Are you tired of feeling guilty after noshing on a fast-food meal or hitting up the pantry a few too many times a day for your favorite packaged snacks? Are you searching for a new way to approach eating so that what you put into your body will benefit your health and help you achieve an overall, long-term sense of wellness? Whether clean eating for you requires a few small tweaks to your current routine or means your habits need a major overhaul, you can be sure that there are certain areas in your diet that could use some improvement. Eating Clean involves becoming aware of what your food is made of and making a conscious choice to consume it in its most natural form.
Here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction when eating clean:
Eating Clean Is a Lifestyle
Instead of some quick fix diet to drop pounds, clean eating is a lifestyle you should stick with forever. Once you have adopted the habits of eating clean, you will notice a huge difference in your energy and mood levels while keeping hunger in check.
Eat More Fresh Produce
Perhaps the most important part of your daily food intake, fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients essential for optimal health as well as lots of beneficial soluble fiber, so shop for in-season produce and taste the difference.
Shop the Grocery Store’s Perimeter
While stores all vary a bit, you can typically find healthy staples like fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, eggs, whole-grain baked items and bulk bins with nutritious snacks like dried fruits and nuts to help you on your mission of eating clean.
Cut Back on Sugars
Eating clean focuses on selecting simple, unrefined foods instead of deprivation or specific elimination of anything. However, added sugar is something to avoid as much as possible because it has the dreaded effect of causing energy levels to crash while increasing hunger and cravings. It’s ok to indulge on occasion, but you may eventually find the refined sweet stuff nauseating when compared to the natural sugar found in wholesome foods like fruit!
Guzzle More H2O
Everyone knows that the standard rule of consuming 8 glasses of water a day will keep you hydrated, but it is especially important if you work out. If plain water bores you, jazz it up with citrus fruits or cucumbers, sugar-free electrolytes or aminos, or give herbal or green tea a try.
Make Meals an Event
Taking the time to prepare yourself a delicious healthy meal, then sitting down to enjoy it (rather than scarfing it down at the counter or on the sofa while you binge watch TV) is an important ritual that will help you slow down and appreciate what you are putting into your body. Eating clean is all about the way you eat not just what you eat.
Balance and moderation are huge in clean eating, and carbs and fats shouldn’t be entirely eliminated or you risk burnout which may lead to major binging on unhealthy fare. Aim for a mix of unsaturated fats and complex, unprocessed carbs.
Experiment With Flour Substitutes
With options like almond flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour and oat flour, you can substitute refined white flour in baked goods without all the guilt so that eating clean doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on taste.
Beware of Packaged Foods
The enemy of eating clean generally comes in a packet. When you get into the habit of reading food labels, you will be shocked at some of the mysterious-sounding chemicals found in processed foods. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t know what ingredients are, or can’t even pronounce them, steer clear!
Aim for Nutrition
Instead of obsessing about calories, focus on eating foods that deliver nutrients that will benefit your health. Rather than feeling famished and on edge, you will boost your energy, stabilize blood sugar and enjoy real foods that leave you feeling satisfied.