Are you looking for a way to lose weight and still enjoy your food? Cleaning up what you eat will help with your weight loss.
Losing weight starts in the kitchen, and what you eat is far more important than how you exercise because weight loss is more about what you eat than how you exercise. You can exercise daily and not see the scale move if your diet is not spot on.
What is clean eating?
Clean eating is not a diet. It’s essentially eating real food – no junk food, processed food, high sugar foods or foods with thousands of ingredients you can’t pronounce. It is fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
Clean eating tries to incorporate healthy nutrition in a way that it can become a lifestyle, not something that is used for weight loss and then forgotten about.
You enjoy your food when it is something you enjoy eating and a variety of meals too.
For me, it means starting with cutting out sugar for the first couple of weeks. Individual baked cookies and ice cream are my vices because they are easy to pick up from the grocery store. That B1G1 Free calls my name and I fall prey to it.
However, cleaning up my diet on prep means increasing my protein intake. We usually shoot for 1 gram protein per my body weight pounds (i.e. 120 grams of protein for someone who weighs 120 pounds).
How can you incorporate clean eating for weight loss into your lifestyle?
Make meals that you enjoy. Just be mindful of the sauces and oils you add.
Include a carb and protein with every meal
Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates. Carbs are your body’s source of energy and protein helps your body repair and build muscles.
Unfortunately, carbs digest quickly, which causes that rise in blood sugar we were trying to avoid…but protein, on the other hand, is digested slower and doesn’t cause the same spike.
By eating a protein and a carb together, you slow the digestion of the carbs, which will help keep that blood sugar more stable.
Focus on complex carbs
Remember, carbs are not the enemy. There is a long scientific explanation for why whole grains and complex carbs are more beneficial for your body. Complex carbs have more nutrients in them than processed carbs.
Eat lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish and plant-based protein
Protein is the body’s basic building block for bone, muscle, skin and cartilage. Shoot for eating one gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass is good for weight loss.
Eating protein, especially directly following a workout, will help your body build and repair muscle. The less body fat you have, the higher your metabolism will run, which means you burn more calories every day.
Protein will also keep you feeling full longer and helps to slow the digestion of other foods. Great sources of lean protein are egg whites, chicken, ground turkey, fish, beans, soy products and quinoa.
Eat lots of produce
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of nutrients, fiber, enzymes and carbs. They pack a ton of fiber and low in calories, which means you can eat a lot and not blow your caloric intake for the day.
Fruits tend to have more sugar, but lower sugar fruits like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are a great source of cancer-fighting compounds.
Water, water, water. I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t heard the benefits of drinking lots of water.
A good guideline to shoot for is half of your body weight in ounces. For example, someone who is 120 pounds would drink at least 60 ounces of water a day. The benefits of weight loss are awesome. Water helps fill you up and boost your metabolism and increase fat burning.
If you have a hard time drinking plain water, try infusing water with fruit or vegetables. Here are some ways I have infused water.
Stock your pantry and refrigerator of healthy foods
You will eat what’s in your house. If it is stocked full of healthy foods, you will eat healthy foods. If it is stocked full of processed foods, that’s what you’ll eat.
If you have children, you can replace some of their sugary treats with healthier options like apples with peanut butter or celery with peanut butter instead of chips. Watch which types of snack or granola bars you choose. They can be packed with sugar.
Planning is key to success in just about everything and this is no exception.
During meal prep, I make several pounds of chicken so that I can have it sliced or shredded to use it over whole grain pasta, in a wrap, on a salad, etc. When I make any potatoes, quinoa, rice or other complex carbs, I always make extra so I can use it for lunches or quick meals when I need it.
Precutting vegetables can help make your week run much more smoothly.
Do not skip meals
Skipping meals send the message to your body that it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, it goes into a self-preservation mode that slows your metabolism down. That is the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve. The other danger of skipping meals is that when you do finally eat, you are starved and make unwise decisions and tend to overeat.
I do my best to also have a few quick dishes I can make that take very little time including taco salad. It only takes a few minutes to brown the meat. Add lettuce possibly cheese. I also add fresh homemade salsa.
Clean eating grocery list
- Protein – Great sources of lean protein are egg whites, chicken, ground turkey, fish, beans, soy products and quinoa.
- Carbohydrates – whole grains, brown rice, beans, legumes, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pasta
- Fruits and vegetables – lower sugar fruits like raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
- Fats – avocados, eggs, nut butters, nuts, hummus, sesame oil and coconut oil
Other things that have helped me
Meal planning app
There are a number of different apps out there. One of my favorites is The Dinnerhub app, which allows you to choose up THREE meals per week (for 2, 4 or 6 people). You can try it FREE FOR 30 days with code shalama.
They offer different dietary options including dairy free, gluten free, low carb and diabetic friendly. Or you can choose like me and have no restrictions. You also have the option of choosing basic meals, quick meal plans or simple gourmet.
Some of my favorite recipes from the app include Mediterranean Chicken Boats, Lime Chicken Tacos, Garlic Lime Chicken and Southwest Salad with Tomatillo Dressing.
Food logging app
Use a food logging app and record your food and water daily, like MyFitnessPal.
Keeping accurate food logs while you are trying to lose weight is one of the best tools you can use to achieve your goal, it helps you stay honest with yourself.
I upgraded and paid for the MyFitnessPal premium, but the free version works well too. I wanted to see some more macro details and make adjustments to meals by the day when we start carb cycling during prep.
My goal is to really hit the numbers so I can achieve my personal competition goals or at least give my body a fighting chance to achieve them.
Buy a food scale
It’s hard to log your food accurately if you don’t have the correct measurements. Using a food scale helps you be sure you are actually logging what you are eating.
I bought the Joseph Joseph scale because it will be good for traveling. It will be easier to carry since it folds up to about the size of my phone.
What other tips do you have?