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Clean Eating for Beginners: Tips to Help You Get Started on Your Clean Eating Journey
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Clean Eating for Beginners: Tips to Help You Get Started on Your Clean Eating Journey



Charlotte Pearse

If you’re looking to start eating clean, here are some things to know that could help you along!

The decision to eat clean is a big one, and making the swap can be difficult, but many would argue that it’s definitely worth the extra effort.

Above all, eating clean is a commitment. It’s a commitment to your physical wellbeing, and while incorporating an occasional healthy meal into your routine is hardly a bad thing, that’s not what eating clean is about.

In order to eat clean, you need to focus on foods that will promote health and energy in your life. This is why it can seem so difficult. However, if you’re committed to start eating clean, it’s important to remember that it’s not impossible.

It’s also important to remember that eating clean can mean whatever you want it to mean, in whatever capacity works for you. One unhealthy meal, just like a single healthy one, won’t make all that much difference in the long run. 

It’s up to you how much you dedicate yourself to eating clean or if you even do so at all, but it certainly does have a lot of benefits to it.

Here’s why you should consider the clean eating lifestyle, and how to get started on the journey.

Why Eat Clean?

There are a lot of reasons why you should consider eating clean. It’s never too late to start, and clean eating can have a very positive impact on your health and life overall if you put in the effort to do it right.

Clean eating is not a diet but a lifestyle. It’s all about the quality of the food that you eat, rather than the quantity of calories or other arbitrary numbers. The idea is to stick to food that will keep you healthy and energized.

Natural foods are a must when eating clean because of the nutrients they possess. Processed foods made from synthesized ingredients come with a lot of unnecessary added fats and sugars that your body would be better off without. These types of foods can also have high levels of sodium and preservatives.

Instead, go for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. Eating clean can help you manage your weight, increase energy levels, and improve your heart, brain, and immune system. Not only that, but natural foods often taste better as well.

An image of a child eating a bowl of salad with a spoon. He is smiling and sitting at a wooden picnic table, surrounded by trees.
Clean eating puts you in great shape to enjoy your day at full energy levels, but just because the food is healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meal, too!

Whole and organic foods used to be the way of the world, but now times have changed and grocery stores are often oversaturated with labels bearing the words “high fructose corn syrup.” Most ingredients that are difficult to pronounce are ones you don’t need.

These processed foods can increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, but they aren’t the only part of the problem.

Clean eating ensures that you pay more attention to what you put in your body, so it’s also important to think about pesticides and hormones that you don’t want to be consuming, not to mention genetically engineered foods.

These factors are also associated with health risks, and they aren’t just bad for you— they also harm the environment.

Clean eating is a great choice for those who want to improve upon their health; it’s not just another diet. But how do you start eating clean?

Not to worry. There are a lot of surefire ways to get beginners on the right track to commit to eating clean, and if you want to make the switch, you should definitely try these methods yourself. 

How to Switch to Clean Eating

One of the staples of clean eating is to eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to three large ones, even though the idea of set breakfast, lunch, and dinner is very commonly enforced.

If you are finding this to be difficult, you can split up your meals and space out the halves over the course of a few hours until you get used to it. You should also try to drink a lot of water each day— around 64 ounces.

You should try to get rid of typical “diet foods,” such as foods that are low-fat and fat-free, as well as foods that contain a lot of sugar to ensure you’re eating as healthy as possible. Something that helps with this is to read the labels of the foods you decide to buy!

The perimeter of the grocery store, specifically, is where most clean foods can be found. So, when you’re going to the supermarket, spend a lot of time in the produce section.

A picture of the produce section at a grocery store, bags of apples on the shelves in front and peaches further back.
There’s certainly a lot of options at the grocery store. Ignore the processed foods on the shelves and head for the natural ingredients in order to eat clean.

Another great way to eat clean is to cook or eat at home more often! Clean eating is much easier when making your meals yourself; you can change up recipes you already like by adding clean ingredients.

If you want to try new recipes, start by picking one or two a week so that you can gradually add more recipes into your routine.  You should keep ingredients simple when making meals, too— the flavor can come from herbs and spices instead.

Meal planning and meal prepping are also vital to eating clean so you can properly budget your time to make healthy meals. You should plan to have leftovers when you cook these new recipes so that you can still eat clean and have food ready to go when you’re in a rush.

To that end, it’s also a great idea to stock up on clean eating snacks. Make a list of them for the next time you go grocery shopping, and even consider storing some in your car or workplace for when you’re really in a pinch and don’t have time to grab breakfast on your way out the door.

You can even swap out things in your pantry as you run out of them for healthier alternatives. For instance, if you finish off your white rice, buy brown rice instead for next time.

This is a perfect example of the whole philosophy of clean eating. It’s okay to take things slow and only make one change at a time. Making a gradual shift in your life to focus more on clean eating will likely be more successful than quitting your current potentially unhealthy eating habits cold turkey.

Clean eating isn’t all or nothing, either! Any amount of clean eating helps you, and you can expect and plan for mistakes. You shouldn’t expect yourself to be perfect, especially not right at the start of your clean eating journey. You may make mistakes, but that’s perfectly okay.

What to Buy in Order to Eat Clean

It’s not difficult to find foods that encourage eating clean if you know where to look in the grocery store, so it’s important to carefully begin crafting your shopping lists with clean eating in mind as a beginner.

Of course, you’ve got the classics— fruits and vegetables. You can’t go wrong with these, and they’re a great thing to incorporate in more recipes, especially if they’re fresh.

You should also go for lean meats and sources of protein that will keep you energized without unnecessary fats or ingredients. Wild-caught fish and organic, grass-fed meats are great ways to do this, and so are dairy products. You don’t want to eliminate fats from your diet entirely; you still need the healthy ones!

Good quality pork, venison, and fish with a low mercury content are great types of meat for eating clean, but poultry really is your best friend. Chicken and turkey are light and lean, and eggs are a great, clean source of protein, too— especially the yolks.

As far as dairy goes, opt for organic, full-fat milk and cottage cheese rather than the lower fat versions, and always choose plain, Greek yogurt. You can mix in your own fruits and flavorings later! 

If you prefer non-dairy products, such as almond, soy, coconut, or rice milk, stick to the unsweetened ones.

Cheese in particular is difficult to eat clean with since so many different types of cheese at the grocery store are processed, but one way to help narrow it down is to avoid pre-shredded cheeses and buy the block— the former will often contain anti-caking agents.

In terms of adding flavor, it can be difficult to find condiments that will encourage eating clean, particularly ketchup and mustard. You can make your own condiments at home, however, and start using more natural spices instead.

Even if you aren’t making something savory, you should try natural sweeteners to remove unnecessary added sugars from your diet. Honey, molasses, and pure maple syrup are perfect for this.

Whole grains are great, so go for whole wheat as opposed to white bread in the future. There’s even whole wheat flour for your baking needs, which is a lot healthier, though it may be a bit trickier to find!

And if you’re looking for a great, healthy source of protein besides meat and dairy, you’ve found it. Legumes, nuts, and seeds will be your best clean eating friends.

A close-up image of large trays of nuts set out at a grocery store with a scoop in the tray of almonds.
Almonds are a great source of protein, and very popular for their flavor as well. Chances are you already like a lot of the foods that are known for their place in clean eating regimens.

Clean eating isn’t just about what you should include in your diet, though— it’s also important to cut down on things you don’t need, such as drinking and desserts. 

Choosing certain beverages can add a lot of sugar or calories to your daily intake, so be mindful of that, and of the sugar present in any indulgences of your sweet tooth. These things are good in moderation, but you definitely want to keep an eye on it.

It’s not as difficult to eat clean as some might originally think. Lots of grocery stores specialize in organic foods, such as Trader Joe’s, but honestly you can make your clean eating purchases anywhere if you look in the right spots. Costco, Target, Walmart, Amazon— all of these places have plenty of clean eating options.

Most of the foods that encourage clean eating can be found in the produce section, so if you don’t want to be tempted to stray you can try to avoid venturing into the aisles of the store as much as possible, as there are only a few things you should be looking for.

Tea, coffee, unflavored oatmeal, canned foods without added sugar, nut and seed butters— all of these are clean eating foods you can find in the grocery store aisles.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time scouring supermarket shelves, however, and if you’re looking for a clean eating snack to fill up your pantry, you don’t have to look any further.

Simple Botanics Squares, made from natural ingredients, are the perfect snack for the clean eater. Individually packaged 12 to a box and sold for only $23.99, these Simple Squares recently received a new look when they were reintroduced to our customers with two new flavors— Honey Nut and Chocolate Chip Honey Nut.

All of our Simple Squares are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and non-GMO. The almonds and cashews inside are a great source of protein while the honey acts as a natural sweetener. You don’t have to lose great taste in order to eat clean, and especially not with this snack.

While you’re considering what new items to buy for your pantry in order to start eating clean, definitely consider Simple Botanics Squares.

Clean eating may seem like a difficult change to make, but there are a lot of tips, tricks, and existing snacks that may make your life easier if you decide to embark upon this journey!

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