Clean eating is the new and popular way of assessing your diet that includes going back to the basics and consuming foods that haven’t been overly processed. Eating this way can help reduce your carbon footprint and better your health. Though the changes may seem daunting at first, here are five simple tips to help you eat clean and improve your health.
1. Eat your carbs: To function correctly, your body needs a balance of three macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbs. However, this isn’t a green light to binge on cakes and cookies. The carbs your body craves are of the unrefined variety. Load up on whole grains, quinoa, legumes, vegetables, and fruits to properly nourish your body and brain.
2. Meatless Mondays: While it doesn’t have to be Monday, going meatless at least one day a week can reduce your consumption of processed foods and increase your intake of essential nutrients. Try an alternative source of protein like beans, lentils, nuts, or quinoa as a base for your meals and try a plant-based diet to help you eat clean and reduce your carbon footprint.
3. Use the six or less rule: When grocery shopping, take the time to read the labels on the food you purchase. An easy and effective trick to help you avoid overly processed foods is to pick items with six or less ingredients. Also, try to avoid foods with ingredients that sound like they belong in a lab, as they are often the artificial sweeteners, food colorings, and preservatives that are best left out when trying to eat clean.
4. Eat your greens: While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating between 9 and 13 servings of greens a day, it may seem unattainable for those just starting out on their clean eating journey. Make sure to include some greens at least once a day, whether it’s in a smoothie or salad, as their natural vitamins and minerals can help fight and prevent disease.
5. Drink more water: The benefits of drinking water are well-documented and include a boost in energy, better skin, and weight loss. Swapping out processed juices and sodas for water is an easy way to eat clean. If you’re having difficulty with the switch, try adding sliced fruits or a sprig of herbs to your water for a subtle, natural flavor. Some great choices are mint, basil, strawberries, blackberries, lemon, and cucumber.
Eating clean is a great way to help you get in shape and better your health. While this dietary option may require some significant lifestyle changes in order for you to see the benefits, simple tips like reading and understanding food labels, eating more greens, going meatless once a week, eating your carbs, and drinking more water are a good start on the road to better eating and wellness.
Related: Healthy eating improves brain function