The phrase “clean eating” has gained a lot of traction in the world of health and fitness, but unfortunately, this phrase, which should indicate eating whole foods, has become synonymous with food shaming.
Focus less on using trendy phrases and more on making tiny changes, such as eating foods that have been lightly processed, in order to keep things straightforward.
To achieve this goal, you do not need to clear out your kitchen cabinets and start from scratch; rather, you should focus on loading up your plate with more fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are packed in nutrients.
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What does clean eating mean?
Clean eating has nothing to do with the cleanliness or uncleanliness of the food that you consume.
It is as easy as selecting authentic foods that have been minimally processed and that have the most possible nutritional value.
Consuming foods in a form that is as close to their natural state as is humanly possible is the goal here.
Consuming foods that are farmed in a manner that is less detrimental to the natural environment is another component of the idea of clean eating.
However, when it comes to making judgments regarding your diet, nutrition, and overall health, you should attempt to center your attention primarily on what is feasible and achievable for you.
Additionally, it is possible that it will be simpler to begin by performing one tiny thing at a time, which can make the process feel less overwhelming.
When it comes to making the decision to eat more healthfully, here are 11 suggestions to try.
11 ways for clean eating
1. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat.
There is no denying the nutritious density of foods like vegetables and fruits.
They are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant components that assist in the fight against inflammation and protect your cells from being damaged.
In point of fact, a high consumption of fruits and vegetables has been shown in numerous large observational studies to be associated with a decreased likelihood of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Because most fresh vegetables and fruits can be taken raw soon after being picked and washed, these foods are great for maintaining a healthy diet.
Selecting organically grown foods is one way to lessen your exposure to harmful pesticides and maybe improve your health. Consuming a greater quantity of fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether they are organic or conventionally grown, is preferable for your health as compared to consuming a lesser quantity of these foods.
The following is a list of simple suggestions for increasing the amount of fruit and vegetable consumption in your diet:
- Your salads should have as much color as you can give them by using at least three different kinds of veggies in addition to the greens.
- You may make your salad more nutritious by including fruits like apples, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, or tangerines.
- Put some berries, bananas, or plums on top of your yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal in the morning.
- After cleaning and chopping your vegetables, put them in a bowl with some olive oil and fresh herbs, and then store them in the refrigerator in a container for quick access.
- Include squash, spinach, kale, or collard greens among the vegetables in your soups and stews.
- When it comes to cooking, opt for frozen or canned alternatives because they are often more cost-effective and simplify the process of preparing meals.
To consume a diet that is high in nutrients, one must select foods that have undergone little to no processing and are abundant in the nutrients that occur naturally.
2. Eat less food that has been processed.
The use of ultra-processed meals has been related to an increased risk of cardiac problems; therefore, you should strive to restrict your intake of these items. These foods may have additional ingredients such as sugar, artificial colors, or preservatives added to them. Some examples of this type of cuisine are salty snacks like chips, packaged cookies, and fast food, all of which may have been subjected to various chemical and physical treatments.
The majority of processed foods have had part of their fiber and nutritional value removed, while also having more sugars, sodium, and other components added to them in order to preserve them and give them a more appetizing flavor.
When reading product labels, aim for products that include the fewest number of added ingredients, paying particular attention to those that you are unfamiliar with. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the term “natural” should mean that nothing artificial or synthetic has been included or added to a food that wouldn’t normally be expected, but that doesn’t include food production methods such as the use of pesticides. This includes items that are labeled as “natural,” because even though the FDA states that the term should mean that nothing artificial or synthetic has been included or added to a food that wouldn’t normally be expected.
In addition, the FDA does not take into consideration the phrase “natural” when defining the advantages to one’s nutrition or health (9Trusted Source).
Foods that have been ultra-processed may be devoid of nutrients and may contain components such as an excessive amount of sugar and sodium. Make an effort to curb their usage.
3. Read labels
Even though the concept of clean eating is predicated on the consumption of fresh and unprocessed foods, it does not preclude the consumption of some types of packaged goods, such as packaged vegetables, nuts, and meat.
However, it is essential to examine the labels to ensure that there are no added sweets, bad fats, or preservatives in the product in question.
For instance, many nuts are roasted in vegetable oil, which puts them at risk of suffering harm because of the effects of heat. Consuming nuts in their raw state is optimal, but you can also roast them on your own at a low temperature. Check the label, and select unsalted options whenever possible.
Additionally, prewashed salad mixes can help save time, but it is important to be aware that some of these mixes include salad sauces. Those might contain a lot of salt, additional sugars, and artificial preservatives. If you decide to use the salad dressing that comes with the meal, you might want to consider only using a quarter to a half of the packet. In addition, you must store them in the refrigerator and consume them before the expiration date.
Reading the labels on packaged vegetables, nuts, meats, and other foods can help you determine whether or not they include the ingredients you wish to put in your body.
4. Eat fewer processed carbohydrates
Foods that have been processed to a high degree and are considered refined carbs typically contain little nutrients.
Consuming refined carbohydrates has been associated to inflammation, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and obesity, according to research.
Whole grains, on the other hand, provide more minerals and fiber than refined grains and have been shown to have the potential to both lower inflammation and improve intestinal health.
Those participants in a study that involved 2,834 persons who concentrated on whole grains rather than refined grains had a lower risk of having excess abdominal fat than those participants who focused on refined grains.
If you consume grains, you should go for the varieties that have been processed the least, such as sprouted grain bread and steel-cut oats. Reduce your intake of cereals already prepared for eating, white bread, and other processed carbohydrates.
Refined grains can cause inflammation since they are deficient in fiber and other important nutrients; therefore, it is best to select grains that have undergone minimal processing.
5. Make informed decisions when selecting oils and spreads
Both vegetable oils and margarine do not fulfill the requirements of the “clean eating” movement’s founding principles.
To begin, the production of them involves the use of chemical extraction methods, which makes them highly processed.
Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential fatty acid that can be found in large concentrations in some oils, such as soybean and maize oil. Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. According to the findings of certain studies, increasing one’s intake of linoleic acid while simultaneously decreasing one’s consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is also an important fatty acid, may raise one’s likelihood of developing inflammation and obesity.
Some margarine products and spreads may still contain trace levels of artificial trans fats, despite the fact that their use has been restricted in the United States and other nations across the world. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enables food manufacturers to report trans fats as 0 grams on product labels if each serving of the product has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat. (18, 19Trustworthy Source, and 20Trustworthy Source).
Although reducing the amount of vegetable oils and spreads you consume may have some health benefits, it is still vital to consume a modest amount of good fats. Some examples of foods high in omega-3s include avocados, walnuts, and fatty fish.
In addition, olive oil can be used as a suitable replacement because it is associated with a number of health benefits, including the ability to assist in the reduction of inflammation.
The highly processed nature of margarines and some vegetable oils, both of which are connected to an elevated risk of disease, is briefly summarized here. Choose oils and fats that have been minimally processed and are better for your health.
6. Decrease the amount of additional sugar you consume
Limiting additional sugar in your diet is crucial. However, it is widespread and can be found in foods that you would not have thought about, such as sauces and condiments, therefore it is important to carefully study product labels in order to assist you in lowering your intake.
Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup both include a significant amount of the sweetener fructose.
According to the findings of certain studies, this particular molecule may be responsible for a variety of adverse health effects, including obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and perhaps some forms of cancer.
However, if you suffer from diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or any condition of a similar kind, you should discuss other sweeteners with your primary care physician.
In addition, even sugar that comes from natural sources can not provide much in the way of nutritious benefit.
7. Limit alcohol consumption
The production of alcohol involves crushing grains, fruits, or vegetables and then adding yeast to the mixture before allowing it to ferment.
It’s possible that drinking certain kinds of alcohol in moderation, notably wine, is beneficial to your heart health.
On the other hand, research has shown that drinking alcohol frequently can cause inflammation and may be a factor in the development of a number of health conditions, including liver disease, digestive difficulties, obesity, and an excessive amount of belly fat.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what kind of eating plan you stick to, the most essential thing is to drink alcohol in moderation at all times.
Despite the fact that drinking wine in moderation may assist safeguard heart health, alcohol use is connected to an elevated risk of a number of ailments. When trying to maintain a clean eating lifestyle, you should cut back on your alcohol usage.
8. Substitute veggies in recipes
Changing recipes such that they call for vegetables rather than refined grains is one way to improve one’s health.
Cauliflower, for instance, can be processed into a texture similar to that of rice, mashed like potatoes, or used as the base for pizza crust.
In addition, once cooked, spaghetti squash easily splits into long, thin strands, making it an ideal substitute for pasta. Additionally, zucchini can be used to produce delicious noodles.
To improve the overall nutritional quality of your meal while adhering to a clean eating plan, swap refined grains like pasta, rice, and bread with veggies instead.
9. Stay away from pre-packaged snack items
If at all possible, you should avoid snack foods that have been pre-packaged.
Refined grains, sugar, vegetable oils, and other low-nutrient ingredients are typical components of snack foods such as crackers, granola bars, muffins, and other items of a similar nature.
These highly processed meals have very little value from a nutritional standpoint.
If you want to avoid reaching for unhealthy foods when you are hungry in between meals, you should prepare for these occasions by stocking your kitchen with nutritious snacks.
Nuts, vegetables, and fruits are all healthy and delicious food choices. These foods are not only high in a variety of beneficial nutrients, but they are also delicious and may help guard against a variety of diseases.
Choose nutrient-dense whole foods such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables rather than packaged snack foods produced from refined grains. Nuts, fruits, and vegetables are examples of such foods.
10. Water should be your primary beverage of choice
Drinking water is the closest you can get to drinking anything in its natural state.
It is free of additives, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and any other substances that could raise some ethical concerns. However, before consuming the water in some regions, you might be required to use bottled water, filter it, or boil it first.
You can prevent dehydration by drinking water, and it also has the potential to assist you in maintaining a healthy weight.
On the other hand, beverages sweetened with sugar have been associated to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other disorders. In addition, drinking an excessive amount of fruit juice is associated to many of the same concerns as drinking an excessive amount of fruit cocktail, which sometimes has a great deal of added sugars.
Caffeine sensitivity may necessitate moderation in consumption of unsweetened coffee and tea, both of which are wonderful options and give a number of health benefits; nevertheless, those who are not sensitive to caffeine should choose these beverages.
If you want to flavor water in a more natural way, you may also put fruit slices in it or squeeze the juice of a lemon or lime into it.
Best mixer/ blender:
In a nutshell, water is the best thing for you, and if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, you should make it your primary beverage of choice.
11. Make sure the animals used in your food were raised morally
Choose meals that come from animals that were grown in an ethical manner whenever you can, in addition to foods that are fresh and have not been processed.
Many times, livestock is grown in overcrowded factory farms that lack proper sanitation. Antibiotics are often administered to the animals in order to ward off illness, and hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are injected into them in order to promote optimal growth.
In addition, the majority of cattle raised on industrial farms consume grains rather than the grass that makes up their natural diet. According to a number of studies, grain-fed beef has lower levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and antioxidants compared to cattle raised on grass.
Concerns about the environment are prompted in part by the enormous volumes of trash produced by factory farms.
Consuming meat that was grown in a humane manner may bring additional health benefits and is also healthier for the environment, if this is at all possible.
The decision to consume meat from animals that were treated humanely can have positive effects on both one’s health and the environment.
The bare essentials
The concept of “clean eating” may currently be popular, but it is also associated with several unfavorable ideas. It is preferable to concentrate on selecting foods that have had a low level of processing, such as grains, fruits, and vegetables.
A diet like this will not only improve your health but also teach you to enjoy the natural flavors that are present in a wide variety of foods.
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