5 Principles of Clean Eating

Choose whole, natural foods and avoid those that are processed and refined.

The easiest way to stick to a clean eating plan is to buy whole foods and cook them yourself, like people did a couple of generations ago, before convenience items were available. When you can, buy local produce, meats, and dairy, which ensures freshness, supports local communities, and is good for the environment, too. Today, more supermarkets than ever before are carrying locally grown and produced items. They are the optimal choices for eating clean. Your best bet is to stay away from packaged food that’s traveled from a factory or another country, and processed foods with long ingredient lists.

Read the labels.

When reading packaged food labels, don’t let low-fat, no-fat, or reduced-fat fool you. To replace the fat and sugars, unrecognizable compounds have been added to make the product taste better. And who wants to eat something that sounds like a science experiment? A good rule of thumb to go by is: If the label includes more than five ingredients, it’s probably not clean. And if an ingredient is unrecognizable or something that does not sit on the shelf in your clean eating pantry, it’s probably not clean either.

Include some protein, carbohydrate, and fat at every meal.

Eating a balanced diet is the key to staying satisfied throughout the day. The trickiest part for most people is getting enough protein. Protein is crucial for building muscles and it helps you feel energetic longer. Adding a cup of beans to your meal or munching on a handful of nuts is a great way to add protein to your diet. Pay attention to the composition of your meals and be sure they are balanced.

Buy organic and humanely raised meats whenever possible.

Be aware that the conventionally grown produce in the grocery store has been fertilized with chemicals and sprayed with pesticides and some has been genetically modified to create a higher yield. To prevent these chemicals from entering your body, it’s important to buy organic whenever possible. And avoid conventional meat that has been pumped full of antibiotics. You’ll want to opt for organic and humanely raised meats, too.

Be kind to your body.

Eat five to six times throughout the day and drink lots of water—around eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Eating three small meals a day and two to three snacks keeps your metabolism going and your body feeling satisfied and full of energy. Sometimes you may think you are hungry, but you really are just thirsty. Water is key to keeping your body functioning properly, so stay hydrated.