There are a lot of opinions and “professional” advice on healthy eating. If you google healthy eating, you will find a multitude of information and articles with every other one seemingly contradicting the last. The list of recommendations is endless and confusing; avoid meat, avoid nightshades, the 80/20 rule, only eat meat, only eat vegetables. This contradictory advise makes it easy to become caught in the onslaught of online information. While there is no hard-steadfast rule for healthy eating, here are a few tips to make a step in that direction:
1. Cut out Added Sugar
· Eating too much added sugar has been linked to a wide array of health issues ranging from obesity to heart disease.
· When transitioning over to a cleaner eating pattern, foods and beverages with added sugar should automatically be phased out.
· When cleaning up your diet, using healthy substitutes for your favorite sweet treats can satisfy cravings and keep you on track.
· For example, swap your nightly bowl of ice cream for a clean treat like Greek yogurt topped with berries, unsweetened coconut and cinnamon.
2. Shop the Perimeter
· Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is one of the most popular pieces of nutrition advice.
· This is because the perimeter of the grocery store usually contains fresh produce and healthy protein sources like eggs, yogurt and poultry.
· Although the interior aisles of the grocery store do contain healthy items like canned beans and nuts, they also tend to be where most of the unhealthy items like chips, candy and soda are located.
· Making it a priority to fill your cart with foods from the perimeter, including vegetables, fruits and proteins, before moving on to the interior of the store can help you stay on track and avoid tempting treats.
3. Stop Eating “Diet” Foods
When trying to lose weight, many people reach for “diet” foods like low-fat dressings, diet soda, meal replacement bars and weight-loss drinks.
· These foods can be loaded with artificial sweeteners, preservatives and added sugar.
· For example, low-fat yogurts can contain as much as 23 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar in a half-cup serving (2).
· When following a clean eating program, choose whole, non-diet foods like unsweetened, full-fat yogurt and natural peanut butter with no added sugar.
4. Ditch Refined Carbs
Filling up on white rice, bread and pasta won’t do you any favors when it comes to health.
· This is because these foods lack the vitamins, minerals, fat, protein and fiber that your body needs to function.
· Plus, a high intake of refined carbohydrates has been associated with an increased risk of developing health issues like obesity and diabetes
· Swap refined grains for whole, fiber-rich grains like oats, barley, brown rice and farrow for cleaner, more nutrient-dense carbohydrate options.
5. Keep It Clean When Eating Out
As long as you know what to look for, eating clean can be a breeze no matter where you are.
· Choose meals that focus on fresh produce, complex carbs, healthy fats and lean proteins.
· Although it’s perfectly healthy to indulge in a treat once in a while, make it a point to limit heavy dishes like creamy pastas and fried foods as much as possible.
· Additionally, swap the breadbasket for a healthy salad before your meal to increase your vegetable intake while filling up on fiber.
6. Meal Prep for Success
Prepping bulk meals for the week ahead ensures that you will have fresh, healthy options every day. It also keeps you from making poor food choices out of desperation.
For example, knowing that you have a delicious meal already prepared and waiting for you in your refrigerator can deter you from stopping at a fast food restaurant for a quick bite.
Try investing in a dry erase board for your kitchen where you can jot down recipe ideas, grocery lists and plan meals for the week ahead.