According to devotees of clean eating, changing to this dietary plan will give you healthy, glowing skin and oodles of energy. At the same time, the lifestyle change could assist in weight loss while creating a better state of overall health. The basic idea behind clean eating is to consume fewer processed foods and eat whole, natural foods instead.
WebMD’s description of the diet says that clean eaters avoid additives, get lean proteins and complex carbohydrates at every meal, and drink plenty of water. It quotes Tosca Reno, author of a series of books about clean eating, as saying that the diet, along with exercise, revs up your metabolism and will benefit your body from the inside out. Since you only need to buy and prepare food in this style, the changes are easy to make, and you can get everything from your local grocery stores. While you may not reap all the health benefits claimed, skipping a few preservatives and preparing fresh food can’t hurt. Here are six recipes you can use to try the clean eating plan at your next dinner.
1. Spicy Tunisian Grilled Chicken
The full-bodied spice rub for Eating Well‘s grilled chicken can be made and stored in an air-tight container for up to three months. It can also be a spicy addition to other meats, such as pork, as well. The recipe makes four servings.
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
Directions: Grind coriander seeds, caraway seeds, and crushed red pepper in a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in garlic powder and salt. Coat both sides of chicken with the rub up to 30 minutes before grilling or broiling. Preheat grill to medium-high or position a rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.
To grill, oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, 4-8 minutes per side. To broil, line a broiler pan (or baking sheet) with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the foil. Broil, watching carefully and turning at least once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, 10-15 minutes total.
2. Ligurian Pesto with Spaghetti
Eating clean doesn’t require giving up food groups or even food items, provided you can make a less processed or preservative-free version. When it comes to pasta night, you can follow clean eating’s principles by making your own pesto with this recipe from Bon Appétit, which makes between four and six servings. You’ll have leftover pesto, which can be used to flavor meats, or as a spread on sandwiches.
- Kosher salt
- 10 cups (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves (about 2 bunches)
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more
- 1½ tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup mild extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
Directions: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Set a colander in a large bowl of ice water (this will make it easier to strain the basil later). Working in batches, blanch basil for 10 seconds. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer basil to colander in ice water; let cool completely. Set aside ½ cup blanching water. Reserve pot with blanching water.
Drain basil by lifting colander from ice water. Using your hands, squeeze excess water from basil; transfer basil to paper towels. (You should have about ½ cup.)
Place blanched basil, ½ cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until well combined, adding blanching water by tablespoonfuls to thin if needed, and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides. Process until a smooth, thick purée forms, about 1 minute. Transfer basil mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in ½ cup oil. Season to taste with salt.
Return water in pot to a boil; add more salt. Cook spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Spoon ½ cup pesto and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid into a large bowl. Using tongs, transfer spaghetti to bowl and toss vigorously, drizzling with oil and adding more pesto and cheese as you continue to toss, until spaghetti is glossy and well coated with sauce. Season with salt. Divide among bowls; sprinkle with cheese.
3. Chicken Spanakopita Pizza
Go Greek and clean with your pizza choice by making Clean Eating Mag‘s chicken spanakopita pizza. With the pre-made dough of your choosing, dinner will only be about 30 minutes away. Try to find a dough with the fewest ingredients possible, and one made without preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 10 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups lightly packed)
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup percent plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (1-pound) pizza crust of your choice (whole-wheat, gluten-free or cauliflower)
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked and cooled shredded boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
- 1 sheet frozen whole-wheat or spelt phyllo, thawed (optional)
Directions: Arrange oven rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Mist a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Add spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until just wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a plate and cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine yogurt, dill, green onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Spread yogurt sauce evenly over crust. Top with spinach, red onion, chicken, mozzarella, and feta. Mist phyllo (if using) with cooking spray, tear into 3-inch pieces, scrunch into balls, and arrange over top of pizza. Bake for 20 minutes, until crust and phyllo are golden.
4. Pistachio-Crusted Salmon With Spring Onions
Give your salmon a nice crust with this recipe from Fitness Magazine. It takes just over 35 minutes to prepare and serves four. If you decide to serve with orange wedges, you could kick this up a notch by serving the salmon with a clean eating-friendly citrus salad.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
- 2 bunches spring onions or scallions, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Orange wedges (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place pistachios in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, stir together mustard, orange zest, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Brush mixture onto flesh side of salmon and press salmon into pistachios. Place salmon skin side down on baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Preheat the broiler to high. Place onions on a clean rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Broil until brown and beginning to wilt, 2-4 minutes. Serve salmon with onions and, if desired, orange wedges.
5. Brown Rice Pilaf
For clean eating sides, pick whole grains whenever possible, like Food.com‘s brown rice pilaf, which yields about six servings. World’s Healthiest Foods explains that as layers of rice are removed, it becomes whiter and loses nutrients. To get the most health benefits out of rice dishes, stick with brown rice.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1¼ cups long grain brown rice, uncooked
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Directions: In large saucepan, sauté onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Add rice and garlic; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until rice is lightly browned. Add the water, broth, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender. Fluff with fork.
6. Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
But what is dinner without dessert? For a clean cookie that will be cleaned off the plate, try this FitSugar cookie. It is sweetened with maple syrup, and Cooking Light explains that along with honey and dehydrated sugar cane juice, maple syrup is an allowed sweetener for the clean eating diet. These cookies are also Paleo friendly and gluten-free.
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, almond milk, and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir well. Add the liquid and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter about two inches apart. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm with a cold glass of almond milk, and store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.