Full body fitness is about maintaining a workout routine and following a healthy diet. When you are shaping your fitness plan, it’s crucial to pay attention to your exercise plan and eating habits to boost your health and get the results you are looking for.
Clean eating is a popular dietary practice that focuses on eating fresh, natural, nutritious foods and avoiding overly processed products. This method of eating is beneficial for many reasons. If you are hoping to do some spring cleaning for your diet this season, here is an introduction to clean eating and a few reasons to try it!
Why Try Clean Eating?
As the name suggests, clean eating means eating “clean” foods that are minimally processed, including lean protein, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Some benefits of clean eating include:
- Plentiful vitamins and minerals in your meals
- Reduced risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
- Improved gut health
- Better mood regulation and even reduced symptoms of mood disorders
Tips For Cleaner Eating Habits This Spring
If you are interested in harnessing the benefits of clean eating, there are a few simple steps you can take to get started. Put some of the following practices into action to make your diet cleaner and healthier.
Be Smart With Processed Foods
Avoiding processed foods is a common guideline for clean eating. However, many people lack a clear definition of what qualifies as a processed food.
Processed foods are any foods that have been modified before consumption. This means that everything from a grilled steak to boxed macaroni and cheese is considered processed. Some processed foods — such as juice with added vitamins or pre-cut, bagged vegetables — are perfectly healthy contributors to a balanced diet. Heavily processed foods, on the other hand, can take a big toll on your health. Some processed foods to avoid include:
- Processed meats such as sausages, pepperoni, and bacon because they are high in fat and tied to risk of numerous health conditions. Opt instead for lean proteins such as turkey, salmon, tofu and eggs.
- Baked goods such as cookies, cakes and pies. These foods are high in sugars and low in nutritional value and therefore should be consumed minimally (even though they taste so good….)
- Industrially-produced oils. Many people are familiar with the idea of “bad fats versus good fats.” Bad fats, including saturated fats and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease, increase your caloric intake, and more. Instead, choose oils rich in “good fats,” such as olive oil, coconut oil, and butter.
- Chips and fries. These are high in fat and low in nutritional value.
Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains offer more nutritional value than other types of grains. Opting for whole grain pastas and breads can ensure your diet is rich in a number of compounds, including B vitamins, iron, potassium and more. If you are unsure what type of grains you are buying, be sure to check the ingredient label for detailed information. Some foods that can help you incorporate whole grains into your diet include:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat crackers, pastas, and breads
- Whole grain cereals
Watch Out For Additives
Because clean eating is centered around eating fresh, natural, and minimally processed foods, avoiding additives is key to eating a clean diet. This means checking labels for added sugars, extra salt, additional preservatives, and other artificial flavors and avoiding foods with excessive quantities of these ingredients. Some best practices for avoiding foods with lots of additives and sweeteners include:
- Watch out for hidden sugars. While most people know desserts are high in sugar, sugar can also be hiding in foods you thought were healthy, such as pasta sauces, salad dressings, yogurts and more. This is why it is important to always check labels for sugar content!
- Avoid artificial additives such as artificial coloring, Aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners.
- Make sure your diet is full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Swap out sugary snacks for healthier options such as vegetables and hummus, nuts, and other nutritious options.
Choose Your Beverages Wisely
Clean eating doesn’t only apply to your food choices, but to your beverages too! While many beverages may be marketed as healthy and hydrating, taking a deeper look into what you are actually drinking is wise to avoid hidden sugars and empty calories. Paying attention to sugar levels in your beverages and opting for healthier choices is a great habit to get into this spring. A few ways you can make smarter beverage choices this season include:
- Drink ample water. Having a water bottle with you throughout your day can help you remember to stay hydrated.
- Avoid sugary lattes and coffee beverages. Opt instead for black coffee or coffee with low-sugar sweetener.
- Skip sodas and alcohol or drink them in moderation.
- Read fruit juice, sports beverage and ice tea labels before purchasing. These beverages may have up to 32 grams, or eight teaspoons, of added sugars, so it is crucial to check labels and purchase lower-sugar options.
To keep up with the latest health and fitness tips from Northwest Crossfit, keep in touch on social media. For ideas on where to dine out in Seattle while maintaining your healthy eating habits, check out these seven healthy restaurants in town!
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.