Now that the New Year is in full swing, if you haven’t already it’s time to put some action towards all those goals and intentions you’ve set for yourself. And what better way to prepare your mind and body for ambitious endeavors than with a healthy diet?
Whether your goal is based around personal wellness, professional growth, or just slowing down life and enjoying the present moment, nourishing yourself with wholesome foods is sure to support your success in all ways. And it definitely DOES NOT have to mean dieting, deprivation, or counting calories!
Here are 5 simple ways to clean up your diet once and for all:
1. Clean out the fridge and pantry.
The first step to eating healthier is having clean food options to choose from! Things have a way of piling up in the pantry and there’s no better way to start fresh than by physically cleansing your kitchen space. Go through the cabinets and toss out anything expired or out of alignment with your intentions. Determine whether you can toss or donate any tools or cookware you don’t use, and give the counters a wipe down with some essential oils. Clean out the fridge as well and get rid of any old gunk in there. It’s amazing how much cleaner you’ll feel on the inside by simply organizing the outside.
2. Add more veggies.
There’s no need to make any drastic changes, just try to add a little more to your current vegetable repertoire, and make it fun by getting creative! Get yourself a spiralizer or other handy kitchen tool, explore recipes on Pinterest, and try reaching for veggies as a first choice snack to satisfy hunger between meals. Over time you might just find your palette adjusting and you’ll actually start to prefer whole foods over processed, a natural development we call “crowding out.”
3. Drink water, frequently.
Coffee, juice, iced tea, and other beverages that are not pure water are not “the same thing” and will not adequately hydrate you. Even Health Coaches who know it’s important to drink water sometimes get busy and forget to refuel with good ol’ H20. Staying hydrated is the best way to keep your body energized, your mind clear, and your energy “flowing.” The general recommendation is about 10 glasses a day, but it really depends on your body and level of activity, so instead of focusing on the quantity, tie your water consumption to certain times of the day or existing habits, such as first thing in the morning, when you arrive at work, an hour before lunch and so on.
4. Ditch the packaging.
There may be some exceptions here but for the most part, foods packaged in a box or plastic are going to be processed to some degree. Even if you’re diligent about avoiding obviously harmful ingredients such as trans fats, you’re still likely to consume additives, high amounts of sugar, and potentially harmful chemicals. Of course it’s ok to occasionally indulge in your favorite treats, but simply bringing more attention to your choices might motivate you to lean more in the direction of whole foods more often. This is also a great way to avoid unnecessary waste in the environment!
5. Eat something green with every meal.
This is a great rule of thumb from Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Paul Pitchford. Add some spinach to your morning eggs, have a salad with lunch, sprinkle cilantro over your bean tacos, the possibilities are endless. Just remember to stock your fridge with plenty of greens at all times and you’ll always have something green to add to any meal.
Got any clean eating recommendations of our own? Please share in the comments!