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June 18, 2019 / Abigail Kinnear, RDN

5 Clean Eating Tips to Try This Summer


The weather is warming up, the sun is coming out, and it’s the perfect time to add fresh clean eating tips into your diet. Let’s look at what clean eating is, tips on how you can easily incorporate it into your lifestyle, and recipes to get you started!

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating is more than just a fad diet or detox. It is based on the principle of consuming real, whole foods instead of processed foods and refined sugar. According to the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, turning to natural fruits, veggies, and proteins can have a number of health benefits, including:

These are just a few of the lifelong benefits that come from eating a clean diet. Let’s look at some simple tips and recipes to help get you started on a healthy eating plan.

5 Clean Eating Tips

These swaps will help you incorporate clean foods into your diet, which will help you feel better inside and out.

1. Ditch the Sugar

Sugar has been shown to be chemically addicting, and is one of the sneakiest culprits of weight gain, low energy levels, and bloating. It releases opioids and dopamine, or the “feel good” transmitters in our brains, and triggers our brain's reward system in the same way as drugs and alcohol. Repeated exposure to this brain response can cause a sugar addiction, so limiting your sugar intake is our first clean eating tip.

You can find added sugar in brownies, soda, and candy bars, but there’s also added sugar in common condiments including salad dressings and ketchup. This added sugar contributes to empty calories and doesn’t deliver any nutritional value.

Luckily, there are alternatives to sugary options. Instead of turning to soda for a caffeine kick, choose unsweetened black or green tea. If you need a little sweetener, try stevia or honey. Another easy switch is to try drinking black coffee or coffee with a dash of milk, instead of take-out Frappuccino’s and lattes with syrup. If you usually use creamer, check the ingredients list to make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar.

2. Meal Prep in Advance

When it comes to eating clean, creating a clean eating meal plan is key. We’ve all been in situations where we don’t have anything to eat and turn to a convenient (and unhealthy) snack like a bag of chips or pizza delivery. Meal prepping can actually save you time and money.

Prepare protein-rich lunches to keep you full longer, and pack healthy snacks to grab-and-go instead of being tempted by fast food or office snacks. Plan dinners for the week ahead and shop for groceries at the beginning of the week to decrease food waste and save time thinking up meal ideas every night. Not sure where to start? PlateJoy can help you build out a personalized meal plan for the whole family depending on your time requirements, dietary needs, and budget.

3. Eat Real Food

Clean eating is based on the idea of eating real, whole foods and less processed foods. Many paleo, keto, and vegan enthusiasts subscribe to a similar mentality and try to limit refined carbs, dairy, added sugar, and other processed food options. Instead, turn to:

There are countless benefits of eating real food rather than processed food, including increased vitamins and nutrients, better skin and hair, more energy, weight loss, less bloating, and less inflammation.. This clean eating tip will not only set you up for success this summer, but it will also help you build a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

4. Hydrate

One of the best things you can do for your body is hydrate with water. Our bodies are made up primarily of water and staying properly hydrated helps everything function better. Your natural detoxification system will be better as it flushes toxins out of your body, you’ll be more alert, and you’ll feel full longer. If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, water is your friend.

5. Integrate More Plant-Based Meals into Your Week

Plant-based diets are good for your health and the planet! According to UCLA Sustainability, if we transitioned to more plant-based diets, we could save thousands of tons of carbon emissions and reduce our water use at least by half. Eating less meat, even for one or two meals a week, helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, helps support sustainable habitats, and is good for your health.

Clean Eating Meal Plan Recipes for Summer

Here at PlateJoy, we love collecting delicious, healthy recipes for you and your family. This summer, make it a goal to eat clean with these easy recipes:

Crustless Asparagus and Mozzarella Quiche

Crustless asparagus & mozarella quiche-2 (1) (1) This low-carb, keto-friendly quiche is perfect for brunch on the weekends or as a meal prepped weekday lunch thanks to its crustless design. Plus, you can easily make it in advance! All you need is:

Find the full recipe here.

Chocolate Almond Butter Quesadillas

Chocolate-cinnamon quesadillas These quesadillas feel indulgent and are a great sweet treat, but they’re healthy, too. They are made with delicious dark chocolate chips, and whole food ingredients like almonds and honey, so you can feel good about treating yourself.

Peach Pizza

Copy of Peachpizza2 This peach pizza only takes 10 minutes to prepare and uses fresh peaches, whole wheat pita, ricotta cheese, and other delicious toppings. Combining fruit and pizza has never sounded so good.

Get Started Eating Clean this Summer

Changing your eating habits and incorporating more clean eating tips into your lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few simple steps, eating clean adds important nutrients to your diet, and will save you time, money, and convenience when meal planning.

You don’t have to be a chef to change the way you eat! Start small with simple recipes, and build your confidence in the kitchen with time. If you need inspiration, we’re your personalized meal planning assistant at the palm of your hand and can get you started with a custom meal plan. PlateJoy gives you access to unlimited recipes, nutritionist designed menus, and smart grocery lists - all tailored to you.

Abigail Kinnear, RDN
Marketing + Registered Dietitian Nutritionist @ PlateJoy

Abigail is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) specialising in marketing and communications. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences, and completed her dietetic training in public health and communications.

Abigail led health and wellness communications for food and beverage companies, and now works in brand marketing at PlateJoy. She is the creator of Nutrition Traveller, a food and travel blog and Instagram that highlights cultural experiences from around the globe. In her free time, Abigail enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest, cooking plant-based meals, and exploring remote areas of the world. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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