A Guide to Clean Eating

A Guide to Clean Eating

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Clean eating has been very popular in recent years because of its many health benefits. Transitioning from a diet heavy in refined sugar and processed foods to one that consists entirely of natural, healthy foods is something that takes time, but it is worth it in the end. Eating clean helps your body produce more energy and prevent chronic illness. Read on to learn more about how to get started on the journey to this healthy lifestyle change!

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating is not a fad diet – it’s a way of life! Transitioning to eating only unprocessed, whole foods will give you more energy, help you lose weight, and improve your overall health. Eating clean means that you should eat lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and organic meat (preferably from the butcher and not pre-packaged). It’s important to drink lots of water and read the labels of any packaged food that you consume to make sure there are no harmful chemicals and additives inside.

  • The Clean Eating Diet: This overview explains how clean eating works and the pros and cons of eating whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Eating Clean For Dummies Cheat Sheet: The basic principles of clean eating are explained simply and thoroughly.
  • The Eat-Clean Diet Review: This article on WebMD explains what should and should not be eaten while trying to eat clean.
  • What Is Clean Eating? An article discussing why clean eating is a lifestyle and not a fad diet, with information about how to slowly transition to a clean diet by replacing processed foods with homemade versions.

Tips for Getting Started

Transitioning to a clean diet can be difficult when you’re used to consuming lots of pre-packaged convenience foods. Luckily, there are simple changes that will make the switch as easy as possible! Start by cutting out bad foods (like soda and fast food) and upping your water intake. Gradually add in more fruits and vegetables, and start reading the labels of your packaged food to make sure they contain as few ingredients as possible. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for healthy meal ideas.

Don’t Forget to Prep!

Preparation is key to sticking to a healthy diet. People are most likely to order unhealthy take-out when they are busy and have nothing in the fridge, so planning weekly meals is essential! Freezer cooking is another great trick-by making and freezing two or three meals on the weekend, you can save yourself ample time on busy workdays. Check out these sample meal plans and shopping lists that will make your meal planning a breeze.

  • Clean Eating Shopping Lists: This great resource from Clean Eating Magazine includes many months worth of printable shopping lists.
  • Freezer Cooking Tips For Clean Eating: Freezer cooking is an excellent way to make sure you always have healthy meals available.
  • Clean Eating Meal Plan (PDF): A three-week cleanse meal plan includes options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This resource offers many meal options as well as snack, salad, and dressing ideas.

Breakfast Recipes

  • Green Smoothie: This super-healthy green smoothie is packed with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It makes two servings, so you can share or save the rest for later in the day.
  • Clean Eating French Toast: A quick, beginner-level recipe for those who love indulgent breakfasts. This clean version uses egg whites, skim milk, and whole-grain bread.
  • Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes: These healthy pancakes can be made ahead of time and frozen, making them a great choice for a quick weekday breakfast.
  • Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins: Whole Foods offers a gluten-free muffin recipe that combines zucchini, carrots, raisins, apples, and walnuts for a protein-packed way to start your day.
  • Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal: This make-ahead oatmeal can be topped with dried fruit, nuts, or cinnamon. The recipe offers many variations, including Banana-Honey, Berry-Medley, and Cranberry-Apple.

Lunch Recipes

  • Strawberry Spinach Salad: Perfect for a light summer lunch, this 10-minute salad serves four and comes together in minutes.
  • Hummus: Hummus with veggies is a great lunch option, and this easy recipe can be made in advance and eaten throughout the week.
  • Wild Rice and Edamame Salad: This quick dish is easy to put together but needs to chill for at least an hour.
  • Veggie Barley Salad: An easily customizable salad that makes a great light lunch or side dish.
  • Greek Vegetable Kebabs: These kebabs are fun for kids and can be modified to fit your dietary preferences. The recipe is vegetarian, but lamb or beef would be a delicious addition.
  • Squash Tacos With Avocado: Using seasonal ingredients is important when eating clean, and these squash tacos can be easily customized with spring, summer, or winter vegetables.

Dinner Recipes

  • Tenderloin Steaks with Red Onion Marmalade: As a lighter and healthier version of a traditional steak dinner, this recipe uses honey, red onion, and spices for flavor.
  • Balsamic-Glazed Cracked Pepper Salmon: Eating wild-caught (not farmed) fish is key when eating clean. This recipe goes great with a side of brown rice.
  • Ratatouille: Ratatouille is a fresh, seasonal stew made from tomatoes and vegetables.
  • Zucchini Ribbon Pasta: Using whole-wheat fettuccine and green and yellow zucchini, this vegetarian pasta dish makes an excellent filling meal for a family of four.
  • Sweet and Savory Beef Stew: Beef stew with a twist. This recipe uses butternut squash and cherries for a sweet and tangy flavor. It serves two and takes two hours to prepare.
  • Poached Striped Bass With Bok Choy and Broken Ginger Dressing: Wild-caught bass, ginger, and baby bok choy come together in this tasty, filling dinner for four.

Dessert Can Be Clean, Too!

  • Jessica Alba’s Apple Banana Bread Pudding: As a lighter and healthier version of traditional bread pudding, this tasty recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
  • Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake Bars: Cheesecake lovers will delight in these protein-rich, whole-grain bars that use Greek yogurt, honey, coconut oil, almonds, and cranberries.
  • Coconut Date Bites: These 10-minute date bites are great for when you need something sweet after a meal. They come together quickly and can be kept refrigerated for up to a month.
  • No-Cook Berry Crisp: This vegan, seasonal treat can easily be eaten for dessert or breakfast. It serves eight and requires no baking.
  • Blackberry Tart: The crust of this tart is made with dates and walnuts, adding extra fiber and natural sweetness to an already yummy treat.

Healthy Snacks

  • How To Make Kale Chips: Kale chips are a great alternative to regular potato chips because they are a salty, crunchy snack without the harmful additives of store-bought chips.
  • Oven-Baked Sunchoke Chips With Garlic and Smoked Paprika: Sunchokes are another healthy alternative to traditional potato chips. This recipe calls for them to be cooked in garlic oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Avocado Toast With Radishes: This avocado mixture is great on toast or as a dip.
  • Yogurt Cubes: Freezing a Greek yogurt smoothie mixture in ice cube trays is a great way to make a cold treat similar to ice cream.
  • Spiced Almonds: Almonds are full of good fats and make a perfect afternoon snack. These are seasoned with sage and salt.
  • Orange Vanilla Ice Pops: Freezing a mixture of Greek yogurt, orange juice, and vanilla into ice-pop molds will create an orange-cream treat to rival traditional ice cream pops.


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