The Essential Clean Eating List of Food

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or improve your overall health, clean eating is the way to go! By nourishing your body with essential macro- and micro-nutrients that come from good, wholesome food, your health and fitness dreams will soon become a reality. To get you started let’s take a look at the essential clean eating list of food you need in your life.

We’ve split it down in to key food groups that you need to address to complete your clean eating list of food. We’ll then explore the benefits of each group, before offering you examples of each one, making it so much easier for you to pull together your own clean eating grocery list!

Clean eating is all about keeping it natural and avoiding any interference or processing – which can be way harder than it looks. But don’t worry, our clean eating food list has you covered. From the best types of protein you should be eating, through to desserts that won’t overload your diet with sugars and calories, we’ve got all the clean eating tips and hacks you’ll ever need.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at our clean eating list of food and head to the grocery store! With these delicious, nutritious foods in your basket, you’re sure to reach your health and fitness goals!

Top tip: If your goal is weight loss, don’t forget you need to figure out how many calories you should be eating too. Calculate that on this page.

The Essential Clean Eating List of Foods



Clean eating list of vegetables

You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that vegetables are essential to any good clean eating list of food. But what makes them so damn good for you? Well let’s take a look at all those nutrients. Vegetables are absolutely jam-packed with goodness. They offer vitamins from just about every letter of the alphabet, from A to Zinc, as well as key health-maintaining minerals too. On top of that, the fiber you’ll find in vegetables is essential to maintaining a healthy digestive system, as well as delivering all those nutrients to your body.

Also, if you’re on a clean eating weight loss journey, then the majority of vegetables are very low calorie, high density. Which means you can fill up on them without taking a huge slice out of your calorie allowance. What a dream!!

When it come to buying veggies on your clean eating food list, you don’t always have to buy fresh (they can go off pretty quickly!!). Instead take a look at buying frozen, so you can quickly throw them in to any dish, without worrying about them going bad.

Oh, and when you’re in the grocery store, watch out for canned veggies, these can have added salt, which won’t make them clean!

Here’s a list of some essential veggies you should have on your clean eating list of food:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Basically anything that’s brightly coloured and fresh or frozen!

[Related Article: Is a Keto Diet Dangerous?]


Fruit = Natures Candy… Ok well it might not be as tasty as actual candy, but when it comes to eating clean, fruit is going to be one of your best friends! Fruit is absolutely brimming with vitamins and fiber, which makes it a must for any clean eating list of food.

However, while this food group may be an essential part of your ‘five a day’, it’s important not to overdo it with fruit. Many fruits, while extremely nutritious, can be very high in sugars, which can have an impact on your carbohydrate and calorie intake.

So, our rule for this group is to know what the sugar content is for all your favourite fruits, and try to stick to two pieces a day maximum, and fill up the other three portions of your five a day with plenty of veggies. By doing this, you’ll find it easy to gain a healthy control over your calories which, for many, is why a lot of people are clean eating in the first place.

Stick to that rule, and you’ll be right on track!

Now though, let’s take a look at some delicious fruits you can add to your cleaning eating food list:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes (yeah it’s a fruit!)
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Mango

Whole Grains

For years now, carbs have gotten a bad rap, but let’s flip that on it’s head right now! You just need to know which type of carbs are your friends, and which go against the clean eating habit we’re trying to build! Whole grains, for example are an amazing thing to add to your clean eating list of food. They may be carbohydrates, but they are absolutely brimming with goodness.

Think fiber to help your digestive system along and deliver key nutrients to your body, along with a whole load of micronutrients too. And, those complex whole grain carbs are perfect for keeping you energised and full throughout the day!

The thing to avoid on a clean eating kick is those processed grains. Things like certain pasta’s and bread have grains mixed up with a whole load of other things, which as we know, isn’t the clean eating way. Instead, look at going for whole-wheat pasta or bread, as you’ve got way more grains in there.

Instead, look at whole grains as one ingredient and you can’t go wrong – it’s all natural and absolutely clean. Just look at this clean eating list of foods and you’ll see what we mean:

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole-wheat pasta or bread

Lean Protein

Protein is often associated with those big guys who hit the gym on the regular and chug down a gigantuan shake… but protein is a hugely important part of a healthy diet. Having said that, it’s a must for your clean eating food list!

While clean eating means natural and unprocessed, which could include every protein source (from steak to chicken breast), we’d say aim for those lean, white meat proteins for a really healthy option.

Red meat from cow for example can be an inflammatory, which isn’t good for your gut and overall health. Instead, we’d say stick to the high protein, low fat options like chicken, fish and all your plant-based proteins. You can also go down the dairy route if you’re not intolerant. Stick to minimal processing, like milk or plain greek or skyr.

By including a varied selection of proteins in your diet, you can support any work you’ve done at the gym by helping your body to heal faster and more effectively. And, by prioritising muscle over fat, you may even lose some weight along the way too! It’s a real win win.

So, which options should you be adding to your clean eating list of food? We have a list for you below!!

  • Chicken (breast, thigh, wing, it’s all good!)
  • Fish (cod, haddock, salmon etc. Dealers choice)
  • Beans, peas, nuts
  • Dairy – certain greek yoghurt, skyr

Healthy Desserts

Clean eating desserts

We absolutely love eating clean, but there are undoubtedly times it gets hard. Mostly, that time is right after we’ve eaten a main meal… when we’re craving something sweet. That’s right, desserts! Without the right recipes and ingredients in your arsenal, it’s way too easy to give in to temptation.

We know some people like to go the whole hog and completely cut out sugars when they’re clean eating, but we think there are benefits to helping you stay on track and enjoy a sweeter treat every once in a while.

Luckily, on our list of clean eating foods, we’ve included some hacks that will help to satisfy those cravings, without wrecking your good efforts.

The trick is to know what you can have so you don’t end up reaching for the chocolate because you’ve got no idea what else to do! So, take a look at our clean eating list of foods that will help you tackle those after-dinner cravings.

  • Banana and peanut butter – alright it’s not groundbreaking, but damn it tastes so good! The sweetness of the banana along with the saltiness of a whole nut butter (without added sugar etc!!) is a match made in heaven, give it a go!
  • Protein Chocolate oats – Boost your protein and your serotonin with this faux treat! Add a scoop of your fave chocolate protein powder, and top it off with peanut butter or some frozen raspberries for a satisfying dish that won’t be a huge calorie or sugar investment.
  • Fruit – pick your favourite and enjoy it for a bit of sweet relief. Not quite a chocolate bar, but damn, you do get to love these sweet pick-me-ups.
  • Fruit breakfast bowl – A dollop of greek yoghurt or skyr and a good helping of your favourite fruit is the perfect way to satisfy those cravings! On top of that, it’s also packed with protein and vitamins too!

Healthy Drinks

We’ve added this one on here because there are so many ‘healthy’ drinks out there, it can be a real minefield for all those clean eaters out there.

If you’re a soda lover, than we’ve got bad news for you – fizzy just ain’t the clean eating way. If it’s a normal soda it’s overflowing with high sugar levels and chemicals, both of which are not good for your body and definitely aren’t within the best practices for those who’re clean eating.

Even if it’s a sugar free version, beware. Those sugars are swapped out for even more dodgy, unnatural chemicals in the form of sweeteners, and they’ll only jam you up with up because they really shouldn’t be in your body.

If you’re thinking ok, let’s stick to fruit juices and shakes, once again we’re going to have to let you down. These often come with a big helping of added sugars and, unfortunately, even if they don’t, the blending process strips the fruits of their natural fibers which, as we know, are essential to delivering nutrients to your body. Instead, you just get a big sugar hit – not ideal.

Once again, we’ve got to avoid that processing!

Instead, you should be adding these to your clean eating list of food:

  • Water (the ultimate clean eating drink!)
  • Coffee ( hold too much milk)
  • Tea (breakfast, green, mint, you name it!)

[Related Article: Hydration Packets for Water – Do you Need Them?]

Clean eating list of food – the final word

Hopefully, by outlining the essentials and talking a little more about what they are and why they’re good for you, you now feel like you can create your own clean eating list of food.

We recommend taking this clean eating list of food to the grocery store with you and trying out some new and exciting recipes! The challenge is to keep it fresh, natural and completely unprocessed! Once you’ve done that, we’re certain you’ll see some amazing results. Whether that’s in your overall health or even in your weight loss efforts, it’s completely up to you.

Try creating our own clean eating list of food and let us know how it went for you!


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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