Eating has become too complicated. Allergies, sensitivities, trendy ingredients, trendy nutrients, this diet, that diet… no wonder no one can figure what to actually put in their mouths.
When it comes down to it, just eat clean. It’s a facet or tenet of most eating plans out there, but it gets dressed up and covered up by a bunch of other more marketable phrases, like locavore. Clean eating is a mindful approach to food — eating real foods, those that are minimally processed, fresh when possible, and free of junk ingredients like dyes and chemicals. It’s food the way nature intended! It’s how our grandparents ate.
What you end up eating are whole foods — fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, whole grains, fish, poultry, eggs. These foods naturally contain the macro (and micro) nutrients you need to fuel your body. These foods deliver optimal nutrition, satiate with fiber, and even satisfy with fresh, simple flavor.
Eating in this style will give you the energy you crave, the focus you feel you’re lacking, the nutrition your immune system needs, and a host of other disease-fighting, health-boosting benefits. Even your hair, nails, and complexion stand to benefit.
Makes sense, right? When we “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” as Michael Pollan prescribes, our diets are free of most impurities and our bodies are allowed to operate in the way in which they were intended. You don’t necessarily need to count calories, but maybe pay more attention to your macros — carbohydrate, protein, fat. Every food is comprised of these macro ingredients. While every person’s body and physical needs are different, a good rule of thumb is a division of 40/30/30 percent for the day, respectively. The MyFitnessPal app does an excellent job of tracking these macros for you.
How does this actually look on your plate? Consider a daily meal plan like this:
Hard boiled eggs with oatmeal topped with fresh berries and nuts
Cottage cheese with fresh peach slices
Greens (kale, spinach, baby greens) caesar salad with grilled chicken and roasted vegetables
Baby carrots and hummus, or our Apricot Sunflower Protein Balls
Grilled fish like salmon or cod, baked sweet potato topped with olive oil, and steamed broccoli
Limit soda (especially diet), fruit juices, and other sugar-heavy, processed drinks. Your body needs water, which can be drank pure or via hot or cold unsweetened tea. A little coffee won’t hurt, either!
Your go-to candy bar or ice cream fix isn’t exactly clean, nor is it off limits. Consider the moderation rule and treat yourself on occasion. Or make healthier swaps. Trade a milk chocolate bar for a piece of 65% dark chocolate. Swap that pint of ice cream for true frozen yogurt — stir up your favorite Greek yogurt before dinner, place in the freezer, and enjoy an indulgent FroYo later!