Clean Eating Food List
If you’re interested in clean eating, it’s likely that you wonder what types of food you’ll be able to enjoy once you rid your pantry and cupboards of all the junk.
Great news: The clean eating food list is a very long one, with delicious ingredients that you can use to make meals, snacks, and even fantastic desserts.
Besides a list of more than 300 clean foods plus snack ideas to prevent you from caving into the vending machine’s beckoning glow, you’ll find handy tips for clean eating – all designed to help you succeed in your quest for better health, naturally.
Benefits of a Clean Eating Program
Clean eating isn’t a diet; instead, it’s a lifestyle. With an emphasis on whole foods including meats, fish, dairy products, grains, vegetables, and fruits, it offers benefits for omnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans alike.
Whatever your preferences, you’ll find that clean eating treats you to the best nutrition possible.
Depending on your food choices and other lifestyle changes such as the addition of exercise, you are likely to enjoy some or all of the following clean eating benefits:
- Ability to enjoy a wide variety of foods
- Reduced exposure to environmental toxins present in processed foods
- Improved cardiac health
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Lower risk of stroke
- Better nutrition
- Weight loss
- Healthier teeth and gums
- Glowing skin
- Stronger, shinier hair
- Healthy nails
- Less hunger
- No more sugar cravings
- Better organ function
- Improved mood
- Better sleep
- A greater sense of self-awareness
Some people take clean eating to the extreme and forgo all packaged foods, even those which have only been slightly processed.
Others simply avoid highly processed items that contain chemical additives such as preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, trans fats, and other unhealthy additions like added salt, added sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Some give up caffeine and all forms of alcohol, while others opt to embrace them in moderation.
The choices are yours to make; for example, you might decide to eat completely clean six days per week and cheat a bit on the seventh day.
In the end, the more often you embrace clean eating, the more you are likely to benefit – but even moderate changes will lead to improved health.
Clean Eating Food List: Foods to Avoid
A big part of clean eating is a general knowledge of what to avoid.
Most people spend extra time food shopping in the beginning, as they read labels in an effort to ferret out hidden additives.
If you follow the general clean eating rule of “no processed foods” then you’ll find that this part is pretty easy. Some common foods and ingredients to avoid following.
- Anything unpronounceable; if you don’t understand what an ingredient is, it probably isn’t part of your clean eating food list
- Canned foods with lots of ingredients such as soups, pasta, pie fillings, etc.
- Foods in cans with liners that contain BPA (bisphenol acetate)
- Water and other beverages bottled in containers made with BPA
- Frozen convenience foods such as pizza, lasagna, pierogi, etc.
- Bakery items like bread, donuts, cakes, and pies (Don’t worry – you can make your own with healthy ingredients.)
- Anything containing white flour or white sugar
- Items containing high-fructose corn syrup and other forms of concentrated sugar
- Artificial sweeteners of any type
- Trans-fats and highly processed fats
- Packaged snacks such as potato chips, pretzels, flavored popcorn, etc.
- Processed meats like bacon, sausage, ham, etc.
- Processed cheeses and other dairy products that contain additives
- Foods containing harmful processed fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oil and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to avoid genetically modified foods in countries where they are still permitted. In the United States, look for Non-GMO Project labels when purchasing packaged foods.
The Non-GMO Project Verified program is growing by leaps and bounds, so it is possible to find a vast variety of certified foods including corn and soy products.
Be sure to check dairy, eggs, and meat for Non-GMO project labeling; besides buying organic, it’s a good way to ensure that you are keeping genetically modified animal feeds out of your own food chain.
The Non-GMO Project website and its partner site, Living Non-GMO, are two excellent, trustworthy sources of information on genetically engineered produce, fish, and more. It’s a good idea to visit regularly to view updates.
Clean Eating Food List: Foods to Enjoy
Use this clean eating food list as a tool for making better choices at every meal.
Whether you ease your way into your new lifestyle or jump into clean eating head first, you’ll notice that you feel and look better quickly.
Note that clean eating emphasizes local, organic foods when and where they are available.
These are generally fresher and more nutritious, but don’t overlook whole frozen and jarred foods, which are often higher in vitamins than fresh versions which have been trucked long distances and kept in cold storage for extended periods of time.
Hunting for your own meat and raising your own chickens for their eggs, local organic farmers are the best sources for meat, poultry, and eggs.
Trustworthy farmers often allow and even encourage visitors, and many sell their products in bulk.
You will save money if you purchase a share in a grass-fed steer instead of buying meat by individual cut, for example.
- Bacon, organic uncured varieties
- Ham, organic uncured varieties
- Hot dogs, organic uncured varieties
- Lunch eat, organic uncured varieties
- Mountain goat
- Mountain sheep
- Sausage, organic, uncured varieties
- Water buffalo
Tips for Clean Eating
For most people, clean eating food lists are just the beginning.
Starting slowly and taking the process one step at a time is an important key to success; it’s a strategy that prevents feelings of overwhelm and increases confidence.
Take as much time as you need, and you’ll enjoy your transformation rather than feeling stressed.
- Start by cutting back, learn as you go and seek progress.
- Clear your pantry of obvious junk food if you’re feeling extra-motivated.
- Plan your menu, incorporating protein, carbohydrates, and fat into every meal.
- Prep your foods ahead of time for convenience.
- Forgive slipups and make room for the mindful inclusion of occasional “treats.”
- Emphasize fresh produce and eat the skin if possible. Be sure to wash everything well!
- Shop the supermarket’s perimeter, where whole, fresh foods are kept. Take a trip down the grains aisle to find staples like brown rice and quinoa.
- Support local farmers whenever you can, and encourage others to do so as well. The more we support small farms, the easier it is to access fresh, clean food from nearby sources.
- Grow a garden, even if it’s in containers or in a community garden plot. Ease your way into gardening and grow a few things you know you’ll enjoy eating. Tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers are ideal, and so are herbs like basil and mint.
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least two liters of water each day. Treat yourself to a good water filtration system. Avoid tap water, and try to stay away from bottled water.
- The temptation is everywhere in the beginning, but life gets easier as you begin to reap the many benefits of clean eating. Take the process one meal at a time and enjoy plenty of variety!
- Stay satisfied with several small meals each day. Allowing yourself to become too hungry means it’s easier to give in to temptation.
- Use portion control, particularly with high-fat items and high-sugar fruits. Pre-measure your portions and package them for easy access.
- Detoxing from processed sugar and chemicals takes about a week. You’re likely to get a few headaches and suffer from mood swings as you transition to a clean eating plan. Stick with it and find fun ways to distract yourself as you change your palate’s preferences for the better.