Scientists estimate that 310,000 to 580,000 deaths in the United States every year are caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. Your diet has a very real effect on your health, so choose to eat clean with whole foods. Enjoy these 11 steps towards clean eating…

infographic showing 11 steps to a healthier diet

There are many clean eating plans, but the main idea should be to eat whole foods and avoid processed ones. Clean eating needs to become a lifestyle not a diet because diets oftentimes fail. Mixes, frozen dinners, and junk foods are crowing the shelves and beating out whole foods. Clean eating is simple and it isn’t just another fad.

1. Choose Nutrient Dense Foods

Avoid foods that contain empty calories. Each food should consist of a variety of vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients. Bad foods like soda, fast food, cookies, candies, and more should be limited or removed altogether. Healthy foods like nuts, seafood, berries, and lean meats should be added to the grocery list.

2. Drink Lots Of Water

Drinking several glasses of water per day is essential for increasing energy, relieving fatigue, improving skin complexion, and aiding weight loss. Drink fruit-infused water if you don’t like the taste of plain water, or eat fruit with a high water content like watermelon or cantaloupe.

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SEE ALSO: 10 Yummy, Nutrient-Packed Power Snacks

3. Eat Whole, Unrefined, & Unprocessed Foods

Stay away from the pre-cut, canned, and pre-packaged foods – you’ll save money and avoid more harsh chemicals. Grab a bunch of broccoli, whole heads of lettuce, whole cantaloupes, unrefined grains, and corn on the cob.

4. Eat A Variety Of Unprocessed Foods

The variety of produce provided by grocery stores is greater now than it has ever been. Try fruits and vegetables that you’ve never tried or never heard of! Experiment with different flavors, spices, and herbs until you fall in love with clean eating.

5. Avoid Trans Fats & Artificial Fat Substitutes

Artificial fats and trans fatty acids are found in snack foods and lots of baked products. They may even be one of the biggest items behind the escalating heart disease rates – just don’t eat them!

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SEE ALSO: 24 Healthiest Foods On Earth

6. Combine Protein, Complex Carbohydrates, & Healthy Fats At Every Meal

This combination creates a meal for champions. Giving you the energy to attack the day and staving off hunger even longer than something that’s processed.

7. Eat Five Or Six Mini-Meals Rather Than Three Large Meals

Eating only three large meals a day leaves a lot of time for snacking. Focus on making breakfast your largest meal of the day and then begin the execution of mini-meals. Remember to use the winning combination we taught you on number 6.

8. Choose Low-Fat, Not Nonfat, Dairy Products

Non-fat products generally have twice the amount of artificial flavors, sodium, and sugar. Don’t add it to your cart if it’s processed junk.

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SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons Why You Should Go Sugar Free

9. Cut Back On Processed Sugars

No more sodas, donuts, cake, cookies, and fruit juices. Every once-in-a-while is okay, but you shouldn’t be eating junk food multiple times a day with little regard to serving size.

10. Avoid Artificial Substances

Artificial substances can be damaging to your health and your body’s ability to stay healthy. Many have been manipulated on a molecular level so that they really aren’t even “food” anymore.

11. Practice Portion Control

The mini-meal lifestyle should give about 300-400 calories per sitting. Go out and get yourself a food scale and measuring cups so you can learn to recognize what a portion looks like. Measuring every meal may seem tedious, but it can lead to sure-fire success.

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Written by Chief Health

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