Clean Eating: What is it Really About?

Examples of clean eating: Spiralized zucchini and tomatoes

Many people focus on “clean eating.” In a world filled with potato chips, fast food burgers and cake, switching to clean eating can be a big change. Is it time for you to make it?

What is Clean Eating?

Eating clean has many variations and has gained popularity over the last several years. It focuses on choosing whole foods and minimally-processed foods and is more of a philosophy than a diet. The goal is to choose foods as close to their natural state as possible. Adding fruits, vegetables, meats, and whole grains is a great start. Processed foods such as chips, cookies and fats are eliminated.

Unlike other plans, clean eating isn’t specifically about portion sizes or numbers. Some find this way of eating to be easier. There is limited research on eating clean; however, a clean diet is plant-based and low in saturated fat.

Tips for Eating Clean

  • Limit packaged processed foods. Some of this is obvious. It’s time to trade in the chips, cookies and snack cakes for other foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. Additionally, you might need to change how you prepare food. Swap boxed mashed potatoes for whole baked potatoes. Instead of bagged salad, chop your own salad from fresh vegetables.
  • Read the labels. With the focus on minimally-processed foods, the fewer the ingredients the better. Avoid added sugar, sweeteners and preservatives.
  • Find other ways to spice up your food. Fresh herbs can go further than any added preservative. Basil, cilantro or chives can spice up any meal.
  • Choose whole grains. White bread and refined grains should be limited. Instead, choose whole-grain bread, quinoa, brown rice and oats.
  • Hydrate with water. Water is your main source of fluid. For some variety and extra flavor, add a slice of lime or cucumber into your water. Sodas and sugary drinks should be eliminated. Herbal teas are a great option.
  • Dive into dairy. Milk, unsweetened yogurt and cheese can be great choices. Try to avoid sweetened milks or yogurts.
  • Pack the protein. Protein from beans, nuts and legumes are great. So are lean meats without fatty flavorings. Some clean eaters avoid meat from certain grocery stores or brands due to growth hormones and antibiotics. For those, choosing organic may be an option.

Take Things Slow

It can be a little overwhelming to begin a clean eating plan. Throwing away the contents of your cabinet may not be an option. Instead of taking away, focus on adding. Add more fruit and more vegetables to your day. You will find that by doing this, there is less room for processed foods. Small changes over time can add up. Get started today!

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