Have you been feeling tired? Weak? Forgetful? When your diet isn’t properly balanced, you can be left feeling sluggish and foggy. If your nutritional choices haven’t been stellar recently, then today is the perfect time to get back on track with clean eating!
The first step is to take control of your diet, and this begins at the grocery store. Make a shopping list and stick to it as you move through the aisles. Set a rule that junk food won’t be allowed in the house. When you’d like to have a treat, go out and make it a special occasion.
Next, think of your balanced diet in terms of a balanced plate. For an easy visual, fill half of your lunch or dinner plate with vegetables, and split the other half between gluten–free whole grains and dairy–free protein. In the morning, you could substitute veggies with fresh fruit if you prefer. White sugar and flour have very little nutritional benefits and should be avoided as part of your clean eating plan.
In between meals, be sure to drink plenty of water, and enjoy small snacks such as a handful of nuts or a piece of fresh fruit to ensure clean eating. By eating fresh unprocessed foods, you’ll be able to take in the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be strong and function optimally. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many Americans are deficient in calcium, potassium, magnesium, choline and vitamins A, C, D and E. Vitamin deficiencies can cause a range of health problems, so if you are pregnant, a vegetarian or vegan, have food allergies or dietary restrictions, or live in a cold-weather climate, your doctor may also suggest a multi–vitamin supplement.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also notes that many Americans don’t consume enough fiber. Fiber plays an important role in the health of your digestive system and in clean eating. An appropriate amount of fiber allows your body to properly cleanse itself and will help you avoid bouts of constipation. Wondering how to get enough? Ideally, you would get all of the fiber you need from fresh whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, gluten–free whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of fiber. If you’re still struggling to consume enough, you could consider adding a fiber boost supplement to a morning protein shake.
So now that you know the basics, grab a pen– or open an app on your smartphone– and write your grocery list. Take control of your health by beginning your clean diet today!
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. (December 2015). Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating. (2015, September 22). Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
Vitamins and Minerals: How to Get What You Need. (2007, October). Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/food-nutrition/nutrients/vitamins-and-minerals-how-to-get-what-you-need.printerview.all.html
Vitamins: MedlinePlus. (2015, April 2). Retrieved July 15, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/vitamins.html