Clean Eating for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started

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You've heard of clean eating. You have an idea of what it is, but you aren't 100% sure. You want to take care of your body sooner rather than later. No one wants their body to breakdown. Yet, many choose to do the opposite of clean eating. Would we call that dirty or garbage eating?

Did you know that 4 out of 10 Americans are considered obese? Many people grow up in households with zero education on healthy eating. The school system doesn't seem to help educate on healthy eating either. It's no wonder that clean eating sometimes seems its a mystery.

It's important to assess what your goals are when it comes to health, fitness and clean eating. For example, an elite athlete will eat cleaner than a mom who wants to lose 10 lbs in general. Whether you are an athlete or a mom, these kitchen staples will help on your path to clean eating.

Ready to start eating healthier but not sure where to start? Read this guide to clean eating for beginners for everything you need to know to get started.


Clean Eating for Beginners

The first step to take in clean eating for beginners is to be aware of your triggers and habits. For example, do you tend to overeat when you are sad? Or, do you undereat when you are pressed with a deadline at work?

You are likely aware of what triggers you with over or undereating. With clean or clearer eating, self-awareness is key. 

Think of easy ways to set yourself up for success with changing habits, grocery shopping, and meal prep. Clean eating starts with changing and replacing your habits. A great idea is to start with 1-2 habits monthly.

For example, do you regularly buy chips and ice cream? How about substituting with flavored rice cakes and greek yogurt? This is a great start for a beginner. If you are out and forgot to pack a snack, look for Healthy You Vending for healthy snacks.

Be mindful of how often you eat out and what you eat. By making easy adjustments, your waistline and wallet will thank you. By shifting habits every month, you will be amazed at your healthier lifestyle in a few months.

Stay focused on slow and steady. This isn't a race to the clean eating championships. Keep in mind that it takes 21-66 days to form a habit.

Here are some tips for clean eating for beginners.


1. Assess Your Habits

Assess your habits in eating currently. Do you over or undereat? What are your triggers? How do you handle emotions with food? Are you preparing yourself in any way for success?

Action items to take your first month include changing and replacing 1-2 habits. Pick 1 habit related to not eating, overeating, or unhealthy food. Replace your habits with new ones. For example, bring healthy snacks to prevent not eating, Instead of overeating, get an appetizer. 

There are several small steps to take towards clean eating. Another great example is replacing any white starches with complex carbs like sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or brown rice.


2. Drink More Water

Most people walk around dehydrated every day. When you don't drink enough water, you may mistake thirst for hunger. If you mistake thirst for hunger, there is a good chance you'll overeat.

Some ideas to drink more water include carrying bottled water all the time, adding fruit to water, and drinking water every time you use the bathroom. All three of these actions will help you stay hydrated.


3. More Color Please

A quick way to see how clean you or anyone else is eating is to look at the colors on the plate. For example, if you have lots of colors, there are definitely vegetables and fruits on the plate. Make sense?

Our bodies benefit from vegetables and fruits in many ways from digestion to brain health to boosting our immune systems. To make clean eating for beginners fun, get your kids involved to count the colors on everyone's plate. 


4. Reduce Your Caffeine

Cut the caffeine. If are low on energy and consume large amounts of coffee, your body is signaling you. This is usually an indicator that your body is out of balance on the nutrients it needs like protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Not convinced yet? Coffee in large doses may cause anxiety too. Think about substituting with tea too.


5. Smart Grocery Shopping

A health hack you will love for clean eating for beginners is shopping on the outer edges of the grocery store. This means the produce, fish, meat, and dairy sections. For the most part, the sections in the middle other than maybe multi-grain bread and rice cake snacks don't have too much to offer.

This will help curb your shopping for foods that aren't so clean.


6. Eat More Often

How often do you eat? After you change and replace habits and practice smart grocery shopping, start eating more often. When you eat smaller meals every three hours, your metabolism is sped up. If your metabolism is sped up, it's easier to lose weight and keep it off.

You are what you eat. If you put into the body food that fuels you daily like protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, everything changes from the inside out.


7. Eating Out Tips

Are you eating out often? How many times a week? What do you eat? Some easy tips for clean eating for beginners are reducing the number of times you eat out. Make a choice 1-2 times a week to bring your lunch or cook dinner at home.

When you do eat out, make better choices. For example, ask the waiter to have the chef cook with olive oil instead of butter. Consider ordering one meal and splitting it. A great idea to do with friends that is healthier and will feel extra special is cooking for them at your house instead of eating out.


Clean Eating

These 7 tips for clean eating for beginners will help you get results. They are simple for you to implement day to day and revisit monthly.

Don't you owe it to yourself to be happier and healthier? Decide which one of the tips for clean eating are the easiest for you to start. Choose 1 to 3 of them and start this week.

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