Your complete guide to Clean Eating
I’m not sure if you know my story or not but in November of 2012 I had a Heart Attack while I was 7 months pregnant.
Shortly after that, I learned about Clean Eating. I needed a way to lose weight that wasn’t complicated or restrictive and was easy to stick to.
Clean Eating has forever changed my life and I am beyond thankful that I decided to follow through with it. I believe it can change your life too if you try it and stick with it.
I can teach you what you need to know to get started but if you don’t commit to it, it won’t work. Trust me, I learned that the hard way!
You’re here for a reason and whatever that reason is, whether it be weight loss or not, you want to know about Clean Eating so let’s get started!
Disclaimer: If you have or have had any type of medical condition, consult your doctor before starting any type of new diet or exercise program.
I also want to remind you that the foods you eat is how you shape your body. Not fitness.
What is Clean Eating?
Clean Eating means eating foods that are natural, whole, and as close to their natural state as possible.
Clean foods are not processed, meaning they don’t have a bunch of chemicals added to them.
(Most chemicals are used to preserve foods. They may seem harmless but I assure you they are not)
This is a meal that is NOT clean.
This is a meal that is clean
(this is Chicken Fajitas which is super simple to make…it’s just chicken, peppers & seasoning)
How to know if a food is clean or not:
This was something I struggled with for quite some time because, for some reason, I just didn’t quite understand how to tell clean foods apart from unhealthy foods.
So I want to make sure you completely understand how to figure out if something is clean or not.
You do that by looking at the ingredients. If there are a ton of things on the list that you cannot pronounce or do not know what the heck it even is, then it’s not clean.
What Clean Eating is NOT:
Clean Eating is not a “diet”. By “diet” I mean it’s not restrictive. You actually eat more when you eat clean. Crazy, right?
Clean eating is not something you do for a couple of months until the weight is gone then revert back to old eating habits. It’s a way of eating that you can do for the rest of your life-not only to get results, but keep them.
It is a lifestyle.
The Clean Eating Principles:
There are 10 Principles to Eating Clean. If you follow these, you will become a Clean Eating Pro and get the results you long for.
- Eat more. Eat 5-6 small meals each day.
- Eat breakfast within an hour after waking, everyday.
- Eat a combination of complex carbs and lean protein at each meal. (I will explain those shortly)
- Eat 2-3 healthy servings of fats everyday.
- Drink at least 2-3 liters of water each day.
- Carry a cooler packed with clean foods everyday.
- Eat proper portion sizes.
- Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bed.
- Depend on fresh vegetables & fruits for vitamins and minerals.
- Plan & Prepare your meals in advance.
Just remember that Clean Eating is not just about losing weight. It’s also about feeling better and being healthy. Weight loss is an awesome perk for eating clean though!
What to avoid:
- Avoid overly-processed foods like white flour & sugar (have you seen how those are made??)
- Avoid foods containing preservatives.
- Avoid artificial or added sugars. (Avoid those like the plague)
- Avoid saturated and trans fat.
- Avoid sugar-loaded drinks like pop, sweet tea, juices, fancy coffee, etc.
- Avoid alcohol consumption.
How to start Eating Clean:
There are two ways you can go about becoming a Clean Eater.
- Go all in. If you’re like me, you’ll want to start immediately and you’ll want to start eating clean at every meal. I think this is a great way to quickly start seeing the amazing results eating clean foods can do for your body.
- Take it slow. Some people, and maybe it’s you, like to start slow. They like to start by replacing a meal then another then another and so on until they are eating clean all day, everyday. This style works great too because before you know, those small changes make a big difference, and you will notice some amazing things happening as well.
The biggest tip I can give you here is to make the changes you know you will stick to right now.
Planning your meals in advance:
I highly, highly recommend planning your meals in advance.
This means setting down and figuring out what you are going to eat for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and 2 Snacks for each day of the week.
I personally plan a week at a time but I know people who plan longer than that. Start with a week then go from there.
When I first started planning my foods, it seemed like it took FOREVER to do! But now, it usually doesn’t take more than 5-10 min to do. You will get faster at planner your meals so don’t get discouraged in the beginning if it takes some time to do.
Another thing I want to point out about meal planning….
Variety is not always a good thing.
Between what worked for me and what I’ve noticed with other clean eaters, we eat relatively the same meals throughout the week.
If you set down to plan your meals and you are trying to come up with different lunches for each day of the week, you may throw in the towel because that can be hard to do. And it can be costly!
I recommend eating the same few meals over and over until you are absolutely sick of them (this usually takes quite some time to do) And no, I promise you DO NOT need variety. If you want to change things up a bit, try different spices to flavor your foods.
Meal Prepping in Advance:
I personally believe preparing your meals in advance is critical to getting results.
It’s Tuesday and you’re on lunch for work. You didn’t bring anything with you to eat so what ends up happening?
You will probably end up running through the drive through and getting something that’s quick and easy or maybe you order a pizza with coworkers.
Regardless, you don’t eat healthy.
Now, let’s say it’s Sunday and you have prepped your meals for the week. Then come Tuesday, you go on lunch and instead of eating something that will clog your arteries, you grab your cooler and eat something healthy.
The latter will get you the results you want. So prep your meals in advance!
How to Meal Prep
Meal prepping may seem complicated but I promise you it’s not as long as you created a simple meal plan (see above).
- Make a grocery list from your meal plan you created for the week.
- Go to the grocery store.
- As soon as you get home, start preparing your meals in advance and separate each meal into it’s own container.
- Store food you plan to eat in the refrigerator then each night or morning, put your meals in your cooler for the day. Don’t forget water and silverware!
- Enjoy having fulfilling, healthy meals all week long!
- Bake chicken
- Boil eggs (for salads, breakfast, etc.)
- Make salads (keep each ingredient in separate containers)
- Steam veggies
- Cut and fruits & veggies for snacks and put into baggies
- Put nuts/seeds into baggies for snacks
- Make soups & freeze leftovers
- Bake turkey
There are a TON of things you can prep in advance but again, please don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much or trying to have a ton of variety.
Example Meal Plan:
Breakfast: Green Smoothie, 2 hard boiled eggs
Snack: Cottage cheese or homemade trail mix
Lunch: Baked chicken, ½ sweet potato, steamed mixed veggies or leftover dinner
Snack: Protein shake with Superfood
Dinner: Turkey, steamed veggies, beans or vegetable soup or burgers or chili
Personally for me, I keep most of my meals and snacks the same. Then, I put variety in dinner by either trying something new a couple of times each week or just eating different meals each night.
That meal plan is one of my FAVORITE go-to plans that is easy to shop for, easy to prep, easy to eat on the go & it fuels my body to be strong throughout the day.
Are you ready to start eating clean so you can feel better, have more energy, look vibrant, and lose weight?
If so, get started right now. Start making a meal plan-even if it’s on a napkin. Then make your grocery list and get to prepping your food for the week.
You can become a Clean Eater.
You just have to get started.
What are you going to do today to get closer to the results you crave and long for?