Creating healthy eating patterns is the primary key to health: “you are what you eat.” Everything we eat and drink and the choices we make each day either positively or negatively impact our overall health. Making wise decisions involves a process of learning how to eat clean and wholesome. Clean Eating is not a new trendy diet crave, it is a process which consists in avoiding or limiting processed and refined foods and choosing to eat more whole foods.
Guide to Clean Eating:
- Choose Whole Foods: An example of a “whole” food is choosing to eat a whole pear vs. a canned pear or a sandwich made from fresh roast turkey vs. processed deli turkey.
- Limit Processed Foods: Such as canned soups, chips, sausage rolls, pies and pasties, bacon.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: These are two staples of clean eating. Vegetables can be fresh or frozen. Choose whole fruits instead of juices, which have less fiber and more sugar. Aim for at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If you choose to go organic, it is up to you. Personally, I prefer organics for fruits and vegetables with soft skins since pesticides settle on the outsides, i.e., tomatoes/strawberries and choose non-organic foods with hard surfaces, i.e., avocados.
- Eat More Plant Foods: Increase your intake of legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Read Labels and Ingredient List: Clean foods are naturally low in salt and sugar and adding them goes against the clean eating principle. Read food labels look for added sweeteners, salt, artificial colors, preservatives and other manmade ingredients you cannot pronounce.
- Eat a Balance Meal: Always include carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats at each meal.
- Eat 5-6 Meals a Day: The purpose of food is to fuel your body. Skipping meals or eating at irregular times will deplete your energy and increase the propensity to overeat.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories: Sweetened soft drinks, juices, sweet tea, and sports/energy drinks are loaded with sugar and calories. Always choose water, seltzer water or unsweetened tea.
- Plan Ahead: Take a few minutes on the weekend to plan your meals for the week. I usually prepare my weekly meals, follow up with a clean eating grocery list, shop, and prep for the week. This allows for healthy meals during the week and avoids takeout.
These are just a few guidelines to get you started on the road to “Clean Eating,” enjoy the journey it will lead to improved health and wellbeing!