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It’s time to start eating better! These five habits for eating clean will definitely help with New Year’s resolutions.
The new year is a great time to evaluate your eating habits. If you’re like me, December is not your best month for eating clean. We still have a few sugary goodies floating around from Christmas stockings and cookie swaps. It’s fun to enjoy these special treats now and then, but my body is ready to focus on real food again.
If you’re new to eating an unprocessed diet or you’re just trying to reset your system, these habits will help get you on track. They’re all simple, common sense practices that you probably already know you should be doing. Whether you eat a vegan diet, a Paleo diet, or anywhere in between, making a commitment to these five habits will help keep you healthy and energized.
Five Habits for Eating Clean
Drink Lots of Water.
Drink a big glass of water every time you eat a meal or snack. This will keep you hydrated, flush your system of toxins and germs, and steer you clear of sugary beverages. Squeeze a little lemon juice into your water once or twice a day too. This can improve your immune system, your skin, and your body’s alkalinity. Read this post about the benefits of lemon water for more details.
Read Ingredient Labels.
Being aware of what’s in your food is the most important step toward eating clean. I’ll never forget how surprised I was when I first started reading ingredient labels. I couldn’t believe that a container of Planter’s peanuts had 13 ingredients and a can of Bumblebee tuna had 5 ingredients. I try to focus my diet on single-ingredient foods that don’t need an ingredient label. For packaged food, I look for very short ingredient lists with ingredients that I would cook with at home. I typically avoid items with added sweeteners or chemical-sounding things in the ingredient list.
Eat Homemade Food.
The best way to know what you’re eating is to make it yourself. This is the only way to control the ingredients you’re feeding your family. It takes time to cook food from scratch, but it’s healthier and more affordable than take-out or processed food. Most of us don’t have time to make everything from scratch, but you can gradually add different recipes into your weekly routine. Things like homemade yogurt, bread, and energy bars take only a few minutes of hands-on time to make. Once you incorporate them into your routine, it won’t feel like you’re taking on something extra.
Plan Your Meals.
Eating clean is impossible without a meal plan. We get hungry several times a day, and if we don’t have a plan we’ll frequently end up eating unhealthy food. Once you get into the habit of meal planning, you’ll feel lost when you don’t have a plan. Read my post about how to meal plan to learn my tips for making this process go smoothly. You can download my custom weekly meal plan template to get yourself started.
Rotate Your Diet.
If you eat the same foods over and over, even healthy ones, your body will eventually revolt. Food sensitivities can develop when we eat too much of certain foods. Also, when we eat the same small sampling of foods, we’re missing out on essential nutrients in the many foods we’re not eating. Try adding a new type of grain or vegetable each week, and experiment with different recipes that you haven’t tried before. Read my post about the benefits of a rotation diet for more details.
If this list seems overwhelming, pick one of these habits and do it for a month. Come back and let us know what your experience was like. Also, please share your tips for eating clean. We can learn a lot from each other.