Saturday, November 12, 2011

10 Healthy "Pre Clean Eating" Habits

Many of the people who stumble upon my blog find it because they are researching Clean Eating and find me through Google. People in the research stage know they are looking for something, that magic something - but they aren't quite convinced or able to take the steps that lead one to Clean Eating. This is ok! If you are one of these people who perhaps visits my blog and wishes they could start to eat healthier, wishes they could lose weight - wishes they could change their life...I encourage you to look at the following list of 10 steps to take to put yourself on a Clean Eating path. Try to incorporate a few ( not all at once! ) of the tips and then once you get comfortable with those in your routine, look for another to add. Pretty soon, you will realize how easy it is to eat in a healthy manner and you are starting down the path towards a Clean diet.

1. Eat breakfast - Above all, this core tenant of Clean Eating is a must do for anyone who is trying to control their food intake and trying to eat healthier. Eating your calories early in the day give your body the energy it needs to get through the day. Remember: If you aren't hungry for breakfast, it means you ate too much the night before.

2. Drink water instead of soda - Easier said than done, I know - but overall will bring a world of benefits. Water is the lube your body's machine needs. When you are dehydrated, your body doesn't function properly. Soda and its chemical additives may quench your thirst temporarily - however, research has shown soda does increase your appetite, while water sates it.

3. Portion control: Learn to recognize actual portions judged by weights and measures - not by giving it an eyeball. Take less food at your meals. You can always have more - just give yourself a manageable portion to begin with, and then rest for a few minutes before reaching for more. Recognize that most processed and restaurant menu items are hugely inflated. If it seems large, ask the server to box up half of the meal. Start leaning what an actual portion looks like. 

4. No Fast Food: This one is easy- no McDonald's, Burger King, Carl's Jr, Wendy's, Subway, Taco Bell, Popeye's, Pizza Hut. No "we'll grab something quick on our way to the X" Cook your meals at home. Eat your meals at home. You control the ingredients, the portion, the presentation. You are in control - not them.

5. Ditch the Non Dairy Creamer- If you use liquid non dairy coffee creamer or powdered stuff in your coffee each morning...stop, now. Liquid creamer ( Coffee-Mate, for example ) is just sweetened trans fats. You are better off using milk, half and half, or one of the new products like La Creme or Natural Bliss.

6. Switch to Butter: Another easy switch to make is losing the margarine in your fridge and switching to butter.  You will lose less product, enjoy the flavor, and be using a much cleaner product.

7. Incorporate Fruit into 2 Meals a Day: - Most people just don't eat enough fruit. It is filling, and the natural fructose in it will satisfy your sweet tooth. The fiber is excellent for your digestive system, and most are very low calorie with no fat.  Now after over a year of Clean Eating - I recognize the sweetness of apple, pears - even carrots! Eat a banana with breakfast, grapes or apple slices with lunch. Serve sliced melon with dinner. Bake pears or apples to enjoy as dessert. Consider eating a cup of berries with your lunch every day.

8. Switch to Whole Grains: If you eat bread, make sure the bread you eat is wholesome and nutritionally sound. White bread has little to no nutritional value; white rice has most of the nutrition stripped away. Swap that box of Minute Rice in your pantry for a bag of actual brown rice. Don't buy another loaf of cheap grocery store brand white bread. Look for one made with whole grains. "Whole wheat" is ok. "Whole grain" is better.

9. Have a Mid-morning snack- An integral part of Clean Eating is eating smaller meals more often in the day. This keeps your metabolism raised, and it is much easier to resist a temptation if you aren't hungry. Mid morning, reach for a bag of lightly salted or plain nuts. A hard boiled egg or two. A bowl of carrots with some hummus. Start getting used to having your body's metabolism raised higher.

10. Learn to recognize healthier choices: After years of eating poorly, your body is trained to seek out certain choices on a menu; clouding out potentially healthier choices like salads or seafood. Go into things looking off the beaten path. See different eating opportunities. Try new foods - foods that your recognize could be healthier choices for you.