The clean eating meal plan entices fitness and nutrition enthusiasts due to its weight loss and health benefits. It serves as a diet trend that many wish to simply try out. Notably, there are also some people who fully adopted it as a part of their lifestyle. Essentially, this is a diet or meal plan that entails eating ‘clean’ or consuming only healthy foods. Doing so lets you acquire essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Apart from the physical benefits, a slight change in your diet can improve the immune system and other bodily functions. However, eating clean ventures beyond merely eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. It also entails the maintenance of a balanced diet and proper hydration.
From preparing a healthy grocery shopping list to learning which products to avoid, this guide on clean eating will help you kickstart your fitness journey.
Clean Eating Meal Plan
This refers to the food regimen that involves the consumption of only whole, fresh, and healthy foods. These include lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy sources of fats and carbohydrates. The main objective of the meal plan is to ‘eat clean.’ As such, it limits the intake of unhealthy and processed food items. Although this is the primary goal, it also encourages you to follow other simple eating guidelines. These include rules on consuming food in small portions, proper hydration, and eating a total of six meals a day.
People who follow the clean eating meal plan aim to promote and practice healthy eating habits. These could help boost weight loss and improve health. Some adopters of this diet also embraced this regimen to correct and change bad habits such as binge-eating unhealthy foods or relying on fast food. Others practice it to ensure that they keep a balanced diet. Eating clean could help improve energy and metabolism. In the long run, it can also reduce hunger or appetite levels in the long run.
General Guidelines: How to Eat Clean for Beginners
The rules of clean eating can guide you towards healthier practices and having a leaner body. Dedicating to these principles is key to starting an eat-clean lifestyle and maintaining your fitness goals. To properly execute a clean eating meal plan, the following guidelines are recommended:
- Consume at least two meals a day, preferably with a healthy portion of good carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- For your eating schedule, make sure to always eat breakfast at least an hour after waking up.
- A day of eating clean must include an intake of small portions per meal.
- Have a total of six meals in a day, while ensuring that portion control is still observed.
- Opt for good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These include fruits and vegetables.
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least two liters of water every day
Clean Eating Food List
Knowing what to include in your healthy grocery list for weight loss and clean eating is one of the best steps to make sure that you’re incorporating as many good foods in your diet. Eating detox foods such as fruits and vegetables will also go a long way in cleansing your body from the consumption of overprocessed or unhealthy products. Notably, healthy foods will help you acquire the essential nutrients that your body needs.
Going cold turkey on removing carbs entirely from your diet is a food-eating challenge that you must conquer in order to lose weight and be healthy. Contrary to this belief, our bodies actually need carbohydrates to produce energy that fuels our physiological functions. On your next trip to the grocery store, prepare this list of good carbohydrates to consume:
- Fruits: These include apples, bananas, mangoes, oranges, peaches, and more. Grapes and berries are also healthy sources of carbs. Both dried and fresh fruit will serve as clean and delicious snacks in between your healthy meals for weight loss.
- Vegetables: To acquire healthy carbs, starchy vegetables are among your best options. These include potatoes, peas, squash, beans, yucca, lentils, black bean legumes, and more. These are healthy ingredients to use for plant-based recipes and other delicious dishes such as baked sweet potato.
- Whole Grains: You can eat whole wheat pasta, cereal grains, barley, rye, healthy crackers, and whole-grain bread. Gluten-free whole grains are healthier options to include in your clean eating breakfast or snack plans. These include brown rice, quinoa, oats, corn, millet, and buckwheat. Among the delicious recipes that you can try are overnight oats that are rich in fiber and protein.
- Natural Sweeteners: Instead of refined sugars or overprocessed sweeteners, natural sweeteners will prove to be healthier options. Add flavor to your snacks and meals with honey, raw sugar, agave nectar, and coconut sugar.
Healthy Sources of Fat
Even calorie-deficit foods or a simple clean eating plan should include healthy fats. For instance, good fats can help enhance a 7-day meal plan to lower cholesterol while increasing good high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) levels in the body. Healthy sources of fat can decrease the likelihood of acquiring heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure.
Adding healthy fats to your weight loss meal plans help optimize your fitness or muscle-building goals, as well.
- Avocado: This fruit is high in monounsaturated fats which are categorized among healthy fats for your body. When consumed in moderation, avocados can help control and decrease cholesterol levels while letting you benefit from its other nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Nuts: Coconuts, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews, and other unprocessed nuts are also good for you. Similarly, their healthy products such as plain peanut butter are healthy when consumed in moderation.
- Seeds: Peanuts, sesame seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and cacao seeds are good sources of fats. Topping your meals with these or using them for your drinks can make your clean eating diet healthier yet delicious.
- Fatty Fish: Tuna, salmon, sea bass, eel, herring, and sardines are good sources of fats. You can also acquire protein and various nutrients from these fatty fish.
- Oil: Using small amounts of oil in your food can help you ensure that you’re consuming the right amount of healthy fats. Among the health-friendly choices you have are sesame oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.
Lean and Healthy Proteins
Healthy protein alternatives will help you avoid consuming too much fat or carbs. As such, grass-fed meat and fresh dairy are good items to incorporate into your clean eating grocery list. With healthy proteins, you can enhance muscle mass or strength, manage weight, and even reduce hunger levels
- Organic Protein: Steamed or hard-boiled egg is much healthier compared to fried. Meat from free-range or pasture-raised animals such as turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, and quails can also be incorporated into your clean eating meal plan. Similarly, free-range pork is a clean and delicious source of protein.
- Organic Dairy: Cottage cheese, plain cheese, nonfat or greek yogurt, and cream are great alternatives to regular milk. Try out healthier options such as almond milk and banana milk. Take note that overconsumption of these dairy items will be unhealthy for you, though.
- Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and fava beans are healthy options.
- Fish and Seafood: These include sustainably caught seafood such as tuna, trout, catfish, bass, cod, and other lean fish types. If you’re fond of clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops, you can still enjoy them on a clean eating diet. Opting for other sustainable seafood such as crab, squid, shrimp, and lobster is also allowed.
- Meat: Grass-fed meat is a healthier source of protein. You can have grass-fed beef, lamb, goat, and more when on an eat-clean diet. Preparing them on an instant pot or slow cooker is a much healthier option compared to deep frying.
- Proteins from Plants: Plant-based proteins such as tofu and tempeh, corn-made meat, or pea protein are among your best choices.
These food products improve cholesterol levels and bowel movements, as well as regulate sugar levels in the body. High-fiber foods typically have a low-calorie count, making them perfect for people who wish to manage or lower weight. Notably, they are rich in vitamins and micronutrients that can also improve your overall health condition
- Fruits: Some high-fiber fruits can reduce hunger levels and ensure that you’re eating healthily. These include apples, pears, oranges, and bananas. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are healthy snacks that you can try. Watermelons, honeydews, and cantaloupes are also rich in fiber and various vitamins.
- Leafy greens: Spinach, cabbage, lettuce, microgreens, kale, and other leafy greens are healthy sources of fiber that are notably low in calories.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Eggplants, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, baby corns, bean sprouts, asparagus, radishes, and other non-starchy veggies offer a lot of nutrients for clean and healthy eating.
- Ocean-sourced veggies: You can also add sea vegetables such as seaweed, algae, and kelp to your clean eating meal plan.
Products to Avoid
Aside from learning which food items are healthy for your body, knowing what products to avoid will help keep your clean diet in check. You must prevent the consumption of unhealthy sources of calories and products that do not give significant nutritional value. Essentially, you must look out for saturated fats, high-sugar products, overprocessed foods, and unhealthy beverages. Here are some of the foods you should limit or completely avoid while on a clean eating diet:
Aside from the food that you eat or consumed calories per day, you should certainly watch out for what liquids you take in, as well. For one, keep in mind that alcohol can hinder fitness goals and cause serious medical conditions such as liver failure, kidney inflammation, and weakened immune system. Sugary drinks such as juice, sweetened tea, and even carbonated beverages should also be avoided while clean eating. Instead of drinking soda, opt for healthy and fresh fruit juices instead. Make sure that they are made from 100% fruit and are unsweetened, for best results. Of course, water is still the healthiest drink that can boost hydration and replenish thirst—all with having zero calories.
Among the toughest food challenges that most of us face are giving up our favorite sweets or unhealthy snacks. However, overprocessed ingredients contain unhealthy ingredients and more calories compared to their whole or fresh counterparts. Make sure to avoid foods with dyes, chemical additives, artificial ingredients, and preservatives. Limit intake of sodium and salty foods that are typically among ultra-processed products, too.
- Processed Meats: Hot dogs, sausages, meatloaf, and spam
- Pre-packed Foods: Chips, pre-packed soups, frozen french fries, instant noodles, frozen chicken nuggets,
- Sugary Foods: Candy, ice cream, and chocolate
- Overprocessed or Refined Ingredients: Sugar, white flour, and corn syrup. Notably, Himalayan sea salt may be deemed as a healthier option than table salt, but remember that both ingredients are harmful if consumed in large amounts.
Whether you’re planning to eat clean or taking part in a weight-loss diet challenge, you should certainly avoid unhealthy fats. These include saturated and trans fat that could be harmful if not consumed in moderation.
- Excessive intake of fat from beef or pork
- Butter or margarine
- Fried foods such as french fries, fried chicken, and donuts
- Palm, canola, or coconut oil
- Commercially-made pastries such as cake, pizza, and cookies
Clean Eating Meal Plans for Beginners
Although a clean eating meal plan primarily focuses on what you eat instead of how much you eat, some people wish to go the extra mile by applying it to a calorie deficit meal plan. This way, they aim to lose weight fast and reap more health benefits. If you intend to eat 1800 calories a day or plan to eat clean while on a 500 calorie diet plan, it’s important that you stick to healthy recipes for the best results. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, the principles of clean eating listed here can guide you in preparing meals in small portions and with fresh, healthy ingredients.
Here are some healthy dinner ideas and other good diet food plans according to caloric count. These are made with clean-eating ingredients and guidelines in mind. You can either start on the calorie limit that you’re comfortable with or follow this plan reducing your caloric intake once you’re comfortable:
1800 Calorie Meal Plan
Eating 1800 calories a day is one of the easiest regimens to adopt and manage especially for beginners. Reduce calorie consumption while keeping a healthy diet with these clean eating recipes:
- Breakfast: 1 bowl of oats and banana slices with cinnamon and peanut butter (451 calories)
- Lunch: Cucumber tomato salad with fresh tuna and lettuce (237 calories)
- Dinner: Honey pecan chicken breast (386 calories)
- First Snack: Blended salad with mixed baby greens, orange, and lemon (160 calories)
- Second Snack: Peanut butter and honey rye sandwich (370 calories)
- Third Snack: Strawberry tofu smoothie (215 calories)
1600 Calorie Meal Plan
Once you’re in the hang of eating limited calories, you can adjust and gradually lower with a 1600 calorie diet. Try out these healthy breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner recipes for a healthier body.
- Breakfast: Peanut butter banana oatmeal smoothie (394 calories)
- Lunch: 2 servings of celery and hummus (245 calories)
- Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with tomatoes, garlic, and whole basil (491 calories)
- First Snack: 1 cup of grapes and 1 whole orange (166 calories)
- Second Snack: 1 ounce of granola with honey (140 calories)
- Third Snack: 2 whole apples (190 calories)
1500 Calorie Meal Plan
You’ll notice that 1500 calories a day meal plan has less carb intake than the previous.
- Breakfast: 1 whole avocado fruit (322 calories)
- Lunch: Scrambled egg with lean ham, pepper, and tomatoes (411 calories)
- Dinner: Chicken tenders with mixed greens salad (430 calories)
- First Snack: 1 cup of whole strawberries (46 calories)
- Second Snack: 1 ounce of unsalted almonds (164 calories)
- Third Snack: Peppered organic cottage cheese with 5 cherry tomatoes (201 calories)
1300 Calorie Meal Plan
Consuming more protein and healthy fats will keep you full even with a 1300 calorie meal plan devoid of too many carbs
- Breakfast: 13 oz strawberry and banana smoothie and 1 piece of whole-wheat toast (291 calories)
- Lunch: 1 serving of tuna and ranch garden salad sandwich (445 calories)
- Dinner: 2 boiled sweet potatoes (250 calories)
- First Snack: 1 cup of nonfat yogurt (142 calories)
- Second Snack: 1 cup of cinnamon apple bites (81 calories)
- Third Snack: 1 ounce of granola (139 calories)
500 Calorie Meal Plan
Calorie deficit meals, especially when paired with regular exercise and clean eating, can significantly boost your weight loss efforts. Maintaining a meal plan with 500 calories a day can be challenging, but not impossible. As a tip on how to eat 500 calories a day and feel full, it’s best to opt for high-protein low-calorie meals or high-fiber foods. Eating your meals in portions can also help reduce hunger levels.
- Breakfast: 1 poached egg flavored with minimal salt and pepper (72 calories)
- Lunch: 2 turkey lettuce roll-ups (119 calories)
- Dinner: 1 serving of garlic parmesan zucchini noodles (135 calories)
- First Snack: 1 cottage cheddar and vegan beef roll-up (70 calories)
- Second Snack: 1 slice of organic cheese (115 calories)
- Third Snack: 1 stalk of celery (6 calories)
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Following the eat-clean diet will help you reap the benefits starting with improved overall well-being. To maintain and improve the results of your clean eating meal plan, keep these healthy habits in mind.
- Healthy meal prep: Preparing your own meals will help ensure that everything you eat is fresh and healthy. Helpful meal prep ideas and tips will make your food preparation more efficient. You can also avoid food that offers little to no nutritional value.
- Exercise regularly: Nutrition can only go as far as maintaining a healthy body. Pairing a consistent workout routine with your clean eating schedule is a great way to boost your fitness goals.
- Sleep well: Getting the right amount of sleep is vital in keeping your physical well-being in check. Have at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day to enhance your physical and mental well-being.
- Balanced diet: More than eating healthy food, you should also make sure that you’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients. So, make sure that you pair clean-eating with a balanced diet.
- Hydrate: Although the eat-clean plan primarily focuses on what you eat, you should also observe what you drink. As such, make sure that you drink enough water every day to ensure proper hydration.
- Get regular medical check-ups: Before starting out the eat-clean plan, it’s highly advisable to first consult your doctor. This way, you can incorporate their suggestions on the meal plan or help determine whether it’s right for you. Regular check-ups can ensure that the clean eating meal plan works for you, as well. You can check your sugar or cholesterol levels and do other tests to see how clean eating affects your overall health condition.
Clean Eating Meal Plan: A Regimen to Behold
The eat-clean regimen continues to entice people who wish to stay fit or improve health. Aside from learning how to start eating healthy, it’s important to remember that the key to a healthy body is eating balanced meals. Pairing a nutritious, balanced diet with proper hydration, regular exercise, and an ample amount of sleep will also help you reap long-term health benefits.