Is better nutrition on your list of New Year’s resolutions? You can achieve a lifetime of healthy eating habits by introducing some simple clean eating solutions. Forget willpower, calorie counting, or denying yourself of your favourite foods. Rather than depriving yourself of foods you love, try clean eating solutions that will set you up for a lifetime of success.
Follow our simple guidelines and food choices listed below that are tasty and pleasing. Our advice is to start small and set realistic and attainable goals. Try some of our strategies and you will feel better about what you put into your body.
Choose Whole Foods
Clean eating means choosing foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Fresh, whole foods are better than those that are packaged, boxed, or bagged. Try raw grapes instead of gummy snacks made with fruit juice, or whole turkey instead of frozen turkey meatballs.
When you avoid highly processed foods, like chips, cookies, and snacks, you skip loads of calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fats. Clean calories are the goal, and they are abundant in all raw foods.
Eat Whole Grains
White bread, pasta, and rice are refined carbs that lose nutrients during food processing. Replace them with whole wheat bread, pasta, and brown or wild rice. Or, opt for other whole grains such as oatmeal, popcorn, barley, or bulgur. Eating more whole grains can lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.
Load Up on Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are two of the main staples of clean eating. Many clean eaters say that all of your produce should be fresh, but others say that frozen and canned options are equally nutritious. To ensure your fresh or frozen food choices are healthy, we recommend you read the label and check the amounts of salt and sugar.
You should also choose whole fruits over juices, which contain less fibre and more sugar. Depending on the calories you need and your level of physical activity, aim for at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Try Prepared Fresh Meals
Beyond just convenience, meal prep delivery services offer additional benefits for anyone looking to get a firmer handle on their diet. Citizens Table, for example, focuses on healthier and less fatty foods, which make it easier to control your weight.
If you use a quality meal prep service, your food will be well-balanced. Every meal will include a good serving of vegetables or salad to help you fill up all the nutrients your body needs. Using a meal delivery service has many advantages, including kickstarting new meal ideas and limiting the risk of impulse buying. For meal prep in Vancouver, look no further than the menu and plans at Citizens Table.
Decide on Organics
Some people believe that organic produce is the best way to eat clean because organic farmers use natural pesticides instead of man-made ones. It is up to you to decide how important it is to your diet. Foods with synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and trace amounts of hormones and antibiotics may have adverse health effects, even though this has not yet been proven. Also, some people choose organic foods, not for health reasons, but because they just taste better to them.
If you shop at your local farmers market, you can learn about the kinds of pesticides the vendors use. Pesticide residues usually appear on the outside of fruits and vegetables, so you can instead choose non-organic foods with skins you don’t eat, such as avocados, onions, bananas, etc.
Watch Out for Added Salt and Sugars
Processed sugar and salt are not only one of the leading causes of diet-related illnesses, but they are also counterproductive to calorie-wise eating. Clean eating with naturally sweetened or savoury food choices is often tastier and is certainly healthier.
The as-natural-as-possible approach to eating can be gratifying and nourishing just by including a few raw or fresh choices. For example, think sushi instead of fish fingers, replace your fries with a salad or vegetables, or consider a lettuce wrap with your favourite filling.
The goal is to avoid the tempting processed foods, which are a major source of added sugar and salt. By eliminating canned, boxed, or frozen foods, you can slash your processed sugar and salt intake significantly. Before you place any items in your shopping cart, though, read the label.
Even healthier food choices like yogurt or tomato sauce have hidden sugars and salts. In fact, most condiments or sauces, although tasty, are loaded with preservatives. Try flavouring your food with spices and herbs instead of using a processed option. Or, replace your ketchup or mayonnaise with fresh, creamy avocado.
Be Smart About Meat and Dairy
Some of the meats, seafood, and dairy at your grocery store contain growth hormones and antibiotics. If you like to shop and cook, becoming a clean eater is easier than you think. Simply choose foods that are produced locally and organically.
In addition to making your diet healthier, the experience of shopping at a farmers market can become a fun family affair. Explore the origins and sustainability of your food with the kids in tow for an invaluable learning experience. Create a lifetime of healthy eating while enjoying your time together.
Rethink Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
For coffee lovers, alcohol, and caffeinated soft drinkers, this recommendation is not as easy as changing where you shop. Our advice is not to completely eliminate these drinks from your diet but to rethink how much and when you consume them.
Many clean eaters have cut out alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks entirely in favour of drinking plenty of water. This is not a realistic goal for most, but we recommend consuming these drinks in moderation.
Experts recommend less than three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day and, if possible, skip the added sugar or cream. For alcohol intake, the recommendation is two servings per day for men and one serving for women. Ideally, skip the drink chaser and have your spirits without the sugary mixer.
When it comes to soft drinks, find another beverage that can satisfy your taste buds. For instance, think smoothie or fruit-infused sparkling water with a sprig of mint or a slice of citrus.
It’s Not Just Willpower
Willpower isn’t just the issue. Be a smart consumer by looking up the nutrition facts of your frequent “go-to” foods and get some basic food education to have a better idea of what you are eating.
Focus on the positives of clean eating and you will feel better with more energy. Don’t forget, it is important to start small when making dietary changes. Eliminating entire food groups (dairy, grains, fruit, etc.) can result in nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy food perspectives.
Remember that a meal prep delivery service such as Citizens Table has many advantages, including having well-balanced meals delivered to your door, which limits the risk of impulse buying.
A New Year’s resolution that is sustainable will set you up for a lifetime of success. Consult your doctor or a registered dietician for some additional tips on making healthier food choices.