There’s a lot of media attention surrounding clean eating these days, and a lot of confusion in some cases too. Reports abound that clean eating is ‘dangerous’ or that its a fad that can’t be sustained. But for many people, clean eating is in no way a fad- its a way of life. And to say that eating food in its purest, most natural state can be anything but good for you smacks a little of ignorance in our book! We advocate eating as clean as possible, for as many meals and snacks as possible, because solid research has found its a healthy way to live. And if you’re creative in the kitchen, there is no need for it to be a fad either. Its a way of life for so many, and it can be a way of life for you too. Here are our top five clean eating rules to live by. Let us know if they help!
Never skip meals
And especially never skip breakfast.Clean eating isn’t about depriving your body of food; quite the contrary- its about feeding your body. Providing sufficient fuel to get through the day in one piece. So skipping meals is never a good thing to do. And because breakfast is the first meal of the day, it has the potential to make or break the next twelve hours for you nutritionally. Here are some fab breakfast ideas for you, if you’re stuck for inspiration.
So why should we never skip meals? As you will discover when you embark upon a clean eating lifestyle, what you put into your body counts. Every mouthful counts. So you want to make every mouthful worth it. And if you’re skipping meals, you’re more likely to hit ‘starvation mode’ or experience extreme hunger- that makes you either crave all the foods that don’t hold much (or any) nutritional value, or you’re going to over eat instead. So do yourself a favour. Sit down each evening and plan out your meals for the next day, taking into consideration snacks too. Make sure you have all of your meals either prepared or ready to prepare quickly, so that when hunger strikes you’re reaching for clean foods rather than ‘naughty’ snacks.
Follow an 80/20 rule
So clean eating is great for the body, but so is the occasional treat too. Studies have found that when we deny ourselves foods that we really enjoy, we either discover that we no longer crave these foods, or we crave them EVEN MORE. And if we crave them even more, we’re more likely to ‘break’. That bag of crisps sitting in the cupboard calling your name every evening? Its ok to eat them once in a while. If the rest of your meals and snacks that day have been clean, and the next thing you eat is going to be clean, one bag of crisps is not going to un-do your hard work.
Look at it this way. If you eat three meals a day, and two snacks a day, that’s five opportunities each day to eat clean. Over the course of a week, that makes 35 eat clean opportunities. One bag of crisps would make that 34 eat clean meals and snacks for the week. So it won’t hurt! Follow the 80/20 rule for optimum happiness and satisfaction.
Eat when you’re hungry
There’s nothing worse than a growling belly and the belief that you are not ‘allowed’ to eat anything. Clean eating is not a ‘diet’. You don’t need to deny yourself of food if you’re hungry, and if what you’re eating is clean and healthy then you’re going to be able to eat more than you realise anyway.
Don’t leave the house without a few clean snacks in your bag. Hunger can strike when you least expect it and when it does you’ll want something healthy to hand. But, of course, if you are caught short remember that its not the end of the world- just try to eat as clean as possible when you’re away from home.
At home, make sure that you keep your fridge and cupboards well stocked with clean foods and ingredients, plan your meals and make time to prepare them too.
Enjoy your food
Don’t eat chia seeds because you think you ought to. Eat them because you like them! The worst thing you can do is eat foods that you do not like, because that is one sure fire way to lead back to junk food, weight gain and low moods. Choose foods that you enjoy eating, and don’t feed guilty for loving food. Most clean eaters are self confessed ‘foodies’ because they have discovered the foods that make their taste buds tingle! And because they are creative in the kitchen, they have a wider diet too.