How to start clean eating at home?
No, it does not have anything to do if the food is dirty or clean but everything to do with healthy eating.
Clean eating at home is cooking and eating fresh, minimally processed food. We all know how important it is to embrace a plant-based diet for good health. But in our busy lives, we often replace the fresh fruits with store brought juice.
Clean eating at home is ditching the store brought juice for real fruits, ditching the canned tomato puree with real tomatoes and eating the food that is as close to their natural state as possible.
If the pandemic has taught us something, it is to cook and eat healthily. I have been eating clean and plant-based food my whole life but 2020 had me appreciated my skills to cook healthy food with minimal supply.
So, I am going to share my tips to clean eating at home easily and within budget.
9 tips to start clean eating at home easily
Switch to whole grains
It does not mean switching to all the fancy grains overnight! Eat unpolished rice or whole wheat flour in lunch or dinner. Use our local produce which is grown according to our climate and Geography and they would make sure that you are healthy.
Choose whole fruits over processed ones
While eating sugar-free smoothies can be easy and Instagram-friendly, the whole fruits provide you with much more health benefit. Whole fruits provide fibre (good for gut health), antioxidants and other vitamins and nutrients.
Eat your pulses, beans and seeds
Love to have soup and salad for dinner? Cook some lentil soup and make a bean & fruit salad. Pulses and beans are the superfoods seating in our pantry, and they can help you to maintain good health without much trying.
Here is an easy recipe for sesame seeds chutney: Sesame Seeds Chutney
Limit your meat
Ok, I am not suggesting you turn vegetarian, I swear! I love my chicken and fish too. But what I do is to limit the intake or cook them with fresh vegetables for a balanced diet. I do the following to limit my meat intake-
- Eat chicken/mutton once a week.
- Buy and cook in small portion so there is minimum or no leftover.
- Cook my meat with vegetables. Here’s a simple recipe of cooking chicken with vegetables.
- Buy and eat fresh fish.
- Cut my sausages, bacon, meatballs or any processed meat.
Limited store brought processed food
I saw a huge improvement in my health when we stopped eating processed meat during the COVID 19 lockdown. Processed foods are often altered heavily with preservatives and colours that are harmful to our body.
In our busy lives, it is impossible not to rely on store brought food. So, how to eat clean without relying much on processed food?
Some items like French fries, banana chips, sauce, mayonnaise can be homemade with little effort and stored for a period. Likewise, there is processed food like yoghurt, whole wheat pasta that is ok to eat. Here’s a video on homemade French fries.
We just need to stay away from food which has refined grains, extra sugar or ingredients that you do not recognise. It is ok not to try exotic items for your well being.
No to refined sugar
Sugar is essential to our health but excessive sugar can cause more harm to us. According to the American Heart Association, our daily intake of sugar should be 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
However, we get way too much sugar from cold drinks, energy drinks, candies, sweets, ice creams and baked items. So, to eat clean at home, we must reduce drinks and food items that can add more sugar to our body than we need.
You can switch to natural sugars like honey and jaggery from granulated sugars in your baked items and ice creams, fruit juices from caffeinated sodas for clean eating.
Eat a plant-based diet
Eating a diversity of colourful foods is the easy way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs and clean eating.
Eat local fruits and vegetables whenever you can. If there’s a farmers’ market, do visit it and get your vegetables from there. Eating local also lower your carbon footprint and reduce food waste.
Eat healthy snacks
We all love our snacks! But often we consume too much processed food in the name of snacks or little bites. This habit keeps us away from eating healthy at home.
There are so many natural food items that can be eaten as snacks for healthy and clean eating. You can eat dry fruits as snacks, munch some green beans, have a fruit salad or eat roasted chickpeas or peanuts.
Water, water, water!
Last but not the least, have a minimum of six glasses of water every day. Water is essential for our body and it is also the best drink available.
Quench your thirst with drinkable water rather than opting for a soda. You are tired? Have a glass of lukewarm water. Do you want some sugar in your body? Take a glass of lukewarm water, mix 2 tablespoons of lime/lemon juice and one tablespoon of natural honey.
These small habits would save you from having altered food and so many health issues. Clean eating at home is easy. All we need is little changes in our mindsets and habits.