You’ve probably heard the term “clean eating” on talk shows, spotted it on a magazine headline at the supermarket, or on a book cover. What exactly is clean eating and why is it good for you?
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is simply eating foods in their natural state or as close to it as possible. To eat clean, you need to shop clean and cook clean. Eating clean is not just another food fad. It’s a way of life.
It may take some time to adopt clean healthy choices so keep this acronym in mind: CLEAN stands for Choose fresh, Look locally, Eat mindfully, Avoid processed foods, Naturally balance your diet.
Benefits of Clean Eating
We know that eating a plant-based diet is healthy and can protect against a variety of conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and obesity.
6 Tips to Get Started
Fruit and vegetables
Replace fruit and veggie-flavored products with produce. Instead of applesauce or an apple toaster pastry, choose an apple. Corn tortilla chips? Think corn on the cob.
Balancing lean protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal and snack will keep you feeling full longer and provide you with the fiber you need. For example, combine fruit and eggs and cheese, or try a whole-wheat tortilla with a fruit and nut butter spread.
Do you reach for orange juice or an orange drink? An orange would be a better choice as you try to eliminate sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages.
Swap unsaturated and trans fats for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Limit fast food and fatty or fried cuts of meat. And check labels for hidden sources of fats.
Your goal is to consume 200 to 400 calories per meal or snack and to eat six times a day—breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack. Eating frequently keeps your metabolism burning calories all day long.
Clean eaters are active. Your goal is to exercise five to six days a week. Exercise can help you reduce your sweet cravings and potentially live longer—men 1.3 years and women 1.5 years.
Start by shopping the perimeter of your grocery store where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish. Some healthy choices, such as canned beans, nuts, and natural peanut butter can be found in the center aisles, however.
Clean cooking starts with having good resources for meal planning, recipes, and nutrition and shopping guides. Check out Clean Eating magazine and Cooking Light magazine.
At the Office and Restaurant
It’s possible to eat clean at the office or at a restaurant with a little planning. Unsalted rice cakes, raw/unsalted nuts, fruit, fresh veggies, and water-packed tuna are some foods to keep in your desk drawer. Before going to a restaurant, check the nutrition information. Order water, not soda. Get dressings or sauces on the side.