Clean eating seems to be the latest buzz phrase in a number of celebrities vocabulary, but what does it actually mean and how is it good for the body?
The concept is deceptively simple. Instead of the main focus being on how many calories you are eating or which food groups, you should instead concentrate on how the food reached your plate.
In a nutshell (and the contents of that nutshell are a good example), clean eating is about eating whole or real foods, as close to their natural form as possible. Your food should be the way nature delivered it, or as close to it as possible.
Is Clean Eating Good for You?
Research has already shown that largely plant-based diets are healthy and diets containing mostly fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of certain life-threatening conditions and diseases, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention helping to maintain a goal weight and improved skin and hair.
Unprocessed foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dried legumes
- Farm-fresh eggs
Minimally processed foods include:
- Unrefined grains, like whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Unprocessed meat; wild over pastured, pastured over grain-fed
- Hormone-free dairy
Remember, although you are eating clean you still watch your portion control. Unprocessed foods may be healthier, but they still have calories! Try and keep a balance of three-fifths fruit and vegetables and the rest split between protein and healthy carbs.
Shopping For Clean Foods
So far, so good, but my guess is you think this sounds boring and how on earth are you going to attack the weekly shop. You don’t have to eat everything raw. If items don’t have a label on them in the supermarket then that’s the perfect start.
Alternatively, get label savvy and if items have a label, then check how many ingredients are listed – two is ideal, but the fewer the better. Items containing artificial colourings, flavours or anything you haven’t heard of isn’t considered clean and simply doesn’t go in your trolley.
If your budget allows you to, choose organic clean foods whenever possible.
As with everything in life, variety in sensible quantities is best. It is true that cooking alters your food, but whilst vitamins like Vitamin C are lost when cooked other nutrients are increased.
So for vegetables and fruit, raw is best, but to ring the changes it is fine to steam or stir fry. Try to avoid cooking methods that involve lots of animal or vegetable fats like deep frying.
Clean Eating Meal Plan
Pick one dish from each of the following three meals a day, using sensible portion sizes, plus two items from the snacks list.
- Porridge, made with oats, semi-skimmed milk and handful of berries
- Spinach and pepper two-egg omelette
- Pot of full-fat Greek yoghurt with sliced banana and handful of almonds
- Pancakes made with wholemeal flour, milk and one egg, drizzled with maple syrup and raspberries
- Banana and almond smoothie made with banana, semi-skimmed milk, teaspoon almond butter (or peanut butter), teaspoon of cinnamon
- Spinach and rocket leaves salad with one can of rinsed cannellini beans, handful of cherry tomatoes, half an avocado, sliced, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing
- Tuna and salad wholemeal wrap with half a chopped red pepper
- Lentil and vegetable soup with a granary roll
- Salad of hard-boiled egg slices, asparagus, steamed new potatoes and two teaspoons of melted butter
- Baked sweet potato with homemade veggie or beef chilli topping
- Chicken and mixed veg stir-fry with organic soy sauce and wholegrain noodles
- Prawns cooked with mango slices, coconut milk, grated ginger and three chopped spring onions, served with brown basmati rice
- Shepherd’s pie made with minced lamb, veg and topped with sweet potato mash
- Grilled steak with grilled mushroom and tomatoes, plus side salad
- Spaghetti bolognese, served with wholemeal pasta or courgette ribbons.
- Small handful of any unsalted nuts
- Piece of any fruit
- Full-fat fruit yoghurt with no additives
- Hummus with carrot sticks
- Apple slices with peanut butter
Clean eating is definitely not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time.
How Can BodyUK Help You Eat Clean?
BodyUK know all too well that exercising is just part of the process to achieving your training goals. Getting your diet right is vital if you want to progress, but it isn’t necessarily easy with so much information out there to understand what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
That’s why we will provide you with a clear diet plan if you choose to work with one of our personal trainers, to make sure that you’re on the right track to achieving your goals. Find out more about personal training with BodyUK.
If you’d rather workout in a group environment, then you could attend our outdoor fitness bootcamp. What sets BodyUK’s outdoor classes apart is the constant support you’ll receive from our team. We will provide you with a diet plan and be on hand to answer any of your questions. Learn more about our outdoor fitness classes. We even offer a FREE taster session!
If you have any questions then please do get in touch with Jem, the Head Coach at BodyUK via email [email protected] or phone 0203 289 1915 for a confidential conversation.