Once a month, we host 5 Day Clean Eating Challenges and I think the question we are asked the most is “What is clean eating?” or “Where do I start?”. It can be confusing at first especially when you make lifestyle changes but once you get the basics in place, it actually is much easier to stay on track. If there were just one tip I would like to pass on, it’s baby steps. Make small lifestyle changes at a time instead of a big drastic change. An example would be to replace one soda a day with water. Or getting up a few minutes earlier to eat breakfast if you don’t eat breakfast now. If you decide you are going to cut meat from your diet and you’ve always been a meat eater, you will find it hard to stay on track.
In addition, if eating clean is something you plan to have the family do with you then slow and steady will definitely be the way to go. If you decide one day to get rid of everything that your family has always eaten for dinner and serve them only veggies, you can bet you will have a mutiny on your hands! Just as baby steps will keep you on track it will also be easier for your family to join the clean eating journey with you.
So let’s start with the basics. Eating clean is eating real food in the correct portions. This means no junk and nothing processed. That’s it. Doesn’t sound too hard does it? Now that you know what it means to eat clean, let’s open up your pantry and see what’s inside. Do you see a lot of “white” as in white sugar, white flour, white potatoes? How about the “C’s” – chips, cookies, candy? The whites and the C’s are not real food – they are all processed in one form or another.
Ready to make some changes? Great but let’s start slowly and build from there:
- Replace your white flour with whole wheat flour and use as you would white flour in breads and anything else that requires flour.
- Replace anything instant such as instant oatmeal with good old fashioned oatmeal. Instant oatmeal is very highly processed which causes us to lose the nutritional benefits of oatmeal.
- Replace vegetable oil with Extra Virgin Olive Oil in salads. Coconut oil is great for cooking. Sesame oil is the best for stir fry.
- Replace white sugar with organic raw honey for things that need a little sweetening.
- Natural peanut butter over processed peanut butters that have fructose or other sweeteners.
- Replace white rice with brown rice or quinoa. LOVE quinoa and I use it as I would rice.
- Choose raw nuts over roasted. My favorites are raw almonds, walnuts and pecans. I chop them and add them to my yogurt for a snack.
Replacing these 7 foods above with the healthier option is a great step in the right direction. Remember to take baby steps. Small consistent changes will soon become healthy lifestyle habits. Over time, you will find these simple changes will have a huge impact in how you feel. Check back next week and I’ll be sharing one of my favorite clean eating recipes using the healthier ingredients above.
To your health,
Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area. She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses. She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.