Everyone knows that the way to get real results from all the hard work in the gym (and to manage your weight) you have to eat healthy. With so many diets out there, how do you know what foods are really considered clean? Here are some tips for clean eating.
Focus On Nutrients, Not Just Calories
In the long run, it is better to focus on overall health rather than calorie counting. Think: energy in, energy out. The energy that you get from food will be your body's fuel. Good nutrition allows your body to properly use the fuel/food efficiently, helping increase your longevity, not just make you thin.
Think about it...prevention is better than cure!
If your body doesn't get the nutrients it needs, it will eventually stop working for you. And that's when you'll find yourself dealing with real problems.
Clean Eating Tips At-A-Glance
- Eat fresh produce in season (things you can eat raw makes it a faster grab)
- Avoid added sugars and processed foods. Stick with whole grains, all-natural ingredients, and a farm-to-table approach
- Balance fiber-rich carbs with veggies/fruit, lean meats, and good fat
1. Hydrate: Drink plenty of clear water through out your day-about a gallon
Have multiple water bottles that you can fill up. Keep one in a place where you can grab it as you're headed out the door, another by your desk at work, another one in the car, etc. The more fail-proof you make things, and set yourself up, the more you'll be able to stick to the needs of your body and not just the demands of the day. Don't be neglecting your body while knocking out your to do lists. You need your body. It's your vehicle in life!
Hydrating your muscles (the engine to your body) boosts your metabolism and performance levels, increasing your endurance. Let's not forget it also helps with appetite suppression, promotes organ function, and gives an overall healthy glow to your skin. Now why wouldn't you want to get proper water intake with all those benefits?! You can do it!
(If you don't like clear water add lemon, mint leaves, or sugar-free electrolytes.)
2. Eat fresh produce in season-load up!
Our bodies need the right nutrients to function properly. Make each meal better by adding more veggies. If you have a sweet tooth, fruit is a great choice.
Carrots, celery, green leaf lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, apples, berries, and pears are some examples of quick veggies and fruits that don't require much work to prepare and are convenient to grab on the go. For the best-tasting produce, learn what is in season and find out what your favorites are. Enjoy their delicious, juicy, mouth-watering flavors. You'll love the way you feel consistently eating fresh produce!
Think about it...veggies and fruit are fast-burning carbs that provide high fiber. They help your body absorb more nutrients from the other food you're eating and give you energy through vitamins and minerals that feed your body for optimal health. This makes your body happy!
3. Eliminate added sugars and prepackaged/processed food (eat farm-to-table)
It's all about choosing unrefined foods. Foods in their natural state don't have added sugars or additives. If you can't read some of the ingredients, don't buy it!
Think about it...eating sugar-added foods and processed, prepackaged foods leave you with crashing energy levels and increased appetite. This takes you on a roller coaster ride, and you feel like crap. It's not worth it!
Let's not forget to mention that eating this kind of food causes inflammation in your body and can increase aches and pains throughout your body and contribute to decreased thought processes.
Great ideas include whole grain, fresh baked goods from the bakery section, bulk bin nuts, whole grain oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and similar foods.
4. Balance your diet
Learning your body's needs is important. Not everyone's body processes food the same way. Learn yours!
A great start in balancing your clean eating is knowing your body will burn carbs as a energy source first before anything else. Understanding this, eat denser carbs like sweet potatoes, red or purple potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa before an activity that would require a lot of energy.
Lean meats contain essential b-12, the highest levels of protein, and many more essential minerals. These help keep your muscles healthy and increase your body's performance. Your muscles are considered the engine for your body. You need to properly take care of them so your body can run most effectively throughout your life.
Moderation of good fats is key. We need good fats for proper cell function and for our body systems to work right. But this doesn't mean go overboard! Remember, if you don't use it, it goes into storage (body fat).
Good fat ideas include olive oil, coconut oil, omega-3s, nuts (almonds and cashews are my favorite), and avocado.
Think...*feed your body nutrients, *increase fiber for absorption of the nutrients, *use energy (food) in to produce energy out, *increase hydration for organs to continue to function properly!