A lot of us are quick to critique our exterior selves, but what we put into our bodies has a lot to do with our outward appearance. Exercise undoubtedly has many important physical and mental health benefits but clean eating INCREASES those benefits. I’m not saying we have to completely give up our favorite dessert or ban french fries but switching out processed and fatty foods for more healthy alternatives will increase energy levels, clear up your skin and help our digestive system.
As a recovering ice cream addict myself, beginning the journey to clean eating can seem overwhelming. Old habits die hard, especially when we’re stressed out or get those late-night cravings. So, to help y’all out I’ve compiled a list of some great diet tips and pages where you can get recipes and inspiration…
10 Clean Tips to A Better Diet:
1. Drink MORE Water, our bodies are made up of 50-75% water. We need about 8 glasses of water a day to properly hydrate ourselves. Water helps to flush out toxins which leads to brighter, clearer skin as well as more energy. Also when we think we’re hungry, we might just be dehydrated. Drink a glass of water before a snack or meal and see how much less you eat.
2. Start Juicing! I am a huge fan of juicing because its an easy way to meet your daily requirement of fruits and veggies and you have an endless amount of ways to mix them. A lot of the fruit juices advertised and sold in stores is full of sugar, preservatives and additives. Sadly, even Naked had to remove “All Natural” from their label. If you don’t have a food processor, juicer, or blender I highly suggest investing in one so you can make your own homemade juices and smoothies.
3. Cook with Color (and I’m not talking about Red Dye #40). Adding more colorful fruits and vegetables when you cook not only makes your food better to look at, but it adds flavor and important vitamins and nutrients to your meals.
4. Eat Breakfast! Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and its true! Note the words “break” and “fast,” from the time we go to sleep and the time we wake up, that’s about 6-8 hours of no water and no food, our bodies are literally fasting while we sleep and it is essential to replenish ourselves once we wake up. Whether its a full continental breakfast or just an apple and some yogurt, eating in the morning jump starts your metabolism and prevents you from making that unnecessary trip to the vending machines before lunch.
5. Read the Labels! I can’t expect anyone to get rid of ALL prepackaged foods from their diet. So when you go to the store and are making decisions about what products to buy, take a quick look at the Nutrition Label. The most important thing to remember: less is more. The shorter the list of ingredients, the better. And if you have to sound out an ingredient because its 10 syllables long and you’ve never heard of it before? Put that box back.
6. Delete Fast Food from your diet. Entirely. I don’t think I need to explain to you the health risks associated with fast food. (If you haven’t already, watch the documentary Super-Size Me) Taking the extra time to plan and cook your own meals throughout the week not only saves you from the salty, fatty and sugary meals that lead to high cholesterol and other health problems, it also saves your wallet.
7. Balance your meals. Cutting out entire food groups from your diet is just as detrimental as binge-ing on one food group. Instead of giving up bread eat whole grain. Rather than giving up all dairy products, try almond milk or unprocessed cheeses. Each food group has its health benefits that are necessary for your body.
8. Be creative with your cravings. A few weeks into clean eating, that Ben & Jerry’s is starting to look reallyyyy friendly, and it would be so easy to just get a spoonful…but you have to fight it! There is nothing wrong with a cheat meal every now and then but one cheat meal can lead us right back into our old eating habits. When you have a craving, try to find a recipe that can substitute a prepackaged or drive-through meal. Craving chips? Slice some potatoes and fry them in a little olive oil and a *sprinkle of sea salt. Want ice cream? Find a recipe online and make your own. For every craving there is a healthier alternative, I promise you.
9. Take your time when you eat. It’s hard to slow yourself down, especially when you’re eating your favorite meal, but taking your time when you chew helps your digestive system and prevents you from overeating.
10. Remember, one cheat meal doesn’t break you like one healthy meal doesn’t make you. Clean eating is not a destination, its a lifestyle change the requires daily decisions.
Well, there you have it! Need more inspiration? Here are some pages to follow on other networks:
Twitter Pages to Follow: @EatNutritious @FITNESS @sugar_nation @EatThisNotThat @healthyeats @FOODILY
Instagram Pages to Follow: @fijipearl @blackgirlsjuice @eatnutritious @veganmetolife @my_healthy_habit