What is Clean Eating?

Published on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 20:41

by Jessica Cox, RD, Culinary Nutritionist

What is Clean Eating?

Clean Eating is a dietary lifestyle that incorporates whole, natural foods while reducing highly processed foods and chemicals and preservatives in your diet. A clean eating approach focuses on nutrient-dense foods, giving you the most nutrition bang for each calorie, and is intended to be in line with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

What’s included:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (e.g., Leafy greens, carrots, apples, berries)
  • Whole grains (e.g., whole wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice)
  • Lean proteins (e.g., lean meats, beans, legumes)
  • Low-fat dairy products (e.g., 1% or skim milk, low fat yogurt, cheeses)
  • Healthy fats in moderation (e.g., avocados, olive oil, canola oil)


What avoided/limited:

  • Refined grains (e.g., white flour, white rice, white bread)
  • Added sugars (e.g., Sodas, energy drinks, baked goods, desserts)
  • Packaged and highly processed foods (e.g.,snack foods like chips and crackers, convenience products, and canned sauces)
  • Alcohol


What Can Clean Eating Do for You?

  • Help control your weight

A diet high in fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans can help you feel full longer while eating fewer calories.

  • Reduce your risk of chronic diseases

Low in fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar, a clean eating lifestyle can reduce your risk of the top three leading causes of death in the US – heart disease, cancer and stroke, as well as diabetes and obesity.

  • Ensure that you feel your best every day

A balance of whole grains, protein, and fiber helps you stay energized throughout the day and sleep better at night. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables means you’ll get more of the vitamins and minerals you need to help maintain a strong immune system and ward off illnesses. 


Try It!

Tomato Gazpacho with Goat Cheese Flatbread

This quick and easy no-cook soup shows off the vibrant flavors of summer tomatoes. Use homegrown tomatoes from your own yard or farmer’s market, or look for vine-ripened tomatoes in your grocery store for the best flavor. Be sure to prepare the soup in advance to allow the flavors to meld as the soup chills.

2 tomatoes, cored
1 small cucumber, seeded
1 red bell pepper, seeded
½ medium red onion
11.5 ounce can low sodium tomato juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 piece whole-wheat pita bread
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

  1. Separately roughly chop tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion in a food processor; place in a large glass bowl.
  2. Add tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill for at least two hours or up to 48 hours before serving.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Brush pita bread with olive oil, and sprinkle with goat cheese; bake for 5 - 7 minutes or until crisp.
  6. Serve chilled gazpacho with warm flatbread.

Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes + 2 Hours chill time

Need Help?

The eMeals Clean Eating Plan is designed to make it simple to adopt this lifestyle. Every week, delicious meals plans are developed to include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy to help optimize your overall health.


Jessica Cox is a Registered Dietitian and chef. She is the Culinary Nutritionist at eMeals, a meal planning service based in Birmingham, AL, that helps busy families enjoy healthy meals together. She creates original recipes that are both good and good for you, writes and edits meal plans, styles food for photography, and writes nutrition content for the eMeals blog. Jessica is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Alabama Dietetic Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves as a Board Member for the annual FoodBlogSouth conference and is a Contributing Editor for the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group’s quarterly newsletter, Tastings.


To participate in our guest blogging program, please contact us at info@foodfacts.com.  Neither foodfacts.com nor our guest bloggers provide medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional.  Inclusion of this blog on foodfacts.com is not a blanket endorsement of what is contains herein.  Please see our site's terms and conditions for more information.