Clean Eating Food List
If you’re looking to start eating cleaner, you are likely going to be a little confused as to what you can and cannot buy while shopping. While it may seem overwhelming at first, it will quickly become routine. Working on getting used to the changes, having a healthy food list is going to be very important.
The following foods are broken down into different categories to help you while shopping. Choose a few of these foods and see which ones are your favorites. Once you’ve gone shopping a few times, you’ll know more about which items both you and your family enjoy most. You will also be able to locate these foods quickly, so you’re not wasting any time or effort along the way.
Finding Clean Meats
Choosing the right meat options for a clean diet isn’t always as easy as people think. Of course, you’re going to want to avoid processed meat products such as (most) sausages, bacon, lunch meats, hotdogs and things like that. The easiest way to find clean eating approved meats is to head right to the butcher. Going to a butcher shop or meat market in your area is going to be ideal since they tend to know far more about the meats they sell than someone at an average grocery store. If that isn’t available, the grocery store butcher can often help you quite a bit.
When looking for meat, here are your best options to ask your butcher about:
- Beef – Request grass fed beef with no hormones or other alterations. Humanely raised beef is healthier and will taste better.
- Venison – Whether you hunt deer yourself or you know where to get wild venison, this is a very healthy meat option for clean eaters.
- Bison (buffalo) – These giant animals are often farm raised for meat. Most bison farms today allow the animals to eat grass and other natural foods, which means they are almost always ideal for clean eating diets.
- Pork – Stick to whole cuts of pork such as pork chops and pork loins. Almost all ham is going to be processed and unhealthy. Bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon and other options are also off limits.
- Duck – This excellent waterfowl is just about always a clean eating option.
- Fish – Almost all types of fish and seafood are safe to eat as part of a clean eating diet. The one concern you might have is mercury levels, but for the occasional eater, it is not something to worry about.
- Chicken & Turkey – Look for boneless, skinless breasts that come from natural chickens that have not been given growth hormones. You can also look for whole chickens in many markets, which is an excellent way to go.
- Eggs – While this is not meat, we include them here as they provide many of the same nutrients. When shopping for eggs, you are going to want to look specifically for cage-free eggs, or better yet, eggs from free range chickens.
Dairy products can be quite difficult to find for clean eaters, but it is not impossible. Just take your time to identify exactly where your supermarket keeps the right dairy options for you. The following are excellent options:
- Raw Milk – If you can find it, this is the best choice. Sadly, most places don’t sell it and in some states it is even illegal. If you cannot purchase whole milk, opt for organic milk of the full-fat variety.
- Cottage Cheese – Look for full fat cottage cheese. If you can find organic varieties, this is even better.
- Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt is typically going to be ideal for clean eating as long as you don’t get a flavored option. If you don’t like the taste of plain Greek yogurt, mix in some fresh fruit or local honey to improve the taste. Avoid all pre-flavored options as they have lots of unwanted ingredients.
- Cheese – Stick to whole blocks or natural cheese. Shredded cheeses have ingredients added (typically potato starch) to prevent caking. Shredding your own cheese at home is easy and will help you avoid unwanted additives.
- Milk Products – You can also choose milk products such as almond milk, rice milk, soy milk or coconut milk. Just make sure you select the unsweetened versions of these products.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables should make up a significant portion of your overall diet, and they should also be among the easiest items to shop for. All fruits and vegetables can be part of a clean eating diet as long as they are not processed before buying them.
Look for ‘in-season’ produce that will typically be found on the outer edges of the grocery store. If you can buy these items that come from local farmers, that is even better. While not strictly necessary, it is also best to look just for organic options.
If you cannot find the fresh fruits and vegetables you want, the next best option is frozen. Frozen produce that has no added sugar is an excellent choice because they can be enjoyed year around and maintain virtually all of their nutritional value. Finally, canned fruits and vegetables are a third option, but you have to be more careful. Make sure they are canned with no added sugar, salt, syrup or anything else. Just the fruit or vegetable and maybe water.
Other Items for Your Clean Eating Food List
The above options should make up the vast majority of your food list. There are other things that you can enjoy while still following a clean eating diet. The following foods can also make it on your shopping list as long as you are careful to ensure they aren’t processed versions of the food:
- Coffee (ideally whole bean, but ground is acceptable)
- Oatmeal (non-flavored)
- Whole Grain Brown Rice
- Whole Wheat Bread (check the ingredient list!)
- Nuts (raw is best)
- Local Honey
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Most Spices (not pre-mixed seasoning packets)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The above list is a great start to help you attain your clean eating goals. Whether you are looking for 100% clean eating or just to start down the path of a healthier diet, you’ll find that if you can keep to this list while shopping, you’ll be far more successful than you ever thought possible.