Clean eating is a fairly simply concept. It’s about eating whole foods and avoiding highly-processed foods the majority of the time. It may seem like a daunting task in the beginning, but easy to follow once you get the hang of it. Clean eating is about choosing healthier options. Clean eating is NOT punishing yourself because you had a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger. I like to follow the 80/20 rule; clean eating eighty percent of the time, while splurging (if you want) twenty percent. Obviously, you don’t need to measure these percentages to the tee. Make it one-two treats a week and you’re golden! I don’t like to call it a cheat meal/day anymore. Cheating sounds like it’s a bad thing. Remember, eating is never bad behavior. It’s just a matter of moderation; more healthy meals than treats.
Clean Eating 101
So how do you get started on clean eating? Your goal should be to choose natural foods as much as possible. Clean eating is more of a lifestyle than a diet.
- Cook: Cooking your own food is the best way to confirm what’s actually in it. By cooking your meals, you decide what goes in or not.
- Read: Become familiar with the nutrition labels. These offer great insight as to WHAT/HOW MUCH is in the foods you’re buying.
- Eat Whole Foods: It’s best to choose the food in its original form, whenever possible. Example, choose oranges, over orange juice. Orange juice is not unhealthy, but eating an orange is more beneficial than drinking juice.
- Meal Prep: It’s important to do some form of meal prep. Whether it’s a massive cooking session once a week, or writing down what you will be cooking each day, it’s imperative to plan ahead. By planning ahead, you won’t be forced to eat whatever is first available.
- Be Flexible: Most importantly, be understanding of the fact that there will be times when you can’t eat as clean as you’d like to. And that is OK! As long you’re eating clean the majority of the time, the occasional treat should have an impact on your overall progress.