Ready to embark on your journey to clean eating? Worried about cravings and diet slip-ups? Calm down and arm yourself with patience. Learning to eat clean won’t happen overnight. After all, it’s a lifestyle change, not a crash diet that you can start anytime. It can take weeks or months to clean up your diet and train your body to crave healthy foods.
Like it or not, diet slip-ups happen. They’re a normal part of the process. However, one bad meal won’t cause any harm. Balance is the key. Once you learn to eat clean, you’ll naturally choose foods that support health and well-being.
Start by taking a good, long look at that slice of pizza. Every ingredient on it, from the dough to the sausages and cheese, was heavily processed and created in a lab. It’s loaded with artificial flavors, additives, and dyes that enhance its appeal. Do you really want that stuff in your body? Probably not.
Now that you’ve decided to make a change, follow these steps to clean eating:
Begin with a Single Meal
Changing your diet overnight will lead to frustration and stress. You may end up craving sugar or wake up in the middle of the night to grab a snack. To prevent these issues, commit yourself to eating one healthy meal each day. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner – the choice is up to you. A week later, cook two healthy meals a day. As time goes by, continue to make changes to your daily menu until your whole diet is cleaner.
Most people check food labels for fat, sugar, and calories. However, this isn’t enough for eating clean. A snack or meal can be low in calories but contain a ton of chemicals. For instance, flavored yogurt has less than 170 calories per serving. Yet, it’s loaded with additives and sugars, such as pineapple juice concentrate, evaporated cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and synthetic colors.
Food additives alone are unlikely to make you fat. However, this doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Researchers have linked these chemicals to hormonal disorders, ADHD, cancer, sleep apnea, heart disease, and mental illnesses.
To stay safe, choose foods with no more than three ingredients. Fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, extra dark chocolate, cocoa, and whole grains typically fall under this category. Remember that clean eating isn’t all about calories.
Clean Out Your Pantry
Check your pantry and fridge for processed foods, such as chips, cookies, white flour, and jelly. As much as it hurts to throw away those goodies, it’s for your own good. Otherwise, they’ll end up in your belly sooner or later. Replace them with whole, natural foods and make your own snacks. Swap potato chips for baked kale chips, pasta for zoodles, and soda for smoothies or homemade iced-tea.
Plan Your Meals
Meal prep can go a long way in making healthy food choices. By planning your meals ahead of time, you’ll save time and reduce waste food. On top of that, you’ll always have tasty, nutritious snacks at hand. Choose a day of the week to buy and prep your favorite foods. For instance, you can go shopping for groceries on Friday evening and cook on Saturday. Once you get the ball rolling, meal prep will become second nature.
As you see, clean eating isn’t that hard. The sooner you start, the better. It’s never too late to tweak your diet and develop healthy eating habits. Commit to eating one clean meal each day this week and see how you feel. I’ll bet you will be looking forward to adding in more clean meals to your weekly menu!