Have you been struggling to eat well lately? Maybe you’ve been on vacation and drinking a few too many margaritas every night or you’ve been super busy at work and relying on take out or delivery for your meals. If you’re looking to detox and get back to being healthy, you can make yourself a 5 day clean eating plan. Clean eating is a simple concept— you only consume whole foods. By that, we mean foods that aren’t processed or refined or are at least minimally processed. Basically, clean eating means eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.
Modern life has made that more tricky than it should be. We have so many processed foods lining grocery shelves and being churned out in fast food chains and restaurants. Life is busier than ever so it can make healthy living harder than it should be. Clean eating doesn’t have to be unattainable though. Here’s how to successfully do a 5 day clean eating plan. You’ll be eating right and feeling better in no time.
The Keys To 5 Day Clean Eating
Drink water throughout the day. First thing when you wake up in the morning, chug a giant glass or bottle of water. Stick a slice of lemon in there for added flavor and a little boost of vitamin C. Continue to drink a lot of water throughout to day to keep your body hydrated and well balanced. You can also drink herbal tea throughout the day. If you’re looking to replace caffeine, opt for yerba mate tea. It’s naturally energizing but free of caffeine, so you won’t get the jitters that can come with a cup of coffee. Chamomile tea is wonderful for the evening, as it’s relaxing and soothing. Peppermint tea is a great choice post meal, as it’s great for digestion and settling the stomach. If you’re an avid athlete, drink coconut water after your workout to replenish your electrolytes naturally. It’s delicious but free from the added sugar and chemicals found in many sports drinks.
Avoid processed foods
Rid your diet of processed foods to fully accomplish a 5 day clean eating plan. Processed foods are foods that have literally been processed. That means anything that has been loaded with additions, such as salt, sugar, fat, and preservatives. It even encompasses the vitamins that are added to enrich some foods. If the form of the natural food has been changed, that means it is processed. This includes removing the bran and germ from wheat to create white bread. Processed foods also include foods that contain components that have been manufactured in a lab, of course. If you’re reading labels, this constitutes pretty much any unrecognizable and hard to pronounce ingredients listed.
If you’re following the above guidelines, that means most of what you eat is processed. By that definition, even healthy items like smoothies and steamed veggies are processed, albeit minimally. Obviously, you don’t need to exclude these kinds of foods from your 5 day clean eating. Simply avoid ultra processed foods, like frozen dinners and packaged snacks loaded with preservatives, salt, and sugar. These ultra processed foods are often made with GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, which have been linked to cancers and infertility. Foods that are heavily processed are also stripped of their nutrients and loaded with additives that cause you to crave even more junk food.
Cutting processed foods from your diet also means eliminating refined sugars. Other natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, can be consumed in small amounts, but refined sugars have no place in clean eating. They are empty calories and void of any nutritional value.
Clean eating begins with grocery shopping. You need to make sure you have a stocked fridge and pantry so you can be making healthy choices while cooking and eating. When shopping, you need to be smart and make yourself a game plan. Write up a detailed grocery list and be sure to stick to it. Include lots of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods. It’s also best to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, as that’s where the healthy choices typically live. The inner aisles are where you’ll find the processed foods typically. And if you do peruse those aisles, be sure to read the labels of everything. Look for additives like preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings. If you don’t know what something is on the label, that’s a sign you shouldn’t be putting it in your cart.
Plan your meals ahead and prep what you can
If you plan ahead, you’re less likely to slip up and make bad choices when it comes to food. That can mean following a meal plan or just being sure to prep your meals ahead of time so the cooking part is easier. If you have an especially busy week ahead of you, prep your meals Sunday. Cook something healthy that will last you the majority of the week, like a big stew or soup. That way you don’t have to worry when you get home from work and are exhausted. Simply take it out of the fridge and reheat it. Having your meals prepped for you like that can ward off the temptation of ordering delivery after a long day of work.
A 5 Day Clean Eating Meal Plan Sample
Here are a few days planned out for you. These sample meal plans can give you some ideas of what to cook and how to prep for your clean eating. Follow along carefully or make these recipes your own.
Sample Meal Plan #1
Breakfast: A Berry Smoothie Bowl. Make your smoothie base in the blender by combining a half cup blueberries, half cup raspberries, half cup strawberries, and a banana. We prefer to use frozen fruit as it gives the smoothie bowl a frosty consistency. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and begin to add toppings. Toppings can include freshly ground nut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, freshly cut fruit, and unsweetened shredded coconut.
Morning Snack: Cube a half of an avocado. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt.
Lunch: Toss together quinoa, sauteed kale, roasted sweet potatoes, and shredded organic, free range chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper.
Afternoon Snack: Have a ⅓ cup hummus with cucumber slices and carrot sticks for dipping.
Dinner: Spiralize a zucchini or two to make zoodles. Saute some shrimp with minced garlic and olive oil and add it to the zucchini noodles.
After Dinner Treat: Melt a square of dark chocolate and drizzle it over a half cup of raspberries. Top with unsweetened shredded coconut. You can eat as is or chill it in the freezer for ten minutes.
Sample Meal Plan #2
Breakfast: Chia Seed Pudding made with 3 tablespoons of chia seeds. Mash a half cup of blackberries together until it’s a jam-like consistency. Add in a cup of unsweetened almond milk (preferably homemade) and a tablespoon of unsweetened shredded coconut. Mix everything together and store in a small container like a mason jar in the fridge overnight. Before eating, top with a handful of raw pistachios.
Morning Snack: Have an apple with a tablespoon of all natural almond butter.
Lunch: Make a salad of white beans, cucumber slices, and cherry tomatoes. Use a half can of white beans, a whole cucumber, and a cup of halved cherry tomatoes. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of parsley leaves and 2 tablespoons of mint leaves. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the juice from a half of a lemon. Toss everything together and enjoy.
Afternoon Snack: Have one cup of blueberries with a handful of raw almonds.
Dinner: Steam an eight ounce fillet of salmon (preferably wild caught). Serve with a side of quinoa and 2 cups of steamed green beans. Squeeze half of a lemon over everything for extra flavor.
After Dinner Treat: Make a mango sorbet with a half of a mango, peeled, cubed, and frozen. Add a ½ of a large banana, also frozen. Blend everything together in a blender, adding water as needed. Top with a little unsweetened shredded coconut.
Sample Meal Plan #3
Breakfast: Make a green smoothie with a cup of spinach leaves, a third of an avocado, a half of a banana, and a half cup coconut water. Blend together until smooth and enjoy.
Morning Snack: Have a third cup hummus with sliced cucumbers.
Lunch: Saute a cup of kale leaves in olive oil and lemon juice. Poach 2 large organic, free range eggs in a pot of simmering water. Make sure the egg yolks are still nice and runny. Serve the poached eggs atop the bed of kale leaves.
Afternoon Snack: Have a pear with a tablespoon of almond butter.
Dinner: Roast a medley of vegetables— sweet potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, etc.-- by tossing them in olive oil and salt and cooking them in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Saute a chicken breast and serve together.
After Dinner Treat: Enjoy a simple bowl of cubed watermelon. Feel free to toss with finely chopped mint leaves.