Clean Eating and Four Ways to Achieve It - PIH Health

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Published on June 08, 2015

Clean Eating and Four Ways to Achieve It

Fresh fruits and vegetables for clean eating

Clean Eating“Eating clean” or “Clean eating” or “real food” may be a trend that you’ve heard about but you may not necessarily know the meaning behind it. Eating clean is about consuming foods in their most natural form. What does that mean? It means staying away from processed and refined foods, and instead selecting the healthiest options in each of the food groups and minimizing or eliminating the unhealthy options that tempt most of us on a daily basis.

If you’re thinking about improving the foods you intake and want a jumpstart on eating clean, then these four tips are for you:

1. Stay Away from Processed and Refined Foods (food-like products)
According to EatingWell, processed foods “often come in a box or a bag, can be high in added sugars, low in fiber and whole grains, processed with preservatives, sodium, high in fat and contain trans-fat and saturated fat.” Processed and refined foods include things like: cereal, frozen pizza, instant oatmeal, frozen dinners, crackers, chips and cookies. These foods offer minimal nutrition and often are high in calories. These “snack foods” and convenience items have now become a mainstay of many people’s diets – but they are really not needed in a healthy diet.

2. Consume Unprocessed and Minimally Processed Foods
Unprocessed foods include: fresh fruits and vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats, nuts, dried beans, legumes, farm-fresh eggs, unprocessed meat, fish and poultry (when you can choose: wild caught, pastured, and grain-fed) and BGH-free milk

Minimally processed foods include: frozen fruits and vegetables, canned beans, unrefined and unfortified grains (ie whole wheat bread, pasta,), natural peanut butter, oils and hormone-free dairy. Cheese is a minimally processed food, as is yogurt and butter.

3. Shop Clean
A good rule of thumb when shopping clean is to stay around the border of the supermarket. The freshest and healthiest foods are along the walls of the store and the unhealthy, processed foods are found in the inner aisles of the market. Stay away from the middle aisles – this is the danger zone!

4. Cook Clean
Most vegetables are more nutritious when they are cooked al dente. PaleoLeap shares methods for cooking vegetables while simultaneously retaining optimal nutrition.

It is always best to eat foods closest to their natural state to get the most nutrition.

“It is better to eat an apple than applesauce or eat an orange than drink orange juice,” said PIH Health Clinical Nutrition Manager and Director of Diabetes Education Danielle Halewijn RD CDE. “However, it’s understandable that people add a little convenience into their busy lives by choosing pre-cut salads or pre-marinated meats.”

We should all aim to include more whole foods and eliminate unnecessary processed foods.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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