Eating clean is a lifestyle, not a diet. That is the first reality that you need to accept if you want to start ‘eating clean’; the second reality is that it is not going to be easy at first! Nevertheless, if you stick with it, it will soon become a way of life and you will feel the health benefits within weeks.
See also: How Healthy is your Lunch?
What is clean eating?
Clean eating is very simple: it is eating healthy meals (organic where possible) and avoiding preservatives, colour additives, emulsifiers and stabilisers (junk food!) at all costs. It also involves eating 5-6 times per day, with 3 main meals and 2 smaller snacks throughout the day. Another primary component of a clean eating lifestyle is to drink two litres of water per day. This sounds a huge amount but in reality it is easily achievable.
Let’s take a look at how to eat clean while working full time…
1. Avoid Processed Food
Processed foods are far too accessible to busy working professionals. We are not talking about grabbing a McDonalds at lunch; in fact, even the most ‘innocent’ looking foods are full of preservatives. Readymade meals, ‘healthy’ looking sandwiches with processed meat, the list can go on. You need to read the labels on all foods you buy in the supermarket, and if you have to eat out at lunch then be sure to opt for salads or dishes such as grilled chicken or fish with vegetables.
2. Prepare your Lunch in Advance
Eating clean requires some planning in advance for your week’s meal diary. This sounds frustrating but in fact it is the best way to eat clean without having to over-think your meals each day. The best approach is to spend a couple of hours on Sunday cooking healthy meals that you can freeze or refrigerate and then reheat throughout the week at work. A good idea is to cook a roast chicken on Sunday evening, then use it in salads throughout the week. You can also make healthy soups that will last you a few weeks if you freeze it and defrost it when you need it. Due to the fact that you will need to eat a healthy breakfast (usually eggs or oatmeal to keep your energy levels up), followed by a healthy meal at lunch and dinner time, plus two snacks in between, you will have your work cut out for you if you don’t plan a couple of days in advance.
3. Number your Water Bottles
You must commit to drinking two litres of water per day, but if you find this difficult then you can separate your daily amount of required water into smaller bottles and number them to give you a target to work towards. Be sure to drink one bottle (330ml) when you wake up and another as soon as you arrive at work; drink another bottle before and after lunch, another before dinner and one before bed. Number the bottles 1-6 and specify the times of the day that each bottle should be drank. You can also add cucumber, lemon and mint to your water to give it some flavour; this also acts as a good detox drink too!
To follow your clean eating lifestyle at work your work snacks should include raw vegetables or fruit, which will ensure your energy levels are at their optimum too! Good luck and happy clean eating!