It’s spring time which means spring cleaning, cleaning out your closet, and getting ready for bikini season! Most of the time with spring cleaning we think about the inside and outside of our homes and our outward appearance, but we neglect the inside of our body. Today we are talking about clean eating to take care of the inside of your body and how you can apply your spring cleaning to your kitchen & pantry and STILL enjoy cooking and eating.
“Eating Clean” is a phrase that has been loosely tossed around and is growing in popularity especially with the rise of instagram hashtags such as #foodie, #cleaneating, #paleo etc. but what really is clean eating and how do you do it? Most people think that eating clean means eating bland,tasteless foods that look like something your dog left behind on your morning walk. That is the farthest thing from the truth! Eating clean can be fun, easier on your wallet than eating our every day, and taste good. When venturing down the road of clean eating start by doing a little spring cleaning by eliminating these three food groups from your pantry and fridge. I promise you will be well on your way to a better, happier, and more fit style of eating.
1. Refined Sugar
What is refined sugar? Refined sugar provides only empty calories, and lacks nutrients and minerals. Food items such as: donuts, cookies, fruit juice, sodas, most breakfast cereals, even things like canned vegetables and pasta sauce contain a high amount of refined sugar! According to the Washington Post, the average American consumes close to 32 teaspoons of sugar a DAY! Research suggests that high sugar intake results in numerous health issues including: liver damage, obesity, issues maintaining insulin levels, heart disease, and more.
So, what can you do to reduce your sugar intake? Start small and check the nutrition facts! Next time instead of reaching for that coke or handful of M&M’s when you have a sugar craving, try a healthier option such as: fresh fruit, frozen grapes, or granola with honey. A second way to reduce your sugar intake would be swapping out your morning cereal and fruit juice for a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit and glass of lemon water.
2. White Flour
Why is white flour bad? White flour is wheat flour that has been stripped of the two main components, the bran and germ which removes the majority of the nutrients from it. White flour is NOT a nutrient dense product meaning that it does not provide you with the nutritional value you need.
What contains white flour? The obvious items such as wonder bread, pastries, pasta etc come to mind but also be sure to check the label because even some items labeled “wheat” may sneak in white flour if you’re not careful. Instead, look for labels that say “Whole Grain”. My favorite brand of whole grain bread is Ezekiel bread. It tastes great, has wonderful health benefits, and is overall better for you. You can usually find it in the freezer section of your grocery store.
What can you do to reduce your white flour intake? Swap out white bread for whole grain bread, swap out regular pasta for whole grain or Tinkyada Rice pasta (this stuff is delicious!), and consider skipping the Starbucks pastries altogether.
3. Processed Foods
Unfortunately we live in a world where we want things now (or ten minutes ago). This mindset has transferred over into our meal choices which is why we have things such as Ramen Noodles, freezer meals, Spaghettios and other “meals” that take less than 5 minutes to make. These food items typically contain an increased amount of added/refined sugars, contain high amounts of bad fats, and are super high in sodium (Healthy Choice freezer meals have 500mg of sodium in ONE serving!!).
What can you do to avoid processed foods? Plan ahead! By meal prepping a few meals once a week you will cut down on the “oops forgot to make dinner guess it’s drive through again tonight” moments. For tips on how to meal prep check out THIS article. It has awesome ideas on how to meal prep (even if you’ve never done it before) and will really help you get on the right track!
Also, remember to stay hydrated! Most of the time we snack because we are thirsty, not hungry. Instead of reaching for that box of crackers, try a glass of water or a cup of hot tea instead.
By clearing out your pantry and fridge and avoiding these three types of ingredients you will be well on your way to a healthier you. For more tips and information on clean eating, and general information about health and fitness, check out the Mobius Nutrition blog and be sure to tune in to the Mobius Nutrition podcast. Happy cleaning!