Do you want to start clean eating? This is an important step to take for consuming healthy food. Fun Fact: The British botanist Sir Albert Howard is often considered the father of modern organic farming. Today many people are returning to natural/organic food and ditching unhealthy ingredients like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), artificial colors/flavors/preservatives, and inorganic food in general. There’s been a gradual return to less-processed food. In fact, studies show that 30% of US household food is now organic. Today there are more healthy choices than ever for a clean eating grocery list. You can even pick certified organic foods to make sure they meet industry standards.
The term “clean eating” can be interpreted in different ways. However, the main goal is to eat food with the most nutritional value. In past decades, food has become highly-processed. For example, foods like white bread are nothing like the whole wheat grains that were grown to produce the bread. On the other hand, Ezekiel Bread includes 4 whole grains and 2 beans. Not only is this a multi-grain bread but you also get two kinds of beans as well. Planning your meals can help to keep them healthier than eating out.
What Exactly Is Clean Eating?
In some ways this term is subjective. For example, some people might argue that only organic food is wholesome, while others might say raw food is clean. Still, others might argue that food that undergoes any processing/cooking is the only kind you should eat.
Clean eating generally means getting back to basics. For example, you pick foods that are whole foods or are minimally processed. This differs from highly-processed foods like soft drinks, white bread, and candy corn.
For example, whole foods are ones that are super-close to their natural/original state. In other words, they don’t undergo any processing or refining. There’s also no additives like colors/preservatives.
There are many examples. For example, an ear of corn is a whole food because it’s the original form of the food as it grows on farms. Ironically modern corn is much different than the ancient grass, but that’s another story.
If you compare corn on the cob with high fructose corn syrup there’s a big difference. In fact, HFCS is usually considered to be quite unhealthy due to the high amount of processing that’s done Compare that to fresh corn that’s high in many nutrients like protein, fiber, and vitamins/minerals.
Clean eating could also include organic food. This kind of food contains no artificial ingredients in the food itself. It also means no synthetic ingredients were used to grow the food. For example, organic wheat is produced without using any synthetic chemicals in pesticides or fertilizers. If they were used then food could be “natural” but not “organic.”
Some people might also argue that clean eating involves avoiding certain kinds of food. This includes the vegan diet that doesn’t eat animal products. There’s the Plant Paradox Diet that ditches lectin proteins in foods like tomatoes and proteins. There’s also Paleo Diet that only eats what cavemen did.
Clean Eating Grocery List
There’s some debate about whether people should consume red meat or not. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that it might be cancer-causing. However, one factor is whether or not you go with organic and grass-fed beef, for example.
That said, in general, you should consider white meat over red meat and fatty fish over other fish. Seafood is also another good option including shellfish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s highly recommended to eat either of these foods daily. They’re loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins/minerals. Soybeans are even a “complete protein” since they contain all the essential amino acids (EAAs) you need on a daily basis.
You can even combine beans with grains to turn them into complete proteins. Some options include peas and whole-grain noodles, or beans and brown rice.
This is ironically “cleaner” than low or no-fat milk. The reason is that companies often add fillers when they remove the fat from dairies like milk and cheese. They often include unhealthy ones like salt. So even though you’re getting less fat you’re also getting more salt.
If you’re vegan you have several plant-based milks today. They include soy, almond, and coconut milk. They can be very nutritious and especially when they’re fortified to offer similar nutrients as cow’s milk.
These are foods that people should be eating more of. In recent years they’ve been trending due to low-carb diets. Some options for seeds including sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia, and sesame. Some tree nuts to pick from include almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and Macadamia.
These should make up half your diet according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), with moderately more vegetables than fruits. You have lots of options so you can consume different foods during different meals. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants.
Hot Tips for Healthier Grocery Shopping
1. Shop on the store’s perimeter.
The healthiest foods are usually on the grocery store’s perimeter. That includes meats, grains, produce, dairy, etc. The unhealthiest food is usually in the aisles including highly-processed junk food. Those are areas you should try to avoid.
2. Make a shopping list
This might seem like a case of stating the obvious. However, not making a list can result in buying unhealthy stuff you don’t really need. Make sure to watch out at the checkout since there tends to be a lot of sugary gum and candy there.
Try to resist the urge to buy anything that’s not on your list. There are exceptions when you forgot to add something, for example. However, if you don’t stick to the list you could end up buying lots of unhealthy stuff.
3. Buy whole foods
Make sure to go with whole or minimally processed foods. For example, there’s a big difference between a fresh apple and apple-flavored juice. Multi-grain bread is 100% healthier than white bread. Ginger is a better option than ginger snap cookies. If you want to do clean eating then go with the least-processed foods possible.
4. Invest in convenience
For example, you find often find single-serving fruits/veggies that provide more convenience and reduce serving sizes. Yes, you’ll be spending more money. However, you should consider the extra nutritional value you’ll be getting. It might be worth the extra cost.
5. Plan ahead
It’s a good idea to do meal planning. If you can try and plan your meals for the whole week. If that’s not practical then take that step on a daily basis. This will determine what you’re going to eat during a certain day, week, or even month. It will also be easier to avoid eating fast/junk food and instead maintain a clean eating grocery list.