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Clean Eating Meal Plan Deconstructed

illustrations of clean eating meal plan

Health Notes by Dr. Liz

New Year, a new you and a new eating plan. But this time, let’s go simple. Try a Clean Eating plan for more energy and weight control.

Clean eating means selecting foods that are minimally processed (choose whole grain over refined grains for example) and free of or very low in added extras such as sugars, unwanted and unhealthy fats, sodium/salt and food additives, while focusing on foods rich in nutrients such as lean protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Clean eating simply put is getting back to basics by eating real food and sticking to a meal plan that both fuels and supports your good health. 

Here’s your guide to clean eating (adjust amounts to meet you daily activity levels, body size and age). 

Lean Protein: Aim for 15-20 grams of protein at meals and snacks or about 50-120 grams per day from sources such as lean meats (including chicken, pork and beef), eggs, seafood, soy (minimally-processed soy-based foods), beans and nonfat or low-fat dairy without added sugars. Protein throughout the day supports immune system health, muscle growth and repair, skin health and more.

Veggies: Every meal should include one or more servings (1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked) of fresh or steamed veggies which boast crucial nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and a host of antioxidants for good health and disease prevention—all for very few calories.

Quality Carbs: Your body needs some carbs for brain and muscle fuel and a dietary source of critical fiber and other key nutrients. What your body doesn’t need are poor quality carbs such as sweets, refined breads, chips, pastas and other lackluster carbohydrate foods. Aim for 2 to several servings (½ cup cooked or 1 small slice) of winter squashes, potatoes with skin, sprouted whole grain bread, whole grain rice and whole grain pastas daily depending upon your exercise level and body size.

Fruit: When left as Mother Nature made them, fruits supply a wealth of nutrients like vitamin C, soluble fiber and health-boosting compounds. The natural sugar in fruit is easily processed by the body and does not contribute to weight gain. Aim for 1-3 pieces daily with skin on when appropriate (fruits like bananas and pineapples are, of course, exempt).

Healthy Fats: Vital for brain, heart and immune system health, certain fats are a must in your clean eating plan. Use olive oil, avocado, all types of raw nuts or nut oils and eat seafood once to twice a week for essential omega-3 fats that may protect both your heart and brain from aging.

For example…

MORNING: steel cut oats with chopped raw almonds topped with berries and low-fat plain kefir

SNACK: small serving of bean and tomato salad with celery as a dipper

LUNCH: sprouted whole-grain bread turkey sandwich (roasted turkey, mixed lettuce greens, shredded radishes, avocado slices); apple with cashew butter

SNACK: smoothie made with frozen summer fruit, kale, organic yogurt

DINNER: broiled salmon with black rice and roasted veggies (cauliflower, sweet potatoes, fennel with a bit of olive oil); small square of organic chocolate

  • illustrations of clean eating meal plan