Eating healthy is a topic that never gets old. Now, what does it mean to eat clean?
As the name suggests, clean eating is to have more natural and wholesome foods.
You can still have fresh foods and produce as changes take time.
So, you can start by including more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Focus on making tiny adjustments as you begin eating clean such as consuming foods with little processing.
Adopting a clean eating regimen by picking healthier meals and forming wholesome eating habits is a straightforward approach to having a body that looks and works at its best.
Not to mention, this eating habit or lifestyle helps improve your overall health!
You will also be able to save your expenses by cooking creative meals at home and depending less on store-bought foods.
It’s like going back to the diet of your great-grandparents before the rise of fast foods and GMO foods.
In this article, you will learn about the guidelines for eating clean, how to use clean eating for weight loss, and clean eating meal plan recipes.
What Does Eating Clean Mean?
Eating clean has nothing to do with whether or not food is clean; instead, it simply means choosing whole, less processed meals that are nutrient-dense.
Consuming food as near to its natural condition as possible is the goal of clean eating.
One of the components of clean eating is consuming farmed foods with a more significant consideration for the environment.
Besides picking the whole foods that are best for you and your body, clean eating also includes advocating for your health.
Eating clean also entails being able to plan and prepare wholesome meals because we all need to eat numerous times each day.
However, concentrate mainly on what is achievable and practical for you when making food, nutrition, and health decisions.
Changes take time, so start with one tiny thing at a time.
Benefits of Clean Eating
Processed foods like hotdogs shorten the time you live a healthy and long life.
Move on to eating clean meals to extend your healthy life expectancies, such as a tiny handful of nuts and seeds.
Eating healthy promotes weight loss and makes you feel better the most significant benefit of a healthy diet is to lengthen your life!
Other advantages of eating clean include the following:
- More energy
- Better hair
- Healthier skin
- Improved sleep
- Reduce illnesses
- Helps lower cholesterol levels
- Improve blood sugar profiles
This is why adopting healthy eating habits is so important.
How to Eat Clean for Beginners
To help newcomers like you who are interested in eating healthy and understand how to eat clean, here is a guideline for you to begin.
Let’s review the fundamental principles of a healthy diet, shall we?
Prepare your meals
Creating your foods gives you the most control over what you put into your meals, where you can manage the amount of sugar, salt, and fats used to maintain their levels as low as possible.
Consume whole foods
Foods that haven’t been altered or tampered with in a lab or manufacturing facility are called whole foods.
No additional sweeteners, preservatives, colors, fats, hydrogenated fats, or salt have been added to the product since whole foods haven’t been processed or refined, making it taste better or look better.
Examples of whole foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean meats
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Full-fat dairy products
- Dry beans and legumes
Unrefined foods offer more nutrients and fiber, which are vital for your body to operate and to avoid the unnecessary trash that comes with processing.
Make your food work harder by modifying it.
Examine the dietary information
You should get familiar with nutrition labels since they include all the information you want about the items you are thinking of consuming.
Look for labels with a few components, and evaluate each by asking yourself, “Would I use this item in my kitchen?”
If not, move on, pay attention to food labels, and steer clear of items with phrases like “hydrolyzed” or “modified,” which denote further processing.
And words that finish with “OSE” denote additional sugars like fructose.
The words “whole grains” and “whole wheat” should be on labels.
If the item contains many calories, check to see if the calories are primarily from fiber and lean proteins rather than saturated fat and sugar.
Minimize additional sugar, salt, and fat
It makes sense to eliminate unneeded additions like fat, salt, and sugar when picking your food, as clean eating aims to consume food in its most natural and whole condition.
Once you start following a clean eating plan, fresh fruits should provide all the sugar required.
Foods you formerly enjoyed will taste unduly sweet or salty if you continue to live a clean eating lifestyle, such as:
- Fries and more
This is because your body and taste receptors will become accustomed to the whole foods in your new lifestyle, making these additions taste unnecessary and maybe overdone.
Steer clear of processed foods
Processed foods frequently come in boxes or jars and are simple to recognize.
The issue with processed foods is that they tend to be heavy in fat, poor in fiber and whole grains, and high in added sugars and salt, including awful trans fats and saturated fats.
Examples of processed foods to avoid include:
- Snack foods such as fruit snacks, and chips
- Frozen meals
- Salad dressing in a bottle
- Morning cereal
- Canned soups
- Granola bars
- Instant ramen
- Flavored nuts
Next time, consider preparing these things from home with whole ingredients rather than purchasing them from the supermarket for convenience.
Your body will thank you for it.
Eat nutritious and well-balanced meals
Because your body needs all three macronutrients to operate correctly, check that the meals you choose have the ideal proportions of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Broccoli is a carbohydrate but also has a lot of fiber, antioxidants, and many other essential elements, making it an excellent option for eating clean.
For that purpose, you should consume as many unsaturated fats as possible and avoid trans fat and saturated fat as much as possible.
Every meal, whether a snack or a dinner, should be well-balanced like this.
Be sure to be aware of the breakdown of the food you consume to know what your body can digest and absorb.
Consume 5 to 6 meals daily
Ignore the idea of calorie counting as the fundamental strategy that disregards each calorie’s importance.
Making your calorie count is what you should aim for.
Make thoughtful choices for everything you eat, including lean protein and complex carbohydrates as opposed to sugar, healthy fats, fresh fruits, and vegetables, which should be consumed in the proper proportions six times a day.
Three small meals and two to three substantial snacks each day make up the regular clean diet.
- Miss meals
- Experience exhaustion or jitteriness due to fluctuating blood sugar levels
This manner of eating also aids with weight loss.
Drink 64 ounces of water and avoid drinking calories
You must be careful of how much water you consume at the same time as you’re choosing what items to eat.
You’ll probably drink the most water during the day, every day.
You’ll notice that the more you drink, the more thirsty you become.
Not only will drinking water keep you hydrated and enable your body to operate appropriately, but it will also stop you from being hungry.
Soda is among the worst things you can put in your body.
High fructose corn syrup and other refined sugars are abundant in soda, which has no positive effects on your health.
Fruit drinks are also a bad idea while eating clean.
Even while they have more nutrients than soda, they are far higher in calories and sugar and have significantly fewer nutrients, such as vitamins and fiber, than you would receive from simply eating a piece of fruit.
What can and can’t you eat?
The tenets of Eat-Clean are:
- Have six modest meals a day
- Every day, within an hour of awakening, have breakfast
- Eat complex carbs and lean protein during each meal
- Eat two to three portions of good fats each day
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes
- Observe portion control
- Drink 13 8-ounce glasses or 2 to 3 liters of water daily
The foods to stay away from are:
- Excessively processed meals, particularly white sugar and flour
- Synthetic sweeteners
- Sugary drinks, such as juice and soda
- Foods with chemical additions like sodium nitrite and food dyes
- Preservative-infused foods
- Artificial meals, such as pieces of manufactured cheese
- Trans fats and saturated fats
- Anti-foods are calorie-dense, nutritionally-void foods
Clean Eating for Weight Loss
When you replace processed meals with genuine food alternatives instead of those heavy in refined carbohydrates and oils, clean eating can help reduce weight.
You should achieve your desired weight if you follow a healthy diet and engage in moderate activity.
For specialized assistance, speak with a healthcare professional.
What foods you should consume and which diet you should be on is a tricky question.
Finding the best diet for your body, health, and lifestyle is important because most diets have some scientific support.
A vegetarian diet and intermittent fasting aid in weight loss and improve overall health.
Following a plant-based diet with a wide range of foods where each vegetable offers a unique combination of phytonutrients and healthy fiber is part of clean eating.
You’re on the right track if you follow this straightforward method:
- Charting daily portions and calorie intake by using colored portion containers
- Consume whole foods that fit into the containers without a weight reduction regimen
- Keep in mind that 3,500 calories equal 1 lb if you’re trying to reduce weight
You become what you consume, and your habits determine your weight and quality of life.
Most people need to increase their physical activity while decreasing the calories consumed by food and drink to lose weight.
Cut 500–750 calories from your daily consumption for a weight reduction of 1–1 ½ pounds a week is recommended.
Men and women who weigh more or exercise frequently should stick to diets with 1,500–1,800 calories per day.
Clean Eating Meal Plan
Discover how to prepare and savor nutritious cuisine that makes you feel fed and invigorated.
Feeling your best while not depriving yourself is the goal of clean eating!
Here is an example of a meal plan that lists the foods to eat during these six meals in a single day:
Breakfast: Buckwheat pancakes
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon honey
- One teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- One ¼ cup buttermilk
- One large egg, beaten
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- One tablespoon unsalted butter, or as needed
- Whisk buckwheat flour, honey, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat buttermilk, egg, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
- Pour flour mixture into buttermilk mixture; whisk until batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest until bubbles form for about about 5 minutes.
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the hot griddle and cook until bubbles form and the edges dry, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Flip and cook until brown on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, and enjoy your pancakes!
Mid-morning snack: Rice cake with peanut butter
- 1 Rice cake
- 1-2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter or substitute nut butter or nut-free alternative of choice
- 2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
- 1 Pinch of Flaky Sea Salt optional; for garnishing
- Start by coating the top of your rice cake evenly with peanut butter.
- Then, place your chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl and microwave in two 30-second increments, stirring in between so that the chocolate and coconut oil is fully incorporated. If preferred, you can also melt your chocolate using the double-boiler method on the stove.
- Drizzle your melted chocolate on top of the rice cake.
- Top with flaky salt and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Once the chocolate has solidified, you can enjoy your rice cakes!
Lunch: Chicken salad with corn and lettuce
- ¼ cup olive oil (60 mL)
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
- Chilli powder
- 12 oz roasted red pepper (340 g)
- One chicken breast
- Two tablespoons oil
- Three romaine lettuces
- 1 cup corn (175 g)
- 15 oz black beans (425 g)
- One jalapeño
- ¼ red onion
- Blend the roasted red peppers with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Infuse the chicken breast with a preferred oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- Bake the chicken breast for 20 minutes at 400 F.
- Slice three heads of romaine lettuce and add it to a salad bowl, along with corn, drained black beans, diced chicken, red onion, and jalapeno, and toss the salad.
- Pour the dressing over the tossed salad and enjoy your salad!
Mid-afternoon snack: Hard-boiled egg with pepper pitas
- 1-2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1⁄2 Red pepper, yellow pepper, or 1/2 green pepper, sliced into strips
- One teaspoon of mayonnaise or one teaspoon of olive oil
- One teaspoon of pickle relish (sweet or dill)
- Black pepper, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce
- Salt (optional)
- 1 Pita bread round (I use whole-grain pita)
- Remove yolks from egg slices, cream with mayo or olive oil, relish, pepper or hot sauce, and salt.
- Microwave pita bread for about 10 seconds.
- Slice the warm round in half and gently pry open the pocket. Spread the yolk and mayo mixture inside the pocket.
- Arrange egg slices and pepper strips inside the pocket. Plate up and enjoy your eggs!
Dinner: Roasted vegetables and black lentils with tahini dressing
- 1 cup dry black lentils
- Kosher salt
- One cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Three medium carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered if large
- 4 ounces asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Eight cloves garlic, peeled and halved if large
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- One teaspoon of ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Two tablespoons tahini
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- One tablespoon of lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne
- Water, as needed, to thin
- Add 1 cup of black lentils and ½ teaspoon salt to a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover and boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender for about 20 minutes. (Make sure to watch the water level of the lentils while they cook – continue to add small amounts to ensure that the lentils remain covered, but you want to avoid adding too much as it will cause them to lose their color).
- Move oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 425°F. Toss the cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts, asparagus, garlic, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne together in a large bowl.
- Spread the vegetable mixture on a large baking sheet and cook until softened and golden brown for about 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large serving bowl with cooked lentils.
Tahini Dressing Directions:
- Whisk together the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. (If the dressing is too thick for your taste, add water in minimal amounts until you get the consistency you like).
- Pour the dressing over the lentils and vegetables. Toss, if desired. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold, and enjoy your vegetables!
Late-night snack: Apple slices with peanut butter
- One small apple, cored and cut into eight wedges.
- One lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp Peanut butter
- Combine the apple slices and lemon juice in a zip-close bag and toss.
- Remove apples from the bag, and arrange them in a circle on a small plate.
- Scoop the peanut butter into a small bowl, and place it in the center of the dish.
- Enjoy your apple with a peanut butter snack!
The concept of clean eating is to focus on less processed meals like fruits, vegetables, and grains.
This diet can improve your health while also teaching you to enjoy the authentic aromas of many meals.
Clean eating is not a diet; instead, it is a permanent healthy way of eating.
Also, eating clean can assist you in achieving your weight loss objectives in a safe and long-term manner.
This way of eating will be enjoyable for you if you can eat six meals daily and prefer to prepare most of your meals from a comprehensive meal plan.
is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Dhaka University and has worked with various clients to help them achieve their health goals through personalized diet plans. Mounota is passionate about educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle and has written extensively on the subject for various publications.