Clean eating helps you feel more energized, boost overall health, and be more environmentally cautious. It is good for people, and it is good for the planet. There are no disadvantages to making nutrition cleaner, even to some degree. Here are the tips on how to do that easily.
What Does Clean Eating Mean?
The main idea is to focus on minimally processed foods close to their natural state. Such a nutrition plan incorporates a lot of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats and proteins.
It is not about dieting or starving, although going on a well-balanced ration will promote weight loss. Another important factor is cooking at home more, which also allows for saving money.
That’s why many people are interested in clean eating, from professionals and stay-at-home mums to students. Although a person might lack time to prep home meals and might feel it is easier to get some snacks on the go, this is not very healthy.
For example, students are very prone to eating highly-processed foods and takeouts. They often need something high in sugar to get a quick boost to deal with all the things they have to do. It means taking a lot of caffeine and sugar to keep up with written assignments and pulling all-nighters to finish an essay while snacking on some chips.
This is bad for their overall health and has long-term consequences. In terms of academic writing, one can always get professional assistance. For instance, platforms like WritePaper offer students paper writing service to help with writing, proofreading, and editing their papers instantly. So if you are struggling with it, you can communicate with experts, get an excellent result, and have a good night of sleep at the same time.
In terms of food, it is better to swap snacks for healthier options like berries, fruits, or nuts. They will truly keep the energy up and promote a better mood.
In clean eating, it is important not to put heavy restrictions, because they never work. Take one step at a time and remember that even the smallest changes count. Here are some steps to take in this regard.
Add Vegetables and Fruit to Your Nutrition
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 76% of American citizens do not eat enough fruit daily. And even more people – 87% – do not consume enough vegetables.
So the chances are, you also do not have enough of them in your ration. But they are rich in nutrients and vitamins. They also are full of fiber that is necessary for the digestive system. They help reduce inflammation and are linked to a lower chance of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
As for clean eating, vegetables and fruit can be consumed almost without any processing, so it is perfect. How to enrich your diet with them:
- Add salads to your meals or at least some greenery;
- Add fruit to salads as well, make salads colorful – there should be at least three different vegetables;
- Add fruit and/or berries to oatmeal or yogurt;
- Put spinach or kale in soups or stews.
Make them easily accessible at home. For example, buy frozen vegetables as they are affordable and easy to cook fast.
Be Careful With Refined Carbs
Refined carbs lack vitamins and minerals. They do not have enough fiber, fat, or protein that the human body needs. That’s why nutritionists and educators recommend keeping them in check. These are such products as bread and pasta.
Instead, opt for meals with oats, brown/wild rice, whole-grain pasta, or whole-grain bread. Barley, quinoa, and farro are also good variants.
Reduce Processed Meals
Highly-processed foods are full of calories but low on nutrients. They might sound good for a movie party, but they are usually staffed with added sugar, artificial colors, and preservatives.
Try to reduce the intake of such meals as much as possible. These are packaged cookies, chips, and fast food.
Opt for clean processed foods, which are:
- Plain yogurt (Greek one, without added sugar);
- Whole-wheat pasta;
- Packaged spinach;
And always read the labels and the ingredient lists.
Limit Added Sugar
We all are eating too much sugar, whether you live a student life or work at the office. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended amount of sugar daily is no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men.
To cut down on added sugars, you can:
- Limit sweet beverages;
- Reduce candy and baked sweets;
- Opt for oatmeal instead of cereal;
- Choose foods with little to no added sugar (watch out for sweetened yogurts or tomato sauces).
Change to the healthier options, like Greek yogurt with berries or fruit. And preferably, do not buy any packaged snacks; they usually do not have much good in them.
Be Aware of Sodium Intake
Sodium usually comes from salt, and it is important to keep a reasonable balance here. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming about 1 teaspoon of salt a day and no more.
High sodium intake may lead to blood pressure issues, kidney diseases, or diabetes.
Choose to cook at home as it is a sure way to know what goes into your bowl. Use spices, herbs, and vinegar to flavor your foods instead of too much salt. Or you can buy sea salt or kosher salt instead as it has less sodium in it.
Be Reasonable with Beverages
People do not often consider beverages as a part of their food intake. However, they might hold lots of sugars, calories, and less than ideal ingredients.
To eat cleaner, you can reduce your alcohol intake, eliminate sugary drinks, and opt for unsweetened tea or coffee. Choose water as your primer beverage.
Coffee and tea are healthy as long as you do not add sugar or whipped cream to them.
No “Diet” Foods
These are diet sodas, weight-loss drinks, and various bars to replace meals. They are packed with artificial ingredients, sugars, and preservatives. You might think that it is a “healthy” option, but usually, it is not. For instance, “low-fat” yogurt can contain up to 6 teaspoons of sugar.
It is cleaner to choose full-fat yogurt or natural peanut butter because they do not have added sugar.
Another great tip is to buy organic food from local producers like farmers. It helps to support the city’s economy, and it means that you know what goes into making this food. This way, you can also enjoy fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit.
Local producers often use fewer chemicals in their food production. They do not contribute to environmental pollution related to long-distance transportation. It is an overall better choice in all regards.
Clean nutrition is a good way to stay healthier and make better choices. It is not about harsh restrictions but rather about taking care of what goes into your body. Incorporate whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and healthy protein into your daily meals.
Be reasonable about highly-processed foods and added sugars. Try new recipes and switch the pre-packaged snacks to better options, like berries, apples, or raw nuts. Instead of calories, focus on the nutritional value of products.