You have probably heard the phrase “clean eating” before, and wondered what it is, or better yet, how it’s done.
In a nutshell, clean eating is consuming whole foods, free from artificial ingredients and processing.
If your diet consists primarily of boxed lunches and protein bars it could seem like an impossible task to switch over to meals straight from the garden, but we have a solution for you that will be hard to resist.
Do you want to lose weight, feel energized, and reduce health complications?
Here are 5 easy steps to transitioning to a clean diet in no time flat. Each step can be done a day at a time, or all at once for a health overhaul.
1. Eliminate added sugar
Mayo Clinic reports that added sugar in the diet may contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, not to mention tooth decay, poor nutrition, and elevated triglycerides.
Read labels to find out what products have added sugar, and exchange them for a healthier food or drink choice.
Some obvious culprits will be sodas, cakes, cookies, and just about any packaged food items. Try sparkling water, fruit with homemade coconut whipped cream, and prepared trail mix instead.
2. Make every bite count
A good rule of thumb for clean eating is to ask yourself if every bite you take is adding nutrients to your body.
You will quickly second guess that donut for breakfast when you stick to this litmus test of health.
Aim to create a plate of vibrant, colorful vegetables and fruit, adding a whole grain and protein. A lunch of spinach with strawberries, quinoa, and walnuts will provide whole food sources of all the necessary food groups.
3. Read labels
Looking at a grocery store layout, it is easy to see that packaged foods make up a majority of the American diet. Our produce section is only but a fraction of the available food in any retail grocer.
There are times that our busy lives get the best of us, and a quick go-to snack is in order. When these moments strike, read the label to see if you recognize every ingredient.
If there are ingredients that you can’t pronounce like tert-Butyl hydroquinone, a petroleum-based preservative in some food, then you should do your research on what you are eating to determine if it is clean.
4. Keep healthy food on hand
Storming the fridge when you are hungry will cause you to grab whatever is quick and satiating.
So being prepared with chopped fruits and veggies, salad mixes, and cooked grains will help you to stay on the path to clean eating.
This is also great for kids who like to raid the fridge, giving them healthy options to snag whenever they get hungry for that pre-dinner snack.
5. Have fun with it
There are way more fruits and vegetables out there to make your clean eating experience an exciting one.
Have you tried the jabuticaba fruit, or the samphire vegetable? They both add flavor and texture to a variety of meals.
Don’t get stuck in a clean eating rut, and keep food fun by getting a clean eating cookbook or commit to trying one new recipe a week.
Medical News Today reports on the multiple benefits of switching to a clean eating regimen; such as, strong bones and teeth, heart health, diabetes management, and reduced risk of cancer.
You won’t be able to reap all the benefits right away, but stick to a plan that puts a carrot in your hand in place of a biscotti for your mid-morning snack and it will happen sooner than later.
(h/t Better Change Project)