If your idea of clean eating means you wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them (which you should!), you may need to go a few steps further to really benefit your health. Clean eating is a philosophy which advocates knowing exactly what your food is made of and choosing to eat natural, unprocessed foods that will help you attain a sense of well-being you can continue for the rest of your life. No matter if you are just beginning your journey to wellness through clean eating or have already adopted the practice, these ideas will help you make simple, positive changes you will be able to maintain in the long-haul:
Clean Eating = Healthy Lifestyle
This isn’t some weight-loss fad diet; it’s a lifestyle that can, and should, be maintained for life. After you have put in a little time with clean eating, you will likely feel more energetic, less moody and far less ravenous.
Consume More Fresh Produce
Whether you shop the produce section or your local farmer’s market, filling your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to ensure you are on the right track. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and soluble fiber that will help your body perform at its best.
Your Zone: the Grocery Store’s Perimeter
The outer edge of most stores is the ideal domain for clean eaters because it contains healthy finds such as fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, seafood, meat, whole-grain baked goods plus minimally processed wholesome snacks like nuts and dried fruits found in the bulk bins.
Cut Back on Sugars
While clean eating centers on choosing unrefined, nutritious food as much as possible rather than eliminating anything specific, you should try to avoid added sugar whenever you can. It not only triggers your energy to crash, it will leave you feeling hungry and cause unhealthy cravings. On top of that, it has been proven to be addictive and can lead to major weight gain.
Drink More H2O
Drinking 8 glasses of water every day, of course, is the gold standard for hydration, but becomes even more essential if you work out. If plain water isn’t your thing, try yummy add-ins like cucumber slices or citrus fruits, sugar-free electrolytes, or sip green or herbal tea.
Turn Meals into an Event
Instead of eating takeout while standing at your kitchen counter, start experimenting with healthy recipes and enjoy them while sitting down with people you love. This will allow you to focus on your tasty meal and become conscious of what you’re fueling your body with.
Because moderation and balance are cornerstones of clean eating, healthy fats and carbs should still be eaten so you feel satisfied instead of deprived. Dine on complex, unprocessed carbs and unsaturated fats, and rather than focusing on calories, just make it a point to eat nutritious foods that will boost your health.
Beware of Packaged Foods
Once you begin religiously scanning food labels, you may be horrified by what you see on the back of processed foods. Most are packed with chemicals that the average person can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they are. Let these mysterious ingredients be your clue that what’s inside the package is anything but healthy!