Clean eating. Women eating a green salad with avocado.

The Principles of Clean Eating

In All, Nutrition by Jenna MaxwellLeave a Comment

Like many, I have tried a slew of diets over the years with little success. However, the one style I really resonated with was Clean Eating Habits — and it stuck. For the last decade, these habits have helped me to maintain my body weight, gain lean muscle, and live my life feeling nourished and energized!

Unless it’s for medical reasons, it’s not realistic, sustainable, or particularly healthy to be confined by a diet day in and day out. Restricted eating is a mindset that you can release if you adopt Clean Eating Habits, as they are relatively easy to incorporate into your life. That said, just like any other habit, it takes time to adapt and foster consistency.

Fun fact: It takes an average of 66 days to truly form a habit.

Are you ready to commit to clean eating?

Clean eating involves several very easy principles to follow. However, the big question to ask yourself is: are you truly ready for a change?

Food for thought: 80% of your weight loss results will come from how you fuel your body. As you progress, your body will come to crave healthier foods. One thing to remember is that everyone’s health journey is unique, so if you are meeting some uncertainty or resistance, that’s 100% okay! For now, focus on your workouts and this part will come later. 

I’ve broken down the clean eating principles below. As you learn them, I hope it helps you in feeling confident about trying this way of eating and relating to food. 

1. Plan your meal frequency for what works for your body. 

The idea that you can eat more than three full meals a day is a myth. (Unless you’re Michael Phelps at peak Olympic training season.) If you find you get hungry often, you might want to try to eat smaller portions on a more frequent basis to prevent your blood sugar from crashing. If you do better with three meals a day, that’s cool! Ultimately, it’s the same amount of calories no matter how you decide to break it up. Experiment with what works for you and your lifestyle. 

2. Consume foods at more active times in your day.

Try to consume more of your food during your active hours versus at night. This small shift will lead to big results. Many people have a small (or skip) lunch and then have a huge dinner. Consider reversing this — lunch should be your most important meal of the day!

3. Combine lean protein and complex carbs.

We will go over this key combo for your meals in a later post, but this is an essential part of every meal. 

4. Hydrate!

Drink at least two litres of water every day. Hydration is key for so many aspects of our everyday health.

5. Say no to processed foods. 

Avoid processed foods and always look at labels. Ingredients to be mindful of avoiding include:

  • Chemicals and preservatives
  • Excess sugar (real and artificial) 
  • Excess Sodium
  • Saturated and trans fats

6. Consume healthy fats on a daily basis.

As always, this is in moderation, but healthy fats are a key component of daily nutrition. Examples of healthy fats include: nuts, olive oil, avocado.

7. Limit your alcohol intake.

Try to limit your alcohol intake to seven drinks or less per week. Alcohol is a toxin that contains a lot of additives, preservatives, and sugar. The dietary guidelines are one drink per day for women and two per day for men. In total, no more than three drinks are recommended at one time.

Clean eating Jenna Maye Fitness

Photo via Canva

8. Eat your greens!

… and all the other colours of the fresh veggies rainbow. While fruits are healthy, they can contribute to high blood sugar levels. Limit fruits to 2-3 servings per day. 

Top Tip: Berries and apples have less sugar than other fruits. Tropical fruits, like pineapple, tend to have the highest sugar count.

9. Keep your portions under control. 

Portion control is a very important element to clean eating. Think about your portions as what you can hold in your hand: 

  • Protein: One serving of protein is about the palm of your hand.
  • Carbs: A serving of a complex carbohydrate is the amount you could hold in a cupped hand.
  • Veggies: One serving of vegetables is what you could hold with both hands cupped together.

10. Use the 80/20 rule to enjoy your food.

Have a few “cheat” meals in a week! The 80/20 rule is really great because it still allows for some decadence. If 80 percent of the time you’re eating clean, allow yourself a fun meal every now and then! I myself love pasta more than life itself and wouldn’t give it up for the world. Figure out what your favorite foods are and work them into your week — you might even find that you’ve found a way to make them healthier.

Are you ready for clean eating? Let’s do it! I am always here to support you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. 

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