The Ultimate Clean Eating Guide For Beginners
Have you been thinking about eating clean? Or have you already made the decision to start eating clean? Either way, you should take a moment to congratulate yourself on making such a great decision for your health and your future.
So, What Does Clean Eating Really Mean?
Clean eating means …
It doesn’t have anything to do with the 10-second rule and dropping your food on the floor. What “clean eating” actually means is choosing foods that are healthy for you and free of processed junk and preservatives.
These processed foods are practically a staple in our modern lives these days and many people don’t even realize that they are terrible for the body.
Processed foods, frozen foods, refined sugars, alcohol, sugary drinks, and related items are not part of a clean diet. They’re not good for you and in many cases are not “real” foods. They’re real because you can see them and touch them, but this is not the way food is grown or produced naturally. It’s laden with chemicals, and this is what makes you unhealthy.
Eating processed foods can make you tired, sluggish, sick, overweight, and generally unwell.
Clean eating eliminates this by getting back to the basics. It’s about food that is in its natural state like fresh fruit and vegetables, reducing your meat intake, and eating smaller, more frequent meals.
Clean eating is all about eating for nourishment and not out of boredom or habit.
A clean diet can help you get healthy and stay healthy. It can help you specifically target certain conditions or symptoms. It can help you remove toxins, lose weight, and just feel great in general.
Sound like magic? Nope. It’s just good food
Now that you know what clean eating means, you can make an informed decision yourself about whether or not this is right for you. Keep in mind that just because you decide to focus on clean eating, doesn’t mean every single food you ever eat again for the rest of your life will be “perfect.” This is about making better, positive, healthy choices and forming good eating habits, but it doesn’t mean you will never eat anything else – that’s simply not realistic! So relax, don’t be too hard on yourself and give it a go – your body will thank you!
Forming Your Clean Eating Plan
After deciding to start the clean eating journey, the next step is to develop your clean eating plan.
It all begins with the basics so making a plan and then sticking with it is as basic as it gets. If you’re trying to get fit, lose weight, or just improve your overall health, your diet is the first step to this. It can make or break any health and fitness plan you are on.
Here are some things to know about forming your clean eating plan:
- Determine what foods you want to eliminate. There are foods you’re going to have to start removing from your diet from day one. Frozen food, processed stuff, and pretty much anything that comes in a can or package needs to go.
- Determine what foods you want to eat. Now consider which foods you want to add to your diet. More fresh fruit and veggies should definitely be on your list. What other clean, whole foods can you add?
- Create a shopping list. Once you know what you’re avoiding and what you want to add, it’s time to make a shopping list. Stick to your list when you go to the store and avoid the temptation to toss random things into the cart.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach. This is never a good idea, clean eating or not. Shopping while hungry will challenge your discipline and may lead to deviating from your plan.
- Read labels. Reading labels is going to become a thing that you do on a regular basis. It will help you to know what’s in the food you eat, and what food you don’t want to eat.
- Get educated. This goes along with number five but still, it’s critical that you learn all that you can about clean, healthy, whole food. Don’t assume that just because something says it is diet, organic, or whole doesn’t mean it is.
- Don’t give up. Once you have your clean eating plan, and you’ve shopped and prepped, then just don’t give up. It’s easy to feel super excited in the beginning but get burned out over time. That’s the importance of the plan. Always refer back to the plan and you’ll be okay.
With these tips, you can create your own plan for clean eating. Everyone is different, and your needs can vary from someone else’s, but as a general rule, these tips should help you. Keep in mind that it’s very difficult for people to go 100% clean right out of the gates. Your goal should be to come as close to it as possible or to transition into it over a period of time.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not eating clean at every single meal. Just do the best you can to eat fresh, wholesome food.
5 Principals of Clean Eating
When you want a diet of clean, healthy, nutritious foods, you have to plan for it. There’s a lot of crap out there these days that gets passed off as food, and if you really care about your health, then you need to take an active role in it.
When you decide to eat clean, you are doing exactly that. You’re taking a stand for your own health and deciding to control what goes into your body. Your food is fuel, and good food means your body will be running at optimal performance.
Here are five principals of clean eating that will help you stick to your goals, now and in the future.
1. Reduce Processed Food
Sometimes you just can’t get around it but you should try to limit the amount of processed food you eat as much as possible.
2. Reduce the meat you eat
While there are good things in meat-like protein and iron, too much of it contains fat and cholesterol. You don’t have to cut meat completely, but you should try to trim back on the quantity of meat you are eating.
3. Eat less sodium
There’s salt in many foods, and you could be getting way more than the daily recommended allowance and not even realize it. Start keeping track of how much sodium you’re getting and reduce where you can.
4. Eat more vegetables
There are so many reasons to eat more veggies. They are the basic staple of clean eating. They’re low in calories, packed full of all the good, healthy stuff you need, and they will fill you up, so you are not tempted to eat junk.
5. Eat whole grains
You should replace your refined grains like white bread with whole wheat grains for better health. The extra fiber is also excellent for you. People who eat whole grains tend to be slimmer.
With these five principals of clean eating fresh of mind, you’re ready to start planning your future meals. You might even want to write these down or print them out so you can tape it up in a place you will see often. This is an excellent way to keep yourself on track.
How to Start Clean Eating With a Family
If you’ve decided to go clean with your diet, you might be excited about encouraging your family to do the same. That said, you may also know that not everyone will share your enthusiasm for healthier food. For some people, the “bad” food tastes good, especially if they’ve grown accustomed to eating it all the time, and their bodies might even be craving the wrong foods. You can help encourage the rest of your family to get on board with your clean eating plan if you just know a few things to try.
So what can you do to break that cycle and try to encourage your family to eat clean with you? Here are some ideas:
Make “clean” versions of your family’s favorite foods
When they still get to eat the meals they love, but healthier versions, what reason do they have to turn it down?
Involve your family in the process.
Let them shop with you and prepare meals with you. When you get them involved, they take a more active role in their own health, and they are more likely to keep doing it when you are not around.
Provide healthy snacks like fresh fruits. They’ll be less likely to reach for the junk.
Encourage them to eat less food more often.
Eat regular meals, five or six times a day, instead of three large meals.
Cut back the sugar.
It’s possible to get your sweet tooth satisfied without having too much sugar. If you can cut back the processed sugar, all the better.
With these tips, you will create clean eating habits the whole family can appreciate. Remember that they don’t have to do it 100% of the time. You don’t either. If you eat clean five days of the week, you don’t have to feel bad about the other two days if you indulge a little, or have things you wouldn’t usually eat.
It’s all about balance.
The same rules apply to your family. When they realize it’s not a hard and fast rule about never eating certain things again, then they will feel more relaxed about the idea as well.
This is all about making healthier life choices, starting with the food we put into our bodies. If you give them the opportunities, they are definitely more likely to eat clean more often. Even if it’s 50/50, or only 40% of the time they eat, that’s 40% more than before. That’s something you can feel good about.
Clean Eating: What to Do When Eating Out
Your clean eating plan is going wonderfully at home but what do you do when you eat out? Eating clean while you’re dining out can be very confusing and even stressful. If you’re trying to watch what you eat, you might feel like certain things are out of your control when you decide to eat out.
Here Are Some Tips For Cleaning Eating When Out & About:
- Know what’s in it. The first step is to know the ingredients. If the menu doesn’t list everything in a dish, ask the server. If the server isn’t sure, wait for them to ask the cook/chef. There’s nothing wrong with this. You’re paying, and you have the right to know what’s going into your body. Of course, you should always be polite about it if you’re putting the server to more work.
- Pick lighter foods. Soups, salads, sandwiches, these are all things that fall under “fast casual” category of dining, and they are most likely to contain simple ingredients you can identify and might not break your diet.
- Avoid the dressing. If possible, skip the dressings altogether. If you really must have something on your salad, go with an oil-based dressing. Dressings can be full of fat, sodium, sugar and more of the things you don’t want.
- Keep it simple. Don’t add the bacon, or the veggie toppings, or the extra sauce. The more basic you can keep it, the better it will be for you, as a general rule.
- Skip the bun/bread. When you can, avoid buns and breads. Most restaurants have breads that are very starchy and not made of whole grains.
- Skip the coffee. Yes, that means Starbucks, too. When you do have coffee away from home, go with a simple black coffee, or as few additives as possible. Those fast-food coffees are full of sugar and much more. Those popular flavors and spices are not good for you, either.
With these tips on clean eating while eating out, you don’t have to give up the weekly meal with friends, or taking the family out on special occasions. You can eat out on vacation, or when you forgot to pack your lunch that day.
In general, you should try to limit how often you eat out unless you’re going to restaurants that support clean eating. However, that doesn’t mean that eating out is banned from your life forever. There are some ways to get around it and find a compromise, as we’ve explained above.