Before looking at meal ideas and other tips for a clean eating lifestyle, you should hone in on what exactly this type of diet is going to do for you. The following information goes over clean eating basics, what is allowed and not allowed, and basically how it works.
Clean Eating Basics and Simple Rules to Follow
A good place to start with clean eating is to learn about the simple and basic rules involved with this lifestyle. In general, you are focusing more on healthy, whole, and fresh foods. Instead of counting calories or cutting your carbs, you are simply trying to cook more, using fresh ingredients, and avoiding highly processed foods.
This means grating your own cheese, no longer using canned fruits and veggies, and only having eggs or dairy that is from free-range or grass-fed animals. With a clean eating lifestyle, you should be cooking most meals on your own and reducing your saturated fats and trans fats. You also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake as much as possible.
Go For Fresh Produce
With clean eating, produce is going to be a big part of your diet. You can also have some carbohydrates and plenty of protein, but fruits and veggies are a good portion of your meals, particularly with lunch and dinner. You want to have fresh produce as much as possible.
This means even trying to reduce how often you turn to frozen veggies, and get them in the produce section and slice them up yourself. To save money and have a larger selection, try finding local farmer’s markets.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods is a major no-no on the clean eating diet. You want to use as many natural and fresh ingredients as you can. If it comes in a package, consider whether there is a more natural version of that ingredient. Shredded cheese comes in a block of cheese you grate yourself, for example. Plus, you should only have dairy when it is from a grass-fed cow. Chopped onions come in full onions you can buy and chop yourself. These are good examples to start with.
Start Cooking More
As you can see, cooking is a major component to eating clean. It would be very difficult to do if you were not cooking on a regular basis. You don’t need to be a natural chef, but you should be able to follow a simple recipe.
If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook, invest in some appliances that help the process go faster, such as a food processor for chopping, and a slow cooker to cook your meals during the day while you are at work or school.
Tips for Transitioning to a Clean Eating Diet
If you are brand new to the clean eating diet, the following tips will help. They help you properly plan for a clean eating lifestyle and figure out how to properly transition into the lifestyle full time.
Track Your Current Diet
Before you begin to transition to a clean eating diet, it can be really helpful to take stock of what you currently eat. This helps because you know what foods you currently eat that are allowed on the clean eating diet, but also in what areas you struggle with the most. If you find that eating cheese is in about every meal, that should be the last to go.
You might be better off with a more gradual transition, switching just one meal or snack a day at a time until eventually you eat all meals cleanly and reduce your cheese unless it comes from grass-fed cows. If you already eat a good amount of foods allows in the clean eating lifestyle, you can probably transition to it a bit faster.
Begin Gathering Recipes
Once you know what you can and can’t eat on a clean eating diet, you should start compiling healthy recipes. Check online sites like Pinterest for ideas, buy cookbooks to keep at home, or get digital copies for your tablet and smartphone.
You can also just check recipe sites and pay close attention to their titles and tags, as that will let you know if it is approved by a clean eating diet or not. Another good place for finding clean eating recipes is by checking out blogs specifically dedicated to clean eating. Also keep in mind that while there are some differences, keto and Paleo diets are pretty close, so check out blogs for those diets as well.
Start Replacing White Refined Carbs
This is a good way to begin making the transition to a clean eating lifestyle, since it is only a small change but makes a drastic difference. With clean eating, you can have some complex carbs, but you want to try and reduce your refined carbs as much as possible.
To do this, begin by replacing all white bread, white rice, and white flour with whole wheat versions. For bread, go with a sprouted or whole grain bread, choose brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, and to reduce white flour, choose whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta.