Did you make a resolution this year? And do you make them every year? According to Merriam-Webster, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. While countless Americans resolve to improve themselves in some way, only 46% are on target to meet these goals after 6 months into the year. Most of us attempt to diet or limit ourselves in some way that is completely unnatural, and usually, for that reason, short-lived. What’s easier? A lifestyle change makes more sense, and while it seems more difficult on the outset, is easier to achieve and maintain everyday.
Clean eating – what is it? And why does it make sense as new way of life for almost anyone? According to Cooking Light, “Clean Eating dates back to the natural health food movement of the 1960s, which shunned processed foods for the sake of moral and societal values (rather than health and nutrition issues).” It then became increasingly popular with all those body builders and fitness models that spend hours in the gym, as they understood the benefits of cleaner foods over processed foods from a nutritional standpoint. Lately, it has become increasingly popular across America, and even gone mainstream. But there are still countless of us that spend their grocery dollars on Doritos, Oreos, and frozen dinners, which wreak havoc on their health everyday. So, how can you make the change and eat clean in 2016?
10 Simple Ways to Eat Clean
- Choose whole, natural foods over processed foods as much as possible. Try to avoid foods in bags, boxes, cans, or packages. In fact, try to shop the perimeter of the grocery story and avoid the center aisles whenever possible.
- Choose unrefined foods over refined foods. Increase the intake of whole grains, like quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice.
- Include a carbohydrate, protein and fat in every meal. What? We can eat carbs?? Actually, this way of eating is the best way to stay healthy and dietitians and nutritionists recommend this all the time! Protein is especially important early in the day, during breakfast. A bowl of cereal is NOT healthy breakfast.
- Limit fat, sugar and salt. Seems difficult, but actually pretty easy if you eliminate or minimize processed foods.
- Eat 5-6 meals a day, and keep them sensible. This is critical to minimizing the sugar highs and lows that come with bigger unbalanced meals. Try planning your meals everyday, or better yet on Sunday night for the entire week, and this becomes much easier. Try our Clean Egg Muffins as an ideal snack throughout the week – make a batch on Sunday and you’re all set!
- Don’t drink your calories. How much is that Mocha Frappuccino that you just ordered at Starbucks? A grande with skim milk is still 390 calories, and loaded with 61g of sugar! For an American woman, that is nearly 1/3 of her daily caloric intake. Opt for water as much as possible, and if not unsweetened iced tea. If increasing your water intake, shoot for 2 liters every day.
- Learn about portion sizes. What is the right portion for your meal for you? Most Americans consume 2-3x their recommended serving size at every meal. One of the best things to is to measure your portions. Invest in lots of measuring cups and spoons to learn what a 1/4 cup really looks like.
- Learn how to read labels. Clean foods usually have 2-3 ingredients and those ingredients are easy to pronounce. If any food has more ingredients than that, you are about to indulge on something processed.
- Get in the kitchen! Cooking your own meals is one of the easiest way to eat clean everyday. If you are the chef, you are in control of what goes in your food – fat, sugar and salt – can all be controlled when you cook! Many of our recipes underscore the principles of clean eating, where we have curbed the fat, sugar and salt of many richer versions of the same recipe.
Breakfast – Chai-Spiced Maple Apple Pecan Oatmeal or a healthy smoothie made using Simply Smoothies
Lunch – Mixed Green Salad with Beets, Feta, Walnuts and Thyme-Roasted Parsnips and Onions
Dinner – Southwest Tofu
MOVE! Get some exercise at least 5 times a week – and more than just cardio – resistance training is key to improving your metabolism. This will help you burn more energy and inspire you to eat cleaner everyday, when you see the results!
Seems like a daunting list – but it’s simpler than you think. And because it’s not a diet, if you fall off the wagon one day, it is much easier to get back on board.
I think you’re worth it! Do you?? Are you worth an investment in yourself in 2016?
About blogger Nina Hodge: I am pushing 40 years old (less than 3 months away), and pregnant with our 2nd child (exciting, but scary)! My husband and I have been married for just over 4 years and last year, we launched this site! It is a true labor of love, as a result of our focus on personal fitness, which started in 2008 for Nate and 2010 for me. Given my husband’s career in IT (although not a developer), he and I decided to start our own site. Focused on Fit is an online community that allows users to track their nutrition, fitness and even manage their personal recipes and find healthy recipes from other users.
During the day, I am a sales specialist for a large pharmaceutical company, where I have worked for almost 16 years. It’s a great company, and allows me the flexibility to manage my day to fit in fitness where I can – plus, now that I am selling products for type II diabetes, I get to take my passion for nutrition and wellness to my customers.