We all love the thought of clean eating: Consuming nourishing, whole foods that will make us feel great. But as with most things, liking the idea of clean eating is a whole lot easier than actually putting a plan into place.
After all, microwave meals can be convenient (and sometimes aren’t all that bad for you), and it’s often easier to snack on chips than to take the time to slice an apple or peel an orange. That’s why we did the hard work for you, with this weeklong menu filled with clean eats. Print out the whole list and head to the grocery store, or simply pick and choose your favorite meals (leftovers are totally allowed!). “It’s just trying to stay away from the overly processed foods and get back to nature — high-vitamin, nutrient-dense meals,” says Fitness and Nutrition Coach Melinda Harvey.
RELATED: 6 Easy Tips for Clean Eating on a Small Budget
Thanks to Harvey, the meal plan below is structured in a way that will keep you satiated — not deprived. “Go for protein and fiber, they’re the best to fill up your stomach,” she says. “A lot of people when they decide to go on a diet, they’re just eating iceberg lettuce — but it’s just not going to keep you full or satisfied.”
Plus, many of the recipes utilize similar ingredients (like quinoa), which you can cook in big batches so you’re not spending all week in the kitchen. While it might take a little more effort than your usual go-to’s of takeout and freezer food, the results will be worth it, Harvey says. Yes, even in a week.
“Most people say they see a boost in their energy when they start clean eating just because they’re getting so many more nutrients out of their food,” Harvey says. “Digestion-wise they say they see positive effects… and people generally say they feel lighter.”
Sounds good? We think so, too. Here’s how to get started!
The Clean Eating Meal Plan to Make Your Life Easier
Breakfast: Peach Green Protein Smoothie
Lunch: Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers
Dinner: Balsamic Chicken with Barley and Chard
Breakfast: Sweet Potato Veggie Scramble
Lunch: Corn, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Bowl
Dinner: Chicken and Zoodles Asian Stir-Fry
Breakfast: Savory Steel Cut Oatmeal
Lunch: Collard Greens, Quinoa and Chicken Burrito
Dinner: Miso Glazed Salmon with Snap Peas
Breakfast: Persimmon-Pomegranate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Lunch: Turkey Chili with White Beans
Dinner: Easy One-Pot Baked Pesto Chicken
Breakfast: Savory Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Lunch: Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Dinner: Asparagus, Mushroom and Tofu Stir-Fry
Breakfast: Better-for-You Eggs Benedict
Lunch: Strawberry, Spinach and Grilled Chicken Salad
Dinner: Root Vegetable Red Lentil Stew
Breakfast: Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes
Lunch: Fall Kale Cleanse Salad
Dinner: Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs
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Originally published January 2016. Updated December 2016 and March 2022
All images via Shutterstock