"Eating clean" or "clean eating" could have many meanings.
For example, if you are a parent, you might think "eating clean" is eating without your toddler throwing food across the room or just getting your school-aged children to wash their hands.
However, this year continues the trend of "eating clean," or a lifestyle in which good health and adequate nutrition takes precedence. "Clean eating" is a movement toward consuming whole foods in their natural food matrix (the food's natural state) instead of processed (refined) items. Food items that are not processed (i.e. “clean”) are lower in calories, fat, sugar and sodium while also being high in vitamins/minerals AND fiber.
To begin "eating clean," processed food should be reduced and eventually eliminated; small meals (approximately five) are to be consumed consistently throughout the day; protein plus complex carbohydrates at mealtime; DRINK WATER; avoid sugary beverages; and finally stay away from foods that are full of calories without any nutritional value such as potato chips, pepperoni, cake, cookies, fried foods and bagels/refined (highly-processed) pastas. The focus should be on high-quality foods like blueberries, avocados, dark leafy greens and yogurt.
A great "clean" breakfast includes steel-cut (or old-fashioned rolled) oats, plain (non-fat) Greek yogurt, raw berries and raw almonds. The idea is to use raw ingredients, whole grains, lightly-processed lean or vegetable proteins and when in doubt, cook at home instead of purchasing at the grocery store.
Click here for more information on eating clean or read "The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating" by Diane A. Welland, M.S. R.D.
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