Eat clean – the right way

Everyone’s talking about it — but what is it exactly? Find out how to do clean-eating right with these easy do’s and don’ts.

What does it mean to "eat clean"?

Eating clean is about replacing processed foods with whole, “real” foods as close to their natural state as possible. From increased energy to better cardiovascular and mental health, the benefits can be life-changing.

Do...

  • Eat whole foods. Nothing has been added and nothing valuable has been taken away. (Instead of drinking apple juice, eat an apple!)
  • Prepare your own food. This way you know exactly what’s going into it. No monosodium glutamate (MSG) used here!
  • Be realistic. Not everything you eat needs to be raw and straight from the ground. Look for minimally processed foods with few ingredients on the label (if it has a label at all).
  • Shop the store perimeter. It holds the freshest foods — fruits and veggies, dairy and eggs, poultry and seafood. Hit up interior aisles for other healthy items like beans, nuts, and brown rice.

Don’t...

  • Be fooled by packaging. Gluten free! No added sugar! Food manufacturers will exploit any redeeming quality to make you think it’s healthy. Always check the ingredient list, which should be short and recognizable — real food.
  • Think all processing is bad. For example, cooking, pureeing, and pasteurizing are all methods of processing food. The goal is to avoid highly processed food that has been stripped of nutrients and filled with additives.

Sample Menu
Breakfast: Sprouted-grain toast with avocado, fried egg, and tomato
AM snack: Apple with natural peanut butter
Lunch: Turkey chili with white beans, garden salad
PM snack: Roasted almonds, carrots with hummus
Dinner: Chicken, pineapple, and bell pepper stir-fry over quinoa

Sources: eatingwell.com; health.com; fitnessmagazine.com; livestrong.com; medicinenet.com