Clean eating has been a buzz word for some years now, but surprisingly enough, few truly understand what it means. Most believe it’s nothing more than a fad, especially because it’s often associated with weight loss even though that’s not its primary goal.
This might shock you, but clean eating just means trying to eat healthier. Basically, you should look at the food pyramid and adapt your food intake to the sizes and the importance of each pyramid floor.
By doing something as simple as this, you won’t be removing any kind of food from your meals but the proportions will match the importance each food and its nutrients has for the organism.,
Clean eating: how to make the switch
For you to start a clean eating diet there are certain rules to follow or, at least some guidelines that are quite logical. The goal is to adopt a healthier diet, therefore, you should:
- Prefer fresh foods to those packed or canned in any form.
- Eat more home meals to be able to control the foods and quantities used.
- Avoid foods with unnatural colors, with preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
- Keep away from processed foods as much as possible
That being said, here are some tricks to help you make the switch into a healthier diet.
Don’t skip meals
Food is the fuel of the body. Not only does it provide the nutrients necessary for the well-being of every organ and system, it is truly the raw source of its energy.
The goal with clean eating is to adopt a healthier feeding habits. You just want your body to work as it should, that’s it.
Therefore, skipping meals becomes straight forbidden. Why would you take away the body’s source of energy and make it work harder to get it from somewhere else?
Drink plenty of water
Drinking water has the obvious advantage of keeping the body hydrated, which is essential for its general well-being. But, there’s more.
Drinking water also helps to keep the stomach full and the cravings for unhealthy snacks away. If you’re an absented mind eater, water can also do the trick. You won’t be consuming unwanted calories and unhealthy nutrients and your brain will be satisfied because it doesn’t even notice what it’s doing.
Have healthy snacks always with you
Cravings will come at some point. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they will come. Like a junkie, if you fall for temptation once, you’ll be excusing the following time and be back at square one.
So, be prepared for them and keep some healthy snacks always by your side. Carrot bites or apple slices are good options because they make you chew. Since it takes longer to eat them, you’re more likely to feel full before you even finished them.
Watch out for sugar
Sugar doesn’t always look or taste like it. Even if you reduce the intake of sweets, cakes, and sugar itself, you might still be eating too much of it. The problem is that this sweetener is addictive and depending on the amount you’re ingesting per day; its reduction can even cause withdraw symptoms.
So how is it possible to keep eating too much sugar without realizing it? That’s because it doesn’t taste sweet like you would expect. Processed, canned and packaged food are normally the main culprits.
Control the portions
Too much of a good thing is never good. You should adjust the portions you eat not only to the importance of each food in the pyramid but also to your own needs.
Your weight is a good guide to know if you’re exaggerating or not. When you begin eating clean you tend to lose a few pounds since you’re exchanging caloric foods for healthier ones. Eventually, your weight will stop fluctuating.
However, if you’re putting on pounds or remain overweight without any changes after switching for a clean eating, then something is amiss and portions are normally to blame.
Always have a meal plan
Having a meal plan will help you avoid those moments of indecision when you don’t know what to cook and end up ordering. It also provides a better perspective over the diet so you can adjust and balance the different foods and its nutrients thorough the week.
If possible, try to cook ahead too. This way, if you come home too tired or simply doesn’t feel like cooking you won’t end up making mistakes in your diet.
Check the label
This is a basic trick to follow this diet. There aren’t any restricted foods or set meal plans in it, the only goal is to try to eat healthier.
However, this can be trickier than it looks when the supermarket shelves are full with products advertising being organic, healthy, low in fats, low in sugars, etc.
The trick? Check out the label of every product and simply avoid those with a bunch of ingredients you can’t pronounce or that start with “E-“.
What foods should you eat?
As far as proportions go the rule is:
Vegetables > Fruits > Protein > Whole Grains > Good Fats > Treats
Vegetables: eat as many veggies as you want and whichever you want. In fact, the more variety the better. Just remember one thing: potatoes don’t count as vegetables for their impact on blood sugar.
Fruits: Again, eat as much as you want and with as much variety as possible. Try to include fruits of all colors too.
Protein: give preference to poultry, nuts, beans, fish or seeds as your sources of protein. Red meat and processed meat (sausages, bacon, etc.) should be limited.
Whole grains: you are allowed to eat any kind of grains, but due to the effect refined grains have on insulin and blood sugar levels, it’s preferable to eat whole grains. These include wheat, barley, brown rice, quinoa, oats and wheat pasta.
Good fats: prefer using vegetable fats to season or cook your meals rather than meat fat or trans fats. For instance, it’s better to use olive or canola oil rather that lard.
Treats: treats can be anything you like. It’s your personal guilty moment to enjoy and bring a smile to your face. Just practice self-control a bit and don’t go overboard.
Recipes of clean eating
After reading so much about eating healthier you might be tempted to think this is just another diet in disguise. Perhaps you even expect to find the same bland, green and healthy-looking meals you see everywhere else.
Although it’s true that recipes for clean eating are healthy, you would be off the mark think like that. Give the following recipes a go and you’ll see.
Would you ever believe this recipe to be healthy by just looking at it? It looks tasty, it feels tasty and it can do wonders for your body.
Best thing? It only takes 20 minutes to prepare, but the food gets a really deep and intense taste during that time, with the carrots, the salmon and the chickpeas absorbing the condiments and herbs into their juices. The result is a meal full of intense and deep flavors.
Looking for something lighter to take with you to work? Then you have to try this salad. Packed with veggies, but also with rice, seeds, cilantro and, most importantly, a nice source of protein such as shrimp, it’s perfect to carry with you anywhere to eat cold or to warm it up a bit.
Clean eating might seem a lot of work to do, but it’s easier than it looks. Once you try it you will realize that your habits won’t change that much, just what you make of those.
You can still snack away, eat the meals you enjoy the most and even indulge in some food sins. As long as you keep your proportions in check, everything should go smoothly.
And to help you out achieving your goals, you can check the video that follows to learn what you should be paying attention in a supermarket when buying your food.