Clean eating is a trend that everyone wants to catch on to but perhaps most people like you do not know how to clean up your diet and eat healthy. By eating clean, you improve and refresh your eating habits which may be unhealthy and working against you at the moment. By tweaking your diet, you start eating healthy food mindfully and start your journey to good health.
This means you willingly eat fruits, veggies, whole grains, fats and healthy proteins. By doing this, you automatically reduce or eliminate refined grains, salt, sugar and unhealthy fats from your diet. You’ll find it’s easy to follow because you don’t need to count calories or give up eating certain whole food groups. Here are eight big tips that can make clean eating a breeze for you:
1. Drink a Lot of Water
A large part of eating clean is to drink a lot of water. If you’re not in the habit of drinking water, start small and increase your quota of water little by little. Cut back on your coffee or soda or juices, and drink a glass of water instead.
2. Lower Your Intake of Saturated Fats
It isn’t necessary for you to completely eliminate fats from your diet just because you want to tread the path of clean eating. Instead, eat healthy fats. All you need to do is to substitute cheese, meat or butter for canola oil, olive oil or oils in fatty fish or nuts. By including these fats into your diet, you eat heart-healthy foods which also help increase levels of good HDL cholesterol. To reduce saturated fat content in your diet, you can garnish your salad with nuts, add cream cheese.
3. Eliminate Sweets from Your Diet
It’s not uncommon to find people eating more sweets than they should. In fact, the American Heart Association states that one shouldn’t exceed six teaspoons of sugar per day for women and nine for men. For someone like you into clean eating, you need to reduce your intake of added sugars by cutting out cakes, bakes, candy and soda from your diet. Also, eat less of those foods to which are added sugars, such as yogurt, cereal and tomato sauce.
4. Increase Your Intake of Fruits and Veggies
You should now mindfully eat a lot of fruits and veggies, if you aren’t already in this habit. Eat a platter of fruit for breakfast or top up your breakfast with a slice of fruit. Include a portion of fruit at lunch or make a smoothie with veggies or fruit. But if you want to lose weight, don’t have too many of these fruits or veggies because they can be high is sugar.
Vegetables are brimming with vitamins, usually Vitamin A, which is instrumental in giving you good vision and increasing your immunity. They are also rich in fiber, which gives you a feeling of fullness for longer. So, you end up eating less and maintain your weight. Fresh vegetables can be considered clean eating as they are organic and unprocessed. Eat three cups of veggies per day either in a snack, salad or add them to your omelette.
5. How Much Salt are you Eating?
You can unknowingly increase your blood pressure by eating very salty food. This means that you eat more than the 2.3 gm of sodium each day or one teaspoon. To reduce your salt intake easily, just reduce your intake of processed foods which contain a lot of sodium or flavor your food with spices, vinegar and herbs instead of salt.
6. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
To follow a clean diet, you need to also drink less. If you remain within the recommended limits of two drinks per day for men and one for women per day. Though doctors recommend that you drink red wine every day for a strong heart, yet alcohol also dehydrates you and adds empty calories to your waistline. Clean diets mean that you stay away from mixed drinks, which is steeped in sugar.
[ Read: How Alcohol Makes You Gain Weight ]
7. Reduce Your Meat-eating
In your attempt to eat clean, you don’t need to completely give up eating meat, but instead reduce it considerably so that any excess saturated fat can be eliminated from your diet and keep you healthy. On days when you don’t eat meat, substitute it for vegetarian proteins like tofu, beans or tempeh. Go in for vegetable soups or stir-fries for healthy food options. You can discipline yourself to eat less meat by choosing one day a week to go meatless. This should make a big difference to you in the long run.
8. Read Labels
Reading food labels is a reliable way of telling a clean food from any other. Natural foods like fruits don’t come with a food label as a bag of chips or nachos would. If you’re not prepared to give up eating processed foods, you can make a small beginning by reading food labels closely and choosing foods that contain start by studying the labels and choosing foods that contain very simple ingredients. Do away with artificial flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, fat, added sugar and salt.
Choose foods with the fewest ingredients because the more the number of ingredients you see on the label, the more highly processed the food is. For example, you can eat yogurt by itself or add it to granola for breakfast, but you might just choose a brand of yogurt. Yogurt, for example, can be a great addition to your morning smoothie bowl or homemade granola, but the wrong brand can come with a lot of sugar that you’re probably not aware of.
Instead of eating foods that only do you harm in the long run, check food labels and see that they don’t contain stabilizers, added sugar or color. If you want to eat sweet yogurt, you can sweeten it by adding maple syrup or honey or just fresh sliced fruit like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.
Once you get into this discipline of eating clean, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before. So, take the plunge today and move over to a healthier way of life with clean eating.