This clean eating plan will have you feeling great in no time!
If you feel like your diet needs a bit of a tune up but are overwhelmed as to where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This spring cleaning season, cleaning up your diet doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. This 7-day clean eating plan will help you jumpstart your efforts to eat healthier. Skip the complicated cleanses this year and try these nutritionist-tested steps that are proven to have a lasting impact on your nutrition intake and your overall health.
What is clean eating?
So what is “clean eating,” anyway? Clean eating is a term used to describe simply eating whole, unprocessed foods. As opposed to other eating regimens that focus on eating (or not eating) specific foods, clean eating focuses on eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.
Less of a diet and more a way of eating, some of the benefits of clean eating include:
- An improvement in overall health and well-being
- Weight loss
- Clear skin
- More energy
- A reduced risk of disease
- Good mental health
- and more.
A checklist: 3 clean eating principles
So how do you know if what you are eating is considered to be clean?
When trying to determine if a food or meal is “clean” or not, consider these 3 principles:
Did it grow, walk or swim?
In his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan sums up clean eating in 7 words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. As a general rule of thumb, if what you are eating didn’t grow outside, walk or swim, it is not technically a whole, clean food.
Does it contain ingredients you can’t pronounce?
If what you are eating contains words you have never heard of before or can’t pronounce, like propyl gallate or potassium bromate, toss it. As Pollan puts it, “don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
Can you find it in the perimeter of the supermarket?
The next time you are at the supermarket, notice how whole foods, for the most part, are all in the perimeter of the market. This is where you can find produce, poultry and fish and fresh dairy and eggs. Aside from whole grains, most of the items in the aisles come in boxes, and are packaged foods you want to avoid.
Your 7-Day Clean Eating Plan
Day 1: Drink more water and do a kitchen clean out
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 43 percent of adults drink less than 4 cups of water a day. The first step to clean eating? Drink more water! Drinking more clean, pure water will:
- Increase the speed of your metabolism
- Aid your body in releasing toxins
- Oxygenate your blood and cells
- Increase your immunity
- Aid your digestion and more.
Drink 64 ounces of water every day this week, beginning today.
Additionally, today is a great day to do a kitchen clean out. Toss anything in your kitchen that doesn’t follow the three clean eating principles outlined above.
Day 2: Cut out processed foods
Today, focus on eliminated processed foods from your diet.
How? It’s easier than it sounds! Now that your kitchen is clean, go to the supermarket and stick to shopping in the side aisles only. Stock up on items that follow the three clean eating principles. Skip anything that has more than five ingredients, and be wary of foods that tout health benefits. More often than not the foods that are truly clean, like fruit and vegetables, don’t have marketing teams behind them.
Purchase plenty of:
- Whole grains: Such as brown rice and farro.
- Plant-based protein: Including canned or dried beans and quinoa.
- Lean protein: Chicken breasts, fish and lean meat are great sources of lean protein
- Fruits and vegetables: Adults need anywhere from 7-13 cups of produce daily. Stock up! Organic and local is always best.
Day 3: Make healthy swaps
Today, focus on making healthy swaps and “trading up” your choices. For instance:
- Swap your morning glass of orange juice for a whole orange
- Instead of spreading butter on your bread, spread avocado
- Put whole milk in your coffee instead of a creamer that contains loads of sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Replace processed cheese with a hard-boiled egg on salads and sandwiches
Day 4: Improve your snacks
Did you know that most dieticians recommend eating more than three meals a day? Eating healthy snacks throughout the day can:
- Boost your metabolism
- Ward off cravings
- Control blood sugar
Focus on snacks that combine protein with carbohydrates, as they will keep you fuller, longer. Avoid anything that is high in sugar (4 g of sugar = 1 t). Hummus, popcorn, bananas, nuts, high quality meats and cheese are all great options. Need some snacking inspiration? Pinterest is a great resource.
Day 5: Focus on breakfast
By now, you should be feeling a bit better! Now that you’re in the groove of drinking more water and eating whole foods, switch up your breakfast routine.
If you like salty foods in the morning: Have some hard boiled eggs with a bit of salt and pepper and a piece of whole grain toast.
For a sweeter breakfast: Try having a smoothie.
Try something creamy: Mix 1 cup of steel cut oats with 4 cups of almond milk in a pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Enjoy with greek yogurt with berries.
Day 6: Switch up your lunch
If you typically eat lunch out, remember to always look at the menu ahead of time so you can make choices that are in line with the clean eating principles.
If possible, save some money (and likely calories) by bringing your lunch with you. Make sure it includes plenty of produce, high-quality protein and a whole grain.
If you always look for something sweet after lunch, come prepared with a few pieces of organic, fair-trade dark chocolate. You may also find that as you eat cleaner, your cravings subside.
Day 7: Make a healthy dinner
One of the best things about following a clean eating plan? Recipes tend to be super simple without many ingredients.
In general, strive to combine a simple protein, like fish or chicken, with a whole grain and some steamed or fresh vegetables. That’s it! Here are some great ideas to help you keep your dinners exciting and fresh, yet clean and simple.
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Continue making healthy swaps and focusing on maintaining this way of eating for the next two weeks. After 21 days, you should have this clean eating thing down pat!
Ready to jump start this clean eating plan?
Just by increasing your water intake on Day 1, you should feel an increase in energy immediately. Make Healthy Human your essential clean eating partner. Our products are 100% BPA-free and are built for real life. Be sure to follow our blog for daily health hacks as you continue on your clean eating journey! #takeitwithu
Have another clean eating plan?
Do you have additional tips on how to jumpstart a clean eating regimen? We would love to hear them in the comments below!