You’ve heard your favorite celebrities and nutritionists talking about “clean eating,” and may have brushed it off as just another Hollywood weight loss trend. However, this time they might be onto something real.
The truth is, clean eating isn’t a diet. In fact, it’s the anti-diet. The thought behind clean eating is that when you consume real, “clean” foods as opposed to processed foods, your body can digest, process and eliminate them better. The results are evident from increased energy levels to clearer skin and everything in between.
As a nutritional consultant, I believe that the clean eating lifestyle is here to stay because it’s not about starvation, cutting carbs or counting calories, but making smart, healthy choices that will help you feel better both inside and out.
Clean eating is an incredibly simple concept. The first step is to toss out all highly processed foods, which are foods that have been significantly modified from their original form or contain artificial ingredients. The easiest way to identify a highly processed food is by reading the list of ingredients. If the list is super long and contains ingredients that are hard to pronounce, then avoid it.
Next, you want to load up on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fill your refrigerator and your stomach with these incredibly nutritious foods. Because fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients like fiber, but very few calories, you can splurge on these delicious treats all day long. Round out your plate with a healthy protein like wild-caught fish or organic chicken breast.
Finally, because we are busy women and don’t have hours to prepare food from scratch, we need to buy some processed or prepared foods. In this case, you’ll want to opt for minimally processed foods, which are foods that contain fewer than 10 ingredients and all of the ingredients are real foods that you recognize and can pronounce. However, try to avoid products that contain added sweeteners as even natural sweeteners like sugar and agave can wreak havoc on your waistline. Instead, purchase unsweetened products and add a little sugar or honey on your own.
My clients are often worried that they are too busy to “eat clean,” but that’s simply not the case. Clean eating can be quick and efficient, and here are three tips to make clean eating easy even when you’re on the go:
Start your Day with a Green Smoothie
This is a quick, convenient alternative to the traditional breakfast and an easy way to load up on healthy nutrients. Use an unsweetened base like water or almond milk, then add frozen fruits to sweeten. Finally, top off with dark leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale. I recommend boosting your smoothie with a plant-based protein and digestion supplement, which not only adds more nutritional benefits, but will also help you feel more satisfied.
Plan Your Week & Meal Prep
Take a couple hours on Sunday evening to chop your vegetables for salads or stir-fries, cook up a giant pot of quinoa that can be used for multiple meals, or just portion out ingredients to toss into the crock-pot for healthy meals. A little planning will go a long way to keep you on track. You can even portion out your smoothies and freeze them for the week ahead.
Stock up on Natural Snacks
If snack time catches you off guard, it’s time to stock up with healthy snacks. Fortunately, fruits like bananas, oranges and apples come pre-packaged by nature, simply rinse or peel and snack. Nuts and seeds are also a great option that will provide healthy protein and fats for quick energy.
With clean eating, Hollywood has finally discovered what nutrition experts have been preaching for a long time. By changing your food, you will change your life too!
Clean Green PB&J Smoothie
By Angela Hein
1 Cup unsweetened almond milk
½ Banana, frozen and peeled
½ Cup frozen mixed berries
1 tbsp. Almond or peanut butter
1 tbsp. Organic Digest powder
1 tbsp. Organic Protein powder
2 Handfuls Fresh Spinach
Simply combine ingredients in the blender and blend to desired consistency. Enjoy!