Many people are searching for a new diet or the latest fad to lose weight, feel healthier and increase energy. Eighty percent of how your body looks is based on nutrition. You can work out all you want but until you change your eating habits you will not see optimal results. Clean eating is a healthy approach to nutrition and food. It can improve your energy levels, weight, and overall health. You can actually eat more than you did before by choosing better food options.
There are six principles of clean eating.
- Choosing whole, natural foods
- Eliminating processed foods
- Choosing unrefined over refined foods
- Including protein, carbohydrates and fat in each meal
- Watching out for fat, salt, and sugar intake
- Eating 5‐6 small meals throughout the day
Clean Foods vs Processed Foods
The idea of clean eating involves eating whole foods that are rich in nutrients. You’ll want to stay away from processed foods as they contain high levels of salt, sugar, and fat. All of these components essentially increase your risk of health problems. Refined foods have been processed or altered so they are no longer in their natural state. This results in a loss of beneficial nutrients and fibers. Refined foods are easy to indulge in and can leave you feeling unsatisfied. They may consist of white flour, white rice, pastries, sodas, sweets and breakfast cereals with added sugars.
Why should you eat several small meals in a day?
Eating several small meals a day sufficient in protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains helps to speed up your metabolism and helps your body by burning fat. Eating like this can strengthen cells, organs, and systems in our body. They help our bodies function properly and aid our immune system in fighting off illness, disease and age-related changes. When we skip meals or eat unhealthy foods, we deprive our bodies of nutrients that requires us to function and fight off health issues. Snacking throughout the day on healthy foods helps curb our appetite. It also helps to avoid overeating. Eating small meals increases our metabolism and keeps our energy at high levels all day long. It can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Cravings stop because you are constantly fueling your body. Undereating and skipping meals puts your body into starvation mode and you are more likely to eat unhealthy foods or overeat when you feel deprived and hungry. Your five to six meals a day should contain complex carbs and lean proteins. These macronutrients when eaten together give you a sense of fullness and satisfaction. This will help your body feel full longer.
Here are a few examples of how to eliminate all processed foods from our diet and begin a healthier lifestyle:
1. Eliminate sweets – even healthy snacks can contain high amounts of sugar. Be sure to read the nutrition label.
2. Smart snack options – reach for snacks like: unsalted nuts, popcorn, fruits, veggies, hummus, string cheese, etc.
3. Choose brown instead of white – by choosing brown rice, pasta, and bread you will absorb more vitamins, fiber, and iron which are considered disease-fighting nutrients.
Foods eaten in their complex state with fiber and nutrients gives the body healthy benefits. Some of the health benefits include a healthier heart, brain, immune system, weight loss, healthier teeth and gums as well as healthier skin. Clean eating is not considered a diet but a lifestyle change. It takes about twenty‐one days to develop a long‐lasting habit. Make this change the best habit you have made for yourself and your future. Your body will thank you for it!