Eating Clean Menu Plans

by Andrea Cespedes

Eating clean includes generous amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits.

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Eating clean involves focusing on foods that are close to their natural state. Processed foods, especially those with highly refined flours, added sugars, trans fats, preservatives and artificial ingredients, are discouraged. Fresh, whole foods, such as produce, nuts, seeds, lean meats, dried beans and plant oils form the foundation of clean meals. Instead of counting calories, read labels to avoid unnatural ingredients and moderate portion sizes for clean meals.

Principles

An eating clean menu plan asks that you consume three meals a day and one or two snacks. Drink at least 2 liters of water daily, suggests “Clean Eating” magazine. Avoid processed and refined foods which can be identified by long ingredient lists that include foods such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, partially hydrogenated oils and monosodium glutamate. Slowing down and savoring your food is part of eating clean. Expect to prepare meals at home often and to carry snacks with you so you always have access to clean foods.

Day One

Begin with a breakfast of steel cut oats cooked with low-fat milk, chopped apple and toasted walnuts. For lunch, enjoy a sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin made with natural roast beef, djon mustard, tomato and romaine lettuce. Have a fresh peach or apple for dessert. At dinner, season a cod fillet with lemon juice and dried oregano. Broil until cooked through and eat with 1 cup brown rice and steamed asparagus. Foodsafety.gov recommends cooking seafood until flesh is opaque and easily separates with a fork. Eat snacks between meals, especially when you will go more than 3 hours without a full meal. Try 1 cup sliced pineapple and 1 cup of low fat kefir.

Day Two

At breakfast, scramble one whole egg with two egg whites and diced tomato. Have with a slice of sprouted grain toast and a whole orange. For lunch, make a salad with wild rice, 4 ounces steamed shrimp, sliced grapes, pomegranate seeds and 1/2 ounce walnuts. Dress with 1 teaspoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar. At dinner, grill pork chops -- trimmed of all visible fat, and serve with a compote made by heating diced dried apricots, dried cranberries, ground ginger, orange juice and raw honey. Simmer the ingredients until the liquid reduces to make a syrupy sauce. Serve alongside spinach sauteed in garlic and 1 teaspoon olive oil and roasted sweet potato wedges. For snacks, enjoy celery sticks and red pepper strips with 1 tablespoon salsa and an apple with1 tablespoon cashew butter.

Day Three

Start with a whole wheat English muffin topped with 2 tablespoons almond butter and banana slices. At lunch, make a large green salad with romaine lettuce, chopped egg whites, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, diced chicken breast and grape tomatoes. Make a dressing of 1 teaspoon olive oil, lemon juice and Italian seasoning and have a few woven wheat crackers on the side. For dinner, make butternut squash ravioli by boiling cubed butternut squash and mashing with a clove of minced garlic. Use whole wheat wonton wrappers and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Cook in boiling water for four minutes and top with a quick, homemade sauce made with olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh sage, salt and pepper. Have the clean ravioli alongside a small grilled chicken breast. Snack between meals on Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries and vegetables with homemade hummus made by pureeing organic chickpeas with garlic, tahini, lemon juice and cumin.

References

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Andrea Cespedes has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.