How to Eat Clean for Beginners

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If youve found yourself searching for some tips and tools on how to eat clean for beginners, youve likely discovered that this can be an overwhelming section of the internet.

From learning exactly what clean eating is, to knowing how to meal prep for the week so that you succeed, allow the following 7 tips to be your guide and help you sort through the confusion so you can keep your focus on what really matters when it comes to your healthy eating journey.

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What does clean eating mean?

Eating clean means different things for different people. But in general, it refers to a healthy lifestyle where you choose real, clean foods over fast food and junk food. The focus is on nutrient-dense foods and fresh produce over unhealthy foods that contain unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients, and additives.

A clean eating diet is not necessarily for weight management as much as its about making healthier choices that promote overall health. Though weight loss can be a nice consequence of sustained clean eating.

A lot of people notice the health benefits of a stronger immune system, clearer mental health, renewed taste buds, and a reduction in high blood pressure after embracing a clean eating lifestyle.

Lets remember - clean eating is not about portion control. The best part may be that when eating a clean diet you dont have to worry as much about how much you eat, as what you are eating is good for you.

There is also a common misconception that clean eating is expensive. You may have heard this and its discouraged you from getting started. Its actually possible to eat really well on a clean eating diet for less than you are spending now. These tips for healthy eating on a budget can help.

The good thing about clean eating is that it has just a few simple rules and is very adaptable to your life.

Clean Eating Tips for Beginners

While getting started with clean eating can be overwhelming, especially as a busy mom, its worth it because of the health benefits for you and your family. So here are my best tips for starting clean eating in a stress free way.

1 – Progress over Perfection

Ok, this is technically more of a mindset shift than a tip, however, it is key to your continued success on your healthy eating journey.

Allow for the ups and down, the imperfect days and the times where you get pulled back into old patterns…then KEEP going towards your goals.

Theres an all or nothing mindset that often sneaks its way into our minds when seeking a new, healthier lifestyle habits, but this is no place for such thoughts.

After all, youre just getting started with clean eating so give yourself some grace, allow yourself to be a beginner and just keep moving forwards toward your goals.

Small changes over time can still lead to huge results.

2 – Choose Whole Food

This might be an obvious tip for some, but it really does get overlooked sometimes. Real, unprocessed foods will provide the most nutrient dense options you and your family need and should be your focus moving forward.

When you think of whole foods, think of things like:

  • fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • lean protein and meats
  • seafood
  • whole grains
  • natural oils
  • seeds and nuts
  • legumes
  • herbs

These are all things natural that have passed the test of time!

This might mean researching more about the nutritional value of the foods youre eating now and unlearning some things youve learned in the past. The more you learn about food the more youll be motivated to make positive changes.

Now is a good time to think of removing foods that contain artificial/synthetic ingredients and to be mindful of choosing organic real food when possible to avoid harmful chemicals in and on your foods.

If you need some inspiration, feel free to use this clean eating food list as a guide, or sign up to grab a copy below.

Dont be surprised if you start to notice a more balanced mood in your kids as you dive into this transition, they will also thrive on balanced, whole foods!

3 – Avoid Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes

While this also ties in with choosing whole foods, it really does deserve its own spotlight here.

Knowing that one should limit their sugar intake, many beginners try to be mindful of sugar consumption and think that a low calorie sweetener might be helpful, however, turns out this is not the case.

Studies show that the use of artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes have been linked to disruption of the microbiome, insulin resistance, weight gain and poor metabolic health. Some research even shows that the tendency to overeat may be a result of the consumption of those empty calorie sweeteners.

So, when the need for something sweet arises, choose one of these below.

Sweet You Can Eat while Clean Eating

Nature provides many options for both you and your kids sweet tooth, so dont let it hold you back from exploring healthy eating.

4 – Befriend your Healthy Fats

After all these years, fat still gets a bad rap. Healthy fat, however, is a necessary staple in a healthy diet for both children and adults.

Healthy fats are required for cell health, immune function, gut and brain health…the list goes on.

Think again of those natural, whole foods when it comes to your healthy fats.

Best Healthy Fats for Clean Eating:

  • avocado
  • hemp seeds
  • grass fed butter
  • fats from pasture raised animals
  • coconut oil
  • ghee
  • high quality olive oil

Use fats to balance out your meals, to help keep you feel full longer, and prevent blood sugar imbalances throughout the day.

TIP: when kids (and Adults) have a healthy fat with their meals/snacks you can avoid those energy highs and lows during the day. Check out these meal prep snack boxes with combos of protein, healthy fats and fruits and veggies.

5 – Grocery Shopping

One of the best ways to ensure your success with healthy eating is to have your clean eating grocery list ready when you head out shopping.

If you go to the grocery store without a plan, its likely that youll put the usual items in your basket because thats what youre familiar with.

Instead, start creating a healthy grocery list throughout the week to make sure you know exactly what ingredients you need to buy in order to make those healthy meals for you and your family.

Try to choose the majority of your foods from around the perimeter of the grocery store. Thats where the majority of clean foods are found in the produce, dairy and meats sections.

Since shifting your food purchases can also affect your spending, check out our eating healthy on a budget guide for tips and ideas to help.

6 – Meal Planning and Prepping

Once youre feeling a little more settled on what foods to eat, time to think of how you are going to make it happen.

Meal planning and prepping is probably the most valuable tool in your tool kit when it comes to beginning your clean eating journey.

When you have a clean eating meal plan, or at least a solid guide on what youre eating for the day/week, youre not only saving time - huge bonus! - but studies also show youre more likely to have a better variety of foods and higher odds of maintaining any weight loss efforts.

From batch cooking and freezer meals to cleaning and chopping veggies for the week, meal prepping just might become your new favorite tool to help you and your family stay on that clean eating track all week.

Use this weekly meal prep guide to help you get started on all things meal prep and be sure to ask the kids which healthy meals are their favorite so you can keep these in the weekly rotation!

These meal prep tips for busy moms can help too.

7 – Get the Family Involved

The best way to get the family on board with your healthy eating habits is to get them involved in the action. Base your meal plan on healthy variations of what your family likes, then get them to help with putting meals together.

Even very young kids, as young as 18 months can toss ingredients into a bowl or pan. The more they help in the kitchen when they are young the more they will embrace healthy eating as a lifestyle as they get older.

Try creating healthy fruit popsicles, smoothies and tasty energy balls with the kids and test out a new recipe every month.

Experiment with shifting to healthy, whole food ingredients in some of your staple recipes like pancakes or muffins so youre adding nutrients while creating something new with the kids.

Adding fun around this new clean eating adventure will help build the energy with the entire household so you dont feel like youre flying solo.

Make sure to stick around and check out all out resources for healthy eating with a family.

Sign up down below to get your free printable food list and meal planner template and to get email updates with clean eating recipes and tips.

Simple Recipes for Clean Eating

Now that you know how to get started with clean eating, check out some of our favorite easy recipes for eating healthy with a family.

Clean Eating Dinner Ideas for Family

30 Healthy Recipes for Moms (to nourish you through motherhood!)

Clean Eating Breakfast Ideas

Clean Eating Meal Plan for Fall

Healthy Ice Tea Recipes (with fruit and natural sweeteners!)

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