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How to Eat Clean
We've all heard about the importance of "eating clean", but do you have any idea what that means? That term is thrown around a lot by fitness experts and dieticians, yet most people have no clue what that entails. It's actually pretty simple: eat foods that are raw, as natural as possible, minimally processed, and contain no food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and additives. Basically, if it's not in its natural state, don't eat it. Here are a few tips to help you know how to eat clean:
Drink More Water
And ONLY water! Fruit juice, smoothies, and sodas are off the menu, at least until you get accustomed to your new clean-eating lifestyle. Water is the key to your survival, and it will help to improve all of your body functions. Make it a point to consume at least 3-4 liters of water per day. Try to have one liter of water before your morning break, another before lunch, and a third before dinner. Have a water bottle on hand at all times: in your car, in your office, on your desk, at the gym, etc. The more water you drink, the healthier you will be.
And by snack, we don't mean "munch mindlessly on whatever seizes your fancy". A snack is designed to keep you from getting hungry between meals, and to keep your metabolism working all day long. You should always snack on foods that deliver a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats, and keep those snacks small to avoid overdoing it on calories. By snacking, you'll prevent that dip in your blood sugar that makes you want to eat something sweet or have a second cup of coffee. Eat small, healthy snacks between meals, and you'll have an easier time sticking with only "clean" foods.
Go for Veggies
For most people, veggies are the hardest to eat more of. They have very little flavor, and they're nowhere near as enjoyable as fruits, meats, or nuts. But if you want to eat better, you have to start eating more veggies. You can add veggies into your regular meals: grate carrots into your pasta sauce, stir fry your rice and eggs with sliced veggies, fill your sandwiches with more veggies. The more vegetables you get, the better!
Be Prepared When Out
Once you get used to it, you'll find it's pretty easy to eat clean when at home. It's how you eat when you're OUT that can make or break your diet. Eating clean while out is tough, as there aren't many restaurants that offer clean, wholesome foods. Try to find restaurants in your city that do provide natural, healthful foods, and stick with eating at those places. If possible, limit the number of times you eat out every month. Stick with packing your own lunches, and you'll have a much easier time eating healthy.
Ask for Healthy Options
It will take a bit of work to learn to read a menu to find the healthiest options, but it can be done. Ask for salads to be served with dressing on the side, and choose grilled instead of fried or deep-fried. Find meals that offer complex carbs (brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, etc.), and avoid dishes heavy on simple carbs (pasta, burgers, French fries, etc.). You can still enjoy the occasional dinner out, you just have to be a lot pickier.
This is one of the most important parts of clean eating: know what's in your food! Read all food labels before you buy, and buy only foods with ingredients you recognize as "clean" or "Natural".