What is clean eating? How can you incorporate it into your lifestyle so you can feel fit and fabulous—without feeling like you’re depriving yourself and your family? Learn how to eat clean with this easy guide.
Clean eating can mean different things to different people. For example, some clean eaters consume only 100% whole foods–those that haven’t been processed at all. This style is closer to the way our grandparents and great-grandparents ate. Eating clean this way is challenging, but it can also pose food safety issues.
At SkinnyMs., our clean-eating recipes focus on a combination of whole and minimally-processed foods. That means we avoid products like packaged, powdered mac-n-cheese mixes, but we do incorporate foods like canned tomatoes or vegan mayonnaise.
Check out these clean-eating tips to help you get started on the path to a healthier, more fabulous version of you.
1. Boot refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and white flour.
We mean that literally–kick them out of your pantry. Take time this weekend to clear out the foods that cause weight gain and health problems. If it seems overwhelming, tackle one part of the kitchen at a time. For example, clear the pantry this weekend, and the refrigerator next weekend. Consider these replacements:
Coconut sugar for white or brown sugar (1:1 ratio)
White whole wheat flour for white flour (1:1 ratio)
Extra virgin olive oil & fresh herbs for bottled salad dressings
Greek yogurt for sour cream (1:1 ratio)
Greek yogurt with fresh fruit for flavored yogurt
Maple syrup (100%) for processed pancake syrup
Discover more clean eating ideas in Healthy Recipe Substitutions.
2. Always read food labels.
This is one of those must-have, but sometimes overlooked, clean-eating tips. It might seem time-consuming when you first start, but once you get a better sense of what to look for, you’ll be scanning food labels like a pro.
- Generally, processed ingredients often sport names that read like tongue-twisters from a kids’ book.
- Learn Tips for Deciphering Food Labels and 50 Names for Sugar.
3. Eat 3 small meals and 2-3 healthy snacks daily.
Eating small amounts throughout the day will keep blood sugar stable and reduce the urge to dive into a bag of crackers or a sleeve of cookies.
- Remember to plan your snacks too, so you’re not tempted by processed snacks loaded with sodium, sugar, and fat.
- Check out our 5-Day Menu Plan with Perfect Portions and 32 Clean-Eating Low-Calorie Snacks.
4. Substitute frozen fruits and veggies for fresh when necessary.
There’s no reason to go without nutritious ingredients just because they’re out of season or you don’t have time to make a grocery run.
- Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables—but always check to make sure the package doesn’t include added ingredients, like sugar, sodium, or preservatives.
- Use frozen produce in Mixed Berry Chia Seed Jam or in our Old-Fashioned Vegetable Soup.
5. Ditch soda, sports beverages, and diet drinks.
This is the only body you’ll get, so stay away from the drinks that junk it up with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and who-knows-what.
- Increase water intake and, when you want a flavor boost, reach for unsweetened or naturally sweetened herbal teas, easy homemade Orange Sports Drink, or healthy Drink Recipes.
6. Go lean with leaner cuts of meat and heart-healthy fish.
For most women, it’s fine to enjoy occasional, properly-sized portions of red meat, however the healthiest choices are leaner cuts of meat or heart-loving fish, like salmon.
- Dig into nutritious recipes like 15 Yummy Entrées Made with Ground Turkey, Black Pepper Salmon with Avocado Salad, or Halibut Steak with Pico de Gallo.
7. Choose organic, when practical.
Many grocery stores carry an increasingly larger selection of organic foods.
- If you’re budget conscious, put your healthy-food dollars toward choosing organic for foods with the highest levels of pesticides, such as those on the 2015 Dirty Dozen Fruits & Vegetables Food List.
- Learn more in the 12 Do’s and Don’ts of Going Organic.
8. Limit alcohol.
Alcoholic beverages contain bad carbohydrates and empty calories. What’s more, alcohol consumption tends to lower inhibitions–including those related to eating!
- In one study, women consumed about 300 additional calories on the days they drank moderately. Some of those extra calories came from the alcohol and some came from eating fattier foods on those days .
- If you drink alcohol, savor it on special occasions or substitute it with recipes like non-alcoholic Pina Colada Smoothie or Minty Non-Alcoholic Mojito.
Ready to get started? Here are clean-eating recipe ideas for your menu this week:
7 Weight Watchers Casserole Recipes with Low Points
11 Easy Snacks to Fill You Up & Keep You Going
Top 20 Slow Cooker Recipes on SkinnyMs.
Visit SkinnyMs. Fitness for the workout resources and tips you need to feel fab no matter the season!