Clean Eating

Clean Eating

  • What does it mean to eat clean food?Eating clean is a good way to refresh your eating habits: it’s about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones. That means embracing whole foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats.

Clean Eating List

Clean Fruit:

• Any fresh fruit
• Canned fruit with no added sugar
• Frozen fruit with no added sugar
• Dried fruit with no added sugar
• 100% fruit juice (limit)



Vegetables should be the building blocks of your clean-eating meals because they’re low in calories and 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. Some vegetables, such as potatoes and winter squash, are starchy. You don’t have to limit them, just be aware they are higher in calories and carbs.

Don’t Miss: Delicious Ways to Eat More Veggies

Clean Dairy Foods:

• Plain yogurt
• Milk
• Cheese
• Unsweetened nondairy milk


Choose leaner meats, such as chicken breast and chicken thigh, sirloin and lean ground beef. Meat offers protein, iron and vitamin B12. Eating clean 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. Fish and shellfish can be super-healthy protein sources and many fish contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Choose sustainably sourced seafood when possible. Pacific cod, wild salmon and tilapia are all good choices according to Seafood Watch. 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.


5 Healthiest Fish to Eat (and 5 to Avoid)

• 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 butter (no added sugar)
• Dried beans
• Canned beans (rinse to reduce sodium by 35%)

Clean Vegetables:

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


Whole Grains

Nutritious and fiber-rich, the whole grains­, such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, farro or millet, are unprocessed and contain only one ingredient. They’re about as clean as you can get. When it comes to 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
Don’t Miss:


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



Choose plain yogurt (either regular or Greek) over vanilla and fruit-flavored yogurts, which are usually high in 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.