How to Eat Clean?
The majority of Americans consume a diet that is high in overly processed foods made from synthetic ingredients and high in fat, sugar, sodium, chemicals, preservatives, food dyes, and other additives, among other things.
Processed foods are devoid of nutrients and loaded with additives that our bodies are ill-equipped to deal with on their own accord.
The sugar in processed foods stimulates the pleasure receptor in the brain, leading us to crave more until we reach our calorie limit.
For this reason, we frequently find ourselves on a never-ending cycle of junk food cravings and binge eating.
Those who run food corporations understand how to keep us coming back for more so that they can continue to make money off our purchases.
These additional items could harm your general health and well-being.
Today, many people are aware of the dangers of consuming too much processed foods, and they are turning to clean eating.
What Is Clean Eating?
Eating clean is not a crash diet, cleanse, or detoxification procedure. It is not about what you can and cannot eat, nor is it about counting calories, avoiding carbohydrates, or consuming vegetable soup all day long.
It is also not about depriving or limiting one’s food intake. Eating clean is a flexible way of life that you can customize in various ways.
It refers to eating food nearest to its natural form as is reasonably practicable. When it comes to clean eating, it is about living a healthy lifestyle every single day and breaking old habits.
Principles Of Clean Eating
There is more to it than just a diet. It helps maximize your energy while also improving your health.
Because of its inherent flexibility, it can readily fit into practically any formal or informal daily or weekly schedule.
How to Eat Clean? – 7 Principles of Clean Eating
1. Choose whole, natural foods whenever possible, and try to eliminate or reduce your intake of processed meals.
Even though there are always exemptions, the vast bulk of your food nourishment should come from a fresh source rather than a box, bag, can, or package.
2. Nutrient-rich foods are preferable to those high in refined carbohydrates
Although it may not always be practicable, you can increase your consumption of whole grains, beans and legumes, and sugars.
3. Every meal should have a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
In most cases, we fill our diets with carbs and fats, but we often fall short on protein, particularly in the early part of the day, such as at breakfast and lunch.
Protein is responsible for muscular growth, and it can help you feel fuller for longer. Keep track of the types of meals you prepare, and be sure to distribute your protein evenly.
4. Keep an eye out for saturated fat, salt, and sugar
Processed foods are mostly to blame for our excessive intake of calories and unhealthy fat, sugar, and salt levels.
These components are often low in clean foods by nature, so in clean eating, you should try to limit them or altogether avoid them.
5. Aim for five to six modest meals a day
Many people take three meals a day, but you can change that to adding two or three more to your daily dietary plan.
Eating five to six meals a day keeps you from skipping meals and overindulging in unhealthy food. It also helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, which means your energy does not drop.
6. Avoid high-calorie drinks
High-calorie beverages such as specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, add 400 to 500 calories to a person’s daily calorie intake.
Choose water first or unsweetened tea. Other healthy beverages include low-fat or skim milk, 100 percent fruit juice mixed with sparkling water, and iced tea.
Clean eating would not be complete without regular physical activity. Exercising helps burn fat, increase muscle mass, and increase resting energy expenditure.
It also helps to keep your heart, lungs, and bones in good working condition.
Pros and Cons of Clean Eating
Like any healthy diet regimen, clean eating has its benefits and drawbacks.
- Clean eating nourishes your body with healthy and nutrient-dense foods. They fill your body with vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, which improve heart and brain health, assist with weight management, build a more robust immune system, and increase energy levels.
- Clean eating emphasizes fruit and vegetables that prevent or reduce diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Fruits and veggies also contain compounds that help to improve skin texture.
- The eating plan discourages the consumption of highly processed foods and unhealthy fats that are detrimental to health.
- Clean eating is an elusive concept. Sadly, this ambiguity of what defines clean eating can lead to more restrictions for some.
- Restricting one’s food intake might lead to a lack of nutrients. The body relies on a wide range of nutrients for proper performance. It turns out that quite a few of the “off-limits” foods recommended in clean eating plans are beneficial to your health.
- The pressure to eat clean impacts your eating patterns. It is common for people who practice “clean eating” to develop a punitive and obsessive attitude towards food. Whenever you put these self-imposed limits in effect, you may feel guilt and shame if (and when) you breach one of the rules.
- Clean eating can lead to a disorder known as orthorexia, characterized by obsessive behavior in pursuing a healthy diet. Unfortunately, there are severe psychological and social repercussions.
- Clean eating can be expensive. Farmers must spend more money on fresh fruits and vegetables because they use human labor rather than machines. Using machines for food production is more cost-effective in the end. However, the United States government does not subsidize leafy vegetable crops as it does wheat, soy, and corn, all of which are essential elements in junk food.
How to Eat Clean Food List
The following are some suggestions to help you stock your kitchen with foods that will make it easier to eat clean.
When it comes to clean eating, fruit is nearly always a safe bet. The fruit has high sugar content, but it is also a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
It is difficult to overdo it with natural sweets, and you are obtaining essential nutrients in the process. Choose:
- 100% fruit juice
- Canned fruit with no added sugar
- Dried fruit with no added sugar
- Fresh fruits
- Frozen fruit with no added sugar
Veggies should be the essential components of your clean-eating dishes since they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Choose:
- All fresh vegetables
- Canned vegetables with no sauce or added salt
- Frozen vegetables with no sauce or added salt
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Other Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
Every cell in your body needs protein to grow and function properly. Therefore, it should be an essential part of every diet since it provides your cells with energy to keep you going.
Choose the following:
- 100% Grass-fed Beef and Steak
- Egg whites
- Fatty fish
- Lean fish
- Beans and Legumes
- Beyond Burger
- Green Peas
- Mycoprotein (corn-based)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Pea Protein
- Unflavored Nuts
- Plain nut butter
- Dried beans
- Low sodium canned beans
Dietary fiber and nutrients are in abundance in whole grains, which are the healthiest carbs. Choose the following whole grains for clean eating.
- Air-popped Popcorn
- Ancient Grains
- Cereal Grains
Because milk is a product of nature’s abundance and includes few additional ingredients and no preservatives, it is a rich source of essential nutrients, notably protein and three of the four others missing in the ordinary American diet.
It accomplishes all of this while only providing a small number of calories per serving.
If you choose nondairy alternatives, seek unsweetened varieties to prevent the addition of sugar.
Additionally, examine reduced- and low-fat dairy products to ensure they do not include any fillers or strange additives. Choose the following dairy products.
- Cottage Cheese
- Cow’s Milk
- Goats Milk
- Ice cream
- Sheep’s Milk
- Almond Milk
- Cashew milk
- Coconut milk
- Flax milk
- Hemp milk
- Oat milk
- Rice milk
- Vegan cheeses
- Vegan ice cream
- Yogurt made from soy, almond, or coconut
Desserts and Sweeteners
When it comes to eating clean, most typical desserts from a package are out of the question. Heavily refined flours and added sugars are the main ingredients in their preparation. However, you do not entirely need to eliminate sweets from your diet.
You can make desserts at home with less sugar, more fruit, and more whole grains. Choose natural sweeteners over refined ones. The following sweeteners are appropriate for clean eating.
- Coconut Sugar
- Date Paste
- Maple Syrup
- Raw sugar
Cooking oil, salad dressings, butter, and sauces are fat commonly consumed as an additional ingredient or topping. However, it is present in its natural state in many foods, including proteins.
The best healthy fats come from plant-based food sources and whole foods. Here are some excellent fats to incorporate into your clean eating diet:
- Avocado oil
- Canola oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
Drinks can have a significant amount of added sugar. Unsweetened tea and coffee, as well as water and seltzer, are all healthy alternatives.
A splash of juice mixed with seltzer and served in an elegant glass will elevate your cocktail to an entirely new level of sophistication.
Avoid sugary beverages such as sodas, sweetened teas, and specialty flavored coffee drinks.
You may also wish to avoid alcohol if you follow a clean-eating regimen, but you do not need to. Keep your alcohol consumption under control.
Women should have one drink per day, and males have no more than two. Wine and beer are acceptable, but if you enjoy cocktails, avoid sugary mixers.
Foods to Avoid on a Clean Eating Diet
When it comes to avoiding foods that are bad for your health, most are heavily processed, include a lot of sugar, sodium, and trans fats, and have little nutritional value.
Some of these foods may potentially have significant health repercussions if they are part of a diet. Occasionally indulging in these foods is perfectly acceptable, but do not make it a daily occurrence.
- Corn syrup
- Brown sugar
- Table sugar
- Processed meats
- Packaged foods and snacks
- Potato chips
- White bread
- White flour tortillas
- Sports drinks
- Tea with added sugars
- Trans fats
How to Eat Clean 7-Day Sample Diet
Here is a 7-day clean eating meal plan to get you started.
- Breakfast: Tomato and Watermelon Salad
- Morning Snack: Hard-Boiled Egg
- Lunch: Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Afternoon Snack: Fresh Blueberries
- Dinner: Sheet-Pan Caprese Pizza
- Breakfast: Blueberry Oats Bowl
- Morning Snack: Savory Vegetable Muffins
- Lunch: Greek Wedge Salad
- Afternoon Snack: Hummus and Carrots
- Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice
- Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots
- Morning Snack: No Blender Bliss Balls
- Lunch: Quinoa and Stir-Fried Veg
- Afternoon Snack: Peanut Butter with Rice Cakes
- Dinner: Garlic Butter-Roasted Salmon with Potatoes & Asparagus
- Breakfast: Blueberry and Overnight Oats Bowl
- Morning Snack: Pear Slices with 1 Oz. Cheese
- Lunch: Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup
- Afternoon Snack: Mixed Nuts
- Dinner: Sheet-Pan Balsamic-Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas & Vegetables
- Breakfast: Tomato and Watermelon Salad
- Morning Snack: Red Apple Slices with Peanut Butter Dip
- Lunch: Moroccan Chickpea Soup
- Afternoon Snack: Crackers with Avocado Dip
- Dinner: Sheet-Pan Maple-Mustard Pork Chops & Carrots
- Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Topped With Raspberries and Chopped Walnuts
- Morning Snack: Apple with Almond Butter
- Lunch: Turkey Zucchini Burgers
- Afternoon Snack: Protein Smoothie
- Dinner: Roasted Salmon with Asparagus (Or Other Vegetable)
- Breakfast: Cucumber & Fennel Green Smoothie
- Morning Snack: Roasted Chickpeas
- Lunch: Mixed Bean Salad
- Afternoon Snack: Kale Chips
- Dinner: Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes & Scallions with Herb Vinaigrette
Breaking any routine is challenging, even more, for diet and food. Clean eating is a great way to go if you want to change your old eating habits.
Moreover, it is far more flexible to follow than other diets. It is not necessary to remove food groups, and it is simple to incorporate into your daily routine.
Some people abstain from all processed foods, while others are less stringent in their approach.
Whichever way you go about clean eating, just ensure you consume foods as close to their natural state as possible. Avoid processed foods and sugary products, among others, detrimental to health.
Printable 7 Day Clean Eating Plan (PDF)
|Day||Breakfast||Morning Snack||Lunch||Afternoon Snack||Dinner|
|1||Tomato and Watermelon Salad||Hard-Boiled Egg||Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps||Fresh Blueberries||Sheet-Pan Caprese Pizza|
|2||Blueberry Oats Bowl||Savory Vegetable Muffins||Greek Wedge Salad||Hummus and Carrots||Grilled Chicken with Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice|
|3||Banana Yogurt Pots||No Blender Bliss Balls||Quinoa and Stir Fried Veg||Peanut Butter With Rice Cakes||Garlic Butter-Roasted Salmon with Potatoes & Asparagus|
|4||Blueberry and Overnight Oats Bowl||Pear Slices with 1 Oz. Cheese||Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup||Mixed Nuts||Sheet-Pan Balsamic-Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas & Vegetables|
|5||Tomato and Watermelon Salad||Red Apple Slices with Peanut Butter Dip||Moroccan Chickpea Soup||Crackers with Avocado Dip||Sheet-Pan Maple-Mustard Pork Chops & Carrots|
|6||Greek Yogurt Topped with Raspberries And Chopped Walnuts||Apple with Almond Butter||Turkey Zucchini Burgers||Protein Smoothie||Roasted Salmon with Asparagus (Or Other Vegetable)|
|7||Cucumber & Fennel Green Smoothie||Roasted Chickpeas||Mixed Bean Salad||Kale Chips||Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes & Scallions with Herb Vinaigrette|
Printable Clean Eating Food List (PDF)
|Clean Eating Food List|
|100% fruit juice|
|Canned fruit with no added sugar|
|Dried fruit with no added sugar|
|Frozen fruit with no added sugar|
|All fresh vegetables|
|Canned vegetables with no sauce or added salt|
|Frozen vegetables with no sauce or added salt|
|100% Grass-fed Beef and Steak|
|Beans and Legumes|
|Plain nut butter|
|Low sodium canned beans|
|Vegan ice cream|
|Yogurt made from soy, almond, or coconut|
|Desserts and Sweeteners|
|Fresh fruit juice with no added sugar|
|Foods to Avoid on a Clean Eating Diet|
|Packaged foods and snacks|
|White flour tortillas|
|Tea with added sugars|