The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

July 13, 2017 / FITNESS
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I put together this beginners guide to clean eating because I know how frustrating it can be to have to research every single question instead of having it all in one place. I also know how annoying it can be to do all of that research, start eating clean and then find out there was something you were missing.

I started eating clean when I was pregnant with my first son and diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I knew that having GD increased my risk of becoming diabetic in the future, so I immediately made a change.

When I began clean eating, I immediately found that I had way more energy, wasn’t as swollen, and stopped gaining so much weight. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked!

==> In a hurry? Get your 21 Day Clean Eating Meal Plan now!

So here it is…

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

Absolutely the best and ultimate beginners guide to clean eating! Everything from what clean eating is and how to get started to clean eating recipes and meal plans!

What Does Clean Eating Mean?

Clean eating is a super simple concept. It’s not even a diet; it’s a healthy lifestyle approach to food and how you prepare it.

Instead of focusing on the idea of eating more or less of specific things (for example, less calories or more protein), clean eating is more about being mindful of what happens to your food from it’s origin to your plate.

To put it simply, clean eating is about eating lots of whole, real foodsveggies, fruits, whole-grains, animal and plant-based protein, nuts, seeds and oils.

It also means that what you eat should be as close to nature as possible — minimally processed, not packaged, etc.

This is why cooking at home and finding good ingredients are so important.

Why Eat Clean?

You’ll live longer

Study after study has shown that consuming the foods that clean eating consists of can lengthen your life-span. A recent JAMA Internal Medicine report found that each additional 28-gram serving of whole grains per day was associated with a 5% lower risk of dying from any cause. And in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that increasing your produce intake to more than 569 grams per day reduces your risk of mortality by 10%. 

More energy

High-fiber fruits take longer to digest and can instantly boost your energy while providing critical vitamins for the evening ahead. Other pick-me-ups include quinoa, almonds, eggs, kale, citrus fruit and a good-old-fashioned glass of water- all things that are a part of a clean diet.

Processed and junk food, on the other hand, are known to quickly drain your energy and leave you feeling sluggish. And no one wants a food coma when there is work and/or kids waiting for you!

You’ll build muscle & burn fat

The lean protein that is a part of clean eating builds lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism. You already know that muscle makes you stronger, but did you know that it also helps you burn fat throughout the day?

Weight loss

Losing weight starts in the kitchen, and if you are not already eating clean the switch is going to make a big difference in your body.

Remember, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet- so eating clean is key!

Here is my own clean eating weight loss journey:

Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

How to Begin Clean Eating

Clean Out Your Fridge

  • Clean out your kitchen

    The first thing you are going to have to do is clean out your kitchen. Go through your kitchen and donate or toss any foods that are not clean.

    If it’s there, you’ll eat it- if it’s not, you wont. Simple.

  • Re-stock your kitchen

    Replace all the unhealthy items you tossed foods from a healthy clean eating grocery list.

    • Limit processed foods. (Remember that not everything that comes out of a box, bag or can is bad for you. For example, baby spinach and chickpeas are “clean” packaged foods.)
    • Go for whole grains instead of refined grains. (The packaging will tell you it’s whole grain)
    • Up your veggie & fruit intake.
    • Avoid sweets like soda, candy and baked goods.
    • Look for foods without sugar as an ingredient, or make sure it’s listed towards the bottom, which means less of it is used in the food.
  • Plan ahead

    Eating clean is ten times easier when you are prepared. Take a few minutes on Sunday to plan all of your meals for the week.

    You can even take it a step further and prep all of your meals for the week on Sunday (or whatever day works for you).

  • Make a list & stick to it 

    Before going to the grocery store, write up your healthy clean eating grocery list and do not stray from it! If it’s not on your list, don’t buy it. Seriously.

    Don’t end up with pop tarts in your cart. Just avoid that aisle completely.

  • Don’t drink your calories!

    The only thing you should be drinking is water or fruit infused water.

healthy ways to flavor water

Clean Eating Essentials

Portion Control ContainersPortion Control Containers

Portion Control Containers

Learning about portion sizes is super important. You definitely want to work towards eating within healthy portions. When eating clean, diet is as much about quantity as it is quality.

Portion control containers make portioning out your food WAY easier.

There is a container for proteins, fruits, veggies, healthy fats and healthy carbs. All you do is fill them with the correct food and you’ll have one healthy portion.

The set also comes with the calculation so you’ll know how much of each portion you should have every day.

If you use this throughout your day, you’re not going to overeat.

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3-Compartment BPA FREE Stackable Meal Prep Food Storage Containers Meal Prep Food Storage ContainersMeal Prep Containers

Meal prepping is the best way to stay on track when it comes to clean eating, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle.

When you meal prep, you know exactly what you’re going to eat for every meal. You also have everything already prepared so you are way less likely to stray from your plan.

It also saves you money because you’re not eating out all the time.

These meal prep containers are perfect for meal prepping, last a long time, do not take up a lot of room and are priced great!

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Protein PowderProtein Powder

High Quality Protein Powder

If you are going to want to drink a shake or make desserts, it is important to have a high quality protein powder.

This IdealLean Protein Powder is the best tasting one I have found and only 80 calories!!

It has 0 sugar, 0 fat and 0 carbs- which is amazing! It also has 20g of protein. Really, there isn’t a better protein powder for women.

I use it to make protein pancakes, protein mug cake, protein muffins, etc.

I recommend having vanilla and chocolate flavors on hand so you can switch things up!

==> You can get 10% off of your IdealLean protein powder by using the code Jess10 at checkout!

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Jaxx FitPak with Portion Control Container Set, Reusable Ice Pack, and Shaker Cup (Black/Pink)Jaxx FitPak with Portion Control Container Set, Reusable Ice Pack, and Shaker Cup 

Meal Prep Lunch Bag

If staying on track while you’re at work or out & about is your concern, this lunchbox is perfect for you!

It’s insulated yet small enough to fit in a regular sized fridge while holding enough of your meals to get you through a few hours.

You can pack your breakfast, lunch and snacks all in to this bag.

It also comes with a shaker bottle that you can use for a shake, infused water, or any supplements you may be taking.

This is the best priced and sized meal prep bag I have found and is great quality.

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Nature Nate's 100% Pure, Raw and Unfiltered Honey, 32 OunceNature Nate’s 100% Pure, Raw and Unfiltered Honey, 32 Ounce

100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Sweetener

Giving up sweets is hard, trust me- I know!

But you can still make cleaner versions of sweets to hold you off and satisfy your cravings. However, that means using clean ingredients.

This honey is 100% pure, raw and unfiltered. It actually comes from bees, unlike most of the processed honey you’ll find in the grocery stores.

It’s great to make clean desserts or even to sweeten your coffee!

Common table sugar is a big no, but this is a great replacement with great flavor.

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Simple Clean Eating Recipes

Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

Simple Clean Eating Meal Plan

Changing your diet is a big step, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. But don’t let that feeling stop you from doing something SO good for you!

To help you with the transition, I’ve put together a printable 21 day clean eating meal plan that will make your life much easier.

It includes 21 days of pre-planned clean meals that the whole  family can enjoy. It also includes your weekly grocery list, recipes for every single meal, and a space to journal. 

This will ease you in to clean eating until you feel ready to take the jump and make your own meal plans!

Get your 21 Day Clean Eating Meal Plan by clicking here!

 

Absolutely the best & ultimate beginners guide to clean eating! Everything from what clean eating is & how to get started to clean eating recipes and meal plans!

 

The ultimate beginners guide to clean eating! Absolutely everything you need to know!
11  Comments
  • Adriana says:
    October 12, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Very interesting! I hears about clan eating recently, and didn’t know what it meant. I follow many of the suggestions you mentioned, so I think I’m on the right path 🙂

  • ljerka bilbija says:
    July 3, 2017 at 8:30 am

    I am disappointed that the calories for each meal/day are not listed. I just wasted my $9.00

    • Jessica says:
      July 4, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Hi ljerka,

      So sorry you were disappointed 🙁 . The calories for the day always fall between the calorie range for the bracket you purchased. So each day on bracket 1 the calories would fall between 1,200-1,499 calories. I didn’t add calories for each meal because it’s hard to give exact numbers since it is all home cooked and we don’t necessarily use the exact ingredients. Meaning, you may use a different tomato sauce or brand of pasta than I do and that can alter the calories a bit. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss it more, my email address is Jessica@easylivingtoday.com

  • Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place says:
    July 16, 2017 at 4:57 am

    I appreciate this so much. I am new to the whole eating healthy idea and I think I need a little more guidance. This post definitely helps me with that! Thank you so much!

  • Jess says:
    July 25, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Hi! Not sure if my last post worked as I don’t see it here. For the amounts of each food, if one is not given as far as servings (like 1/2 cup) how much would be a serving ?

  • dizzyizzy says:
    August 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

    has anyone tried this recipe? I have tried multiple times with complete failure…love to waste food

    • Jessica says:
      August 8, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      Are you referring to the ranch dressing? That’s actually not my recipe and I have no clue how it got linked to my site, but I haven’t had any luck removing the link- sorry! I personally just buy OPA greek yogurt ranch dressing at the grocery store.

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