How to Eat Clean in the New Year

By: Bob's Red Mill | January 24 2020

Contrary to how it sounds, clean eating doesn't have anything to do with food being clean or dirty. Clean eating refers to the way foods are processed and whether or not they're sustainable. When choosing to change your diet to a "clean" one, you must choose real foods that are minimally processed, healthy and full of nutritional benefits. 

Choosing foods that are sustainable and give back to the farmers, land and society is also a large part of clean eating. Purchasing local produce, eating grass-fed beef and even starting a garden are all ways you can begin to eat cleaner. Ultimately, clean eating for beginners is centered around consuming foods the way nature intended. While this may seem like a confusing concept at first, once you begin eating cleaner, it will start to come more naturally to you, and you're bound to see a shift in your health. 

To help you truly understand what clean eating is, we've created some simple tips and outlined our favorite easy clean eating recipes for beginners. By merely incorporating these few tips into your lifestyle, you'll be on the path to clean eating in no time at all!

Eat Organic When Possible

What is Clean Eating? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Not only are organic foods better for you, but they tend to taste better as well! Organic foods are free of pesticides and insecticides. When referring to organic fruits and vegetables, this means that these plants were grown without the use of conventional fertilizers and pesticides. By purchasing organic foods, you're ensuring that these chemicals do not affect your health or the health of the environment they grow in. 

When it comes to meat, clean eating often refers to purchasing organic grass-fed beef and poultry. These labels mean that animals are not given antibiotics or hormones. .

Aside from the health benefits of organic foods, they also offer many environmental benefits. Organic farming helps guarantee that biodiversity stays active in the foods we eat. There are various varieties of each fruit and vegetable. However, commercial growing can limit the variety of these foods as farmers tend to mass produce only a few different types. Animals and insects that protect our ecosystem, like bees, are also affected by the chemicals used when producing commercial foods. These chemicals can cause illnesses, mutations and even extinctions. Organic farming works to provide a healthy environment that creates a thriving ecosystem.

Our organic product highlight:

Organic Coconut Flour: Bob's Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour is an excellent alternative to wheat and grain flours. Made from the highest quality of coconuts, it works well when used to make pancakes, muffins, bread, cookies and more!

Incorporate More Greens into Your Diet

What is Clean Eating? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Clean eating 101 involves going green, and to us, going green means eating your veggies--all of them! Incorporating delicious leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale into your daily diet will drastically boost your nutritional intake. The wide variety of green vegetables makes it easy to pick one that will work well in almost any meal. The next time you're planning your dinner menu for the week, think of recipes that you can sneak more greens into. Whether that means adding spinach to your morning smoothie or enjoying dinner with a tasty salad of mixed greens, eating more greens isn't as hard as it seems!

When choosing which greens to add to your recipes, we recommend choosing vegetables that are deep in color. Dark leafy greens like kale and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that work hard to keep your body running as it should.

A green eating tip: eating a delicious green salad before a meal is a great way to ensure that you're getting in your daily required amount of veggies! It will also help fill you up with healthy foods and keep you from overeating come dinner time.

Meal Plan and Prep

What is Clean Eating? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

One of the best bits of advice we can give for clean eating for beginners is to plan and prep your meals. Planning your meals a week in advance will provide you with time to purchase all the necessary ingredients beforehand and adequately prep your meals. Going to the grocery store with a ready-made list will ensure that you only buy what you need and that you always have healthy food on hand.

Once you've come up with a plan for your week, start prepping your food. If you know you're going to be rushed in the mornings, try making healthy breakfast bars like these beforehand. These bars will make sure that you start your day off with a healthy, protein-filled breakfast and that you have the energy to last until lunchtime. Eating breakfast in the morning and packing healthy, clean snacks to munch on throughout the day will help you stay on track.

Planning your lunch and dinner meals will also assure that you have some variety in your menu. If you've been eating the same dinner for a few weeks in a row, try to incorporate at least one new healthy recipe per week. You'll introduce new flavors and nutrients into your diet, and it will help you get out of the recipe rut you're stuck in. 

Like breakfast, you can also prep your lunches and dinners. Pick one day out of the week to dedicate to preparing the ingredients for that week's menu. Grains and meat can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat, while fruits and veggies can be chopped up in advance to save time when preparing meals. Prepping your meals will help you stay on track and keep you from indulging in convenient processed meals.

Protein, Protein, Protein.

Another rule of clean eating 101 is to fill up on protein. Meals that are high in protein can help you stay fuller for longer and may give your metabolism the boost it needs to run efficiently throughout the day. Clean sources of protein include eggs, fish, beans and grains like quinoa! 

High protein and fiber sources like oats and muesli can be turned into delicious homemade granola or breakfast cereal, proving to be a delightful snack to keep you satisfied in between meals. Adding protein powder like this Pea Protein Powder to smoothies, baked goods and snacks is also an easy way to sneak protein into your meals without changing the flavor or ingredients.

For a real protein treat, try out these Hemp Protein Truffles. Made with rolled oats, coconut flour and our hemp protein powder, they're a delicious snack to keep on hand when you're craving a sweet treat. 

Rid Your Pantry of Processed Foods

What is Clean Eating? | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Now that we've discussed the question "what is clean eating," it's time to talk about what clean eating is not. Simply put, processed foods are not a part of the clean eating lifestyle. Because they've been modified from their natural state and may include chemicals, sugar and preservatives, they don't make it on the list of clean eating 101. Clean eating means avoiding processed foods as much as you can. 

While there are some “clean” processed foods like Greek yogurt, cheese and whole wheat pasta, we encourage you to make as much at home as you can. Instead of buying that pre-mixed, store-bought salad, try purchasing the ingredients for it and chopping it up yourself at home! Doing so will assure that every ingredient is fresh, full of flavor and doesn't have any added chemicals.

To help you get started on your clean eating journey, here are some of our favorite easy clean eating recipes for beginners.

Strawberry Basil Farro Salad - A mix of wheat berries, almonds, rhubarb stalks and fresh strawberries makes this salad and clean and flavorful meal. The main ingredient, rhubarb, is a nutritional powerhouse that may help with digestion, bone health and vision! 

Hemp Pesto - Fresh basil, hulled hemp seed and parmesan cheese blend ideally to create a pesto pasta that you and your guests will love. Perfect when paired with a side of fresh bread, it's a clean recipe that's delicious and filling.

Lemony Pearl Couscous with Broccoli and Salmon - Salmon and broccoli are the stars of this clean eating dish and work together to create a healthy and filling meal. When paired with our traditional pearl couscous, the recipe takes on a light and nutty flavor, making it a refreshing meal perfect to serve as a healthy lunch or dinner!

Wrapping Up 

Hopefully now that you’ve read this article, you’ve seen for yourself just how easy it is to eat clean in the New Year. With a little research and preparation, you’ll be able to change your diet for the better. Looking for more inspiration? Check out our blog to discover more recipes and meal plans for the new year.

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