Have you heard of “clean eating,” and wondered if that meant more than washing your fruits and vegetables before taking a bite? Fad or not, clean eating has some solid, if not simple, principles that can help you feel better and live healthier.
Cooking Light reports that clean eating originated in the natural health food movement of the 1960s, which shunned processed foods for the sake of moral and societal values – as opposed to health and nutrition issues. Today, according to Clean Eating magazine, clean eating is NOT a diet, but a lifestyle that supports eating food in its most natural state and avoiding refined and processed foods.
Depending on your source, you can find lots of clean eating tips. Here are a few of the top ones from Diane Welland, MS, RD, and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean:
1. Choose whole, natural foods and reduce consumption of processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like frozen vegetables). The bulk of your intake should be fresh foods like fruit and vegetables, grass-fed and free range meats and low-fat dairy products.
2. Opt for unrefined over refined foods.
Increase consumption of whole grains like brown rice, millet and quinoa, along with beans and legumes. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
3. Include protein, carbohydrate and fat at each meal.
Most of us typically get enough carbohydrates and fat, but may lack protein. Protein help curb your appetite by keeping you feeling full longer.
4. Limit fat, salt, and sugar.
This may not be as hard as you think, especially if you eliminate processed foods, which contribute most of our high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
Aim for three main meals and two or three hefty snacks too keep your blood sugar levels steady and your energy up, along with helping to prevent skipping meals and then overeating.
6. Don’t drink your calories.
High-calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, add an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, unsweetened tea, low-fat or skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.
Regular physical activity decreases body fat; strengthens and builds muscle; keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong; and helps you burn more energy at rest