We are constantly hearing about clean eating in the media but what does it actually mean? Well, it is a pretty simple concept that involves eating whole foods that are as close to nature as possible. It’s about eating more of the healthiest options available and less of the not-so-healthy ones.
The key to eating clean is to embrace, and enjoy, pesticide free and organic food such as
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dried legumes
- Organic eggs
You can also include:
- Unrefined grains like whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, quinoa and brown rice
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Unprocessed meat
- Organic dairy products
- Healthy oils
Clean eating doesn’t mean everything has to be raw and straight from the ground, but it does mean your food needs to be minimally processed and the fewer added ingredients, the better.
An easy way to clean up your diet is read the ingredients on food packaging. If the list is long, and so are the names, it is probably best to steer clear. Go for healthy, homemade options such as whole-wheat macaroni cheese, tomato pasta sauce and goodie packed granola bars.
It is worth remembering not everything that comes out of a box or can is bad for you. Whole-wheat pasta, tomatoes and chickpeas are all clean packaged foods because they are minimally processed and offer great nutrients and vitamins.
One thing you can do to make a big difference is cut out white flour and refined grains. These are most typically found in unhealthy packaged foods like biscuits and cakes and offer no real goodness or nutrients. Swap white rice, bread and pasta for brown rice and whole wheat bread and pasta and your body, and waistline, will thank you.
It is important to remember that you always need fat in your diet, but go for the healthy ones. Swap saturated fats like those in butter, cheese and meat for olive oil, avocados and oily fish. These fats are great for keeping your heart healthy and can help raise your good HDL cholesterol levels.
Cutting back on processed foods helps reduce your salt intake and you minimise this more by using herbs, spices and garlic when cooking.
You might also want to look at how much sugar is in your diet. It is really easy to consume more of the sweet stuff than you realise because it is hidden in many everyday products. To clean things up limit fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes and biscuits. Also check those healthier yogurts, sauces and cereals for their sugar content.
Eating clean doesn’t mean giving up meat completely, but by eating less of it you will seriously cut the amount of saturated fat from your diet. Give vegetarian proteins like beans, tempeh and tofu a try and then go large on vegetable so you get loads of vitamins and feel full.
That said, eating clean doesn’t mean you can eat and eat and eat. This food might be healthy but it still contains calories and you need to be mindful of portion sizes. Aim for your plate to be filled three-fifths of fruits and vegetables, one-fifth protein, and one-fifth healthy carbs.
We aren’t saying you have to do all of this today, but if you are looking for a healthier way to eat and live, give some of these ideas a go and we are pretty sure you will love the results.