstart a path toward a healthier diet. Sure, it’s hard and yes, you will have withdrawal symptoms – headache, grogginess, mood swings; but it’s also worth it. Eliminating sodas, candy and baked goods is a good place to start.
- More fruit, please: Fruit – or “nature’s candy” – is naturally sweet and delicious. If you’re over indulging in processed sweets, you just might not be able to notice it! Rich in vitamins, fruit is a great way to round out a healthy eating plan.
Buyer beware! If you’re not buying fresh fruit, frozen, canned and dried fruit is minimally processed and are all great options. Make sure you read the ingredients list – look for no added sugar and fruit canned in its own juice.