We’re back with some great tips that we know will set you up for success on your clean-eating journey. But before you dive in, we want to encourage you to drop any potential ‘all or nothing’ thinking and remember to take this process slow.
You might already know from previous ‘diets’ that making sweeping changes to something as important and complex as what you eat often ends in disaster. So, with that said, we don’t intend for you to adopt and implement all 12 tips this week! We just want to put them out there as you move at your own pace.
We’ll be diving deeper into each one of these tips as we progress together in the coming eight weeks. Remember, we’re in this together—and Rome wasn’t built in a day! You may not be ready to undertake a weekend meal prep session or focus on ingredient lists yet, and that’s fine—there are plenty of other tips you can focus on for now. Just choose a few to work on for the rest of this week, and give those your full intention and attention. After all, practicing something every day helps us form habits—and we’re here to forge good eating habits!
Next time, we’ll roll up our sleeves and hit the pantry, fridge, and freezer to do some cleanup. Then we’ll show you how to restock your kitchen with healthy staple ingredients to make clean eating easier.
Until then, check out our 12 tips and choose one to three to focus on this week:
1. Always read the ingredients on pre-packaged food items.
Know what you’re putting into your body! Look out for added sugars, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, colorings, and flavorings, and unpronounceable ingredients—all things we want to avoid. Better yet, choose single-ingredient foods like those listed on the Eat Clean Food List instead.
2. Never shop hungry or without a grocery list.
You’ve heard this tip before—and that’s because it’s a good one! Go grocery shopping while hungry or without a list and you’re more likely to end up with unnecessary items in your cart. Remember, what you put into your grocery cart is what you’ll be putting into your body. Choose wisely.
3. Do your best to have consistent mealtimes from day to day.
Creating a regular eating schedule is helpful for maintaining energy, blood-sugar balance, and metabolism, as well as creating a healthy routine. Aim to eat three balanced meals each day as well as some healthy snacks as needed.
4. Think protein, fats and carbs.
5. Plan your meals and meal prep on the weekends.
Dedicate one to two hours over the weekend to meal planning and preparing foods for the week ahead. Having healthy foods prepared and ready-to-eat will help you to stay on track all week long—even when things get busy. If meal prep feels overwhelming, start with just five items, such as hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken for salads, washed and chopped vegetables, tuna or chicken salad, and homemade trail mix.
6. Remove trigger foods from your house.
“Foods without brakes” are foods you can’t stop eating once you start. Whether they’re cookies or potato chips, we all have them. Removing these foods from your environment will eliminate temptation—out of sight, out of mind!
7. Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love.
Think 90/10: 90 percent clean foods and 10 percent ‘fun’ foods. If having a small piece of dark chocolate each day will prevent you from overindulging on an entire bar (or two) later, then do it! However, it’s important to be mindful and recognize your “trigger foods.” (Think: foods that lack nutrition, like ice cream, crunch snack foods, candy, baked goods, and processed foods.) It may be best to try to take a break from them during this eight-week Eat Clean program.
Journaling is a powerful tool. Write down what times you ate, what you ate, how much you ate, how you felt throughout the day, whether you exercised or not, how much water you drank, and how well you slept. Doing this will keep you accountable, help you recognize the foods that make you feel good, and make you think twice about what you’re fueling your body with.
9. At first, measure or weigh your food.
When you’re first changing your eating habits, measuring or weighing your food can be very helpful as you learn proper portions and portion control.
10. Stay on top of hydration.
Aim for 80 to 100 ounces of water per day. Staying hydrated is important for EVERY function of the body—including recovery from exercise—and it also helps keep cravings at bay.
11. Create a support system.
Explain the Eat Clean program to friends and family, and let them know why you’re making this change. Surround yourself with people that encourage you and support your goals. Share your successes and struggles along the way.
12. Be mindful.
Before you eat, ask yourself: “How is the food that I’m about to eat going to nourish my body from the inside out?” Although we eat for pleasure, the sole purpose of eating is to provide your body with the energy you need to live. The more nutritiously-dense the foods you eat, the more energy you’ll have to live life to the fullest!
Ready, set, choose your tips!
Remember to stick with just one to three new behaviors in order to increase your chances of success (and decrease your chances of frustration). Once you’ve made something a habit—meaning you just do it without having to put a lot of thought or energy into it—feel free to move onto something else. Research shows it can take anywhere from thirty days to three months to turn a behavior into a habit, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey.