Clean eating has become incredibly popular in the last few decades. And a clean eating grocery list is a handy blueprint to guide you through your local grocery store.
Most people agree that clean eating is among the best ways to get fit, stay healthy, and feel great. But what exactly is clean eating, how does it benefit us, and how do we get started?
Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know. As a bonus, we’ll also add a clean eating grocery list for your ease and convenience.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
What Does It Mean to ‘Eat Clean,’ Anyway?
Clean eating has numerous definitions. Perhaps the most accurate one is this: Clean eating means to follow a healthy, balanced diet based on whole and nutritious foods.
First, always check with your doctor on any diet-related changes in your life. Everyone’s situation is different, but in general these foods are highly endorsed by the USDA. (1)
If you want to eat clean, you need to include a wide variety of unprocessed foods:
- Lean Meats and Poultry
- Veggies of various colors
- Whole Grains
- Healthy Fruits
- Healthy Snacks
- Healthy Nuts & Oils
Having some processed foods is also not the end of the world. After all, we need a psychological break from time to time, and being incredibly rigid often leads to relapses and binge eating.
Clean Eating Grocery List Download
You can click below to download our clean eating grocery list:
Below are some great examples of clean eating in the major food groups. If you’re carb-sensitive, then minimize your carbs most days of the week. And by carb-sensitive, we mean that eating foods with high carbs (bread, pasta) packs on the pounds in a hurry. Most people on a Western diet are carb-sensitive, which explains the high rate of overweight and obese adults. (2)
LEAN MEATS / LEAN POULTRY
- Chicken Breast (no skin)
- Sirloin Steak (for Steak, look for “loin” or “round”)
- Lean Ground Beef (90%+ Lean is best)
- Pork Tenderloin (as lean as chicken breast)
- Beef Tenderloin (Filets)
- Black Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Bread (must say “100% Whole Wheat”)
- Black Beans
- Brown Rice
- Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)
NUTS & OILS
- Olive Oil
Tops on our list: Almonds, Walnuts
HEALTHY SNACKS / MISCELLANEOUS
- Low-Carb Wraps
- Ground Flaxseed
- Protein Bars
(Pure Protein, Think Thin)
- Carb Smart Ice Cream
Hydration: One of the Cornerstones of Clean Eating
Clean eating also means healthy hydration. Drinking lots of fluids is vital for our health, well-being, and athletic performance. You should mostly stick to water, tea, and coffee. No matter how clean your eating is, if you’re not getting adequate hydration your mitigating that positive effect. (3)
Shoot for between 8 and 15 glasses of water each day, depending on your size and activity level. The benefits of proper hydration are bountiful, ranging from improved health to improved looks. So never skimp on proper hydration.
Carbs And Weight Gain
Carbs are not inherently bad or evil. But, if you gain weight easily, watch your carb intake and mostly time it around your workouts for fuel. Examples include bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, sugary cereals, fruit juices, and such.
And if you are very carb sensitive, you likely want to limit your carbs to around two days a week. Most people, even those very fit, have one or two cheat days a week, and these are good carb days. You can have low-carb foods on other days, just keep them in check.
And when you do eat carbs, focus on healthy, complex carbs. These really are powerhouse foods that need to be a part of your diet, even if you are carb sensitive. Don’t feel bad, as most people are carb sensitive evidenced by the high percentage of overweight adults. (4)
On the other hand, if you find that you gain weight incredibly slowly, then go ahead and consume more carbs – there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. But do make sure that most of them come from whole and minimally-processed foods.
How to Make Your Clean Eating Grocery List
To create the most efficient clean eating grocery list, add foods that you eat most of the time. These should be foods you enjoy having, and you know to be healthy and nourishing. Occasionally, you can also add different foods that you want to try.
By doing it that way, you make it effortless to grocery shop and prepare meals. Creating a budget is also simpler because your weekly or monthly costs don’t fluctuate much.
It’s okay for your clean eating list to include some ‘cheat’ items. Having the occasional treat is beneficial and even mandatory for your sanity. If you deprive yourself too much, you’re much more likely to give up. Your diet needs to be sustainable in the long run, and you need to be okay with it.
Fad diets generally don’t work for people because they are not sustainable. Plus, they go out of fashion quickly and are replaced by a new and shiny diet.
That is why it is always best to get the fundamentals sound. Eat a balanced, healthy diet on most days, and this is the most sustainable pattern over the long haul.
Consistency Is Key With a Clean Eating Grocery List
As cliché as it may sound, consistency is the essence of progress and lasting change. The problem with most eating approaches is that they are not sustainable. As a result, we can’t be consistent with them, and we end up failing. This is why 70%+ of adults in Western countries are overweight or obese.
To be consistent with healthy nutrition, make your clean eating grocery list part of your weekly schedule, and stick to these healthy foods around 80 percent of the time. As we discussed above, the remaining twenty percent should give you the dietary freedom you need to enjoy your nutrition and stay sane.
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If you’re concerned about weight control, make sure to keep this in mind…
Even though these foods are healthy and nutritious, you must eat them within limits in order to maintain your weight.
You need to watch your calories, even with healthy food, if you want to stay lean or even more importantly, get lean.
- Chang, P. by S., Redican, L., Weaver, B., Novoa, R., Longsheet, P., Rachel, Ahmed, J., Leary, P., Adegbeminiyi, A., Richardson, B., Ruiz, M., Kristin, Serafina, Palumbo, A., Dionisio, M., DIXSON, D., Jackson, M., Jones, K., Chris, … klingaman, A. (2021, August 3). Back to basics: All about myplate food groups. USDA. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/09/26/back-basics-all-about-myplate-food-groups#:~:text=As%20the%20MyPlate%20icon%20shows,key%20building%20blocks%2C%20plus%20oils.
- U.S. obesity rate passes 40 percent – US news & world report. (n.d.). https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2020-02-27/us-obesity-rate-passes-40-percent
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 6). Water and healthier drinks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html
Benshosan, A. (2021, June 8). The 9 best complex Carbs for weight loss that are actually enjoyable. Eat This Not That. https://www.eatthis.com/best-complex-carbohydrates-to-eat-for-weight-loss/