Clean-Eating Foods List

Recipe: Greek Kale Salad with Quinoa & Chicken

Eating clean is a lot easier when your cupboards, fridge and freezer are filled with healthy, clean foods. When you’re eating clean, whole foods like fruits and vegetables are obvious choices. Minimally processed foods with short ingredient lists can also fit into a clean-eating diet. Choose foods with healthy ingredients like whole grains and healthy fats and those low in added sugar and salt. From the produce aisle to the meat counter from desserts to drinks you may be wondering which foods to actually eat when you’re eating clean. Here are some tips to help you stock your kitchen with foods that make it easier to eat clean.

New to clean eating? Read our 7 Tips for Clean Eating.

Don’t Miss: 14-Day Clean-Eating Meal Plan


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Pictured Recipe: Pineapple Green Smoothie
Fruit is almost always a clean choice. Some people worry about fruit’s sugar content but fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Health experts don’t worry about natural sugars for the most part because it’s hard to overdo it and you’re getting beneficial nutrients. You will want to check labels for added sugars in canned fruits and dried fruits.

Fruit juice can count toward your daily recommended fruit intake, too-just make sure it’s 100% juice. Even 100% fruit juices don’t contain the beneficial fiber found in whole fruits, so you may want to limit your intake.

Related: Healthy Fruit Smoothie Recipes

Clean Fruit to Choose:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Canned fruit with no added sugar
  • Frozen fruit with no added sugar
  • Dried fruit with no added sugar
  • 100% fruit juice


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Pictured Recipe: Green Shakshuka

Vegetables should be the building blocks of your clean-eating meals because they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Frozen and canned vegetables are healthy, too, but choose ones without sauces and be sure to read the label since even items that look plain may have added salt. There are tons of convenient ways to eat your veggies, when you’re short on prep-time. Supermarkets offer a variety of pre-cut vegetables and even pre-spiralized veggie noodles (plus, there’s always frozen). We’re all for shortcuts that make it easier to get vegetables into your diet, but watch out for veggie chips and veggie pasta that may just have a sprinkling of vegetable dust, rather than a full serving of vegetables.

Don’t Miss: Take Our Eat More Vegetables Challenge

Clean Vegetables:

  • Any fresh vegetable
  • Frozen vegetables with no sauce or added salt
  • Canned vegetables with no sauce or added salt

Whole Grains

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Pictured Recipe: Quinoa Avocado Salad

Whole grains are the healthy, good-for-you carbs that deliver fiber and nutrition. Whole grains­, such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, farro or millet, are relatively unprocessed and contain only one ingredient. They’re about as clean as you can get. When it comes to other whole-grain products, look for whole-wheat versions of pasta, refrigerated pizza dough, bread and English muffins (just be sure that whole-wheat flour is the first ingredient and there isn’t sugar in the ingredient list). Even popcorn is a whole grain: buy the kernels and pop them on the stove or in an air popper for a clean snack that doesn’t have the additives and buttery calories you find in microwave bags.

Don’t Miss: 7-Day Clean-Eating Meal Plan

Clean Whole Grains:

  • Single-ingredient grains, such as farro, millet, oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Popcorn
  • Sprouted whole-grain bread and English muffins (with no added sugar)
  • Whole-wheat pizza dough


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Pictured Recipe: Mac & Cheese with Collards
Choose plain yogurt (either regular or Greek) over vanilla and fruit-flavored yogurts, which are high in added sugar, to clean up your diet. Dairy products, such as cheese and milk, can do double duty: eat them solo or use them as ingredients in cleaner homemade versions of foods, such as pizza and macaroni and cheese. Opting for nondairy alternatives, such as soy, coconut and almond milk? Look for unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugar. Also, check reduced- and low-fat dairy products to make sure they aren’t loaded with fillers or weird ingredients (some are, some aren’t). Plain, whole-milk dairy is a clean choice.

Clean Dairy Foods:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Unsweetened nondairy milks


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Pictured Recipe: Pork Chops with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Meat offers protein, iron and vitamin B12. Eating cleaner means avoiding processed foods, so steer clear of bologna, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs. These-and other processed meat products-are usually high in sodium and may contain artificial colors as well as preservatives. Choosing environmentally-sustainable protein when possible can help you with clean-eating, too. We created clean-eating guides for chicken, pork and beef to help you discern what the labels mean.

Fish and shellfish can be super-healthy protein sources and many fish contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Choose sustainably sourced seafood when possible. Check out our clean-eating buyer’s guide to seafood to help you make smart choices.

Eggs are a great choice-and don’t skip the yolk or you’ll miss out on extra protein and nutrients.

Nuts, seeds and beans are all great choices for plant-based proteins. Just be sure to look for lower-sodium options when possible.

Related: 5 Healthiest Fish to Eat (and 5 to Avoid)

Clean Proteins:

  • Single-ingredient meats: chicken breast, chicken legs, ground beef, etc.
  • Seafood (choose sustainable options, such as wild salmon and Pacific cod)
  • Eggs
  • Unflavored nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts)
  • Plain nut butters (no added sugar)
  • Dried beans
  • Canned beans (rinse to reduce sodium by 35%)


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Pictured Recipe: Apple “Donuts”

How “clean” your diet is, is up to you. You may cut added sugar out entirely, or limit it. Most traditional desserts from a package don’t fit the bill when you’re eating clean. They are typically made with refined flours and lots of added sugars. However, you don’t have to ban sweets from your life. You can make treats at home with less sugar, fruit and whole grains or go totally-added sugar free with some fruit-based treats.

Related: Clean-Eating Desserts


Drinks can be big source of added sugar. Steer clear of sodas, sweetened teas and specialty flavored-coffee drinks. Unsweetened tea and coffee, water and seltzer are all clean choices. Add a splash of juice to seltzer and serve it in a special glass to make your drink a little more special. Also, alcohol may be something you want to cut out if you’re eating clean, but you don’t have to. You do need to limit-it’s recommended women have no more than 1 drink a day, and men no more than 2. Wine and beer are appropriate but if you prefer cocktails watch out for sugary mixers with lots of sugar.

Now that you’re ready to stock your kitchen with clean-eating essentials, be sure to try our quick clean-eating recipes, budget clean-eating recipes, clean-eating lunches and clean-eating breakfasts.

Healthy Clean Eating Grocery List for Beginners (How to eat clean)

Are you a clean eating beginner? Just learning how to do that thing they call clean eating? Well, this post includes a handy clean eating grocery list – so you’ll know exactly what you’ll need on a clean eating diet.

No more questioning if you’re doing it right. You can always look back to this list for reference.

I created this list so you can eat clean the right way. Hope you find this guide helps with your clean eating diet plan. If you have questions about anything or see something is missing, reach out to me anytime.

Note: There are affiliate links in this post. See full disclosure.

FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS CLEAN EATING FOOD LIST PDF ON YOUR BLOG/SITE, just please add a link back to when you do so. Thank you!

What is clean eating?

The clean eating basics include no junk food, no processed food, no high sugar foods, or high salt foods, no foods with thousands of ingredients and many you can never pronounce out loud!!

It’s essentially eating REAL food. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Clean eating recipes are all over the web. Try pinterest or do a google search.

Following a Clean Eating Diet can be easy. You just have to learn what is and isn’t “clean” and follow those guidelines until it becomes a daily habit for you.

You’ll notice a change in your health and wellness and won’t ever look back.

Where do you begin?

If you’re like many people out there who don’t even know where to begin – I’ve created this healthy clean eating grocery list for you. Use it to make any healthy recipes you like to make, but without all the added junky ingredients.

NOTE: Above all, you do NOT have to buy everything on this list. This list is just a general idea of what you can stock your home with. However, don’t forget to get rid of the junk, and only put healthy foods like this in your fridge/pantry/cupboards.

What I usually do is decide what I plan on eating for the week and use this list to choose what I need to buy. Keep in mind, it’s more of a guide to follow and pick & choose from.

This clean eating shopping list for beginners is basically a healthy foods list. Therefore, all these foods can be great for healthy weight loss and changing your health if you use them to make a healthy lifestyle change.

You don’t have to buy everything on this list at once, of course, but it’s an extensive list to show you what you can put on your clean eating food list for when you go shopping.

However, it’s great to refer to when looking for clean eating recipes to make sure you’re not eating bad foods.

Are you clean eating for weight loss?

Firstly, I’d say this is a good plan. They say the weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise, therefore, having a list of healthy foods is the first step to getting your diet on track.

Secondly, you could use curated Clean Eating Meal Plans filled with foods that help you lose weight.

For instance, we’ve got a low-calorie meal plan that is full of clean eating foods (see below).

The daily diet meal plan adds up to about a 1200 calories going up to about 1900 calories each day. Moreover, each day is different. And, it’s full of healthy clean eating recipes.

Click the button below to learn more about it.

Below is an extensive food list guide for you to use when writing up your clean eating grocery list.

Moreover, you could also use it to go through your pantry, your fridge, your cupboards and make sure what you have in your house is healthy and clean eating foods. However, it will easily guide you on how to eat clean.

You don’t have to buy everything on the list, instead, just buy what you need for the week and use this list as a guide of what you should eat and shouldn’t eat.

Healthy Clean Eating fats:

Clean eating healthy fats list

Eat these for the best health. Nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados are all my favorite healthy fats and oils. For example, see below for an extensive healthy fats list.

  • Avocados
  • Avocado Oil –
  • Coconut Oil –
  • Nuts and Seeds (see below for extensive list)
  • Nut Butters (see below for extensive list)
  • Olives (kalamata , green, black)
  • Olive Oil
  • Sesame Oil

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are included as a healthy fat.

Eat high omega 3 and omega 6 nuts/seeds.

Always read labels. For instance, only purchase those where nuts or seeds that are the only ingredient on the label. For example, some are seasoned with lots of salt or sugar + extra junky ingredients. Skip those.

Don’t be afraid of healthy fats. They are essential to living a healthy life.


  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pine Nuts
  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • pistachios
  • cashews
  • pumpkin seeds
  • flaxseeds
  • sesame seeds
  • chia seeds
  • sunflower seeds

Natural nut/seed butters

Oh yes, one of my other favorite fats is nut butter. I actually consider myself an addict… it’s a great healthy fat and clean eating diet food.

Above all, always read the labels. Ingredients including just the nuts is best. But most also include salt. This is fine, but the least amount of added salt/sodium is best.

Similarly, don’t buy nut/seed butter with added sugar.

    • peanut butter
    • almond butter
    • cashew butter
    • sunflower seed butter
    • tahini

Bread, Tortillas, Pasta and Flours:

Yes, there is such a thing as clean eating bread, clean eating tortillas, clean eating pasta and clean eating flour. Check out some brands/types below. Lots of these are available at most supermarkets. Similarly, you can find some online, too.

  • Bread –

    • Ezekiel bread
    • Dave’s Killer Bread
    • Alvarado Street brand breads
    • Trader Joe’s Brand whole grain breads
  • Tortillas

    Ezekiel tortillas, sprouted wheat tortillas and of course corn tortillas (made with corn, water and lime).

  • Pasta

    Whole wheat or whole grain pasta (brown rice or quinoa pasta are good). Or Ezekiel has this Sprouted Grain Pasta .

  • Flours

    Always opt for unbleached flour.

    • Whole wheat flour
    • coconut flour
    • almond flour
    • chickpea flour
    • gluten free flour

Clean Eating Whole Grains:

  • Brown Rice
  • Wild Rice –
  • Red Rice –
  • Basmati Rice –
  • Jasmine Rice –
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Oats (plain with no additives and steel cut or regular oats are good)
  • Millet –
  • Farro –
  • whole wheat couscous –
  • Tempeh is also a good grain/protein choice for vegetarians & vegans.

Beans and Legumes:

I suggest buying dry beans and cooking them up yourself in your crockpot with only a dash or 2 of sea salt.

This is cheaper plus you avoid high sodium canned foods.

I cook up a big crock pot of them, then store in freezer in 1.5 cup serving sized tupperware and defrost when I need them.

Beans are great protein source for clean eating vegetarians.

  • black beans
  • white beans
  • red beans
  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • adzuki beans
  • lima beans
  • black eyed peas
  • garbanzo beans or chickpeas
  • soy beans or edamame
  • lentils (brown, green, red, yellow)
  • split peas


The #1 food category on your healthy clean eating grocery list. Fruits and vegetables are vital to a healthy diet.

Firstly, make produce your #1 priority in your diet and the bulk of your diet.

Secondly, remember to opt for organic if you can afford it.

Thirdly, see the dirty dozen below for fruits and vegetables that you should definitely buy organic.

Fourthly, produce is okay fresh or frozen and can be cooked or raw.

Lastly, eat a variety in all different colors for the best nutrition.


  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Greens: spinach, kale, arugula, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, cabbage, romaine, watercress, swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, endive, etc. More about greens.
  • Green Beans
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Squash: zucchini, summer squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, etc.
  • Sweet Potato


  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Dates –
  • Dried fruit (opt for unsulphured): Dried Cranberries, Raisins, Prunes, Dried Figs , Dried Apricots, Dried Apple rings , Banana chips
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon

Dirty Dozen

(This is a list of the produce that has the highest pesticide residues. Always add the organic version of these veggies and fruits to your healthy grocery list.): Apples, Peaches, Sweet Bell Pepper, Strawberries, Spinach, Pears, Potatoes, Nectarines, Cherries, Grapes (imported), Celery and Lettuce.


Always go for organic if you can afford it. In addition, lean cuts of meat with less fat are better for your health (92% or higher).

  • Poultry

    Chicken, Turkey or Duck. When buying poultry, boneless skinless breast is best – but you can get the best bargain by purchasing the whole chicken or turkey (frozen). You can then cook it and eat all the parts.

  • Eggs

    Such a great staple to clean eating diet. Go for free-range. If you choose to just eat egg whites, avoid whites you buy in a carton and just learn to separate the yolk from the whites on your own for cleaner eating. Don’t always leave the yolk out as the yolk contains the bulk of the nutrition in an egg.

  • Fish

    Most fish is clean, but watch out for mercury in fish. Wild caught is best.

  • Beef

    Choose grass-fed and humanely raised beef. Going directly to a butcher can help you get the best cuts.

  • Pork

    Be wise when choosing pork meat. Processed pork should be avoided (hot dogs, canadian bacon, ham, etc.) and is not clean. Choose only high quality cuts of pork from your butcher.

  • Venison

    A great alternative to beef. Venison is very lean and healthy.

Condiments, Spices and Seasonings:

  • Spices

    With garlic or onion powder, get it plain without added salt. Dried herbs in bottles or bulk are best. Seasoning packets and herb blends should be avoided. They can be high in sodium and/or might contain added sugar and are not usually clean. Any bottled spices and seasonings are great to add to your healthy grocery list:

    • Turmeric, cumin, chili powder, basil, oregano, parsley, chives, dill weed, sage, mustard seed , coriander, fennel, powdered ginger, cinnamon, etc. Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes are great.
  • Mustard and Ketchup

    Both have added sugar usually, so always read labels looking for one that doesn’t include sugar. Ketchup will be harder to find without sugar, so you might want to “google” a clean eating ketchup recipe. Or try this ketchup made with agave. Dijon mustard is usually clean and has no sugar.

  • Honey

    A great sweetener.

  • Maple Syrup

    You should always get “pure” maple syrup , not the kind you get in the sugary breakfast cereal aisle in the grocery store. That stuff is usually made with high fructose corn syrup (and just artificially maple syrup flavored), so avoid this stuff and always read labels.

  • Coconut Palm Sugar

    Organic is best. Delicious sweetener choice.

  • Raw Agave Nectar

  • Molasses

    Buy the unsulfured molasses .

  • Lemon Juice/Lime Juice

    You should always read labels on the bottled stuff. You’ll usually find added preservatives. It’s best to squeeze your own from fresh limes and lemons, of course.

  • Vinegars

    Balsamic, Red Wine, White Wine, Rice Wine, Apple Cider. These are all great for making your own salad dressings, sauces or using in recipes.

  • Tea and Coffee

    Both are clean. Green or herbal tea is great.

  • Tamari

    Clean alternative to soy sauce.

  • Braggs Liquid Aminos

    Adds good flavor to many dishes, another alternative to soy sauce.

Dairy products:

Dairy can be high in sugars – regardless of it being added or not. Milk from a cow is naturally high in carbs and sugars.

That’s where unsweetened milk alternatives come in handy as a better clean eating choice.

  • Milk

    Raw milk is best. Raw milk might be hard to find and expensive. If you can’t find it opt for organic, full-fat milk. You should then count your milk as a fat and carbohydrate serving instead of protein serving.
    If you choose low-fat milk, just know that the lower in fat you go, typically the more processed the milk is.

  • Cheese

    Eat cheese in moderation. It has a high fat content. Also, be sure it’s real cheese with the least amount of additives.
    Pre-shredded cheeses contain anti-caking agents, so avoid it. Always buy blocks of cheese and shred it yourself. Real grated Parmesan cheese is acceptable in moderation. But NOT Kraft brand Parmesan cheese. Only buy the refrigerated kind.

  • Yogurt

    Make sure it’s plain whether you choose Greek or Regular yogurt. Then add your own fresh fruit if you wanted to. If you want it sweet use maple syrup or honey. Avoid fat free or reduced fat.

  • Cottage cheese

    Avoid fat free. Full fat is best, but you can also use low fat. Like milk, the lower the fat, the more processed it is.

  • Unsweetened soy milk

    Only get organic to avoid GMO’s.

  • Unsweetened almond milk

    Always read labels. Simple is best and making your own is even better – and pretty easy, too!

  • Unsweetened rice milk

    Make sure it’s made from brown rice. Homemade is best.

  • Unsweetened coconut milk

    Get only the stuff in the cans . Be sure to read labels here. The Thai Kitchen brand is clean. Light coconut milk is okay to have.

Foods that should NOT be on your Clean Eating Grocery List:

I couldn’t create a complete healthy clean eating grocery list without pointing out what you shouldn’t have, right?

It might be hard to say goodbye to some of your favorite foods that aren’t “Clean”. However, don’t worry, it will get easier as the weeks go by and you notice how good you feel and you notice changes in your body.

Moreover, you won’t even miss them anymore after that!

Just hang in there, clean eating will be worth it. In addition, you’ll never look back from following a clean eating diet once you get started. Plus, the rewards are endless.

Do not add any of the following to your clean eating grocery list, ever!

No processed foods and any commercially prepared convenience foods.

For example, this rule includes:

  • Boxed/Bagged Convenience Meals (frozen or not)
  • Candy
  • Pre-Made Canned Products such as Soups or Pasta
  • Energy Drinks
  • Fast Food
  • Fruits & Vegetables in preserved states (example: fruit in sugary syrup)
  • Fruit Juices that include added sugar and other artificial ingredients (fresh squeezed juice straight out of the juicer with nothing added is totally awesome and allowed)
  • Soda/Soft Drinks (Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, 7 Up, Diet soda, root beer, etc.)
  • corn oil
  • margarine
  • Crisco
  • sugar
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • artificial sweeteners

In Conclusion

As mentioned before, following a clean eating diet can be easy with a little bit of planning and preparation.

Try to remove any of the un-clean foods from your home. This will help you to avoid eating them.

Then fill your house with only clean foods for best results on the path of healthy and clean eating for life!

Hope this clean eating grocery list helps you get on track to eating clean!

This clean eating grocery list is great for go-getters who make a healthy food shopping list and stick with it.

Some may need a little more help – like with healthy clean eating meal plans already made up for them with a clean eating grocery list and everything already made up.

Is that something you’d find helpful?

If so, you might be interested in our Healthy Meal Plans based off the clean eating diet. They’re all about sharing with you clean eating recipes for weight loss in meal plan form.

Healthy breakfast ideas, healthy lunch ideas, healthy snack ideas and healthy dinner ideas.

There are even healthy dessert ideas thrown in there every once in a while.

These are low calorie meal plans… usually around a 1200 calorie diet meal plan daily – but they go up to about 1900 calorie, it alternates daily and every day is different and delicious!

NOTE: There are affiliate links in this post. I will get a tiny reward (at no cost to you) for any purchases you make after clicking on one of those links. Thank you.

Easy Recipe Depot

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 in to 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
  • 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 follow.

  • 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, pastas, 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.
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • 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 extensive periods of time. As you decide which foods to eat, keep simplicity and nutrient density in mind.

Meat, Poultry, and Eggs

Most supermarket meats do not meet clean eating standards, as the majority of livestock and poultry raised in filthy confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are fed diets consisting mainly of genetically modified corn and soy, not to mention unsavory byproducts from industrial food processors. Many have antibiotics added to their feed, which in turn enter your system and create resistance to antibiotics, creating a barrier to healing in the event you have an infection and require antibiotic therapy.

If you are able to hunt, you can easily fill your freezer with wild game. Be sure to take appropriate hunters’ safety classes and purchase the necessary permits, and ensure that you are respectful of the game and the land that it comes from. Taking wild game gives you the opportunity to reflect on the value of a clean environment, and eating it provides you with excellent nutrition as well as a sense of accomplishment.

If you live in a community where backyard chickens are permitted, you can raise a few hens, feed them a clean, organic diet, and save money on eggs from healthy, happy chickens that will quickly feel like part of the family.

Besides 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.

  • Antelope
  • Bacon, organic uncured varieties
  • Beef
  • Beefalo
  • Buffalo
  • Caribou
  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Elk
  • Emu
  • Goat
  • Goose
  • Ham, organic uncured varieties
  • Hot dogs, organic uncured varieties
  • Hare
  • Lamb
  • Lunch eat, organic uncured varieties
  • Moose
  • Mountain goat
  • Mountain sheep
  • Mutton
  • Ostrich
  • Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Pork
  • Quail
  • Rabbit
  • Sausage, organic, uncured varieties
  • Turkey
  • Venison
  • Water buffalo

Fish and Seafood

Garlic Fish

Once, before industrial pollution, all fish and seafood was safe to eat. Today, most varieties are loaded with contaminants – even trout from certain local streams should be avoided over concern about contact with industrial runoff. Frozen fish and seafood is often superior to fresh; it’s flash frozen immediately after being cleaned, and it is often less costly.

Be sure to avoid farmed fish and shellfish, as these are typically fed substandard diets and kept in dirty conditions. Wild-caught fish and shellfish from certified, responsible sources are best. Look for the blue Marine Stewardship Council label: it’s a good sign that the fish you are purchasing is sustainable and safe. Ensure that your choices are not processed with added sodium solutions, breading, marinades, and other additions. You’ll be able to create your own recipes with whole, clean foods from your pantry.

Finally, be certain to avoid or limit fish from the top of the food chain. Predators with long lives absorb more toxins from the animals they eat, as well as from the environment. Examples include filefish, swordfish, marlin, king mackerel, ahi tuna, bigeye, and shark. Never eat marine mammals, turtles, or seabirds, as they tend to have high levels of toxins.

  • Anchovies
  • Albacore tuna, no salt added
  • Clams
  • Cockles
  • Cod
  • Crab
  • Dogfish
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Hoki
  • Krill
  • Lobster
  • Lumpfish
  • Mackerel
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Pike-perch
  • Plaice
  • Pollock
  • Prawns
  • Razor shell clams
  • Sablefish
  • Saithe
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Toothfish
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Whiting

Like most commercial beef products, most commercial dairy products come from cattle fed a heavy diet of genetically modified corn, soy, and industrial byproducts – and kept in almost unbelievably filthy conditions. The good news is that farmers are recognizing and responding to the increased demand for grass-fed dairy products, and local, artisanal dairies are popping up in many communities. Pasteurized, unhomogenized dairy products are available at many dairies as well as at local stores and farmers’ markets. Expect to pay a premium price, but be prepared to thoroughly enjoy these superior products if you can get them. Supporting these farmers encourages better animal husbandry and bolsters local farmers who enjoy serving appreciative clients.

If you can’t find a local dairy or buy a cow and care for her yourself, perhaps you can buy into a cow share – some small farmers offer these, providing their customers with access to raw, unhomogenized milk from which a vast variety of products can be made. Raw dairy and cow shares are a touchy subject as they’re illegal in many places. You can, of course pasteurize milk yourself once it arrives home!

  • Cream
  • Homemade ice cream with natural ingredients
  • Milk (cow, goat, or sheep), preferably whole, unhomogenized
  • Natural cheeses, all types
  • Natural goat cheese
  • Natural sheep’s cheese
  • Natural yogurt with live, active cultures; preferably plain

Whole grains make a heart-healthy addition to any meal or snack, and they reduce your risk for developing colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. Be absolutely certain that packages or bulk bins state that contents are “whole grain.” Marketing buzzwords to watch out for include multi-grain, stone-ground, and 100% wheat. These are sneaky attempts to confuse consumers into thinking that they’re getting minimally processed foods. If you don’t see “whole grain” on a label, just walk on by. Choose organic grains whenever you can, and be sure to look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label.

  • Amaranth
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat (also known as kasha)
  • Bulgur
  • Freekeh
  • Irish oats
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Oat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Polenta
  • Popcorn, plain varieties
  • Quinoa
  • Quinoa polenta
  • Red rice
  • Rye
  • Sprouted whole grain bread
  • Whole grain baking mixes
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole grain flour
  • Whole grain granola, preferably sweetened with honey, agave, or evaporated cane juice
  • Whole grain pancake mix
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain pita bread
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Whole grain tortilla chips
  • Whole wheat
  • Wild rice

Vegetables and Legumes

Vegetables and legumes should make up a large portion of your daily diet. Choose fresh vegetables from local sources whenever you can, and opt for dried legumes over canned varieties. Be sure to give unfamiliar items a try: You’ll find plenty of inspiration in cookbooks, and vegan cooking blogs can serve up plenty of plant-based wisdom even if you’re an omnivore. The following list is by no means all-inclusive as there are thousands of varieties from which to choose. Instead, it contains 60 of the most common, easily accessible vegetables and legumes to help you get a good start with your clean eating plan.

  • Adzuki beans
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bell peppers
  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cannellini beans
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chickpeas
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Cranberry beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Dandelion greens
  • Edamame
  • Fava beans
  • Great northern beans
  • Green beans
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Kale
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lettuce, all types
  • Mung beans
  • Mushrooms, all types
  • Mustard greens
  • Napa cabbage
  • Navy beans
  • Okra
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Pinto beans
  • Potatoes
  • Red beans
  • Red cabbage
  • Romanesco
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Spinach
  • String beans
  • Summer squash, all types
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Turnip greens
  • Turtle beans
  • Yams
  • Yellow beans
  • Yellow peas
  • Watercress
  • White beans
  • Winter squash, all types


Like vegetables, fruits should play a major role in your diet. This clean eating list is a basic one, with more than 30 options to try.

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Canary melons
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Christmas melons
  • Clementines
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Goji berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guavas
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mandarins
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Passionfruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Prunes
  • Pummelos
  • Quince
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangelos
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon
  • Winter melon

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are vital for good health. They’re packed with healthy fats, fiber, and plant-based protein. Look for raw nuts and seeds that you can roast yourself, and consider making your own nut butters – but don’t worry too much if you’re not able to take these extra steps. So long as you avoid lots of added salt, sugar, artificial flavorings, and unhealthy trans-fats such as the hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil that ends up in many nut butters, you’ll be doing your body a big favor by enjoying small servings of nuts and seeds on a daily basis.

  • Almonds
  • Almond butter
  • Cashews
  • Cashew butter
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseed, ground
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hazelnut butter
  • Hemp hearts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios, natural variety (not pink-dyed)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Squash seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sunbutter (Sunflower seed butter)
  • Walnuts

Superfood Supplements, Spices, Condiments, and Extras

Spices, condiments, and superfoods (chocolate anyone?) add variety and interest to your clean eating plan. This list contains over 60 ideas to try: Be sure to explore your supermarket and local health food stores for more exciting additions.

  • Agave nectar
  • Anise
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Avocado oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • Cacao nibs
  • Canned coconut milk, unsweetened
  • Canola oil, organic, non-GMO variety
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coconut nectar
  • Coconut oil, preferably virgin varieties
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Dark chocolate, preferably fair-trade varieties
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Himalayan salt
  • Honey, preferably raw, and preferably from a local apiary
  • Italian seasoning
  • Kimchi
  • Maple syrup
  • Marjoram
  • Molasses
  • Nutmeg
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Olives
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Salad dressings, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce, organic, non-GMO varieties
  • Spirulina
  • Stevia, pure types without additives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Sunflower oil, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Tahini
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Tempeh, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Tofu, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Turmeric, preferably organic, and preferably sourced from the United States
  • Vanilla extract, preferably organic
  • Veggie burgers, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Veggie dogs, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Veggie “meatballs” organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Veggie sausages, organic, non-GMO varieties only
  • Walnut oil


While filtered water should be your beverage of choice, it’s fine to mix things up a bit and enjoy sparkling water, nut milks (extra points if you use a nut milk maker to create your own), and fermented drinks like kombucha, mead, and hard cider. You’ll want to keep your alcohol consumption low, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with a glass of wine or even a tot of whiskey on occasion. Choose beverages very carefully, and you’ll have no trouble sticking to your clean eating program.

  • Beer, preferably organic varieties
  • Coconut milk, unsweetened varieties
  • Coffee, preferably organic, fair trade varieties
  • Filtered water
  • Fruit juices without added sweeteners or additives, in moderation
  • Hard cider, preferably local, organic varieties
  • Hemp milk, unsweetened or made with natural sweeteners like dates and coconut nectar
  • Kombucha, preferably homemade
  • Mead, preferably local, organic varieties
  • Nut milk, unsweetened varieties
  • Oat milk, unsweetened varieties
  • Tea, preferably organic varieties; be sure to check labels
  • Rice milk, unsweetened varieties
  • Sparkling water, including naturally flavored varieties
  • Spirits, preferably organic, and local if possible; be sure to check for additives such as sugar and artificial flavors
  • Soymilk, unsweetened, organic, non-GMO varieties
  • Wine, preferably organic varieties with no added sulfites

Clean Eating Snacks to Try

Simple, clean eating snacks prevent you from succumbing to temptation and raiding the vending machine or heading for the nearest fast food outlet. Here are a few easy, portable snacks to keep on hand.

  • Apple with nut butter
  • Clementines or mandarins with pistachios
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Hardboiled egg and sliced veggies
  • Homemade jerky
  • Kale chips
  • KIND bars
  • Orange slices with cashews
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds and a pear
  • Sliced vegetables and nut butter, salsa, or cheese
  • Smoothies, preferably homemade, with or without a clean protein powder (preferably a clean, organic and/or non-GMO project verified vegan variety like Orgain or Vega)
  • Trail mix – a homemade blend with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and perhaps a little bit of organic dark chocolate
  • Whole grain crackers with nut butter and berries
  • Whole grain pretzels with dried apricots and nuts

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.
  • 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.

Last but not least, setup your kitchen for success. Tools such as a blender, food processer, and nut milk maker can help you create fantastic foods and beverages that offer similar characteristics to old, processed favorites. Learn new techniques, like how to bake your own bread, and you’ll be amazed at just how flavorful and rewarding a simple clean eating plan can be!


Clean Up Your Diet and Lose Weight

Pictured Recipe: Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

We know how it is. You’re busy. Life is hectic. Who has time to cook a healthy meal? Before you know it, you’re in a real food rut-too rushed to try a new recipe or explore new flavors, too time-crunched to rethink your routine. Sticking with the same old eating habits-and maybe letting the healthy ones slide-is a recipe for weight gain. Culprits like added sugars, sodium and processed foods can start to pack on the pounds.

It’s time for a change. For one week, try ditching the four foods below. They can sneak in calories and increase your risk for health problems down the road. If it sounds hard, remember: it’s only one week! With just a few baby steps, you’ll be on your way to a cleaner diet. Best of all, you’ll be building healthy new habits-some you may want to keep for life.

Related: 7-Day Weight-Loss Meal Plan

Skip or cut back on these foods:

1. Added Sugars

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Pictured Recipe: Pineapple Nice Cream

Here’s why: They’re one of the biggest threats to your heart health. Added sugars-lurking in sodas, energy drinks, flavored yogurt, salad dressings, cereals and much more-account for more than 10 percent of Americans’ calories every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consuming that much sweet stuff raises your risk of high blood pressure, chronic inflammation and weight gain-all risk factors for heart disease.

What to try: Skip the condiments aisle and make your own tasty dressings and marinades-they’ll taste fresher and have way less sugar, not to mention weird additives you can’t pronounce. Rather than ordering those sugary (and pricey) morning lattes, try flavoring your coffee with cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa or a splash of vanilla.

Related: Sweet Treats with No Added Sugar

2. Refined Grains

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Pictured Recipe: Quinoa Lasagna

Here’s why: Americans have been hearing for years about the health benefits of whole grains: they’re loaded with fiber, iron, B vitamins and other heart-healthy nutrients. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that whole grains may help with weight loss by speeding up metabolism and aiding digestion. In the six-week study, whole-grain eaters lost almost 100 extra calories a day compared to people who ate refined grains.

What to try: Swap regular pasta for whole-wheat varieties. Trade white rice for brown, and choose whole-grain bread instead of squishy white. Don’t fall for “multigrain,” “bran” or “100 percent wheat” varieties-they’re not necessarily whole grain. Check the ingredients list. Branch out with grains like quinoa, wheat berries and farro.

Related: The Only Formula You Need to Make Healthy Buddha Bowls

3. Sodium

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Pictured Recipe: Healthy Oven-Fried Pork Chops

Here’s why: Most of us eat too much salt, upping our risk for high blood pressure, kidney problems, stroke and heart disease. New research also suggests excess sodium can lead to weight gain. In one small study from Australia, people who ate a salty pasta dish were more likely to overeat, consuming 11 percent more calories than those who had a low-salt dish. Other studies show a link between high-salt diets and obesity in children.

What to try: Go through your pantry and set aside the soy sauce, crackers and packaged snacks for the week. Canned beans can be swimming in extra sodium, so consider soaking and cooking dried beans in a slow cooker rather than popping open a can. If you do use canned beans, be sure to rinse them well to get rid of excess salt. And instead of eating out, save yourself the money (and sodium, calories and unhealthy fats) and cook at home instead.

4. Alcohol

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Pictured Recipe: Green Jasmine-Mint Iced Tea with Lemon

Here’s why: Alcohol does have health benefits: research shows moderate drinking (1 drink a day for women, 2 for men) can help protect against heart disease and stroke. But over time, too much drinking can cause liver problems and increase the risk of some kinds of cancer. Plus, those colorful cocktails can be deceptively high in calories.

What to try: Skip the alcohol and sip a trendy mocktail instead. Or try hydrating more with sparkling water or green tea. Entertaining? Dress up nonalcoholic drinks with fresh fruit or mint-your guests will never miss the booze.

Some original reporting by Nicci Micco, M.S.

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If you are trying to lose weight or struggling with weight loss. This is how I have lost 50 pounds with a clean eating lifestyle. Eating clean has me lighter, fitter and feeling better.

Have you heard of clean eating? I admit that I have heard the term but never really knew what it meant. If you are unsure of what is clean eating, well, from my understanding, it’s eating real food, unprocessed and as natural as possible. Eating clean means avoiding processed food and sticking with vegetables, fruit and natural proteins.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Click here for my full disclosure policy. *I am not a doctor or nutritionist, please make sure to consult your physician before starting a new exercise or lifestyle change.

Why I Decided to Change My Habits

I should rewind and tell you my ‘why’. When I was still working, I worked late nights and got very little sleep. No rest, busy days, long nights and not so great eating habits can lead to an unhealthy self and weight gain. So after retiring from the NYPD, I had my standard bloodwork done. My numbers were not good at all. Especially, my cholesterol, which was way higher than it has ever been and higher than I would ever want it to be. That in conjunction with the fact that I knew I was overweight was an eye-opener for me. My nutritionist actually looked at my bloodwork and then said to me “what the hell are you doing?” I need to lose weight and I need to get healthy for myself, my kids, my family. (psst, you can read about my retiring from the NYPD here: NYPD). I also noticed myself in the mirror for the first time in a while and could see that I didn’t look the way I wanted to look. I also didn’t feel the way that I wanted to feel. But those things often do go hand in hand. This is my ‘before’ photo. I keep it as a motivator for me. This photo was taken in June when I attempted to start jump roping. I ordered myself a great set of jump ropes and started jumping in the backyard every day. This was great until I injured my knee. Jumping rope was a great workout and I lost 5 lbs. But once I hurt my knee my jump roping was over and my husband has taken possession of my amazing jump ropes. If you are looking for weighted jump ropes, you can find the ones we have HERE or any jump ropes HERE.

How I Lost Weight Eating Clean

Now that I explained my ‘why’ I can get into the how. I can assure you of a few things from the start:

  1. Losing weight isn’t easy
  2. Losing weight takes time
  3. There is no magic pill
  4. There are no gimmicks

This is a personal story about my own success with clean eating, but if you are new to clean eating in general, make sure to check out Everything You Need to Know about a Clean Eating Diet.


But Im guessing that you already know these things. So from the jumping rope, I am down 5 lbs which isn’t much and I held steady at that weight from June until September when I retired. In October I joined a gym and started working out anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week. I dress for the gym before taking the kids to school so that once I drop them off I can head straight to the gym with no excuses. My typical day at the gym consists of starting on the elliptical machine, then weight training then the treadmill. Because I actually enjoy jogging. I started off spending about an hour at the gym, but lately, I find myself spending an hour and a half there. I made sure to take the jogging slow and steady to avoid any new knee injury. Once I started to exercise I lost another 5 lbs. (10 total) I also wear my Fitbit all the time to make sure that I am up and moving enough. You can get a fit bit here if you want one: Fitbit

Next, I started doing a little research on how to avoid knee injuries because I didn’t want to hinder my progress. I looked up bone broth and how it helps your joints. After reading review after review I decided to start using Collagen. Every day after the gym, and even days that I skipped the gym I would put a scoop of collagen peptides in my morning coffee. Later I put this in my smoothies. Low and behold (knock on wood) my knees have been great and I’ve been slowly increasing how long I jog and how fast. As an added bonus, collagen is great for your hair and nails! This is the Collagen that I use and I love that its dissolvable and has zero taste. (Collagen peptides ) It’s also gluten-free, paleo friendly and more.

I continued to go to the gym and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing any more weight. I felt better but needed something else. When I started going to the gym I also slowly started to replace my morning coffee with a shot of apple cider vinegar. I make sure to get the kind with ‘the mother’ and order it here: Apple Cider Vinegar Each morning starts the same with a shot of ACV followed by a glass of water with lemon.

If you don’t want to take a straight shot you can opt for a less harsh Apple Cider Detox Drink with Honey.

Life Style Change

Now that I am down 10 pounds but not losing any more weight I was feeling frustrated. I ran across a video on Facebook, like so many that we see and I stopped to watch it. I really wasn’t quite sure about it, but my husband talked me into joining this 30-day challenge.

So I signed up to start the 30-day challenge in the beginning of January. I can tell you that my first glance at the website made me unsure. It came across very ‘sale-sy’. But I took a chance and sent my $47. I figured hey, why not. Basically, for $47 I got a grocery list for the 3 Day Detox, a full meal plan with recipes, exercise videos, and daily meditations to stay positive.


  • Recipes: I can tell you that the first few days are a detox. I did not like it. In fact, I cursed it and ranted how it wasn’t realistic or sustainable. But I’m glad I stuck through it. Here is one of my mini-rants about the detox and the smoothies. hehe
  • After the initial detox period, the food actually got really tasty! I’ve tried foods that I most likely wouldn’t normally eat and I enjoy the occasional smoothies. The food is all real food. No replacement shakes or bars. The smoothies are real food (fruit, vegetables, etc – all fitting in with the clean eating lifestyle). The meal plan is flexible too. If there’s a meal that I just don’t want to eat I can swap it out with another. The main focus on the clean eating lifestyle is more about portion control and eating the right food. Here are a few of the foods that I have enjoyed since starting the 30-day challenge. The only reason that I have photos of these meals is because I send them to my mother. haha

For more healthy clean eating recipes make sure to follow my clean eating Pinterest board here: Clean Eating.

Watching What I Eat

I have printed all of the clean eating recipes and created a binder in my kitchen that I grab daily to pick out what to eat each day. My type A personality shines through here because I have highlighted all the breakfast meals with pink, lunch in green, dinner in blue, snacks in yellow. hehe This way I can skim by color to find the meal that I want. I’m a sucker for organization. As I make each recipe, I then add little notes as to whether I like it or not, and if needed a little something more like lemon or salt for example. I should also add that the recipes are all rather easy to make and can also be made rather quickly and are real food.

There is also a free app that I use on my cell phone called Lose It! The app allows me to add the recipes and food that I eat each day. (My OCD is showing) I set up my profile with my current weight and my goal weight. I enter when I exercise and the app calculates how many calories I can have each day. So when I prepare a meal or snack from the 30-day challenge I log it into the app. You don’t have to be as anal retentive as me, but this works for me. Here is the app if you’d like to check it out: Lose It

Workout Videos

  • Work out Videos: Since I am already going to the gym, I haven’t done many of the exercise videos, but I do love having them for the days that I am unable to make it to the gym. The exercise videos give me a new workout and change things up from what I do on my own. They are easy enough to follow that my 5 year old likes to do them with me. The 30-day challenge workout videos cover warm-up, exercise and cool down/stretching. They also change each week, and along with the meal plan, there is a workout plan to help guide you. With these, you don’t even have to go to a gym if you don’t want to. The workouts are plenty to get your blood flowing.


  • Meditations: in addition to the recipes, and workouts you are given daily mediations. Which are basically positive affirmations to help keep you positive and focused. I’m all about affirmations. (Insert big puffy heart here)

There is also a Facebook group for everyone who participates in the 30-day challenge where people from all over the world participate and support one another. It is a very active group full of questions, sharing experiences and even a few women who prepare some of the meals for you on live video, which is always fun and helpful.


There are some recipes that call for Greek yogurt, kefir or protein powders. You don’t have to use the protein powders but I like them. Once I got going I decided to add these additional products to my normal routine. Here are a few of the products that I use, most are added to smoothies: (I use all of these and would not suggest anything here that I don’t use myself)

  • Protein Powder – I started with the Vanilla flavored and have since also ordered the chocolate. Many smoothie recipes call for Greek yogurt or kefir or protein powder. Since I’m not a fan of Greek yogurt I like to be able to have an easy alternative. And I really like the taste.
  • Since the Organifi protein powder is rather pricey I have recently discovered and started using Orgain. Orgain is also organic, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and vegan with zero sugar. It is also a fraction of the price! You can find Orgain HERE.
  • Green Superfood Powder – I will be honest, and say that I do not love the taste of this BUT its great to use when I don’t feel like using spinach or kale or it I have run out of my leafy greens. Depending on the recipe that it is being used in sometimes its good and sometimes I will opt to only use the fresh leafy greens.
  • Green Powder – let’s face it most green powders taste like grass. At least the ones that I have tried do. But I found this one that is actually chocolately! Oh yes, they have a chocolate flavor and a berry flavor. I love the chocolate. One of my favorite smoothies is a scoop of the chocolate greens with protein powder, collagen, almond milk, and frozen cherries, or frozen banana. Yum! This is the greens powder HERE.
  • Pro-Biotics – Simple for digestion support (only one a day)
  • Dandelion Tea – I enjoy a relaxing cup of dandelion tea each night after the kids go to bed. As a matter of fact, my dandelion tea has replaced my wine consumption.
  • Cacao Bliss – this is great for when you crave that little bit of chocolate. Simply mix a scoop of cacao bliss with hot water and a little almond milk and it’s a delicious alternative to sugar-filled hot chocolate. But so much healthier! I even found myself the perfect mug for my chocolately treat 😉 You can get a similar Bliss mug HERE

Many evenings I also enjoy a cup of Turmeric Tea, also called Turmeric milk or golden milk. I started off using the pricey stuff which is delicious. But I have researched, read reviews and just ordered a more affordable version, This is the pricey one that I use HERE, and this is the much more affordable version HERE. As far as I can tell, they have pretty much the same ingredients and offer the same benefits.


Organizing the Refrigerator

Now that I’m adding all of these new foods to our household I realized that I need a way to organize the fridge. I ordered a few of these food storage containers to keep my abundance of vegetables separate and organized. You can find them HERE

Weight Loss Results from a Clean Eating Lifestyle

As I write this (Feb 8) I can tell you that I am down a total of 21 pounds. 5 from jump rope, 5 from the gym and then an additional 11 since starting the new eating habits. Here is a before and now, I don’t want to say after because I am not done. I plan to continue and hope to shed a few more pounds:

It’s really noticeable in my face. Which is funny because no one really ever says “I need to lose weight in my face”

I also should add that I have stopped drinking coffee and wine! OH, the HORROR! I know. But surprisingly I don’t miss it. Not yet at least. It’s not even ‘required’ to eliminate these things it’s just something that happened. I have also inadvertently become almost gluten-free. Not that I had planned to eliminate gluten but many of the foods that I am eating just happen to be gluten-free. Another thing that I have noticed is that my allergies have improved drastically. I would like to think that these improvements are not a coincidence but are actually related to the changes that I have been making in my activity and eating habits.

March 1 – I am down a total of 30 lbs

April 1st – down a total of 35 lbs and feeling amazing!

April 24th – down 40 lbs and only 5 more lbs to my goal pre-pregnancy weight!

July 15th- I’ve reached my goal weight and have actually dropped a few pounds below it. My total weight loss fluctuates between 50-55lbs.

October 2018 – almost a year later and I have my bloodwork redone. There is proof in numbers!

January 2019 – almost a year later. I go to the gym regularly because I enjoy it and continue to eat clean. The weight is no longer coming off but I am in maintenance mode and keeping the weight off. Here is a side by side from when I started until now. I don’t even recognize that girl on the left.

What’s In My Kitchen

See what I keep in my kitchen and use on a regular basis to keep up with clean eating and a healthy lifestyle. Find it all in my Kitchen Essentials List.

For the Future

I plan to continue on this journey. And I plan to share more healthy recipes with you here on the blog because everyone has to eat. You can find recipes here: Recipes. Feel free to ask me any questions. I have also decided to join the extended group after my 30-day challenge ends to continue with this clean eating journey.

In addition to eating clean, I also continue to go to the gym and change up my workout routine. I have since studied and gotten certified as a personal trainer through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and now work part-time at a local gym.

How to Ease Your Family into Eating Whole Foods

Clean eating is all about real whole foods. There are many meals where I eat differently from my hubby and kids. I always offer to make them what I am eating, but sometimes they just want something else. I am slowly getting them on board though with clean eating and eating real food because whole foods are the healthiest form of food that we can consume. They help to protect us against diseases, provide our bodies with energy and give us necessary vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, many families do not eat whole foods on a regular basis. Here are a few tips to help ease your family into clean eating.

  1. Explain the Benefits

Many families are hesitant to adopt new habits or eating norms because of a simple lack of understanding. One of the primary motivators for behavior change is an understanding of what benefits will result. In other words, your family may not be interested in eating whole foods because they don’t understand the benefits these foods can yield. It can help ease the transition by explaining to your family the myriad benefits that can be experienced from eating more whole foods. This may also encourage your family to learn more about the health benefits of clean eating.

  1. Cook Tasty Meals

One of the most common stigmas surrounding clean eating is their lack of flavor or bad taste. Unfortunately, some people arrive at this conclusion without having tried these foods. When families are used to eating foods high in sugar or flavor additives, the idea of whole foods can be unappealing. A great way to help introduce these healthy foods into a normal diet is by incorporating them into tasty meals. After eating food that has been cooked into a delicious meal, families may be more open to trying these foods in the future. When my kids want pancakes for breakfast I prepare a healthy pancake recipe using mashed banana and almond flour and they love it.

  1. Start with Flavor

Families are more likely to reject the idea of new foods if they are forced or introduced at one time. Instead, you can gradually introduce these healthier foods one or two at a time. This ensures that your family won’t get discouraged from trying these foods. Another important tip is to introduce the most flavorful, whole foods at first. For example, a tasty orange or apple can be one of the first whole foods you give to your family. Starting with a lot of flavors will encourage your family to try more whole foods.

The health benefits of clean eating are undeniable. However, it can be very difficult for some families to begin eating them on a regular basis. Some people are used to eating food that is so high in sugar and additives that it can hardly be called natural. Gradually introducing real foods into your family’s diet can be a great place to start.

What Happens to Your Body During a Month of Clean Eating?

Fortunately, you don’t have to go in blind. Prepare for your clean eating journey with this guide to what will likely happen to your body each week during a month of clean eating.

Blood Sugar Fluctuations: Blood sugar will vary between highs and lows if you’ve been eating unhealthily for extended periods. Unhealthy eating causes high circulating insulin levels, and because you will be consuming a drastically reduced amount of sugar, you’ll likely see fluctuating blood sugar levels.

Cravings: Cravings could be strong as a result of that blood sugar fluctuation.

Sleep: Blood sugar fluctuation could also cause poor sleep quality, especially if you find yourself waking up between 1 and 3 a.m.

Water Weight Loss: Much of the initial weight loss during week 1 will actually be water, which you lose as you eliminate common food sensitivities from your diet and your level of inflammation is reduced.

Natural Detox: You will begin a natural detoxification process as you consume more amino acids, micronutrients, and fiber; some people actually feel worse during the first week of clean eating because of this detox process.

Mental Clarity: Toward the end of Week 1, you might start noticing less “brain fog” and more mental clarity.

Fat Loss: Fat loss will begin due to a reduction of calories, but again, most initial weight loss is water weight.

Cravings: Cravings will still be likely.

Blood Sugar & Insulin: Blood sugar will begin to stabilize but might still be erratic at times. Insulin sensitivity will likely start to improve as you consume less sugar and more valuable micronutrients, enabling your body to turn specific body processes on and off.

Digestion: You might notice improvements in reflux or other digestive symptoms.

Energy: Your energy levels should become noticeably higher than in Week 1.

Detox: Detoxification will continue, but you should begin to feel a better sense of well-being.

Fat Loss: Water weight loss will begin to level off, and fat loss will become more pronounced.

Blood Sugar Improvements: Blood sugar will continue to improve and likely won’t increase or decrease excessively unless you consume a meal high in sugar.

Health Improvements: Inflammatory markers will continue to decrease. Hormonal balance will improve as insulin sensitivity increases. Metabolic rate will likely improve.

Fat Loss: Water weight loss will decrease even more, and fat loss will increase and become more noticeable.

Cravings: Cravings will drastically reduce.

Mental Clarity: Mental clarity, motivation, and drive will noticeably improve around Day 21. Your sense of well-being will continue to increase.

Fat Loss & Muscle Mass: Body composition improvements will begin to become even more visible with an increase in fat loss, metabolic rate, muscle mass, and tone.

Mindset: Energy and motivation will likely be at their highest points since the starting point.

Hormones and Cognition: Cognitive function, along with hormonal balance, will continue to improve.

Health Improvements: Blood pressure and blood markers (glucose, VLDL particles, triglycerides, and c-reactive proteins) will likely be improved from the starting point.

Digestion: Complete relief from symptoms of poor digestion is possible.

Cheat Meals and Long-Term Success: You will likely be able to handle a cheat meal every five to seven days without extended bouts of high blood sugar. After 30 days of clean eating, you’ll have a much greater chance of complying with any future diet you choose.

How to Prepare for Your Clean Eating Diet

Four weeks of clean eating is no small hurdle to overcome. Aside from sticking out the first week, there are some additional struggles to be aware of when you start your clean eating journey. You need to plan to avoid the following three mistakes:

1 Lack of consistency

Fad diets are popular for a reason. Many people look for the next big thing and mentally prepare themselves for three to seven days of discomfort in exchange for a quick result. But any results they see are unhealthy and unsustainable, and they don’t promote the habit development necessary for long-term health results.

2 Lack of knowledge

People often choose to listen to only the advice that fits their narrative. If you love carbohydrates, you might be more inclined to listen to a self-proclaimed guru who promises results no matter the type or quantity of carbs you eat. In this case, you’d be overeating the macronutrient that most likely caused your weight gain in the first place. When it comes to nutrition, usually the path you don’t want to take is actually the one you should start walking down. After a few weeks, it will get much easier.

3 Lack of planning

In my experience, if people have easy access to healthy food, they’ll usually eat it. People are more strapped for time than ever before, and the likelihood that people will make decisions based on what’s fast rather than what’s right seems to be at an all-time high.

Making Your Clean Eating Diet Last

To combat these struggles, you need to find a solid clean eating plan that’s actually healthy, and it must be something you can stick with. For instance, the ketogenic diet has worked quite well for thousands of people, but if you can never see yourself consuming 70 percent of your calories from fat, then other people’s success doesn’t matter.

Luckily, clean eating doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach, and you do have options. Whether you do some experimenting or find a legitimate nutritional expert or company to help you formulate a plan, solving this problem will be one of the most important things you ever do for yourself.

Once you feel confident that you’re on the right path, it’s time to figure out how to consistently follow it. You have three main options to make sure you’re ready.

First, you can commit to preparing all of your meals ahead of time with the proper ingredients and in the correct quantities.

Second, you can use a healthy meal delivery service to ensure you have everything you need, without having to do all the work yourself.

And finally, you can choose to eat at only restaurants with online menus that allow you to plan meals that align with your goals before you get in line or sit at a table.

Veering too far outside those options will definitely decrease the likelihood that you’ll stay on track during your clean eating journey. But as long as you know what you’re in for, prepare to face challenges, and plan to overcome them, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle for the long term.

The Ultimate Clean Eating Grocery List- 50 Foods


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“Wow! You look great!” “Thanks, I feel great, too!” Who doesn’t want to have that conversation? Looking fabulous and feeling healthy come from a combination of regular exercise and smart eating habits. Healthy eating starts with stocking your kitchen and pantry with the right foods. We’re sharing the ultimate clean eating grocery list, 50 of the foods that will put you on the path toward the positive change you deserve.

The foods below are non- or minimally processed, and many are used regularly in SkinnyMs. recipes. You’ll find many items on this clean eating shopping list by walking the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Interior aisles are stocked largely with processed foods containing too much added salt, refined sugars, and chemical preservatives.

Make shopping with a clean-eating grocery list easier by downloading our FREE Clean-Eating Menu Planner.


Fresh or frozen fruits and veggies are musts, because they’re the foundation for any healthy lifestyle. When possible, choose organic to reduce the risk of exposure to pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Find out which non-organic produce has the highest risk of chemical exposure in The Dirty Dozen.

1. Apples
Keep the doctor away by snacking on them or using them in dishes like Farro Salad with Apples and Walnuts.

2. Bananas
This Strawberry Banana Smoothie is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a post-workout refresher.

3. Carrots
Snack on these or enjoy a meal that’s ready when you come home with Slow Cooker Lemon Basil Chicken with Carrots.

4. Berries
Stock up on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries, and more! Treat yourself to a healthy breakfast with Oatmeal Blueberry Protein Pancakes.

5. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
From kale to spinach, dark green veggies are a good foundation for building a better body. Try yummy Southwestern Kale Chips.

6. Sweet Potatoes
Benefit from antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and better blood sugar regulation in dishes like Sweet Potato Fries.

7. Bell Peppers
Pepper meals, like Vegetarian Panini with Roasted Peppers and Goat Cheese, are rich in antioxidants and packed with vitamins, such as C, E, and K.

8. Garlic
This bulb adds plenty of good-for-you flavor to dishes like Skillet Chicken with Lemon Garlic Sauce.

9. Onions
Crunch into a nutritious topping, appetizer, or side with Baked Onion Rings.


These are a healthy—and budget-friendly—protein source, especially if you’re living a vegetarian lifestyle.

10. Beans
If you’re going canned, reach for low-sodium, no-added-sugar brands. Enjoy their health benefits in Skinny Quinoa and Black Beans or Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice.

11. Legumes
This is a broader category that includes beans as well as peas and lentils. Try Slow Cooker Lentil & Veggie Stew.

12. Edamame
This superfood, which is a green soybean, is a tasty snack or salad topping. Discover more snack ideas for your clean-eating shopping list in 50 Clean-Eating Snacks.

MORE: 21 Easy and Quick Clean-Eating Recipes


Lean options are a good source of the protein that builds lean muscles, which, in turn, burn more calories. Avoid the antibiotics found in some of these foods by choosing organic when available.

13. Lean Ground Turkey
Dig into the healthy and filling goodness of Slow Cooker Turkey Loaf.

14. Chicken Breasts
Get the protein without the fat found in other meats by making Baked Parmesan Chicken this week.

15. Wild-Caught Salmon, Tilapia, or Other Fish
Enjoy Orange-Glazed Salmon with Wilted Kale.

16. Eggs
Packed with protein, eggs are an ideal superfood. They’ve had a bad reputation in the past, so learn the facts in The Health Benefits of Eggs.

17. Non- or Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, Plain
Avoid flavored brands with refined sugar, and mix in your own fresh berries or nuts to add flavor. Learn 8 Interesting Ways to Use Greek Yogurt.

18. Low-Fat Cheese
Benefit from dairy-based protein in Slow Cooker Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata.


White flour is stripped of nutrients, making it an empty source of calories. Instead, add nutrient- and fiber-rich whole grains to your clean-eating grocery list.

19. Quinoa
This is a power-packed superfood, so try one of our quinoa recipes—we have so many to choose from!

20. Brown Rice, Wild Rice
Enjoy healthy brown rice in Skinny Mexican Rice.

21. Whole Wheat Bread
Great for sandwiches, whole wheat slices also create tasty Homemade Bread Crumbs.

22. Whole Wheat Pasta
Yes, you can enjoy pasta as part of a better lifestyle. Try Slow Cooker Italian-Style Penne.

23. Whole Wheat Tortillas
Wrap up family favorites, like Soft Chicken Tacos or Spinach and Bean Burrito Wraps.


These foods often make meal prep easier. Always read labels to make sure you’re purchasing items with no or little added sugar, salt, or preservatives.

24. Marinara
It’s simple to make your own Clean-Eating Sauce, but sometimes it’s more convenient to have a low-sodium, no-sugar-added brand on hand.

25. Chicken Broth
Stock up on this foundation for plenty of healthy recipes, like Slow Cooker Barbeque Pulled Chicken.

26. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Grill up delicious Turkey Burger with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta.

MORE: 7 Simple Steps to Clean Eating


Baked treats are fine in moderation. If you need gluten-free choices for your clean-eating shopping list, check out Flour & Your Health: Understanding Your Options.

27. Whole Wheat Flour
Please family or guests with Clean-Eating Apple Pie.

28. White Whole Wheat Flour
This flour is an unrefined whole grain flour that retains most of its nutrients unlike the white version. This flour is often preferred in baking because of its lighter texture. Try this recipe for Whole Grain Tortillas.


Nuts and seeds are small but mighty. They deliver a host of good-for-you benefits, from omega-3 fatty acids to unsaturated (good) fats.

29. Almonds
Almond Pesto Pasta is a yummy way to tap into almond’s superfood power.

30. Walnuts
Have a great morning by enjoying walnuts and other tasty foods in Whole-Grain Banana Blueberry Pancakes.

31. Chia Seeds
Try these seeds in Mixed Berry Chia Jam.

32. Flax Seeds
Power up for the day with Flax and Apple Raisin Oatmeal.


No clean-eating grocery list would be complete without healthy oils and condiments for your cooking, baking, and snacking.

33. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Get the 411 in 4 Reasons to Make the Switch to EVOO.

34. Walnut Oil
Learn more about this nutrient-rich oil in 6 Healthy Oils and How to Use Them.

35. Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Also, check out Lose Weight with Coconut Oil.

36. Balsamic Vinegar
This vinegar is the foundation for many healthy salad dressing recipes, such as Strawberry Balsamic Dressing.

37. Mustard
Choose a no-sugar-added brand, and enjoy it in Honey-Dijon Glazed Salmon with a Hint of Lemon.

38. Ketchup
Buy a naturally-sweetened variety or make your own Ketchup and enjoy in our recipe for Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joes.

MORE: 7-Day Clean-Eating and Detox Menu


If you need fresh herbs, find them in the produce section. Better yet, see how easy it is to grow your own with DIY Herb Garden Roundup.

39. Basil
Satisfy the family with a delish basil meal, such as Grilled Pizza with Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomato.

40. Oregano
Try this flavorful Oregano Chicken and Orzo.

41. Dill
Top burgers or nosh on fresh veggies with Dill Yogurt Spread.

42. Cinnamon
Health-up snack time by making simple Whole-Grain Cinnamon Pita Chips.

43. Rosemary
Add this side to your menu plan this week: Slow Cooker Homestyle Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary.


Processed sugar is a fast way to add pounds and wreak havoc on your health. Go natural instead!

44. Honey
We love this natural sweetener in Peanut Butter and Honey Oat Bars.

45. Maple Syrup
With breakfast or in other dishes, like Skinny Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw, 100% pure maple syrup is a tasty alternative to refined sugar products.

46. Coconut Palm Sugar
We use this in recipes like Caramel Sauce.


Whether you’re pouring a tall, cool glass or using it in recipes, you’ll want to add milk (or an alternative) to your clean-eating grocery list.

47. Low-Fat Milk
Non-flavored milk offers a healthy boost of protein. Boot processed coffee creamers with our clean-eating Coffee Creamer.

48. Almond Milk
Ground almonds make this milk alternative rich in antioxidants. Discover how yummy it can be in Chocolate-Cherry Almond Shake.

49. Coconut Milk
Made from pressed coconut meat, this alternative delivers plenty of nutrients, like potassium, zinc, and folate. However, it’s high in fat so use it in moderation. Try it in Coconut Curry Cauliflower.


Forget the highly sweetened brands and make the healthy choice while grocery shopping.

50. Green Tea
Unsweetened green tea, a no-calorie superfood, is included in many of our smoothie and drink recipes, such as Green Tea Mango Smoothie.

Make positive changes! This clean-eating grocery list is a good place to start. Remember to download our FREE Clean-Eating Menu Planner to help make shopping easier.

Discover more tasty recipes, clean-eating tips, and healthy lifestyle resources by liking our Facebook page and following us on Pinterest.

Get access to the best clean-eating recipes with our SkinnyMs. Recipe Collection of 101 Fan Favorites.

Chances are that you’ve probably heard of clean eating at least once or twice before. Maybe your brushed it off as some new fad or maybe it interested you. I mean, what is clean eating, anyway? And, if there’s “clean eating,” does that mean there’s “dirty eating?” Eww.

Clean eating has been something I’ve become very familiar with over the past year or so. While I was pretty much following many of the guidelines without even knowing it, I’ve embraced a clean eating lifestyle and have really enjoyed it.

Eating clean gives you control over food because you don’t get sucked into craving all the bad sugars, salts, and fats you don’t need. Instead, you choose what you put into your body and that gives you a sense of accomplishment, power, and health. Eating clean gets easier and easier once you understand the basic concepts, too.

What Is Clean Eating?

The major key to understand about eating clean for beginners is that it’s more of a lifestyle than a “diet.” By that, I mean eating clean isn’t a get skinny quick kinda thing. Instead, it’s a way to approach how you eat and what you put in your body. Clean eating involves choosing whole foods, avoiding processed foods, and creating a healthy, conscientious approach to what foods you eat. Making the choice to eat clean is to remove unnecessary fats, sugars, and carbs from your diet. It’s about making better, more nutritious choices for your body. It’s also about refusing to continue to put junk in your body. “Junk,” in this context, includes processed foods, artificial flavors and sugars, foods with lots of salt and high in saturated fat, refined foods, and other foods that don’t provide you with nutritional value.

This means embracing vegetables, whole foods, unrefined grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. The focus is on the quality of the food being consumed and the benefits these foods offer your overall health. The idea is to combine the clean eating lifestyle with an active life.

One meal at a time, you’ll find clean eating will make you a healthier, happier person. You’ll find that you crave “sweets” less and that foods high in saturated fat really aren’t that satisfying any more.

Keep in mind that there remains a decent amount of diversity among the “clean eating community” in relation to what clean eating actually entails. So, while there are people on all parts of the spectrum, I’m sharing my interpretation of clean eating, how I follow the clean eating guidelines, and what I feel are the most realistic, most beneficial and healthy aspects of the clean eating diet.

For me, the best thing about the clean eating approach to food is that it’s not a diet, not about calorie restricting, and not about depriving yourself of things you love. It’s about finding healthy ways to enjoy food and nutrition.

Here are 8 Great Guidelines for Getting started Eating Clean. However if you want even more clean eating help check out the Eating Clean for Beginners Guide.

Eating Clean For Beginners: 8 Guidelines

I wanted to share this post today to help explain how to eat clean for beginners who are interested in eating healthy and following the clean eating guidelines. So, let’s go over those main guidelines for eating clean, shall we?

1. Cook your own food.

The easiest way to control what goes into your food is to be the one who is preparing your food. That way, you can control the salt, sugar, flavors, and fats that go in and you can work to keep those levels as low as possible. Ever wonder why restaurant food tastes so much better than home-cooked food? It’s because restaurants tend to add a boat load of salt and butter to everything they cook.

2. Read the nutrition labels.

When eating clean for beginners, you need to get pretty familiar with nutrition labels because they will tell you everything you need to know about the foods you’re considering eating. Look for labels with relatively few ingredients and consider each ingredient in terms of, “Is this an ingredient I would cook with in my kitchen?” If not, pass. Pay attention to and avoid foods with labels that include words like, “hydrolyzed,” or “modified,” as those indicate added processing and words that end in “-ose” because those indicate added sugars (think fructose). Look for labels with “whole grains” and “whole wheat” in the ingredients. If the food is high in calories, make sure the saturated fat and sugar levels are low and that the calories are coming from the fiber and lean proteins instead. Also, keep sodium levels as low as possible – your body only needs 250 mg each day to function but a typical American diet is waaaaaay higher than that.

3. Eat whole foods.

Whole foods are foods that haven’t been modified or tampered with in a lab or manufacturing plant. Since whole foods haven’t been processed or refined, no added sugars, preservatives, dyes, fats (including hydrogenated fats), or salt has been added to the product to add extra flavor or to enhance shelf life or appearance.

Whole foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, unsalted nuts/seeds, whole grains, full-fat dairy products, and dried beans/legumes. In addition to escaping the added and unnecessary junk from being processed, the unrefined foods also carry more nutrients and fiber which is essential for your body to function. Make the food you’re eating do more for you.

4. Avoid processed foods.

Processed foods are easy to identify since they often come in a box or jar. The problem with processed foods is that they are high in added sugars and salt, low in fiber and whole grains, and high in fat (including awful trans fats and saturated fats). Processed foods include snack foods (fruit snacks, chips), candy, cookies, frozen dinners, bottled salad dressing, breakfast cereal, canned soups, bacon, granola bars, instant ramen, and flavored nut. Instead of buying these items at the store for convenience, next time, try making them from scratch, using whole ingredients. Your body will thank you.

5. Eat well-balanced meals.

Make sure the foods you are choosing contain the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats since all three are essential to body functioning anyways. For example, broccoli is a carb, but also provides a lot of fiber, antioxidants, and many other important nutrients so it’s a great choice when eating clean. To that end, the fats you are eating should come from unsaturated fats as much as possible, avoiding saturated fat and trans fat if at all possible. This is the case with every meal you have, whether it’s a snack or a dinner. You want to be mindful of the breakdown of what you’re eating so you know what you’re putting into your body.

6. Limit added fat, salt, and sugars.

Since clean eating has the intention of eating food in it’s most natural, whole state, it makes sense that you would want to avoid unnecessary additives, like fat, salt,and sugar, when choosing your food. Fresh fruit should be all the sugar you need once you are on a clean eating track. The more you follow the clean eating lifestyle, foods you once loved, like doughnuts, hamburgers, fries, and more will taste overly sweet or salty. This is because your body and tastebuds will be so used to the whole foods in your new lifestyle that these additives will taste needed and even overdone.

7. Eat 5-6 meals per day.

Forget the concept of counting calories. That basic plan doesn’t take into account the value each calorie has. Instead, you want to make your calories count. Make mindful decisions for everything you choose to eat, like lean protein, complex carbs (as opposed to sugar) and fats, fresh fruits, and vegetables — six times a day in the right amounts. The typical clean diet usually includes three small main meals and two to three substantial snacks every day. Eating this way prevents you from over-eating, skipping meals, and feeling fatigued or jittery from unstable blood sugar levels. It also helps you lose weight.

Don’t drink your calories.

While you’re making mindful decisions about what foods to eat, you also need to be mindful about how much water you’re drinking. Water will likely be the number one thing you’re drinking all day, every day. You’ll find the more you drink, the thirstier you are for more and more. Drinking water will not only keep you hydrated and allow your body to function well, it will also keep you from getting hungry.One of the worst things to put into your body is soda. Soda is full of high fructose corn syrup or other refined sugars and provides absolutely no health benefit to you. Fruit juices are also a poor choice when eating clean. While they contain more nutrients than soda, they carry far more calories and sugar and far less nutrients (like vitamins and fiber) than you would get just from eating a piece of fruit.

How To Get Started Eating Clean

To start, take small steps. Don’t go straight from drinking 5 sodas a day to only drinking water. That won’t work and you will fail. Your body needs more of a gradual transition. Replace one of those sodas with a glass of water to start. Then, tomorrow, replace two, and so on. If you drink a coffee every morning full of sweetened creamer and sugar, you will hate your coffee if you try drinking it black. Try reducing the amount of sugar, then the amount of creamer you use. You may find you don’t even want coffee in a week or two (which is what happened to me). Trust me – I’ve been there. This is a new lifestyle, not an overnight fad so treat it that way and ease into it until you fully can embrace everything and then it will feel normal to eat clean.

Consider healthy, clean replacements for the foods you’re used to. For example, eat an apple and a handful of unsalted almonds instead of a candy bar. Add greek yogurt instead of sour cream to your baked potato. Choose whole grain breads instead of white bread.

Every change you make towards eating clean is a positive change and, gradually, your body will get more and more used to the clean lifestyle. And your body will love it. And you will feel awesome.

Eating Clean For Beginners

If you need more help check out the Eating Clean for Beginner’s Guide.

Good luck!

Leave a comment below with any questions on clean eating as you get started on your healthier CLEAN lifestyle!

This post was last updated on December 29, 2015 to include new images.

What people should be eating on a daily basis to feel their best can be boiled down to a list of 20 foods, according to a new book by Dr. Ian Smith.

Foods ranging from avocados to whole wheat pasta — yes, pasta — have been included on Smith’s list of the “clean 20 foods” in his new book, “The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation.”

The 20 foods on the list are described by Smith as “powerful health-boosters” that are “packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.”

Smith appeared Monday on “Good Morning America,” and shared an excerpt from his new book with “GMA” viewers.

Read below for Smith’s top healthy living tips, a sample day on his “The Clean 20” plan and the full list of his “clean 20 foods.”

Smith’s top 5 tips for eating “clean” foods

1. Whole grains are extremely nutritious compared to many refined grains because whole grains contain all three parts of the grain.

2. Cleaner foods tend to be more nutritious because the phytonutrients are in their more natural state.

3. Colorful foods are important because they are full of disease-fighting antioxidants.

4. Legumes are extremely nutritious because they are high in B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium.

5. Dairy can be a great source of calcium and protein.

The “clean 20 foods”

This does not have to be your exact list, and for some of these foods Smith provides other options you can choose instead, which he refers to as “basket buddies.”

Day 1 on “The Clean 20” plan

To quote from his book: Hitting the reset button is an extremely powerful experience. All the lessons you have learned from your mistakes and things you’ve wished you had done differently can suddenly become your reality. Imagine a painter locked in an empty room with no art supplies. Despite his inability to express his artistic vision, his imagination remains robust and he still creates in his mind what he can’t put on canvas. Finally, he is released from the room and returns to his painter’s studio, where he is free to paint all of those creations bursting in his mind.

For the next 20 days, you are that painter with an opportunity to express and conduct yourself in ways that until now might’ve only existed in your head. Past failures and shortcomings are only relevant now because they give context. Maintain a positive attitude and the confidence that if you can do it, great things will happen. Some things in life don’t allow a second chance, but this is not one of them. Take a deep breath, collect yourself, and get ready to transform in ways that you never thought possible. This is your journey—go for it with great energy and boundless optimism!

Breakfast: Choose one of the following: Two scrambled eggs with 1/3 cup diced veggies cooked with extra-virgin olive oil OR an omelet made with two eggs with 1/4 cup diced veggies.

Side: Choose one of the following: One slice of 100 percent whole-wheat or 100 percent whole-grain toast OR 1/2 cup berries.

Snack: Choose one of the following: Sliced cucumbers with hummus dip OR 150 calories or less snack option.

Lunch: Choose one of the following: Grilled chicken sandwich on 100 percent whole-grain or 100 percent whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and “Clean Mayonnaise” (recipe in book) or organic mustard OR kale or spinach salad with tomatoes, quinoa, cucumbers, and beans.

Snack: Choose one of the following: Sliced tomatoes with pinch of pepper and/or salt and extra-virgin olive oil OR 150 calories or less snack option.

Dinner: Choose one of the following: 1 cup whole-wheat spaghetti with squash or zucchini slices (3 ounces diced chicken or fish optional) OR 6 ounces grilled or baked fish with 1/2 cup roasted brussels sprouts and 1/2 cup steamed carrots.

Snack: (if desired) 100 calories or less snack option

“Let’s Get Physical”

Smith recommends doing any of these exercises, as long as it is done for 20 minutes a day.

1. 15,000 steps.

2. Five flights of steps (A trip up and down is considered to be one flight; each flight should have 10 steps or more.)

3. 150 jumping jacks (If you have knee problems or can’t do a full jumping jack, do a modified jumping jack where you don’t have to jump off the ground but rather step to the side instead. You don’t have to do all of the jumping jacks at once. You can break them up into smaller groups — like 15 or 30 — and keep doing the smaller groups until you complete 150.)

From “THE CLEAN 20,” by Ian K. Smith, M.D., copyright 2018 by the author, reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Press.

The clean diet plan

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