What is Clean Eating and How do I do it?
Moderation is the Key
Clean eating is making sure that your diet contains mostly healthy foods. My personal recommendation for sticking with it is moderation. Out of the 21-28 meals you eat in a week, give yourself up to 3 to be more lenient in your choices and have a small portion of what you may be craving. Up to 3 meals in a week is still around an 85% rate of clean eating, and as long as you don't go overboard with your "cheat meals" you will definitely feel an improvement in your body.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is a journey of moderation, so even as you "eat clean" you can still stray occasionally if you feel the need, just make sure you plan ahead and account for it during the rest of your intake for the day.
Here's a collection of some of the things that I have on my personal grocery list if you need help getting in the right direction.
- Ground Turkey
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potato
- Sliced Turkey Breast (Make sure to check Sodium)
- Frozen Fruit (Pineapples, Strawberries, Mango, Acai)
- Fresh Fruit (Bananas, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries)
- Almond or Cashew Milk
- Frozen Vegetables (Take your pick)
- Granola Bars (For those times when I need a snack in-between meals)
Since I generally buy so few items, I make sure to buy them in bulk, to be as cost-efficient as I can be. Warehouse type stores such as Costco provide the perfect environment for stocking up, as long as you can avoid the temptation of all the unhealthy options.
Drink MORE Water
One of the most important things to be sure of while attempting to create a healthy lifestyle is making sure you get enough daily intake of water.
A basic calculation of what you should aim for is between .5-1oz of water for every lb you weigh. For example, if you weigh 180lbs you should strive to drink between 90 and 180oz of water a day. At first it may seem like a lot, but if you break it up with a 20oz bottle you really only need to drink 5 bottles a day. One in the morning before work, two during your work day, one after work, with the 5th bottle to be sipped on whenever you feel thirsty, or during exercise.
If you are not sure how often or how much to drink at a time, it is also safe to judge your intake based on the color of your urine. Generally, a hydrated body produces nearly clear urine, and if you find your urine is a stronger shade of yellow, like it usually is first thing in the morning, then it is safe to say you should drink at least a glass of water within the next 20 minutes.
So many of you might hear the term "eating clean" get thrown around in the world of fitness, but you might not necessarily know what that really means. You may think, oh, does that mean I have to eat foods like salad all day everyday? The answer is no. Sure salad can be good for you, but it's really just the concentration of all those veggies, and the fact that lettuce, and other leafy greens take up more space so you can get full off less calories. Yet that is only really true if you watch what dressing you use, a lot of dressings out there, and especially the salads served at fast food restaurants, can actually have a higher caloric count than some of the more "unhealthy" options.
Make sure you check the labels of what you are eating. Things you want to check for, are:
Out of everything listed on a nutrition facts label, these are really the most important.
A lot of companies out there try to trick you on serving sizes, they'll say things about how low calorie it is, or some other invented term just to make you purchase their product, but when you look at the label, it will be like 1 serving = 6 chips, or 1 serving = 1/4 cup something ridiculous like that.
So a quick tip to take into consideration, is to make sure that you actually READ the nutrition facts on the products you are planning on buying.
Moderation Moderation Moderation
The journey of a healthy lifestyle begins with small steps in the right direction. I am here to help provide you with the information needed to get you started.
Moderation, making small adjustments over time will generally provide better results than all-of-a-sudden going "cold-turkey" on your current habits.
Though going "cold-turkey" may work for some, for others it can create a sense of resentment, despair, and demotivation. A suggestion I like to make to people is to give yourself 3 meals a week to be more lenient on your eating decisions. That doesn't mean go out and have 2000+ calorie "cheat" meals every other day, as that is completely counter productive. But if you have a favorite food that may not be the healthiest option, allow yourself a small portion of it when you feel the urge.