The basic principle of clean eating is trying to eat to the best of your ability, whole, fresh, unprocessed foods. Food that occurs in nature and doesn’t go through extensive processing.
Preparing the food by yourself will help your chances of being successful on a clean eating plan. Going out to restaurants is not restricted, but unfortunately, the food served there is not as fresh and most likely processed, resulting in less nutritional value. If you are not used to cooking in the kitchen, start with the basics and move up from there.
A clean diet can be a little different for everyone, but there is one thing that all clean eaters would agree on: The white stuff has to go! This includes all white sugar and white flour products. These foods provide absolutely no nutritional value. Whole foods actually fill you up and fuel you, whereas the white stuff fills a mental craving but doesn’t physically fill you up. These foods also make it very hard to keep your blood sugar levels stable. When your blood sugar is too high or too low, it will cause cravings and may also cause symptoms like irritability and fatigue. This will make staying on a clean eating plan more difficult.
Eat enough and eat regularly. Don’t let your body get too hungry or else it will be really hard to not cheat or grab a high energy convenient food. Eating regularly will also help you regulate your blood sugar levels. The meal plan included in this plan contains four meals. Three main meals and one snack, should be plenty to fuel you through the day.
It’s all about balance, and your plate should reflect that. Try to eat a balanced number of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates at every meal. Fill your plate up with an unlimited number of vegetables, and add in quality sources of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
The clean eating approach understands that not all calories are equal. When you only consume whole foods, you are much more likely to not overconsume and maintain a healthy weight. Eating entire foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your body not only at a healthy weight, but also in overall health. Entire foods contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, C, D, and K, B12, magnesium, and calcium. Of course, you could take supplements for these, but the nutrients are absorbed much better when consumed through food versus pill form.
CLEAN 15 / DIRTY DOZEN BY EWG
The more organic products you can include in your diet, the better, but of course, not everyone has the budget for it. Eat organic as much as you can, but never avoid buying fruits or vegetables just because you can’t afford the organic version.
The Environmental Working Group releases a Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list every year, showing us which fruits and vegetables have the most and the least pesticides added to our food. I recommend referring to this list while grocery shopping to minimize your exposure to toxins and cut costs.
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Honey Drew Melon
Dirty Dozen +
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Hot Peppers
- Kale and Collard Greens
Eating out while on a Clean-Eating diet
Committing to a clean eating lifestyle doesn’t mean you will never be able to attend social events or dine out again. When you switch to a clean eating lifestyle, you have to make sure that it fits into your lifestyle. Although going out every night of the week is not recommended, going out once in a while will be healthy for you if it’s something, you really enjoy.
It’s a matter of making the right choices. Look for dishes like stir-fries and salads on the menu. If you can’t find anything on the menu that is clean eating approved, here are some examples of things you can order separately.
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Grilled Salmon Fillet
- Hamburger without the bun
- Baked Potato
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Brown Rice
- Avocado or Guacamole
- Nuts and Seeds (Great on salads)
- Olive Oil
- Sparkling Water
Most the restaurants will have all of these foods in the kitchen, even if it’s not written exactly like that on the menu. Don’t be shy to ask for something a little different. When it comes to your health, it’s always worth it. The last tip for eating out on a clean eating diet is to ALWAYS ask for the dressing on the side. Most restaurants add way more than needed. Even if it’s a healthy dressing, I recommend doing this.