The term “eating clean” has been around now for a while, but what exactly does it mean? To me, eating clean is basically eating as Mother Nature intended us to — food in it’s most natural state, cutting out the processed packaged foods and eating “whole” foods. It also means eating more often, and being sure to include a complex carb, lean protein and healthy fat at each meal.
Here are 12 clean eating tips to get you started:
Kitchen overhaul: Go through your cupboards and pantry and throw out or donate all the processed, packaged foods! Yes, that means the Kraft dinner, the cake mixes, granola bars and goldfish crackers. If it comes in a package, chances are it is not good for you!
Ditch the white stuff: Swap the white flour, sugar, breads and pasta for whole wheat flours, coconut or sucanat sugars, and whole grain breads, rice and pasta. Click here for 4 must-have ingredients for clean eating.
Make the switch: Get rid of the artery clogging salad dressings, mayo, butter, margarine and canola oils and replace them with heart healthy spreads and oils like hummus, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Make your own “mayo” using plain greek yogurt mixed with curry powder. And get creative with salad dressing – using vinegars, mustard, and spices.
Stick to the perimeter when grocery shopping: Over flow your cart with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, whole grain breads, wraps and only go into the aisles for spices, natural nut butters, oats, canned beans, lentils and whole grain pastas, rice, quinoa.
Cook meals from scratch: If you’re used to opening up a box or package, heating it up and calling it dinner, this may take some getting used to. But, once you get the hang of it, it will become a habit in no time. For quick, easy and healthy skinny meals, check out our Recipe Index.
Food prep: Set aside a couple hours a week to prep your meals. Chop up fruits and veggies, grill your proteins, and cook a pot of your favorite grains. Having a few things ready to go makes meal time a breeze! Click here for 10 meal prep shortcuts to save you tons of time!
Eating 5-6 mini meals a day: Aim to eat a balanced meal or snack every 2-3 hours, including a complex carb, lean protein, and a healthy fat each meal.
Watch the portion sizes: Get out the measuring cups, spoons and kitchen scales and get familiar with portion sizes! Even though you are eating healthy foods, you still need to watch how much you are consuming…calories in nuts and nut butters can add up quickly!
Invest in a cooler: Eating every 2-3 hrs means you will most likely be eating meals on the go. Purchase a medium size cooler so you can bring snacks and meals with you. Try to get one that has a few compartments so you can keep it stocked with napkins,utensils, condiments and anything else you may need.
Always be prepared: Stock you purse and vehicle glove box with raw almonds, nuts, seeds and dried fruits for quick emergency snacks on the run.
Drink lots of water: Get in the habit of carrying around a water bottle everywhere you go! Try to consume at least 2 liters of water a day, and even more if you are physically active.
Avoid alcohol: This is a big one! Alcohol is just another form of sugar! If you must, treat yourself to no more then 2 drinks a week and try to choose wine and spritzers over sugary mixed drinks like margaritas.