What is Clean Eating? Basic Guidelines

We created an easy to follow clean eating food list to answer the question: What is Clean Eating? Use these basic guidelines to establish a meal plan that makes sense for you and your family.

What is Clean Eating Basics


What is Clean Eating?

Clean-eating describes a diet of whole foods that are not processed or are very minimally processed. It definitely does not mean you only eat raw food or that ingredients can’t be cooked and combined to create delicious meals. That’s what The Dinner-Mom site is all about!

So, what exactly does that mean?

Clean Eating Food List

Instead of creating a big, long list of foods that are “in” or “out,” we established guidelines that are easy to remember:

  1. Enjoy whole foods that are minimally or unprocessed and don’t contain added sugar, salt, preservatives or ingredients you don’t recognize.
  2. Enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables, ideally with limited exposure to pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Frozen and canned vegetables should not contain added sugars, salt or preservatives.
  3. Enjoy whole grains, like brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and popcorn.
  4. Enjoy lean proteins that were raised in humane conditions and seafood that is wild caught.
  5. Enjoy dairy that is unsweetened and pasture-raised. Skip the pre-shredded cheese which contains anti-caking agents and shred it yourself. Sweeten yogurt yourself.
  6. Use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup in moderation. Or check out How to Make Date Paste from Medjool dates. I also use pure Stevia in some recipes.

Also, enjoy plant-based meals as much as possible and drink lots and lots of water.

Before we go any further, please take note.  I am NOT a nutritionist and do not have a medical background. We are simply sharing recipes and tips that we have found useful at our house and for my family. Consult with your doctor about any special concerns or conditions that you may have.

That being said, I’m personally not aiming for perfection at my house. I enjoy a piece of cheesecake on special occasions if I want to! But, we do strive to follow these principles most of the time because we feel so much better when we do.

My philosophy is that any and all progress made toward a worthy goal is good! In other words, make a clean-eating plan that makes sense for you and your family. That may mean you follow an 80/20 rule or you that you eat clean and enjoy a bowl of ice cream every so often! Do that! No judgment.

This is not a diet. Instead, it is mindfulness about the origin of food and what happens to it before it gets to your kitchen table. My daughter is vegan, my husband eats low-carb, bordering on Paleo and I fall somewhere in between. We also manage some food allergies. No matter what types of dietary restrictions are faced, these guidelines seem to make sense!

Clean Eating Resources

Seasonal Produce Guide and printable chart

Free Printable Weekly Menu Planner with easy steps