Clean eating is tough. With so many different opinions and options of what is and isn't good for you, it's hard to keep track of what you should actually be fuelling your body with. Now - falling off the wagon for a meal won't hurt you - but if you're curious to know which habits matter in the long run, here are some things you should always do -or never do- when it comes to eating.
Eat veggies and protein at every meal: No - the fried or canned type don't count. Fresh veggies are the way to go for a number of reasons: they're loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and their water and fiber content also help keep you full. Alongside those veggies, make sure you have protein. A diet rich in protein helps control cravings while also helping to build lean muscle mass, adding to the body's fat-burning potential.
Eat healthy fats: Forget what you think you know about low-fat diets. Good-for-you fats help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost your HDL (good) cholesterol; they've also been shown to reduce belly fat. Look to incorporate monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into your meals while avoiding saturated and trans fats. Avocados, olive oil, and nuts are all superb options.
Plan, prepare, pack: The best way to maintain is to control your diet. This means cooking meals at home and packing your lunch whenever possible. Another tip: keep water and healthy snacks in your purse, car and gym bag at all times. This should stop you from ordering out while you're on the go.
Be kind to yourself: Binge-eating or falling off the wagon will happen. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up. Consuming yourself with guilt can make things worse; part of sticking to a healthy diet involves feeling good about yourself and the choices you make.
Drink calories: Soda, juice and other store-bought beverages are some of the biggest hurdles when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. They contain zero nutrition and are basically nothing but sugar and empty calories.
Skip meals: Nutrition is key. Fill your belly to lose it. Eat four to six small, balanced,meals each day and make sure that protein is a component in everything you eat.
Eat fried foods: Yes, they're completely destructive to the body. Fried foods are widely available (and cheap), making them hard to steer clear of, but the amount of trans fat they contain should be motivation to avoid.
Eat sugars or grains at night: Breakfast should be the heartiest meal of the day; from there, gradually lighten as you get closer to dinner. Starches and grains are more calorie-dense and unneeded at night when the body is winding down.
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