It’s a new year. Time to re-vamp your closets, clear out the clutter and clean up your diet—literally. How? Start by eating clean. No, I’m not talking about some one-time detox regimen but a healthy, wholesome lifestyle and a diet based on sound nutrition principles. Clean eating means focusing on whole, natural foods, “real” foods while minimizing processed products. It means choosing whole grains over white refined ones and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. It means eating small portions containing balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrate, naturally low in fat, salt and sugar. And, finally it means being physically active every day.
What’s the easiest way to clean up your diet?
- Think twice about buying prepared meals, side dishes or snacks from a box, bag, can or package. These foods are usually loaded with preservatives, chemicals and man-made ingredients in addition to salt, fat and sugar. Read labels to know for sure.
- Start with fresh ingredients first. Whether you’re making lunch, dinner or just a snack, choose natural meat, fish or poultry, whole vegetables, fresh fruit, dried beans or whole grains. Skip the seasoned, breaded and prepared products. Do it yourself at home.
- Get comfortable in the kitchen. Buy a good knife, sturdy cutting board and a few durable pots and pans. Make your meals from scratch (it’s not that hard once you get used to it), experiment with new recipes and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Before you know it, you’ll be creating easy go-to “clean” recipes, condiments or sauces for quick weeknight dinners in a snap. Check out the recipes below for some ideas.
—By Diane Welland M.S., R.D., author, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean