1. Eat to fuel, not fill
Look at your food on the nutritional value it provides your body and whether or not it will give you long sustained energy to last throughout the day and your workouts. Go for high nutritional foods like lean meats and fish, vegetables, complex carbs (quinoa, brown rice, oats and sweet potato) and little bit of fruit. Also incorporate good fats from foods like coconut oil, nuts, fish and avocado. Your body needs nutritious food not only to fuel you through the day and for your workout but to provide your body with essential nutrients for brain function and overall health. By dieting and depriving yourself your body can miss out on these essential nutrients, leaving you tired, lethargic and craving bad foods.
2. Stay away from processed foods.
Processed food very rarely provides much nutritional value to the body and most of it can just be empty calories. Our general rule is to stay away from complex carbs like white bread, white rice and anything with added white sugar in it. Read the packet labels and see how much sugar can be sneaking into your foods. We also like to use the rule that if it has ingredients you don’t recognise, you probably shouldn’t’ be putting it in your body.
3. Eat good protein
Protein isn’t just for body builders and it is an essential part of clean eating. Protein is the building blocks your body needs to refuel and repair muscle. It’s also a great source of slow sustained energy to the body. High protein foods to include are:
Legumes (chickpeas, lentils and beans)
Full fat yoghurt (no sugar added)
4. It’s okay to eat carbohydrates
A clean eating programme isn’t just about eating high protein foods and you’re your veggies, it also needs some good complex carbohydrates in there too. Carbohydrates are essential for our body and brain to work properly. When you exclude carbohydrates from your diet it forces the body to use it’s fat stores for energy as opposed to the glucose found in carbs. Whilst your body burning fat does sound ideal, this way of eating can be dangerous and hard to maintain if you don’t know what you’re doing. It can also leave you feeling tired and sick, making you crash and burn.
Always eat good carbohydrates like:
5. Incorporate good fat
There is a myth out there that eating fat will make you fat, which if it’s the good fat couldn’t be further from the truth. Your essential organs and brain all need fat to function properly, which makes good fat super important to include in your healthy eating.
Good fats to eat are:
Nuts (raw and unflavoured)
Extra virgin oil
6. Don’t obsess with calorie counting
Obsessing over calorie intake is hard to maintain. You have a way better chance at keeping to clean eating if it’s not hard work. If it takes up too much of your time and is hard then you simply just won’t stick to it. Whilst yes there is a place for understanding what foods you are eating, and some people are fine with counting calories, it shouldn’t ever consume your life. Find something that works for you, and keep at that.
To keep a fit, healthy body and mind in the long term is all about finding something you can maintain and gives you energy to keep doing the things you love. If you focus on that way of eating, as opposed to a strict calorie counting crash “diet” you will be far more likely to achieve results that will last. So ditch the diet and move to something that is healthy, maintainable and with you for the long term.