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Meal Ideas for Your First Week for Clean Eating
As you go through your clean eating journey, you will begin adding more meals and snacks to the mix to increase variety, but don’t make it difficult in the beginning.
If you want to be successful and live a healthier lifestyle, then start simple. Here are some meal ideas when you are just starting out with clean eating.
Components for a Balanced Clean Meal
Before getting into the meal ideas, it helps to know what to include in each of your meals and snacks. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks between meals, and any desserts you want to enjoy.
For healthy eating and to stay full, you want to be sure you have a good balance at every meal. Have protein with vegetables or complex carbohydrates with vegetables, and always add some healthy fats. These macronutrients together provide energy for your day and ensure you are getting the nutrients you need.
Make Meal-Building Simple
If you are new to meal planning, here is a simple formula:
1 protein + 1 carbohydrate + 1 fruit or vegetable + 1 healthy fat
This can be adjusted as needed, but it is a good way to figure out your meals. For example, a very simple meal might include salmon (protein), a sweet potato (carb), broccoli (vegetable) and olive oil used to cook your salmon (fat).
Use Ingredients More Than Once
Another tip that is going to help you with your first week’s worth of clean eating meals is to choose ingredients you can use more than once. This allows you to save money and simplifies both your shopping and cooking processes. For example, you can get a whole rotisserie chicken that easily works for more than one meal, and cook food in larger batches to be used for multiple lunches and dinners.
Meal Ideas for the First Week
Now for some meal ideas. These are just a few easy ways to put breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. There are of course many other options.
- Breakfast – Avocado toast with sourdough bread, mashed avocado, and fried eggs on top for some added protein.
- Lunch – Chicken salad with greens, cooked chicken, veggies, and some olive oil vinaigrette as your fat.
- Dinner – Chicken (same as used during lunch), quinoa and some roasted asparagus.
Super Easy Clean Eating Smoothies
Smoothies are a wonderful addition to meals and snacks when you are eating clean. You can have smoothie during any time of the day, from breakfast to a post-workout snack, and there are an endless amount of combinations. Take a look at some of these easy smoothie tips and some ideas for putting it all together.
Formula for Making Smoothies
Before starting, here is an easy formula for putting your smoothie together:
Frozen banana or ice + fruit + greens (optional) + yogurt + liquid + optional flavorings
This is a really simple formula that will help you when creating your own smoothies. Of course, there are many variations on this as not all smoothies need yogurt and you may have just fruit and juice in your smoothie. However, this works great when you really aren’t sure what kind of smoothie you want to make.
Simple Green Smoothie
A green smoothie is ideal for clean eating if the smoothie is replacing a meal because it helps to give you more fibre, increases the nutrients, and keeps you full for longer.
A good green smoothie includes a handful of greens, a handful of frozen fruit, ½ frozen banana or handful of ice, and some liquid. You can also choose to add a little yogurt, but since you have a banana in there, it isn’t required. Here is a fun green smoothie recipe:
- 1 handful of kale or spinach
- 1 handful frozen strawberries
- 200-250ml dairy-free milk (almond, coconut, tiger nut etc.)
- ½ frozen banana
All Berry Smoothie
To simplify it even more, you can have a smoothie with just frozen berries. Bananas that are frozen are often used in most smoothies because they not only thicken it up and make it to where yogurt isn’t a requirement, but if it’s frozen, you don’t actually need ice. That way, if you are using fresh berries, but a frozen banana, your smoothie is cold even without the ice. So for a berry smoothie, try this simple combination:
- Handful strawberries
- Handful raspberries
- Handful blueberries
- ½ frozen banana
- 200-250ml liquid – water, dairy-free milk or juice
This is where you can really get creative with it. When your smoothie is for breakfast, and you don’t think fruit and veggies is enough to keep you full, add in some other ingredients that turn it more into a filling breakfast. For example, you could use nut butter in your smoothie. Try a simple smoothie with:
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp. nut butter
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 200-250ml dairy-free milk
Tips for Surviving Clean Eating
While clean eating is one of the simpler healthy lifestyles to understand, it does have its restrictions just like everything else. The important thing to remember is that you are eating whole, fresh foods, avoiding most things that are packaged and processed, and are beginning to read labels and cook more at home. Here are some additional tips to help with your clean eating diet.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Veggies
The first big change you might make is eating more fresh and frozen produce. A good portion of your meals and snacks will be fruits and vegetables. If you currently eat a lot of fruit, but not many veggies, it’s time to switch it up.
By having a good amount of both throughout the day, you stay full, get plenty of nutrients, and have enough variety in your diet so you don’t get bored.
Enjoy Your Complex Carbs
If you are coming off diets like low-carb or Keto, you might not be used to having this many carbs, but clean eating is not a low-carb diet. While it is a reduced carb diet, simply by taking away things like white rice and processed breads, you still want to include complex carbs.
Including complex carbohydrates increases your nutrients and keeps you energized for the day, so it is definitely recommended. Good choices are sweet potatoes, white potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa, starchy root vegetables, bananas, chickpeas and hummus.
Always Have Snacks Ready to Go
You want to be as prepared as possible to survive clean eating and get to the point where it is a simple lifestyle change. One way to do this is by having enough snacks on hand that are clean. This means enough fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds in containers or bags, and any homemade snacks you have prepared like granola or yogurt.
Meal Plan and Prep Weekly
Along these lines, you should also be planning out your meals for the week and prepping as much as possible. With clean eating, getting convenience foods while you’re out is not as easy, and most fast food is not considered clean, so you still need to plan to provide the majority of your own meals and snacks at home. If you can prep things like casseroles, making salads, and chopping veggies, then you are more likely to eat those meals.
Why Everyone Should Meal Prep
One of the tips you will be given often when you look up clean eating diets is that you should meal prep. The reason this is so effective is because it is more convenient and ends up saving time, plus it really gets ahead of those temptations you might have.
Here are some of the top benefits of meal prepping and planning on the clean eating diet.
You Can Avoid Unnecessary Snacking
The first reason you should consider meal prepping is so you can avoid snacking on foods that aren’t healthy. This is a very common pitfall among people who are used to hitting up the vending machine at work or grabbing a processed carbs such as pastries, crisps or biscuits for a snack.
If you prepare before the week begins, you should already have all the snacks you need, from fruit and nuts to homemade clean baked goods and won’t need to grab a chocolate bar while at the petrol station.
It Ensures You Have Enough Food for the Week
In addition to avoiding the unhealthy snacks that can add up fast, you can also make sure you have all the food you need for a week or longer.
Another common pitfall of clean eating is that you run out of food for meals later in the week, leading you to getting takeaway, since it’s easier than going back to the supermarket. By planning out all your meals, you can then prep them and have all the hard work done so that cooking is a breeze.
Your Week is More Streamlined
Nobody wants to spend time each day figuring out what to pack in their kids’ lunches and deciding on what to cook for dinner. If you spend a good portion of your day thinking about what to cook, you are stressing yourself out, and that often leads to failure of these types of diets.
This is a brand new healthy lifestyle and one that does take some prep work. Think about how easy it will be going through your day knowing your breakfast and lunch is packed and ready to go, and everything for dinner is scheduled, prepped, and ready to put in the oven.
Remember that meal prep isn’t always cooking ahead of time, but prepping ingredients like chopping veggies, putting smoothie packs together, and making salads.
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