Eating clean sounds easy, no? Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many people and it can be a challenge. For starters, not everybody on the planet knows what “eating clean” and “whole foods” mean let alone how they can benefit from them. Some people might think that eating whole means eating a whole bucket of KFC!
Sorry, no. Simply put, eating clean means ditching the processed and refined foods you eat day in and day out without giving it a second thought. You then replace the nixed stuff with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and whole grains.
These healthier food choices become the center of what you put on your plate. Meanwhile, you cut back on your intake of sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, refined grains, additives, and preservatives. Bottom line, you’re adopting a lifestyle change toward healthier eating for your lifetime. And make no mistake, by eating clean you can shed some unwanted pounds.
Making such a change can be daunting. Upon transitioning to clean eating, it is likely you will encounter a few bumps in the road. In fact, it’s inevitable. The good news is that clean eating doesn’t have to be a difficult task. After all, this way of life is all about eating the healthiest of food groups. With proper tips and a clean eating playbook in hand, you can successfully navigate the bumps along the way.
6 Tips on How to Start Eating Clean Today
1. One Meal at a Time
To begin with, don’t make sweeping changes to your diet right away. Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t expect overnight success. It may take a full year for you to make the transition. What you do is make gradual changes to your eating habits by starting with a single meal. According to Prevention Magazine, breakfast is an excellent choice for initiating your move to cleaner eating. You can start by removing processed meat like sausages and replacing it with two eggs. You can also ditch those sweet cereals for whole-wheat toast and unsweetened peanut butter.
2. Plan Your Meals in Advance
Consistently planning your meals is the necessary first step you must take. It’s also the most difficult when you first start, but the backbone to your success. This plan becomes the basis for your shopping list and what you will consume for the week. It also helps you to stay on track.
Use the plan to introduce new foods into your meals slowly and as a method to gradually remove the bad stuff. You don’t need to cut everything out at once. Your body needs time to adjust. Instead, plan each week out methodically. Keep a few of your favorites but make small changes.
The thing to understand is that you are developing good, healthy eating habits. Eventually you won’t need to plan anything, it will just be automatic.
3. Cook Your Own Food
Don’t be lazy; cook your food as much as possible. The only way to know what’s in your food and about to go into your body is to prepare it yourself. This way you will feel confident in the fact that you are keeping with your new standards for clean eating. Research meals that fit the clean eating lifestyle. Sites like eatingwell.com and cleaneatmag.com are fantastic sources of information. YouTube university also offers a wealth of videos with clean eating recipes.
If planning to eat out with your friends, do what you can in advance to prepare for the experience so that you can stay on track.
4. Keep Your Fridge Stocked with Produce
Fruits and vegetables are significant components when eating clean so make sure you stock up. Fruits and veggies provide much-needed fiber which plays a critical role in lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation in the body, and managing heart disease.
5. Eat Five to Six Meals Daily
While still a topic of debate, some experts believe eating clean requires you to eat frequent meals. This will help to ensure you are taking in adequate nutrients and keep you satisfied. Also, it will ensure that you are not tempted with unhealthy snacks. Regardless, you need to use common sense when you plan your meals. After all, you don’t want to eat dinner six times a day!
6. Give Yourself Permission to Indulge from Time to Time
According to Prevention Magazine, it’s okay to permit yourself to eat a little junk food now and then without feeling guilty. It’s actually something we’ve known for quite some time now. “Cheating” from time to time will not sabotage your clean eating lifestyle. If you never allow yourself a few guilty pleasures, you’ll set yourself up for failure in the long run.
Just be smart about it when you do sneak over to the dark side. For example, when you have an unquenchable desire for a banana split, go for it. Notice how I said “it,” not “them.”
Hope these 6 tips help you as you start your journey down the road to eating clean. The whole (pun intended) idea is to help you establish a healthier way of eating in a positive way. Your body will thank you for it, and that’s always a good thing.