Have you ever made a goal or an intention to eat a cleaner, better balanced diet and didn’t know where to start? Often you have the intention of cleaning up your diet but it can seem so overwhelming. You’re not alone. The first—and easiest—tip is simply to add more whole nutrient dense, plant-based foods to your day. Don’t think about giving anything up. Just add more good to the mix.
Once you’ve started adding, here are four more easy tips to help you make clean choices at meal or snack time:
1. Whole Food over Processed Foods
Tantalizing packaging and luscious food photos call to you from every aisle of the grocery store. Although those pretty packages might be appealing, highly refined foods are stripped of their nutrient value. You’re better off sticking to foods that will fuel your body by choosing whole foods over processed foods. Try to make most of the foods you eat ones with single ingredients that resemble something you would find in nature.
2. Pick Plant-Based Foods
Eating an abundance of plant-based foods helps feed your body with the nutrients it craves. Plant-based foods are naturally full of vitamins and minerals. Choose fruits and vegetables that are from all colors of the rainbow to get a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Remember—variety is the spice of life! Challenge yourself to try one new fruit or vegetable a week that you’ve never tried before.
3. Stay Away from Artificials
Whole foods won’t have any artificial ingredients added to them, but when reality has you reaching for something in a package, make sure it’s free of artificial colors, flavors, and ingredients. I want my foods to be natural in color, there should be no need to alter it. Artificial flavors are hard to trace to their original ingredients, so it’s best to avoid them. Avoid artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame, and choose natural sweeteners such as stevia, maple syrup or coconut palm nectar instead.
4. Beware of Sensitivity Aggravating Ingredients
Have you ever experienced a headache or maybe some stomach upset after a meal? It’s possible you may be sensitive to some foods. Three of the top sensitivity aggravating ingredients are dairy, gluten, and soy. Whether you’re trying to avoid one of these ingredients or all three, there are more dairy, gluten, or soy-free options to choose from than ever. Many companies are now providing alternatives that are free of these top three sensitivity aggravating ingredients. Vega products are gluten-free and made without dairy and soy for that reason.
Stay tuned for 4 more tips next week that will help you incorporate clean eating into your life today.