Eating clean has become a popular trend in recent years as more people seek to improve their overall health and well-being. But what exactly does it mean to eat clean? And how can we create a balanced diet that is both nutritious and satisfying? We asked experts for their top tips on eating clean and here’s what they had to say:
1. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods: One of the key principles of eating clean is choosing foods in their most natural state. This means opting for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoiding heavily processed and overly refined foods can have a positive impact on your health, as these foods often contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients that can lead to a range of health issues.
2. Incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables: Eating a rainbow of produce ensures that you consume a diverse range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Experts recommend aiming for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and mixing it up by including different colors like leafy greens, orange squash, vibrant berries, and red tomatoes.
3. Prioritize lean protein sources: Protein is crucial for many bodily functions, including the repair and growth of tissues. When it comes to choosing protein sources, opt for lean options like chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, beans, and legumes. These provide essential amino acids without the excess saturated fats found in processed meats.
4. Don’t forget about healthy fats: Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you. Incorporating healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil into your diet provides essential fatty acids that support brain health, reduce inflammation, and promote heart health. Moderation is the key as fats are calorie-dense, so be mindful of portion sizes.
5. Read food labels and choose wisely: While fresh and whole foods should be the foundation of your eating clean regime, there may be occasions when you need to select packaged items. When doing so, be sure to read food labels and ingredient lists. Avoid products containing high levels of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and excessive sodium.
6. Plan and prepare meals in advance: Meal prepping is an efficient way to ensure you have nutritious meals and snacks readily available throughout the week. Setting aside a few hours to plan your meals, shop for ingredients, and cook in advance can save time and prevent impulsive choices that may compromise your clean-eating goals.
7. Stay hydrated with water: Drinking plenty of water is vital for maintaining optimal health. Water helps to transport nutrients, regulate body temperature, support digestion, and flush out toxins. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. If you struggle with plain water, infuse it with slices of lemon, cucumber, or fresh herbs for a refreshing twist.
8. Practice mindful eating: Eating clean is not only about what you eat but also how you eat. Mindful eating involves being fully present, savoring each bite, and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Slow down, pay attention to the tastes and textures, and eat until you feel comfortably satisfied, rather than stuffed.
Remember, eating clean is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding a balance that works for you, while prioritizing whole foods and avoiding those that are overly processed. By following these expert-approved tips, you can create a balanced diet that nourishes your body, supports your overall well-being, and helps you establish a sustainable and healthy eating routine.