What Is Clean Eating?
The concept of clean eating was the norm a couple of hundred years ago — not a fad that someone invented.
We, as the consumers, buy into the notion that these life-changing products and clean eating meal plans are the only options for a healthful lifestyle. In truth, eating clean is simply an awareness about what we ingest, as Good House Keeping suggests.
If you have been confused, thinking that you can only achieve clean eating by following strict, gluten-free diets and yoga-and-pressed-juice routines, we hope that the below suggestions can free you of these crazy restrictions!
Clean eating should not be restrictive of how much or how little of a particular item you can have. What we should be conscious of is where our food comes from and how it is prepared before it makes its way into our meals. The core of what is clean eating is the mindfulness of choosing real foods, or whole foods, instead of processed foods. Eating clean can include the following:
Vegetable-Based Diets – Research across the board emphasizes the need for substantial vegetable intake in our diets. Not only will they fill you up more, curbing your appetite for extra-large servings and junk food, but vegetable-based meals will also give you the nutrients you need to maintain optimal energy levels and health.
Eating To Replenish – Having regular meals that include a balanced selection of food groups prepared at home will help you begin and maintain a clean eating meal plan. Snacking is essential – if you are conscious of what you snack on, it’ll provide a vital energy source that can replenish you in between meals.
Practicing Safe Food Preparations – Preparing and storing your food properly will ensure maximum nutrient retention. Source local and organic items, and store them properly – i.e., keep meats at optimal temperatures and separate from produce to avoid contamination.
Choosing Natural Sweeteners – If you can go completely sugar-free, I envy you. If you are a little less disciplined, like me, you can use natural sweeteners like raw honey and organic maple syrup for your clean eating recipes instead. These options are less budget-friendly, so if you must choose refined sugars, just remember that an occasional indulgence is not the end of the world — you are human, after all.
Minimizing Sodium Intake – A high salt content usually gives a good indication that a product is highly processed. Salt is used as a preserving agent, which, when taken in big amounts, can be harmful to your body. Choose to prepare your food with as little salt as possible and consider alternatives like pink Himalayan sea salt or unrefined sea salts.
Eating Healthy Fats – Here’s the disclaimer, there are healthy fats, and there are bad fats. Plant-based fats like avocados, nuts, virgin coconut oils, and chia seeds are your new best friends. So are free-range or pasture-fed animals and their products, such as eggs and dairy.
How To Eat Clean
Eating clean doesn’t have to be hard — just like living a purposeful life, it takes conscious effort. When you have been doing things and eating certain ways for a very long time, it’s hard to break the habit.
If you are here reading this guide and searching for some help, that’s great! It is the first step. You have realized that you want to make some changes in your life to get different results. Whether this is a New Year’s resolution or a mid-year resolution, changes require you to make a difficult decision and learning to maintain it daily. Here are some of our top tips to get started on how to eat clean:
- Plan ahead and make your meal plans a week at a time, with clean eating recipes.
- Shop ahead of time for your clean eating grocery list.
- Give yourself an incentive for your clean eating diet by having plenty of delicious treats.
- Don’t overwhelm yourselves with over-the-top recipes, start with easy and simple clean eating recipes for beginners.
- Give yourselves a break and find a lot of clean eating Crock-Pot recipes. Let’s face it, meal prep is not that fun.
- Make sure to have variety in your clean eating food list.
Clean Eating Recipes
As a sample meal plan to get you started, try these amazing recipes for the next seven days; we have included clean eating breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. Substitute any meats, vegetables, and legumes to your preference, and start your clean eating meal plan today!
Black Bean Breakfast Burrito by Leelalicious
It’s Monday morning: eating clean is the last thing on your mind. To start right, make sure you prepare this delicious burrito the day before. You will be so glad to have made this scrumptious and hearty, clean eating breakfast recipe ahead of time. Scrambled eggs, avocados, bean and hash brown filling, cheese and salsa are all rolled into a whole-wheat tortilla — so delicious and filling.
Greek Chicken Bowls by Eazy Peazy Mealz
Continuing with our avoidance of the Monday blues, prep ahead for this easy clean eating recipe with marinated Greek chicken, cucumber salad, and tzatziki sauce. These bowls are also only 500 calories.
One Pot Teriyaki Chicken Zoodles by Life Made Sweeter
Finish your night with this unique take on noodles. The pineapple chunks will satisfy your sweet cravings without interfering with your clean eating meal plan.
Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats by Organize Yourself Skinny
When it comes to breakfast, we often forgo this important meal due to time constraints or pure laziness! My busy family often opts for overnight oats that we can prepare ahead of time. We can add the blueberries and bananas before we leave, but they can also be thrown in the night before.
Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs by Damn Delicious
Since we had zucchini noodles for dinner on Monday, why not double up the meal prep so you can make your lunch with half the effort? Pair the noodles with these turkey meatballs and get some variety in your meals. This can also be made ahead of time as a clean eating Crock-Pot recipe. Make a batch of turkey meatballs, then just freeze them in sealable, plastic baggies.
Garlic Butter Shrimp, Quinoa, and Asparagus by I food real
This eating clean recipe is unreal. It feels like you are eating at a fancy, market-fresh restaurant. Clean eating dinner recipes that have quinoa don’t have to look like bird food. You can thoroughly enjoy it with indulgent garlic butter shrimp and not even feel guilty about doing so.
Tropical Green Smoothie Bowl by Eat Yourself Skinny
I don’t know about you, but by Wednesday morning, I am ready to go back to my old habits of eating processed drive-thru breakfasts. If you feel the same, you should take up preparing a colorful smoothie bowl the night before to inspire yourself to stick to your plans. This clean eating breakfast recipe is like dessert in a bowl, with mangos, pineapples, Greek yogurt, and kiwi slices for garnish. The chia seed toppings will give you your optimal fat intake.
Asian Lettuce Wraps with Shrimp by Natasha’s Kitchen
Some eating clean recipes only require a few fresh and colorful ingredients like these Asian lettuce wraps by Natasha’s Kitchen. With an addictive peanut dipping sauce, your diet will be effortless. Substitute your shrimp for chicken if you happen to run out of shrimp in your fridge.
Turkey Mozzarella Meatloaf Muffins by Fit Mom Angela D
Clean eating recipes for kids are a hard find, but they don’t have to be. Instead, have your children be a part of your meal prep. These cute turkey meatloaf muffins are a great idea for a Wednesday night when you are rushing to soccer practices and finding time in between to have a healthy dinner. Make them ahead of time, then pop them out of the freezer and into the oven for a quick and easy meal.
Greek Yogurt Breakfast Bark by Go Eat and Repeat
Don’t let the name fool you; this isn’t deer food. The tasty, clean eating breakfast recipe is a combination of Greek yogurt, maple syrup, granola, and fruits: frozen and served in squares as a part of a wholesome breakfast-to-go. It takes 10 minutes of prep time and can be broken up into pieces for easy storage.
Shrimp Pineapple Kabobs by Running in a Skirt
Kabobs are easy clean eating recipes for beginners, you only need to skewer your meats with some vegetables and either grill or bake them. You will love this delightful lunch, which can be eaten cold or warmed up — depending on how much time you have. The tangy sweetness from the pineapples will leave you wanting more.
Zucchini Lasagna by I Food Real
Thursday nights can be busy. You are nearing the end of the week, yet you still have so many things on your to-do list. If you are in a pinch for a healthy sit-down meal with the family, make sure to prep this zucchini lasagna ahead of time. Pull it out of your freezer to reheat and enjoy.
Even if you do not have one ready, you can quickly whip up a new batch with some sliced zucchinis and your already-made turkey meatballs and tomato sauce from Tuesday’s lunch.
Caramel Macchiato Overnight Oatmeal by Athletic Avocado
It’s Friday, and it’s your cheat day. Time to indulge in this sinfully delicious recipe! Your coffee cravings will be satisfied while feeling filled with this overnight oatmeal recipe. You can substitute your sugar-free caramel sauce with vanilla to try out a vanilla latte overnight oatmeal instead… The variations are endless.
Clean Eating Taco Stuffed Peppers by Dashing Dish
Stuffed peppers are ideal for quick clean eating meals in between meetings or scheduled appointments. They can be popped into the microwave to reheat or served cold with a salad. You don’t even need utensils!
Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa Bake by Cooking Classy
We love Crock-Pot recipes, because they require minimal preparation and time in front of the stove. You can create batches of these enchilada mixes and freeze them for quick and easy dump dinners. Turn up the heat and continue with the rest of your day, so you can enjoy your weekend — versus slaving away at a more involved recipe.
Quinoa Breakfast Scramble by Wendy Polisi
An easy recipe with quinoa, eggs, avocado, and salsa is exactly what you need to have the energy for a full day of planned activities with your family. This may just become your favorite weekend recipe.
Paleo Creamy Potato Leek Soup by Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
Errands on the weekends can eat away at the time you have to prepare a meal for yourself. Make the time and the effort for a quick lunch with this creamy potato leek clean eating soup. You can even prepare it ahead of time and store it in a thermos, so you can drink it on the go.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust by Gimme Delicious
Saturday nights are family pizza-and-movie night. Just because you’re on a clean eating diet doesn’t mean that you should forgo this family tradition! The cauliflower pizza crust can be made with any toppings you wish. Have your kids create their own mini pizzas with a few toppings to choose from and make it a fun night in together.
Fluffy Paleo Pancakes by Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
No clean eating breakfast recipes are complete without pancakes! Made with almond flour and tapioca flour, these paleo recipes are excellent and easy for beginners to try out. They are fluffy and light, just like regular pancakes made with flour. Top them off with some organic maple syrup for a delightful end to your week.
Avocado and Dijon Turkey Burgers by My Healthyish Life
Turkey burgers are a crowd favorite, especially if you have guests over for a Sunday brunch or an afternoon barbecue party. The collard green substitute for the buns will amaze your guests!
Savory Stuffed Cabbage Rolls by Whole Eats & Whole Treats
There’s something nostalgic about making stuffed cabbage rolls on a Sunday night. This recipe will round up your week’s effort in clean eating. Bring your family together to chow down, and prepare for another great week!
Clean Eating Grocery List
While many of the items on this grocery list are probably already in your pantry, the most important thing is to be on top of stocking up your fresh fruits and vegetables for a clean eating meal plan.
Don’t hesitate to switch up some items to get some variety. Switch some shrimp in for some salmon, use blackberries instead of blueberries… the fun is in being creative with your ingredients.
canned tomato chunks
red bell pepper
whole grain tortillas
rolled oats or quick oats
plain Greek yogurt
Monterey Jack cheese
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Condiments & Seasoning
crushed red pepper flakes
red wine vinegar
pure maple syrup
healthy caramel sauce
low-sodium soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
unsweetened coconut milk
Optional For Toppings & Garnish
Start your clean eating meal plan today, and make sure to SHARE your progress with your friends and family!