8 TIPS for Clean Eating - Get back to basics to nourish your body04/16/2023 01:50PM ● By Janani Varatharajan
1. EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
Fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other plant compounds that fight inflammation and reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Plant-based foods should form the basis of a clean-eating diet. Incorporate fruits and veggies into every meal and make salads and other dishes as colorful as possible.
2. CHOOSE ORGANIC WHEN IT’S AVAILABLE, BUT DON’T FEAR CONVENTIONAL PRODUCE.
Organic farming methods use fewer toxic pesticides, which is good for both human and environmental health. Local produce is also a great option, and the farmers’ market allows you the opportunity to chat with farmers about their use of pesticides (they may use non-toxic pest-management methods or fewer pesticides than conventional farmers but have not taken the steps to become certified organic.) At the grocery store, choose organic versions of fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticide residue, including berries, spinach, apples, and grapes. But if your budget doesn’t allow for organic or it’s not available, just focus on eating more produce.
3. OPT FOR WHOLE GRAINS.
Whole grains contain fiber, B vitamins, and minerals that support good health. Refined grains like white flour and white rice lose one-half to two-thirds of their nutrients during the refining process. The most minimally processed grains include steel-cut oats, barley, quinoa, and farro. Look for whole-grain versions of pasta and bread.
4. CUT BACK ON SUGAR.
If you’re trying to eat clean, it’s important to avoid added sugar. Limit sweets like soda and baked goods, and keep an eye out for sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in packaged foods like tomato sauce and cereal.
5. ALWAYS READ LABELS.
To eat a cleaner diet, it’s critical to read labels. Look for foods without sugar as the main ingredient. Cleaner whole-grain packaged foods will list whole grains as the first ingredient. Check labels and avoid foods with unpronounceable ingredients.
6. THERE’S NO NEED TO ELIMINATE ALL PROCESSED FOODS.
Steer clear of packaged foods containing ingredients that look like a list of chemicals, including overly processed and sugary cereals and snack foods. Yogurt, nuts, canned tomatoes and beans, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also processed, but they’re on the clean end of the spectrum.
7. MAKE WATER YOUR PRIMARY BEVERAGE.
Water is the purest and healthiest beverage you can drink. It has no additives, sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other questionable ingredients. Unsweetened coffee and tea (organic if possible) are also good choices.
8. DON’T BE OVERLY RIGID.
Making a food off-limits or calling it
“dirty” will likely make that food even
more tempting. Listen to your body and
if a food doesn’t make you feel good, then don’t eat it. Also listen to your heart— going out for ice cream with your family occasionally offers a different kind of nourishment, and it’s not going to make your clean eating lifestyle go totally off the rails. Be mindful of what you’re putting in your body, choose minimally processed and real foods in their natural state, and make healthy choices most of the time. You’ll boost your health and start to appreciate food in a new way.