Eating clean isn’t about being extreme or fanatical about the foods you eat. It’s about making better choices and realizing that moderation is the key.
Eating clean means opting for more of the foods we know are good for us — whole grains, leans meats, fruits, vegetables, and good fats (the kind that comes from nuts and seeds) — and less of the stuff we know is not so good — processed foods, sugar, sodium, and bad fats (for example, trans fats).
Here are some basic rules for eating clean:
Stick with the Basics
The closer foods are to their natural states, the better. That means unsalted, without added sugar, grass-fed, free-range, meats, and whole fruits and vegetables. Add more “real” food to your diet, and improve your overall health.
Beware of Boxes and Cans
Most foods that come in a box, and many that come in cans, are processed in some way. They either add “bad” stuff or strip away “good” stuff. As a rule, the closer a food is to its original form, the better it is for you.
Be a Label Checker
Try to spend a little time reading the ingredient lists of the foods you and your family eat. Generally, the healthiest foods contain the fewest ingredients. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t eat it.
Avoid Bad Ingredients
Trans fats, food coloring and dyes, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, and nitrates and nitrites have been linked with everything from heart attacks and strokes to tumors and certain cancers. Steer clear of foods that contain these ingredients.
Be a Smart(er) Shopper
Foods that are low in sugar and fat, and high in fiber, are great choices as meals and snacks. Add to your grocery list foods like hummus, tuna and salmon, whole-grain breads and pastas, chia seeds, quinoa, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and lean meats; and spices and condiments like peppercorn, canola oil, and garlic powder.
Eat at Home
It takes a little forethought, planning, and preparation, but home cooking can help you cut calories and improve nutrition. There are lots of online resources that can provide quick, easy-to-prepare, nutritious recipes for you and your family. Try “one-dish” meals, which contain a vegetable, protein, and complex carbohydrate. Use a slow cooker or Crock-Pot and program the time you want your food to be ready. Cook large, family-sized portions and freeze leftovers for meals later in the week. Try new foods, combinations, and preparations.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!