Clean eating is a back-to-basics approach that encourages you to eat foods as close to their natural states as possible. One of the latest trends in health and wellness, “clean eating” is not a fad diet, but rather a thoughtful way to nourish your body with whole foods that have been minimally processed. Processed foods are typically less nutrient-dense than their whole food counterparts, and may include added sugar, sodium, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates. Thankfully, replacing these processed foods with whole foods can provide you with the nutrition your body needs. It does require some time in the kitchen, but with a few tips and some of our favorite recipes, it can be easy and delicious.
Following a clean diet can be as simple as pulling together quick 5-ingredient-or-fewer meals or cooking dishes fancy enough to impress dinner guests. Either way, clean eating can be delicious! Check out our favorite recipes and tips below for a full day of clean eating, from breakfast to dinner, and even a few ideas for dessert!
Starting your day with nourishing meals based on whole foods can be as easy as blending up smoothies, scrambling eggs or flipping a few pancakes. To satisfy your morning sweet tooth, pass on boxed pancake and waffle mixes, which are often highly processed, and check out these tips on how to clean up your pancakes and waffles.
Another great way to start off your day on a clean, easy and filling start is to make your own oatmeal. Skip the packet and the extra sugar and processed ingredients it contains by making your own with one of our baked oats recipes. Let’s not forget smoothie bowls, either. Fresh or frozen fruit, blended with minimally processed Greek yogurt can be the perfect base for oats. You can also add sliced fruit and even nutrient dense nuts and seeds.
Where clean eating for breakfast really shines, though, is savory foods. Whether it’s scrambles ( like this Spinach Mushroom Egg White Scramble) or breakfast casseroles (like this Southwestern Breakfast Frittata), egg dishes are the perfect savory start to your day. Egg dishes are also easy to adapt; just add in your favorite proteins, vegetables and seasonings. Remember to pass on processed breakfast meats, as they can contain high amounts of sodium.
For lunch, brown bag it with leftovers or quick-to-prepare lunch meals like bowls or salads. By building your own meals with whole, unprocessed foods, you can ensure that you’re getting a nutritious and nourishing lunch, without the extra sugars, sodium and fillers.
Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowls make for a nutrient packed plant-based lunch and cleaning up your burrito bowls is easy and makes for a delicious and convenient lunch, leaving you plenty of time for a midday walk. For even easier lunches, toss together hearty, protein-filled salads. Just keep the dressing simple, or better yet, make your own. You’ll be surprised at how delicious fresh, homemade salad dressing can be and with recipes that come together in minutes, you won’t miss bottled dressing.
As the weather starts to cool down and favorite comforting dishes start hitting the dinner table, it’s still possible to eat clean (even during the holidays). Autumn is the perfect time to stuff peppers or squash and to make roasted vegetables the star of your cool weather meals.
Crank up the oven for simple one-pan meals like Balsamic Chicken and Veggies and Oven Baked Honey Chili Lime Salmon with Potatoes and Beans. Like many of these recipes and meal ideas, the formula is simple: opt for lean protein, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Add in a source of healthy fat and season to taste and you’ve got yourself a clean, satisfying meal.
You don’t have to give up dessert to eat clean! Satisfy your sweet tooth by using naturally sweet fruit as the base for satisfying snacks and desserts like these apple cookies or this Blueberry Almond Crumble.
Eating clean doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or full of expensive, hard-to-find ingredients. By cooking with whole foods, you can eat simply and deliciously. You may even find that sticking to clean eating is easier than keeping up with other diets you may have tried. Why? Because you don’t have to sacrifice delicious meals when you eat clean.
Sara Vallejo is a self-confessed happiness, health and self-development junkie from Chicago. She writes professionally in a business development and marketing capacity, and as a volunteer for a digital nonprofit. Miss Vallejo is a passionate mental and holistic health advocate who believes that good health is an ongoing journey best undertaken with supportive peers. Sara’s areas of expertise include nutrition, weight loss, women’s health, mental health and disability issues. She is returning to weight loss and fitness following orthopedic surgery and is excited to encourage and inspire fellow Azumio community members and readers to achieve the best health they can.
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