Monday, August 22, 2011

3 Secrets To Making Clean Eating A Lifestyle, Not a Short Term Change

One of the ways people who are most successful with Clean Eating stay on path is to have the mindset that they aren't on a diet - they have changed their nutritional intake and this change is now a function of their lifestyle. If you view Clean Eating as a temporary change, you will have a hard time succeeding. Thinking "Well, I won't eat that Pop*Tart now, but I'll be eating that in 6 weeks" will make it difficult to avoid temptations and challenges to your new life without processed foods. Embrace it fully. You'll have the most success.

Here are 3 sound tips to making Clean Eating a lifestyle change:

1. Diversify your diet and include all foods. A balanced meal is one consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fats (yes, fat!). Carbohydrates provide quick energy, protein builds muscle, and fat sustains energy for up to four hours. You can’t lead an active lifestyle without fuel. Eating meals and snacks that contain carbohydrates, protein and fat is the best way to feel satisfied and have sustained energy.

Start by including foods from all of the food groups in your diet, such as low-fat milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats like seafood, beans, eggs and nuts to create balanced meals. Aim to have at least three food groups represented in each snack or meal, and the variety will ensure you get the energy, vitamins and minerals you need.

2. Customize and individualize your diet. Incorporate your personal values into your food choices, and set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish. Don't force yourself to eat certain foods that you know you dislike, just because they are healthy. Don't like tomatoes? Don't eat them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. You are unique and therefore your diet approach should be as well. Is it important for you to buy local food? Are cost and convenience your priorities? Do your cultural traditions take precedence? Consider all of these factors as you take small steps toward your healthy eating goals.

3. Enjoy what you eat. How do you balance weight management with “enjoying” food? Taste, flavor, satiety and pleasure are all important parts of eating, and these factors should be a part of your healthy eating plan. With some savvy meal planning and preparation, you can balance your diet across all five food groups and still include some of those “indulgences” without feeling guilty.Being prepared is a key. You will enjoy Clean Eating much more if you have foods at hand that are acceptable, rather than scrambling at the last minute for something to eat!