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Monday, November 20, 2017

Five food rules for eating “clean”

The “clean eating” concept boils down to eating whole, minimally processed foods made with natural ingredients that are good for your body and good for the planet. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way in no time:

Choose foods closest to their natural state

The less processed foods are, the more naturally occurring vital nutrients and the fewer harmful ingredients they contain. Also, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label, you probably shouldn’t eat it. Instead of components that sound like things from lab experiments, opt for foods with ingredients you find in home kitchens.

Enjoy a colorful array of foods

Each color of the rainbow provides a unique blend of disease-fighting, immunity-boosting antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. The more natural colors you choose, the more varied and inclusive your diet will be.

Go local and seasonal

Foods that travel shorter distances to get from farm to fork leave a smaller carbon footprint, making them better for the planet. The closer, the better, but find what is comfortable for you. Start by reading the signs next to your produce and the labels on the backs of packages. Ideally, choose foods from your country rather than the other side of the world. Even better, choose foods from within your region, state, or county.

Choose humanely produced foods that are good for the planet

Learn what you can about the companies you buy food from. Do the farmers treat their animals well? Are the plants sprayed with minimal amounts of pesticides or, preferably, none? How do the companies treat their employees, and what is their regard for sustainable practices? Every time you check out at the grocery store, you are voting for who will fail or succeed.

Enjoy every bite

Food not only nourishes and fuels our bodies and minds, it also provides entertainment, encourages curiosity, invites togetherness, and rejuvenates the soul. Food should taste good first and then be good for us also. A variety of flavors, including salty, sweet, sour, pungent, and bitter, paired with different textures, makes for the most satisfying meal. We should feel free to savor flavorful foods until satisfied, rather than eat around cravings and long for something else minutes later. As often as possible, enjoy food intentionally while seated at the table and avoid mindless snacking.

All aboard the clean eating train!

With a well-stocked kitchen, a little planning, and a willingness to try a few new tricks, eating clean can be accomplished with little time and effort. Making the switch doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, and with every change, each day, week, and month, you and your family will be eating healthier with every bite.

Related article

Michelle’s recipe for Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Yogurt Dill Dip.

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Michelle Dudash, R.D.

Article reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love, by Michelle Dudash, RD (Fair Winds Press, December 2012). Author Michelle Dudash, R.D., of Scottsdale, is the mother of Scarlet (3). Learn more at michelledudash.com.

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