You’ve probably heard of clean eating, but maybe haven’t quite figured out how to get started. Clean eating can be difficult for many reasons — it’s hard to access clean food on the go and meal prep can be time-consuming.
Whether you've made the commitment for weight loss or just to feel healthier, clean eating is a very realistic goal that you can achieve with the right planning and with this collection of recipes that will rock your taste buds.
Forget stocking up on granola bars. Clean eating isn't a diet — it's a way of life, and it shouldn't be thought of as a quick way to get skinny. The point of clean eating is to commit to a lifestyle of eating food as close to its natural form as possible. This means trying to cut down on processed or fast food and unnecessary fats, artificial sugars, and artificial flavors.
As long as you're consuming highly nutritious vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, you can eat as much as you want. Of course, an active lifestyle is always encouraged, but as long as you're making the right food choices, your body and mind will reap the benefits.
Before we delve into some delicious recipes, here are a couple of useful meal prep tips for clean eating to ensure you keep yourself on track.
Both meal planning and meal prepping can be a lifesaver when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet. If you schedule exactly what you plan on eating the week ahead, you're likely to stay organized, save money, and avoid late-night fast food runs. Make a list of all the ingredients you'll need for the week, go grocery shopping, and always be ready to throw together easy meals.
If you have space in your fridge, you can also purchase some glass containers to take food with you on the go. The best meal prep containers have secure snaps on the side, so there won’t be unwanted leaks in your bag and your food will stay fresh. They also stack up really nicely in your fridge so you feel organized and ready to go.
Now that we've gotten the technicalities out the way, how about we dive into some seriously delicious clean eating recipes?
Start your morning off right with overnight oats, which provide you with tons of energy. This recipe for chocolate peanut butter overnight oats gives old-fashioned oatmeal a delicious twist. It includes almond milk, chia seeds, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. You can go easy on the chocolate chips if you're on a stricter diet, but either way, this dish is so simple to make — just leave it in the fridge before you go to bed and it’ll be ready for a quick breakfast in the morning.
With this salmon meal prep recipe, you can prepare more than one meal at a time. Use protein-packed salmon filets and whip up a delicious and healthy sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and garlic. You’ll add some asparagus and quinoa to make this a healthy meal no matter what time you eat it. You can also substitute your vegetable or choice of whole grain. Quick tip for speedy cooking: Try steam cooking your vegetables in a steam oven.
Who says healthy has to be boring? One-pan dinners are making a huge comeback and this healthy sheet pan tilapia and veggies recipe is a huge time saver. Another great thing about this one-pan dinner is the vegetables absorb all the wonderful flavors from the tilapia filets. You can play around with different vegetables and have the entire meal ready to go in less than 20 minutes (including prep time).
With a mix of fresh cilantro and lime juice, your everyday chicken recipe just got a serious upgrade. Cauliflower rice is a great way to replace your regular carb-heavy rice, and it tastes just as delicious. Whip up this cilantro lime chicken with cauliflower rice and you’ll be set for the week ahead!
When embracing a clean eating lifestyle, you get to experiment with whole grains and vegetables you wouldn't usually encounter. This farro and Brussels sprout salad will introduce you to a healthy wheat grain: farro, which has a unique and chewy texture. The Brussels sprouts are paired with a citrusy dressing and will leave you wondering why you never ate them as a child!
Fish makes for a delicious and easy meal choice, and poached cod and green beans with pesto is the ideal weeknight dish. This meal is paired perfectly with delicious pesto made up of nutritious pine nuts and garlic. When you're short on time this dish can be thrown together in minutes. It's also low carb and gluten free.
If you're trying to keep a low-carb diet but are dreaming of a comforting sandwich, try this peanut-tofu cabbage wrap. Replace a bun or wheat wrap with a large leaf of cabbage, and watch tofu come alive with a tasty peanut sauce. The combination of the pear, cucumber, and cilantro makes this a fresh and light meal on the go.
If you're a fan of Chipotle but want to steer away from fast food, try this vegetarian meal packed with healthy quinoa and plant proteins like chickpeas. This black bean-quinoa buddha bowl offers savory Mexican flavor with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, and avocado — plus an easy hummus dressing to drizzle on top.
If you're on the hunt for a great side dish to complement a protein like chicken, consider this paleo maple whipped sweet potato dish. Made with only six simple ingredients, this fluffy, creamy, healthy dish is easy to make and will bring some fun diversity into your usual rotation of go-to meals.
For those of you who hate food waste, you're going to love this simple broccoli stem and brown rice stir-fry. Using the ends of the broccoli you usually throw in the trash, this healthy meal is budget friendly and can be easily adapted to work with tofu or beans.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that’s made from a variety of fermented vegetables typically seasoned to be spicy. You can buy kimchi at the grocery store, but it’s cheaper to make at home and packed with good bacteria. This spicy kimchi quinoa bowl can be thrown together in 13 minutes, including prep time.
Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and with the right spices, you can flip this traditional staple into a classic Indian dish. Aloo gobi is made from cauliflower, potatoes, and some incredible aromatic spices. If you'd like to keep this meal low carb, you can skip the naan bread and switch the potatoes to zucchini.
Clean eating doesn't need to be a far-off dream you're aspiring to. It's a realistic and rewarding way of life that you can achieve with just a few tweaks to your routine. As proven by these mouth-watering recipes, clean food is far from boring and can help whip you into shape — both in body and mind. So what are you waiting for?