Eating clean is the most basic, effective, and actionable step you can take to ensure optimal year-round health. Contrary to what most people think, cleaner eating isn’t synonymous with more work or boring, bland food. Quite the opposite. Here are basic yet powerful first steps to take if cleaner eating is one of your health goals.
Clean Out Your Fridge and Pantry
Food availability and lifestyle directly influence your daily eating choices. Depending on your lifestyle, you eat the food that’s available. A solution is to change the food that’s available in your home. Start by tossing everything in your fridge and pantry that’s old, processed, refined, and sugary. Instead, fill your fridge and pantry with healthy choices, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other clean foods.
Start Meal Planning
Meal planning and prep saves time and helps you stay true to clean eating meal plans throughout the week. As a bonus benefit, meal planning for clean eating eases adaptations for dietary restrictions. There are no hard and fast rules for effective meal prep. Methods abound on the internet. Finding your own method may include mixing, matching, and tweaking several methods over time.
You can meal prep for diets that correspond to any number of fitness goals and ongoing lifestyle habits. You can meal prep to hit your daily macros, to restrict carbs, to focus on whole grains or to remove whole grains, etc. Luckily, since your fridge and pantry are already stocked with healthy goodies, meal prep will be that much easier.
Make Your Own Healthy Snacks
Just like meal planning, healthy snacking is an ideal way to maintain eating healthy meals while you’re on the go or entrenched in another endless workday. Instead of stalking the breakroom vending machine or a nearby pastry case, pack homemade snacks to get you through the day. You can just as easily purchase healthy snacks, but homemade versions let you precisely control salt and sugar content as you incorporate your absolute favorite flavors and ingredients.
A healthy homemade snack doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be your own trail mix, homemade sugar-free granola, homemade dried fruit leather, or other dried fruits and vegetables. Homemade, no-bake protein bars are a delicious option as are homemade muesli, popcorn, and nut snack bars.
Cleaner eating isn’t rocket science. To minimize sensory overload, try implementing one tip at a time. After mastering a single tip, move on to the next one. Keep mastering clean-eating strategies until the whole idea becomes a reality and a default mindset.
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