If your 2020 goal is to start eating healthily, you may come across a range of diets online that offer the promise of better health. Clean eating is one of those health phrases that you are bound to come across,
but how do you separate fad diets and quick fixes that promise you clean eating that could be dangerous to your health? Here is what you need to know when it comes to starting a clean eating meal plan.
What is clean eating?
Clean eating is focused on consuming healthy, unprocessed, and whole foods. It is a diet that values food that will optimise your health and energy levels without having to rely on artificial stimulants, trans fats and added salt to get you there. The benefit of clean eating is that it comes with a flexibility that suits people with various dietary needs. Essentially, it’s keeping your diet as natural as possible.
How to get started?
Starting a clean eating meal plan needs to go hand in hand with exercise, be it 15 – 30 minutes a day with friends, family, or on your own to reap the benefits. Furthermore, your meal plan doesn’t have to be boring as you can prepare it in a range of flavourful ways that leave you full and satisfied. Just remember to keep it natural. Some of the key things that come with starting a clean eating meal plan is:
Cut back on processed foods. If it comes in a box or a can, it means it is processed. There are a few exceptions when it comes to foods that are placed in a bag. However, the rule of thumb is that it needs to be as fresh as possible to land on your plate.
Reduce your sugar and salt intake. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, especially when it comes to sugar and salt. You should be able to get these naturally from the food that you eat. You can add a pinch of salt or sugar in the form of unrefined honey and fruit should you feel that your food tastes bland. However, this should be phased out the more you get used to it.
Stock up on whole grain and proteins. Things like whole grain rice, quinoa, beans, legumes and whole wheat foods do not only add nutritional value to your plate, but it can also give you a variety of texture to add to your meals that help you stay fuller for longer. Spacing your protein heavy meals can also help you avoid becoming hungry during the day, which usually results in us binging on junk food to make up for it.
Keep it green and plant based. Leafy green vegetables or any vegetable for that matter need to take up at least 25-30% of your plate. Try to include these in every meal to maximise your clean eating meal plan.
Gravitate towards white meats. Meat comes with saturated fats that can increase your cholesterol and risk of diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Eating too much red meat is not good for your health as it has a higher rate of saturated fats compared to white meats such as chicken or fish. You can choose to grill or drizzle a dash of olive oil over it for a lightly fried taste.
Clean eating can be a sustainable way to maintain a healthy diet and assist you in either building or losing weight. It doesn’t require a drastic cut back on your meals to the point where you are constantly hungry, but it encourages healthy eating even when you want to snack. However, it is important to always consult with a dietician to see what works for you.