Thinking about trying this whole Eating Clean thing, but not entirely ready to jump in with both feet? Maybe you’ve realized that making a change from your current eating habits might not be a bad idea, but where do you start?! Recognizing that what you’re doing now isn’t working is a great first step! The good news is eating clean isn’t a “diet.” It’s a lifestyle and a new way of eating, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Follow these “Baby Steps to Eating Clean,” and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you in no time!
1. Drink More Water: Drinking water is a vital part of eating clean, but start small if you’re not normally a water only type of person. If you tend to drink coffee or soda, start by replacing just one of those a day with water. If you just can’t take the water only, try thesehomemade vitamin water recipes or dress up your water by clicking here.
2. Get Rid Of Fake Foods Gradually: Don’t try to clean out your entire pantry all at once. Start by getting rid of just a few items at a time, and replacing them with healthier alternatives, such as replacing refined breads and pastas made from white flour with ones made from whole grains.
3. Trick Your Tastebuds: If you’ve been eating foods with lots of salt, sugar, and other additives for years, it can be hard to adjust to the more subtle flavors of whole foods. I found that mixing some of the old with the new worked for me in some cases. For example, to get used to eating brown rice instead of white I started by mixing the two together. I gradually decreased the amount of white rice until eventually I adapted to eating just the brown rice.
4. Eat More Fruits & Veggies: If you know you don’t eat enough fruits & vegetables, start adding them in gradually to your daily diet. Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast and lunch, and add a portion of vegetables to your dinner or sneak them into your smoothies.
5. Focus On A Few Favorite Foods: If you love your meat and protein, start simple by purchasing meat that comes from grass-fed cattle or eggs from pasture-raised chickens. If you’re a produce lover, start buying organic fruits & veggies.
6. Shop The Perimeter: Most whole, natural foods are found on the outside aisles of the grocery store. Try to avoid buying too many items from the center of the store. That’s where you’ll encounter more processed and packaged foods. Better yet, shop your local farmer’s market for more natural, whole food choices!
7. Read Labels: This is a simple way to determine how “clean” a food truly is. A natural food (such as an apple) has no label, while a bag of chips has a label with a ton of ingredients that you probably can’t pronounce. If you’re not ready to completely give up processed foods, start by studying the labels and choosing foods that contain the fewest and simplest ingredients. Try to avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, high amounts of fat or sodium, and added sugar. Read: 10 Alarming Ingredients to Avoid!
8. Cook At Home: This is an easy way to start eating more whole foods and save money in the process. Restaurants and fast food places rely on highly processed foods to create their meals. When you cook your own food, you have control over the ingredients going in your dish. People who cook tend to eat more healthfully and weigh less than those who don’t. This doesn’t mean you have to become a master chef overnight. Start by learning a few meals with simple ingredients. Get started by looking around Skinny Mom’s Recipe Index.