When it comes to eating clean, it’s often much easier than you think. Plus, you rarely have to alter the essence of your favorite dishes to achieve a cleaner plate. The key to turning them into a “clean” dish is to start from the root—the ingredients.
To build a cleaner plate, it first starts in the market where you choose your produce, whole grains, dairy, proteins, and other items. Look for ingredient lists that are short and contain no preservatives, artificial colorings, added sugars, and other processed ingredients.
Make sure you balance your plate by filling at least half with fruits and veggies, choosing whole grains for a fourth of your plate, and lean, clean meat for the remaining fourth.
To convert a recipe to a clean recipe, simply look at all of the ingredients and start substituting. Here are your basic substitutions:
- Sugar > organic maple syrup / organic honey
- Baked goods > white whole-wheat flour / whole-wheat flour / almond flour / coconut flour
- Grains > unprocessed, dry quinoa / farro / brown rice / oats / homemade whole-wheat bread (or whole-wheat bread from a local baker / 7 Sprouted Grains Bread)
- Dairy > organic, unprocessed cheeses, milk, Greek yogurt
- Protein > Choose leaner meat, and limit meat portions such as pork and red meat to 3 ounces and chicken to 4.5 ounces per day. Seafood and plant-based proteins are encouraged. Look for meat that is grass-fed and raised without antibiotics or hormones.
- Condiments, dressings and salsas > Make your own, and nix the added sugars and excess salt.
Get creative with fruits and veggies:
- Use avocados as a bowl for poached eggs, tuna salad, or even quinoa.
- Swap out potato chips for apple chips, beet chips, sweet potato chips, and kale chips.
- Use apples and celery in place of crackers to pair with nut butters.
- Use squash in place of pasta, such as zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Infuse water with fresh herbs, and fruits.
Here’s an example of a recipe we've converted to clean, Chicken Kebabs and Nectarine Salsa.
While this recipe is almost completely clean, the marinade calls for brown sugar. For a cleaner sugar, replace 1½ teaspoons of maple syrup for the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.