What is clean eating?
The clean eating concept is all about eating whole foods rather than processed or refined food. The logic is to have food closest to their natural or original forms. Processed food typically consists of food that have some kind of additions; food where the natural form is made to undergo change; foods that are lab manufactured and while food experts suggest that not all processed food are bad, the idea is to refrain from having ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed food are marketed so well that consumers feel that consuming such food is good for them, however, it is just the contrary. These kinds of food are genetically modified and have been proven to be causing more cases of cancers. These foods are also low on nutritional value with many of them having presence of additives that cause the human brain to crave for junk food.
Clean eating diet mainly revolve around increased consumption of vegetables and fruits, preservative-free organic food, brown rice, unprocessed meat, unrefined grains, home cooked food, minimally processed food, etc. that help in keeping the body healthy and strong; help ward off diseases related to the heart, infertility, diabetes and also result in radiant skin and lustrous hair. It is easy to confuse clean eating with eating raw food but it does not necessarily mean so.
When to start clean eating?
The sooner, the better. The family, as a whole can decide to take up clean eating at any point in time. Due to various benefits associated with this diet, it is good to get started immediately. However, the process needs to be slow and gradual and each member of the family needs to be on board to get going. Proper planning and sticking to the schedule helps. Efforts need to be made to keep kids away from fast foods and vending machines.
Clean eating can be started as soon as your infant is ready for consuming whole food. Clean eating habits inculcated in toddlers will help in rearing healthy kids.
What does clean eating mean for toddlers, tweens and teens?
Introducing a toddler to eating clean diet is much easier than having an older child to do. The best is to get your small ones have lots of juiced veggies and fruits. Since they are too young to understand one from another and effectually their eating habits are in your hands, you can set the ball rolling towards clean eating without much struggle or difficulty.
Getting your tweens to be as complacent is bit too much to ask. By this age they have tasted the junks and have developed tastes of their own, they have their own list of likes and dislikes. The smart thing to do here is make sure that their elements of interest are part of the changeover process especially vegetables, fruits and unprocessed food that they love to eat.
The teenager can prove to be either supportive or problematic. If they have been into healthy eating from the beginning and understand the importance of having a healthy diet, you will have a champion supporter at home. But if they are used to eating junkies and fries, chances are that you would have to set-up strict discipline rules to ensure that clean foods are consumed by them. Plus the fact that they have money to spend and can go out for a sinful bite makes your task more difficult.
How to inculcate this habit at home?
Obviously replacing their favourite snacks and tasty processed food by veggies and fruits is not going to be easy. It requires a plan, a schedule, and having everyone follow it with discipline and restraint. Few essential steps in moving your entire family to clean eating diet are:-
- Plan the meals. When you plan, you make sure that the required items are stocked up for the week. Since clean eating is all about eliminating the consumption of junk and fried food, planning healthy meals will prove to be effective in tackling all types of cravings and desires that the family may feel towards trash food.
- Have all members of the family agreed to change their eating habits. Adults and kids need to understand the significance of eating clean – only then will they comply and support the mission whole-heartedly.
- Give worthwhile substitutes. One of the rudest things to do is to expect your family to follow suit – well kids need a little more attention here. Start by giving them healthy options. You could make it mandatory for them to choose from a list of whole food snacks and let them decide. For example if they love their potato chips, give them the option to have home-made chips. If they love the granola bars from the superstores, then offer them the choice of home-made ones.
- Always prepare the plan as your budget. It is not essential to have organic always; you can keep away from the expensive super foods and instead stick to the seasonal fruits and veggies.