Nutrition

What exactly is clean eating?

November 12, 2015
clean eating tips

A brief introduction to “clean eating”…

The beginner’s guide to resetting their food approach, a healthier lifestyle, and quite possibly a smaller waist.

What is clean eating?

It is eating food in the form of food. So in other words, food in its most natural state or food with as little processing as possible with an emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins.

All it takes is a much needed break up with refined grains, added sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.

Pretty simple. No calorie counting. No, low-fat, low-sugar, etc. etc. Blah, blah.. So on and so on.

Why?

Because when you are eating real food, the kind grown from Mother Nature herself, you don’t have to worry.

It is essentially the culmination of nutrition science and common sense, i.e. what we all know we should be doing but struggle with every once in a while. Not because we don’t try but because it can be overwhelming, perceived as a detriment to our pockets or our time.

Now, let’s be real, I don’t mean you are forced to graze on the fields of your nearest pastures (which for some of us city dwellers wouldn’t be feasible in the first place) BUT livening up your plate with some of nature’s great wonders is a lot easier than you think.

First, let’s tackle this phenomena we know as “processing”. Oh, the woes of processing. In the simplest form, it can be considered food altered outside of its normal state of being. Often, processed foods are coated with an overabundance of sugar, fat and salt.

For the sake of your sanity, remember processed foods are often anything packaged or better yet NOT fresh. So skip the canned veggies if you can grab frozen or bagged instead… canned veggies are usually preserved with additives from who knows where while frozen are usually picked, frozen, and packaged at their peak, same with those that have been bagged.

However, not all processes are created equal, so though identifying box, bag or canned food as a parameter for determining cleanliness, it is not the end all be all. Thus, another great way to clean up your plate is by reading the ingredient list on packaged items. If you don’t know what an ingredient is you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

EAT MORE VEGGIES

The elimination of processed foods doesn’t have to be scary. You can still eat your heart out and what better way to do that than by finally adding those extra greens you have been dying to add to your culinary repertoire? Vegetables are great because they are nutritious and low in calories.

eat more veggies

EAT MORE WHOLE GRAINS

whole grainsWhen looking to replace your breads, pastas, and other foods of the sort look to whole grains. They are your friends, they include the germ and bran that is often removed during the processing/refining of grains.  For wheat, this means “whole” wheat not “refined” or “bleached” wheat often used in processed foods. For grains other than wheat look towards amaranth, quinoa, barley, and brown rice. Also, don’t forget your beans and legumes as well.

Furthermore, be aware of sugar. Granted, once processed foods have been eliminated this should be relatively easy, as most of your excess comes from processed foods looking to add more flavor. However, if you are going to purchase a sweetener go for maple syrup, or honey; unrefined sugars.

So what about fats? What do you do? Swap them out. Remember fats are not evil, bad fats are. So lower your bad fat intake i.e. margarine, cheese, and meats and up your healthy fats, that you find in nuts, olive oil, and fish. The best way to tell what is considered a bad fat is the room temperature test. If it’s solid at room temperature leave it out!

Like to learn more on this subject? Click here to sign-up for the MECkids monthly newsletter and receive free resources and tips to keep you and your kids fit, healthy and eating right!

This is a guest post by Nicolette Graves who is a Nutrition Consultant and Health Education Specialist. Connect with Nicolette on Twitter and Instagram (@niktrition). 

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3 Comments

  • Reply tucker November 25, 2015 at 3:31 am

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