Most people have heard of clean eating, but those who haven’t gotten on board with the trend already might not know much about what it entails. Eating clean involves choosing healthy food options
, with a special emphasis on whole foods, while avoiding overly refined or processed options.
If you’re interested in joining the eating clean movement, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Start with Vegetables
Fresh vegetables are typically considered the foundation of any healthy diet
, so this is a logical point to focus on for clean eating. Start by increasing your intake of known powerhouses, like leafy green vegetables, and do your best to select organic vegetables whenever possible.
By concentrating on fresh, organic vegetables, you don’t have to worry about anything being processed or being exposed to things like pesticides. They also won’t contain added sugars or fats, making them healthier than many other foods. You’ll also increase your intake of healthy nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, helping you feel fuller, longer.
2. Add Fruit
A lot of people don’t get enough fresh fruit in their diet, so bringing these in next is a smart step when you begin to focus on eating clean. As with vegetables, you want to find organic versions to make sure you aren’t consuming any pesticides or other chemicals.
Adding fruits to your diet also improves your overall level of nutrition, bringing in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, depending on which you choose. It also gives you sweet foods to enjoy that don’t contain added sugars, helping those with a penchant for desserts feel more satisfied with their diet choices.
3. Say Yes to Whole Grains
When you focus on clean eating, you want to choose grains that have been minimally processed. Typically, this includes options that are as close to their just-harvested state as possible. Oats, quinoa, and wild rice are often excellent choices for this.
Following a lifestyle that involves eating clean doesn’t mean you have to forgo bread and pasta, just that you need to choose options featuring simple ingredients. There are whole-wheat pasta, whole grain bread, and other options that don’t involve a lot of processing. But, you’ll need to read the labels carefully to make sure the other ingredients don’t include an abundance of added sugars, preservatives, or other chemical components.
4. Limit Your Consumption of Meat
To follow the tenants of clean eating, you don’t have to become a vegan. However, lowering your consumption of meat is typically recommended, and choosing the right options is helpful.
First, you need to keep your serving sizes under control regardless of which meat you prefer. Second, aim to select lean options, like skinless chicken breast, over fattier cuts, like certain cuts of beef.
Remember, meat isn’t the only good source of protein one can have in their diet, so you shouldn’t run into issues regarding your protein requirements as long as you consume beans, nuts, and legumes regularly.
5. Be Wary of Prepackaged Foods
Most foods that are prepackaged are also highly processed. Anything from potato chips to cookies to jarred pasta sauces can all contain preservatives and additives that don’t fit with a clean eating lifestyle. However, certain packaged foods, like yoghurt or baby spinach, can actually be quite healthy and do meet the guidelines for clean eating.
When you are considering a prepackaged food, take the time to read the label. The longer the ingredients list and the harder the individual components are to pronounce, the more likely you’re looking at a highly processed food.
6. Avoid Added Sugar
In many cases, a person consumes way more sugar than they should for a healthy diet. Processed foods and various sweets, like pastries and candy, can contain a lot of sugar, so consumption of these should be highly limited. When reviewing labels, make sure that when an item contains sugar that it is near the end of the ingredients list. The further down the list it is, the less there is in the food or beverage.
Additionally, be wary of adding sugar to any of your food or drink items. Refined sugars, like white sugar, isn’t always the healthiest addition to any meal as it can raise insulin levels in the blood.
7. Be Vigilant About Sodium
Another ingredient that is typically overused in processed foods or drinks is sodium or salt. Salt acts as a preservative and also improves the flavour of prepackaged foods, but excess amounts can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease.
However, it is perfectly fine to use salt when you cook, just make sure to limit the amount added to any meal. Often, sea salt is more flavourful than table salt, allowing you to use less while still getting the taste. Also, consider using other herbs and spices to imbue flavour, as these don’t typically have as many potentially harmful effects.
8. Drink Water
Making sure you are getting enough water is a great way to improve your health and is an excellent complement to a clean eating plan. Work to drink at least four to six glasses of plain water every day, as this can help keep you hydrated and leaves your stomach feeling full, allowing you to eat less while still feeling satiated.
If you want to add a little more flavour, a small squirt or lemon juice or a few mint leaves can be quite refreshing without lowering the health benefits. Certain herbal teas are also an excellent choice, especially if you want a hot beverage.
9. Choose Flour Substitutes
People who want to eat clean and also enjoy baking may feel stuck, but there are exceptional flour substitutes that can allow you to eat better while still enjoying your favourite activity. Look for options like almond, brown rice, coconut, and oat flour and see which option works best for your palate.
10. Be Environmentally Conscious
Part of the clean eating lifestyle is increasing your awareness of your impact on the planet. Certain foods, like meat and non-organic produce, can be harmful to the world based on the way they are raised or cultivated. Shifting your diet to include more organic fruits and vegetables isn’t just good for you, it’s great for the Earth too.
It is possible to maintain a clean eating lifestyle while on the go in the UAE too. Restaurants like the Circle Café
have many choices available that follow the recommendations above, so you don’t have to give up your lifestyle to enjoy a meal out.