1) Eat Real Food
The number one principle of clean eating is simply to eat “real” food. What does this mean? It means foods that have been made from whole ingredients that can be found in nature. If you want to take it a step further, then you might also want to try including some organic foods, and choosing seasonal and local produce.
2) Avoid Processed Foods
Following on from rule number 1, try to avoid any processed foods. This doesn’t just mean microwave meals. It can also include foods that you probably thought were “healthy”. It means food that has been altered from its natural state, including pastries, cereals, bread and more.
However, remember that not all processed foods are bad for you! Tinned tomatoes and beans etc. are fine as long as they don’t have added ingredients. The key thing to do is look at ingredient labels and avoid foods with added sugar, salt, fats, and chemical sounding ingredients that you can’t pronounce. It’s also a good idea to try and avoid processed meats.
3) Cook from Scratch
Cooking your own meals is the best way to ensure that you eat real, unprocessed foods. It might sound daunting having to cook everything from scratch, but if you plan, cook in bulk and freeze meals in portion sizes then it isn’t too hard at all! Want some quick cooking ideas? Follow my wife, Carrie, on Instagram.
4) Watch Your Salt, Sugar and Fat Intake
When it comes to processed foods, salt, sugar and unhealthy fats are often the main issues. We don’t often realize just how many of these unhealthy ingredients we consume. Sugar is a huge problem in our modern diets, and many of us are addicted without even knowing it. The problem is that it’s often added to foods that we wouldn’t expect to contain it, so we don’t notice. As long as you eat real, home-cooked food then you’ll be able to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
5) Limit Caffeine, Alcohol and Sugary Drinks
Small amounts of caffeine can be beneficial, however there are negative side effects when you drink too much, not to mention the fact that most people consume caffeine with sugar! The same goes for alcohol – which also has the added drawback of making you more likely to binge on unhealthy foods!
In fact, be careful about anything you drink. Drinks often give us “empty calories”, due to the fact that they contain sugar but no nutrition or fiber to fill us up.
6) Drink Plenty of Water
Following on from the point above, try to drink more water. Most of us don’t drink enough, even though we do get some of our water from the fruits and vegetables we eat. You should aim to be drinking 8 glasses of water a day. If you don’t like it on its own, try infusing it with fruits or mint.
7) Forget Perfection – Focus on Progress!
Remember that these clean eating rules do not need to be followed at all times! Clean eating is a lifestyle, and it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself and break the rules every once in a while!