I’m guessing you have heard about clean eating but don’t quite know where to start? Don’t worry, there is more to ‘clean eating’ life than celery sticks and lettuce leaves. When you hear someone talk about clean eating, they are referring to eating natural, wholesome, nutrient-dense foods.
- lean white meats (such as chicken and turkey)
- fish (cod, salmon, tuna etc)
- good fats found in coconut oils, nuts, natural nut butters and avocado
- fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- whole grains (wholegrain rice, quinoa, oats)
- sweet potatoes
If you increase your consumption of ‘clean’ foods, you naturally reduce your consumption of processed foods that are packed full of refined sugar, preservatives and trans-fats. As a bonus, you’ll experience a health boost as well as losing any excess weight. Result!
Top tips for newbies
- Start reducing the amount of processed foods you eat and introduce more homemade meals into your week (particularly meals that are based around lean meats and vegetables). Processed foods are anything that comes pre-packaged that consists of multiple ingredients you can’t pronounce or contain sugar. One rule to follow is ‘if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!”. Prepackaged chopped veg and salads etc are perfectly fine though. Although processed foods are convenient, they are lacking in nutrients and often contain added refined sugars and preservatives in comparison to fresh foods. I understand how important convenience is when we have such busy lifestyles! Supermarkets are now catching on to the health food craze and are making healthy clean alternatives much more convenient now, with the likes of courgetti spagetti, butternut squash chips and sweet potoato wedges or fries.
- Identify what clean eating means to you- some people eat clean 80% of the time, and have a couple of meals a week where they relax their lifestyle a little and may eat processed foods. This is generally the rule I follow when I am looking to maintain or lose weight. However, if you decide to ‘eat clean’ 50% of the time, and thats an improvement on how you eat now, then thats ok too! You will see amazing health benefits and potentially even weight loss just by half cleaning up your diet.
- Make a gradual transition- If completely changing your diet seems scary to you, take it one step at a time instead. You could decide to first cut out bread by swapping your daily sandwich for a nutritious salad, or limit cakes and chocolate to once a week as a treat. You can even start making your own clean versions of cakes and chocolates that you can enjoy guilt free at home (you can find some recipes on my blog, or download my free healthy treat recipe e-book here). Reducing alcohol intake is also a great way to ease yourself into a healthier lifestyle.
- Make your plate colourful! Have you noticed that all carby/ stodgy foods are white?! White rice, white pasta, white potatoes….. How boring! Give me a roasted veg salad over that anyday! Clean things up a bit by adding all sorts of beautiful different coloured fruit and veg to your meals to maximise nutrient potential and make meals look (and taste!) more interesting and attractive.
- Make it family friendly: So the kids may not enjoy courgette spaghetti and hubby looks at you as if you’ve just offered him something from the bin….but that doesn’t mean you have to eat different meals to your family. Don’t let that put you off! You can cook the same main meals (such as a lovely curry or bolognese) and just do a different side for yourself. For example, you could have cauliflower rice with your curry and the family could have rice. Or hubby can have spaghetti and you can have courgetti. It really only takes a couple of minutes to make a different side and thats whilst the other food is cooking anyway, so it does not take up any more of your time.
Hope you have found this blog useful! If you need help with meal planning and recipes the whole family can enjoy, check out my Guilt Free Kitchen Club.
Love Natasha x