1. Eat fresh fruit and veg
When it comes to food, natural is always best. And you can’t get more natural than fresh fruit and veg. Whole produce is full of vitamins and minerals necessary for maintaining your health and reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure. There’s also plenty of fibre in fruits and vegetables which aids digestion and promotes good gut health. Not to mention they’re low in calories (vegetables in particular), so you can snack on your favourites to your heart’s content. The easiest way to start your clean eating journey is by slowing adding more fruits and veggies to your plate. Aim for a variety of colour and always opt for organic when possible.
2. Choose whole grains
Some diets have given carbs a bad rep, but a good clean eating plan includes a healthy intake of whole grains. The most important thing to remember when choosing grains is to select unrefined options. In a nutshell, this means grains that are still in or as close to their natural states such as quinoa, wild rice, and oats. Avoid refined grains as these undergo a modification process which alters the product’s natural composition, removing essential elements.
3. Eat less meat
Plants played a prominent role in the evolution of the human digestive system, and studies indicate that plant-based diets are a healthier option for you (and the planet). Meat-eaters, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to cut meat out completely to develop clean eating habits. But, you should limit your daily meat intake if you want to reduce your blood pressure and risk of heart disease. Overall, the average person only needs to consume 10 – 35% protein every day, and this can come from plant-based proteins.
4. Ditch processed foods
We all love convenience, but to embrace clean eating, you need to invest some time in preparing and cooking your meals. If we haven’t said it enough, there’s nothing better than fresh, whole foods. Pre-packaged, processed foods do nothing for your body or health, and often contain a list of unnatural ingredients. While it may seem a chore, it helps to glance over the list of ingredients when doing the weekly grocery shop. Any foods with long lists of unrecognisable ingredients should stay out of your trolley.
5. Minimise your sugar, salt and fat intake
Speaking of processed foods and product labels, you should also keep an eye on your intake of sugar, salt and saturated fat. Processed foods, in particular, have high levels of all three of these, and none of them does your health any good. Focusing your attention on clean, whole foods will ensure your diet only includes natural sugars and good fats. And swapping salt for herbs will help lower your sodium intake. Struggling to curb your sugar addiction? Discover how to reduce sugar in your diet in three steps.
6. Watch what you drink
Clean eating doesn’t begin and end with watching what you eat. You also need to keep an eye on what you drink. While liquids may seem inconsequential, it’s easy to rack up the calories in a few sips. Think of that delicious double-shot vanilla latte you can’t start your day without or the sugar-filled soft drink you drank with lunch. Instead, reach for a glass of water, which will keep you refreshed and hydrated. If you’re looking for something a little warmer, you can’t go wrong with unsweetened green or black tea – there’s a range of different flavours.
Balance clean eating with active living
When investing in a healthy lifestyle, clean eating is only the first step. You also need regular exercise to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. Working up a sweat helps burn fat and build muscle, and strengthens your heart and lungs. Everyone should aim for at least 20 minutes of activity a day.
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