There is something about spring that makes people want to “start over” or “renew”. These are the words that we see often thrown around and used. People try to do spring cleaning around the home to get rid of items that are cluttering their living space for a better peace of mind. This can also apply to nutrition, since it is during the spring season that many decide to go on fad diets to get ready for their “summer body”. Juicing, paleo, low carb, are all diets that we have heard floating around. However, none of these would be necessary if people chose to eat clean.

What is clean eating?

Clean eating is often confused with eating only organic foods but this is not the case. Eating clean is about eating the least amount of processed foods as possible. The thought can be daunting because the percentage of processed foods that we consume is high.

Limit Processed Foods

Processed foods all contain high levels of sodium, additives, dyes, and sugars, which are all used to preserve the food longer. Is your food sitting on a shelf or in a cupboard? Chances are it contains ingredients that most people cannot pronounce. Most people choose these types of foods because they are much easier to prepare and many are limited on time.

Make more meals yourself

Time is an important factor but there are always ways to make room for food prep. Start small by making your own sauces or salad dressings. Prepared versions are often full of unnecessary added sugar but healthy versions are also quick to make yourself. Here is one salad dressing that is delicious and healthy, and of course quick on time!

3 Ingredient Apple Salad Dressing
1 Apple
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
● Grate apple in a bowl making sure to get all the liquid from the apple in as well. Leave the skin on!
● Add oil and vinegar and mix together.
● That’s it!

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Yes you have heard this before but fruits and vegetables are sure to be unprocessed food. They have the needed vitamins and minerals and most importantly, fiber! Purchase a mix of colorful produce and store properly. It is easy to take vegetables and add them to soups, salads, omelettes, and sandwiches. Stir-fries are also quick to make for dinner and a great way to get in your vegetables.

Cut back on Sugar

This is perhaps the hardest of the clean eating rules to follow because sugar is one of the most used additives. It is hard to avoid and is in foods that you would never suspect such as tomato sauce and yogurt. The average women should have no more than 6 teaspoons a day and for men 9 teaspoons. Most people do exceed this limit but there are ways to work on cutting back. One rule of thumb again is to make your own foods such as tomato sauce. Another tip is to buy plain yogurt and then add fresh fruit. Flavored yogurt is often packed with additives and sugar, and purchasing the plain version will be better for you all around.

The bottom line? Clean eating is only a daunting thought because as a society we are used to buying for convenience. However, this also affects one’s health because of the added ingredients such as sodium, sugar, and additives. With practice, it is easier to eliminate processed foods and incorporate more healthful foods.