Clean eating is about eating real foods that are rich in a variety of naturally occurring nutrients and limiting the intake of processed foods with very little nutritional value. You can consume all food groups (fats, protein, whole food, etc.), but they have to be close to their natural state.

Clean eating has many health benefits, including preventing diseases, improving mental health, boosting energy levels, etc. But ditching tempting foods like pizza, cake, donuts, etc., can be a huge challenge.

But worry not, I have got your back. In this article, I have prepared a step-by-step guide to help you start clean eating and maintain it. I have also provided expert tips to eat clean on a budget.

A step-by-step guide to start clean eating

1.      Ask yourself, “why should I start clean eating?”

Taking the first step to do anything requires a lot of effort, and adopting clean eating habits is no exception. You need inspiration and motivation to start and maintain it throughout your life. The best motivation you can have to start clean eating will come from the inside.

You can’t practice clean eating because someone told you to do it or someone you know practices it. Such motives are not powerful enough to keep you going for long. Therefore, ask yourself first, “why should you start clean eating?” Is it to increase energy and become more productive, or do you want to have good health in the future? Start with a positive motive. It will keep you moving and will make kicking hurdles out of the way easier.

2.      Track everything you eat and drink

After finding your “why,” it is time to move a step ahead and discover what counts as healthy food and what does not. Many people, who have unhealthy eating habits, still believe they eat healthily. It is because they do not eat consciously and pay attention to what they eat. They are unaware of which unhealthy foods they eat every day.

So, you need to determine what you eat every day to identify the foods you have to eliminate from your life. Start a food journal and write everything you eat and drink for one week. Now divide these foods and drinks into two groups; unhealthy foods and nutritious foods. Add more healthy foods to the nutritious foods list if you think it is lacking.

3.      Set small and achievable goals

After identifying the foods, you need to add and the foods you need to exclude from your diet, it is time to set small goals and make strategic choices. A planned effort can generate better results than an unplanned effort. Therefore, set a target and create a plan consisting of small steps to reach that target.

You do not have to force yourself to change your diet all at once. In fact, people who follow this approach get overwhelmed and tired soon. So, start with the baby steps. Reduce the intake of processed foods at first, then eliminate them completely. Remember that consistency is the key that will help you form life-changing habits.

4.      Make a healthy grocery list and stick to it

Now make a healthy grocery list according to your goals and plans. Many people believe that clean eating is expensive than unhealthy foods. But you can still make it super-affordable by making the right decisions and making the right choices (see tips to eat clean on a budget described below).

Make a healthy grocery list that is budget-friendly. While doing grocery shopping, avoid going through the area that has unhealthy refined and processed foods. Stick to the list you have made and avoid temptations.

5.      Cook your meals and eat healthily

After shopping the healthy ingredients, it is time to convert them into healthy meals. You do not have to be a master chef to prepare meals for yourself. So, do not hesitate to start cooking your meals on your own. It will take time, but we live in the twenty-first century, and there are several kitchen gadgets available in the market. Get a few tools that you think will help you save time and cook well.

Start with the simple recipes. There are plenty of recipes on Google, YouTube, and my Pinterest’s healthy recipes board filled with easy, tasty, and healthy recipes. Learn new recipes from there and experiment with mixing different ingredients to explore your creativity.

6.      Prepare a balanced plate of meals

Prepare your balanced plate of meals such that the requirement for proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals is well met. Do not limit yourself to only one group of foods. Add protein, fats, and carbs to every meal. Take fresh fruit and vegetable salad as healthy snacks.

7 tips for eating clean on a budget

Buy in bulk

Buying meat, legumes, nuts, and whole grains in bulk can save you a lot. So, it is a wiser decision to buy for a month or more in bulk.

Check discounts

We all love discounts, so why not get the most out of them. Discounts on special occasions like brand anniversaries and national days, etc., are very common. Get the maximum out of them.

Make smart choices

Make smart food choices and buy products that are economical yet highly nutritious. Buy cost-effective fruits and vegetables like bananas, apples, regular carrots, cabbage, etc.

Start cooking your meals yourself

Instead of relying on cooked meals offered by homemade food service providers, prepare your meals yourself. This will allow you to save money and sharpen your cooking skills, too. Plan your whole week’s meals beforehand and prepare the whole week’s meals whenever you get time.

Don’t waste leftovers

Consider leftovers a blessing that can be the quick go-to meal when you are running out of time. You can also add them to the next day’s meal to create a new and nutritious meal.

Shop in-season vegetables and fruits

In-season vegetables and fruits are not only inexpensive, but they are also more tasty, nutritious, and healthy. Therefore, buy in-season fruits and veggies that have all nutrients you need according to a season’s requirements.

Get creative with cooking

Do not have all ingredients to prepare a meal? Get creative with cooking and add only those ingredients that are available to create something new. You can also replace the missing ingredients with the options you have at home.


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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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