Clean eating is not just a trend but a way of life that promotes healthy eating habits by consuming whole foods in their natural form, avoiding processed and packaged foods and choosing fresh, organic and unprocessed ingredients. Eating clean helps to improve overall health and well-being, prevent chronic diseases and maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, many people find it challenging to stick to a clean eating diet due to their fast-paced lifestyle and busy schedules. If you’re interested in giving clean eating a try, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to discover ten tips to make clean eating easier and more convenient. From using silicone snack bags and lunch bowls to planning your meals in advance, here are a few simple ways to enjoy a cleaner diet.
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals in advance is crucial for clean eating. It helps you to avoid impulse eating and ensures that you have healthy, whole foods on hand. Start by making a list of healthy foods you enjoy and planning your meals for the week. Choose recipes that incorporate whole foods such as lean protein, fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Use silicone snack bags and lunch bowls to store your prepped meals and snacks so you can easily grab them on the go. Grabbing something healthy out of the fridge on your way out the door is much easier than convincing yourself to cook healthy meals first thing in the morning.
When grocery shopping, choose whole foods over processed and packaged foods. Stick to the outside perimeter of the store where the fresh produce, meat and dairy products are located. Select organic produce whenever possible to reduce exposure to pesticides and chemicals. If possible, bring reusable food bags from home rather than placing meat and produce in plastic bags at the store. When you get home, use reusable bags and containers to store your fresh produce and bulk items. Avoid single-use plastic bags and containers as much as possible.
Cook at Home
Cooking at home requires a lot more effort than ordering take-out, but it allows you to control the ingredients you use and ensure that your meals are healthy and clean. To keep things easy, choose simple recipes that require minimal cooking time, and use fresh, whole ingredients. Invest in high-quality cookware, such as stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans, and use home bar accessories like a cocktail shaker or a wine decanter to make your own tasty beverages to enjoy with your meals.
Embrace Healthy Cooking Methods
The way you cook your food can impact its nutritional value. Avoid deep-frying or using excessive amounts of oil. Instead, opt for healthy cooking methods such as steaming, grilling, baking or roasting. Use silicone snack bags to marinate your meat or vegetables and reduce the need for excess oil. When using oil is unavoidable, stick with heart-healthy options like olive or sunflower oil.
Choose Lean Proteins
Lean protein is an essential part of a clean eating diet. Choose lean protein sources, such as chicken breast, turkey, fish and tofu. You don’t need to completely eliminate red meat from your diet, but you should only consume it sparingly when trying to stick to a clean eating plan. Avoid processed meats, such as bacon and sausages, which are high in sodium and preservatives. Use reusable food storage containers to store your prepped lean protein, and pair each protein with fresh veggies for a healthy meal.
Incorporate Whole Grains
Whole grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and essential nutrients. Incorporate whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice and quinoa into your meals to ensure your nutritional needs are being met. Avoid refined grains, such as white bread, pasta and rice, which are stripped of their fiber and nutrients. Use silicone snack bags to store your prepped whole grains and take them on the go for a quick and healthy snack or a side dish to enjoy with your lunch.
Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables should make up a significant portion of your clean eating diet. Choose a variety of colors and types to get a broad range of nutrients. Include leafy greens, like kale and lettuce, which are packed with vitamins and minerals. If you don’t love fruits and vegetables, try using a juicer or blender to make healthy smoothies and juices.
Choose Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, including avocados, nuts and seeds, are an essential part of a clean eating diet. They provide energy (without the crash that sugar and caffeine cause), promote brain health and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats, which are found in processed and packaged foods, and opt for healthy sources of fat.
Limit Sugar and Processed Foods
Sugar and processed foods are the enemies of clean eating. They may taste great, but they are far from healthy. They are high in calories and provide little to no nutritional value. Avoid foods high in added sugars, such as candy, soda and pastries. Instead, choose whole fruits for a natural source of sweetness. An occasional treat is fine, but don’t overdo it!
Staying hydrated is a vital step in maintaining your health and well-being. Drink lots of water and steer clear of sugary drinks. Be mindful of your caffeine consumption too. It may give you a boost of energy, but the crash that comes after will likely leave you feeling exhausted. Plus, caffeine has a diuretic effect and accelerates dehydration.
Clean eating doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. With some planning and preparation, you can incorporate healthy, whole foods into your diet and enjoy the many benefits of clean eating. Follow these ten tips to start your clean eating journey today and enjoy a healthier, happier life.