How To Eat Clean For Beginners

How To Eat Clean For Beginners

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Do you want to stop “dieting” and finally reach your health goals permanently?  Learn how to improve your nutrition and how to eat clean for beginners. Start practicing the clean eating diet for a life of healthy nutrition and to start feeling your best!

What is Clean Eating Diet?

Clean eating is a philosophy of eating that focuses on reducing the consumption of processed foods and empty calories.  Instead, the clean eating diet focuses on increasing your intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and “real” foods. 

Why Eat Clean?

Studies have found that people who follow the clean eating lifestyle successfully lose weight and maintain weight loss long term.

Why do traditional diets usually fail?

The reason diets tend to fail is that they are usually very restrictive in regards to what you can and cannot consume.  Diets frequently require you to limit foods that you typically enjoy and often leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.  

Why Diets Don’t Work

If you look at any tabloid, newspaper, or Internet ad, you’ll likely find a post on the latest diet.  You will find articles on how to lose weight quickly and how to get your best body ever!  

These articles are usually full of quick fixes and calorie-restricting diets to help you drop weight quickly.  

Although these may work short-term, diets are not a permanent solution.

Studies have found that people who lose weight through dieting and quick fixes tend to gain it back and then some within 6 months of stopping.  

People who fall into this rut over and over again may end up weighing even more than they would have if they had never attempted to diet.

The reason diets tend to fail is that they are usually very restrictive in regards to what you can and cannot consume.  Diets frequently require you to limit foods that you typically enjoy and often leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied (FamilyDoctor.org).  

The alternative to this cycle of dieting and the recurrent feeling of failure is to learn to practice the clean eating lifestyle.  Modify what you eat without depriving yourself.

What is a Clean Eating Diet?

How To Eat Clean for Beginners

Clean eating is a philosophy of eating that focuses on reducing the consumption of processed foods and empty calories.  The clean eating diet focuses on increasing your intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and “real” foods. 

Clean eating does not require you to be vegan or vegetarian.  However, you do need to be more aware of where your food comes from and what it is made of.

The whole philosophy behind the clean eating diet is to become more mindful of the food you are putting into your body.  Foods are meant to fuel our body, provide nutrients for energy, focus, and cell repair. 

Plus, food should satisfy our taste buds.  

This is not a diet or a quick fix, but instead a lifestyle change. When you eat clean, you become mindful of what you are fueling your body with.

Why Eat Clean?

Nutritionists and scientists are constantly researching and comparing various diets and food trends.  Studies have found that people who follow the clean eating lifestyle successfully lose weight and maintain weight loss long term.

Additionally, the clean eating diet helps reduce blood sugar, improve diabetes, and reduce risks of heart disease and cancers (WebMD).

Lastly, eating clean allows you to eat carbohydrates, fats, and proteins without restricting certain food groups or counting calories! This makes it easy to begin and follow for life!

How to Eat Clean for Beginners

Learn how to eat clean for beginners with these 7 simple steps!

  1. Add More Nutrients To Your Diet
  2. Read Labels
  3. Eat Mindfully
  4. Eat Well-Balanced Meals
  5. Cook More at Home
  6. Drink More Water

Add More Nutrients To Your Diet

Eat more nutrients for clean eating diet

Clean eating concentrates on eating nutrient-dense foods that are less processed and full of real ingredients.

What this basically means is that the foods you eat should come from real foods found in nature.

The easiest way to make sure your foods contain nutrients is to eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are unprocessed and are loaded with vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

One easy way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to add them to everything you eat.  Put a handful of spinach in your smoothies, add broccoli to your pasta, have vegetables and salsa as a snack.

We always keep a bag of frozen vegetables on hand so we can add it to a stir-fry, pasta, or any meal.

Small changes like this add up to a higher nutrient intake in general.

Also, try to increase your consumption of legumes, seeds, beans, and grains.  All of these contain vital nutrients and are part of a well-balanced meal.  

Learn my favorite tips to eat more vegetables in your diet.

Read Labels

The next time you are at the grocery store, pick up a bag of chips or crackers that you usually eat.  Turn it over and look at the label.  Do you recognize all of the ingredients?  

You may be surprised to see loads of ingredients including artificial flavoring, chemicals, and food dyes. Also, you will probably find that there are many ingredients you have never even heard of.

These ultra-processed snack foods usually contain high fructose corn syrup, a large amount of sodium, and a small amount of fiber.  When you consume a bag of cheese doodles, for example, your body is not consuming any essential vitamins, protein, or healthy fats.  

Instead, this processed food is providing calories and simple carbohydrates that quickly turn into sugar.  This causes you to feel tired and hungry soon after.  

Alternatively, if you read labels and find foods that are made from real ingredients, your body will obtain nutrients and vitamins that will keep you full and satisfied longer.   

Real ingredients include fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, meats, oils, and unrefined grains such as oats, quinoa, and lentils.

When you follow a clean eating lifestyle, it does not mean that you can never eat chips or cookies again.  Instead, learn to make healthy swaps for foods that are made from real ingredients.

Eat Mindfully

The clean eating lifestyle does not involve restricting or avoiding a certain type of food, but rather focuses on eating mindfully.

If you have a sweet tooth, it is ok to have dessert sometimes. However, when you do have dessert, eat mindfully. Eating mindfully is the practice of paying attention to what you eat and enjoying the process.  

Studies have found that people who eat mindfully tend to eat smaller portions and fewer calories.  You are more satisfied after a smaller amount and can truly say that you enjoyed each bite.

Think back to the last time you went to see a movie. Did you purchase a bag of popcorn or candy? Did you reach for another bite and surprisingly find that it was empty already?

When you eat while distracted, your brain does not process the food you have eaten and you often consume more calories than you would otherwise.

The next time you make a meal, put your phone down, turn off the TV, and enjoy every bite. Pay attention to the scent of your food. Try to savor every flavor in each bite.

Notice how your food looks and pick out all of the colors on your plate. Notice how it feels when you swallow and as it enters your stomach.

This example is to the extreme, but try to reduce distractions and appreciate the food you are eating. You may find more satisfaction from your meals and you will likely eat smaller portions.

Eat Well-Balanced Meals

Every meal and snack throughout the day should be well-balanced.  Aim to include a source of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.  These macronutrients are the essential building blocks of our bodies and should be consumed at every meal.

A helpful resource for eating guidelines and portion sizes is choosemyplate.gov. This site is run by the USDA and contains recommendations for serving sizes and explains examples of the various food groups.

An example of a well-balanced meal is oatmeal with walnuts and apple slices or a salad with avocado and chickpeas.  

Both of these contain protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates. This combination keeps you feeling full longer and meets your body’s nutrient needs.

Also, be sure to eat in moderation.  Although clean eating does not restrict any particular food group, it is important to practice portion control.  

Cook More at Home

How to start eating clean: cook more

Simply cooking more of your own meals is an easy change to ensure that what your eating is made from real ingredients.  Even if you are purchasing healthier options such as salads, foods made in bulk almost always contain more salt and preservatives than fresh homemade meals.

When you cook at home, try to use less processed additives such as vegetable oil and refined sugar.  Try to use more natural ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, and honey.

Also, for vegetables, raw is best. If you prefer cooked vegetables, steaming is a close second.  Avoid high-fat cooking processes such as frying or cooking in butter.

If you are just getting started cooking at home, learn more about meal planning.

Drink More Water

how to start eating clean: drink water

Aim to drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day or approximately 64 ounces of water.  Also, cut back and avoid sugar-laden drinks including soda, juice, and caffeinated drinks.  

Water is essential for your body to function properly. Your body is 60% water and requires water for multiple processes including kidney function, saliva production, oxygen transport, and digestion.

Also, when you drink more water, your skin shines brighter, your workouts will be easier, and you will feel better all day!

Start Eating Clean Today!

Now that you know the basics behind clean eating, it is time to implement these changes today! As with all lifestyle changes, start small and allow yourself set-backs.

Clean eating is a lifestyle and not a quick fix.  You need to allow yourself to still enjoy foods you love, but in a healthier, cleaner way.

If you want to start eating cleaner, but don’t want to spend full price on organic products, check out Thrive Market! They deliver right to your door and provide discounted natural and organic food and household products!

Click on the link for 25% off your first order!

Thrive Market

Eating clean may sound intimidating at first. Take the stress out of meal planning and sign up for Plate Joy. This company offers customizable meal plans to fit your dietary preferences.

If you are looking for clean eating recipes, try this healthy coconut curry or these flourless banana pancakes.

Make sure to sign up for the mailing list to stay up to date on the latest posts and tips for a healthier lifestyle.

Clean Eating Diet
How to Eat Clean for Beginners
How To Eat Clean for Beginners

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This was one of my new year’s resolutions. You’ve given me some great tips to get started. Thanks!

    1. That’s such a great goal for the new year! Clean eating makes such a difference without making you feel deprived or like you’re missing out on any of your favorites. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions along the way!

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