I told you yesterday to visit the blog today for the beginning of a two week clean eating challenge. I have been enjoying the summer–bbqs, ice cream because of the heat, and not working out, so I decided to get my booty back in shape and back on a good eating schedule. Usually when I “cleanse” or clean eat, I eat a lot of the same thing for meals. Egg whites and fruit for breakfast, salads for lunch, and protein and veggies for dinner. So, you can see how I normally get a little tired of what I’m eating. But, I found THIS BuzzFeed two-week clean eating program and decided to give it a try because there was a lot of variation and I didn’t feel that it looked too far off from recipes I normally like to make.
The program was put together by Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, of Food Coach NYC, and is low-carb, gluten-free, non-processed food, lots and lots of fresh produce. The recipes are all about eating super-healthy food that leave you feeling happy and energized.
On the plan, you will eat three meals and two snacks every day. I will give you step-by-step instructions (like I usually do) and the program will guide you through everything from grocery shopping to cooking to exactly when and how to store leftovers. And, because there is a lot of variety, you won’t get bored and you won’t feel deprived because one of the snacks is a dessert!
I have already completed the program and know it can be accomplished. I’ll be posting a day ahead of the BuzzFeed schedule so you know what you will be eating the next day and will be prepared if you need to prep anything! (minus today–you should go grocery shopping today. If you can’t, shop first thing Sunday am so you have time to make your breakfast). I hope you follow along with me! I have made a few alterations to make things a bit easier on you, but I’ll note those as we go along.
Before we start, here are 13 things to know about the program:
1) Every meal and snack is homemade; if you don’t know how to cook this challenge will teach you how. If you follow the scheduled prep, the making of meals is easy — and there are step-by-step photos for each day. The plan is low-carb and gluten-free with an emphasis on lean protein and fresh produce. There’s no processed food allowed.
2) Each recipe is calculated for one person, as is the grocery list. Every day, you’ll eat three meals and two snacks (one snack after lunch, one after dinner) for a daily total of 1,300–1,600 calories.
3) It’s important that you follow the meal plan in order since most of the recipes call for leftover ingredients from previous days.
4) You can start the challenge on any Saturday. Day One of the challenge is actually Sunday, but there is some prep (like grocery shopping) to do Saturday.
5) There are two really helpful weekly calendars that you can print or bookmark online. It will help by giving you an overview of all your meals, prep work for the next day, and what uses leftovers. Print the Week 1 calendar here and the Week 2 calendar here.
6) All of the weekday lunches and snacks are portable so you can take them to work, to class, or wherever you need to go. There are instructions with each of the lunches and snacks on how to pack them to go. If you’re packing lunches to go and eating at work, you might want to keep salt, pepper, and a paring knife at the office just in case, but our schedule has you prep everything at home beforehand.
7) You’ll go grocery shopping twice: once on Saturday, the day before you start Week One of the challenge, and again the following Saturday before Week Two begins. The grocery lists are a separate PDF file that you can print here.
We calculated (using peapod.com) that the total cost of groceries for two weeks will be about $350, about $25 per day, $7 per meal and $2 per snack (I found this accurate!). This cost will vary based on where you shop and if you prioritize things like organic vegetables and cage-free eggs. The second shopping trip is lighter than the first since you’ll already have all the pantry stuff you need. We tried to be as cost conscious as possible by not calling for many varieties of the more costly ingredients like herbs and nuts while still keeping things delicious — but you can still easily cut costs by skipping herbs, buying frozen proteins, etc. Our grocery list also provides substitutions for some of the costly ingredients — like instead of buying dried figs you can buy raisins.
8) You’ll freeze some of your meat and fish since you’re buying everything at the beginning of the week, which means we’ll tell you exactly when to thaw the proteins, so make sure you stay on top of that! Nothing’s worse than getting excited about salmon for dinner and coming home to a block of frozen fish. If you don’t want to freeze your proteins, you can buy them the day you’re scheduled to use them and put them right in the fridge if you have time for additional trips to the grocery store — that’s up to you.
9) Protein amounts are different for men and women. Every serving of protein is 4 ounces for women and 8 ounces for men, and servings of nuts are also doubled for men. This is noted in every relevant recipe, so you’ll get a heads-up every time. But all the calorie counts and nutrition breakdowns are calculated based on women’s serving sizes.
10) You need to drink about six glasses of water per day. The specific amount is 60 ounces (7½ cups) of water per day, but there’s no need to obsessively measure; just know that most water glasses hold about 10 ounces, so six of those will get you to your goal.
11) Salt amounts matter and they are specified in the recipes. Be sure to follow them to get the full results of the detox!
12) Aim to eat every three to four hours, and try not to eat within two hours of bedtime.
13) No coffee and no booze. Yes, you read that right. If you can’t go two weeks without caffeine, you can drink up to 24 ounces (3 cups) of green tea per day. Alcohol is not allowed on the challenge. But we understand that even if we say that, some of you will cheat. So if you decide to break this rule, limit yourself to two glasses of wine, maximum, over the course of the two weeks. (yeah, I didn’t follow this. I drank coffee, but limited myself to 2 nights of drinking wine, limited to 2 glasses per night).
Day 0: Saturday
Grocery Shopping and Prep
You’ll notice that Week 1 is a considerably bigger haul than Week 2. This is because you’ll be stocking up on pantry items at the beginning, and so you won’t have to buy them again in the second week. Also, certain items like cheese and hummus will keep for two weeks, so you’ll buy all of that at the beginning, too.
I am not going to lie, when I left the grocery store, I said to myself this is a lot of food for one person for one week, and I even had some of the nuts, beans, pantry, and other items in my fridge!!! But, everything has a meal and is used!
Asparagus 1 bunch (I substituted for a large head of broccoli because it isn’t asparagus season)
1 Avocado (unripe, you won’t eat it until Wednesday)
Baby spinach 2 5 ounce bags
Banana (ripe) 5
Beefsteak tomato 1
Blackberries 1 ½ cups (1 pint container)
Broccoli 1 large head (2 cups of florets) (or 2 if you are substituting for asparagus
Carrots 9 medium
Cauliflower 2 large heads (you can also purchase pre-cut cauliflower, which will cut down on time and effort)
Cherry tomatoes 2 cups (1 pint container)
Chives 1 small bunch
Collard greens 1 bunch (you can substitute kale or spinach if you desire)
English cucumber 1
Fennel 2 large bulbs
Garlic 13 cloves (2 small heads)
1 medium piece of Ginger
Green beans 3 cups
Kale 1 bunch (more if you are substituting collard greens and/or swiss chard)
Leeks 1 bunch
Mango 1 large, ripe (or a bag of frozen)
5 Medjool dates
Mixed greens (4 cups)
1 bunch of Parsley
Pineapple chunks 1 1/2 cups (from 1 pint container, save ½ cup for week 2 or frozen)
2 bunches of Radishes
2 medium Red onions
Scallions 9 (1 bunch)
Shallot 4 medium
Snow peas 1 cup
1 medium Spaghetti squash
Strawberries 7 (1 pint container)
Sweet potato 1 medium
Swiss chard 1 bunch
Cheddar (yellow, sharp) 6 ounces
Eggs 11 for women; 16 for men (more if you want to use only egg whites)
Parmesan cheese 6 ounces
Almond milk (unsweetened) 5 ½ cups (1 half gallon container)
Boneless, skinless chicken breast 12 ounces (2 small breasts) for women; 24 ounces (2 large breasts) for men (I bought another package in case I needed to add protein to the meals)
Salmon* (skinless) 4 ounces for women; 8 ounces for men Shrimp (peeled, deveined) 8 ounces for women; 16 ounces for men
Tuna 1 5 ounce can
Turkey, ground (97% lean) 8 ounces for women; 16 ounces for men
*Salmon fillets are usually sold with the skin on. You can cut it off yourself, or you can just ask them to do it for you at the fish counter.
Chickpeas 1 15 ounce can
Hummus 1 8 ounce container
Nuts and Seeds:
Almond butter (raw, unsalted) 1 12 ounce jar
Almonds (raw, unsalted) 55 (about 1/2 cup) for women; 110 (about 1 cup) for men
Pistachios (raw, unsalted, no shell) 75 (about 3/4 cup) for women; 150 (about 1 ½ cups) for men
Apple cider vinegar 1 small bottle
Black peppercorns 1 small container
Canola oil 1 small bottle (I used EVOO instead)
Chia seeds 9 tablespoons (about ⅔ cup)
Cocoa powder (unsweetened) 2 tablespoons
Coconut water 2 cups (1 pint container)
Dijon mustard 1 small jar
Dried Turkish figs 3
Honey 1 4 ounce bottle
Kalamata olives 1 small jar
Kosher salt 1 small container
Olive oil 1 small bottle (more if you are not using canola oil)
Paprika 1 container
Shredded coconut (raw, unsweetened) 10 tablespoons (about 2/3 cup)
Tamari 1 small bottle (or soy sauce)
Vanilla extract, 1 2 ounce bottle
Chicken broth (low sodium) 1 ½ cups (from 1 pint container)
Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) 1 3.5 ounce bar
Salsa verde (no sugar added) 1 cup (1 ½ cups for men) (from a 12 ounce jar)
You’ll also need:
Dixie cups (or use a popsicle mold, if you have one)
Quart sized freezer bags
When you’re back from the store, place the following in separate ziploc bags in the freezer and label the bags, but instead of writing when you’ll be eating it, write when to thaw it by moving it from the freezer to the fridge.
■ 4 ounces* salmon You’ll thaw this/put it in the fridge Monday evening.
■ 4 ounces* ground turkey You’ll thaw this Thursday evening. (Only freeze half of what you buy. Keep the rest in an airtight container in the fridge to use for Monday’s dinner.)
■ 4 ounces* shrimp You’ll thaw this Friday evening.
*Men will use 8 ounces of these proteins
■ All the bananas (plus a mango if you didn’t buy frozen mango, for the sorbet). These are for smoothies (frozen bananas make for better smoothies), so you can use separate freezer bags and chop them as follows to make things really easy for yourself later. Cut bananas in half and then into 1 inch chunks. Use a pint sized freezer bag for each, and label it with the meal, day, and week it’ll be used for:
■ Sunday, Week 1, Breakfast ½ banana, peeled, cut in 1 inch pieces
■ Wednesday, Week 1, Breakfast 1 banana, peeled, cut in 1 inch pieces
■ Wednesday, Week 1, Night Snack 1 large mango, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch pieces and ½ banana, peeled, cut in 1 inch pieces
■ Friday, Week 1, Breakfast ½ banana, peeled, cut in 1 inch pieces
■ Note: you’ll have an extra ½ banana. Just peel and freeze it separately, and you can use it to make a smoothie after the challenge is over!
Now, are you ready to peak at what you will be eating tomorrow, aka Day 1?
If you want to save time on cooking tomorrow, here is what I would suggest prepping tonight one or all of these:
Lunch: veggies (reheat them when ready to eat) and hard boiled eggs
Dinner: Cauliflower Rice and Slow Cooker Chicken
DAY 1 BREAKFAST: Banana Coconut Green Smoothie:
Makes 1 serving
½ frozen banana
2.5 ounces (half a 5 ounce bag; about 2 cups loosely packed) baby spinach
1 cup coconut water
2 tablespoons natural, unsalted almond butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and puree until smooth (about 1 minute).
DAY 1 LUNCH: Roasted Fennel, Asparagus, and Red Onions with Parmesan and Hard Boiled Eggs
Makes 2 servings of roasted vegetables and extra eggs. You’ll eat half these veggies today and half for lunch on Tuesday.
2 large bulbs fennel, cored and cut in ½inch wedges, lengthwise*
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut in 8 wedges each
2 teaspoons canola oil (or EVOO), divided ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided freshly ground pepper
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed (or 1 head of broccoli if you are substituting)
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese 2 hard boiled eggs** (recipe below)
*If your fennel comes with the fringe like green fronds still attached to its stalk, feel free to throw them in the finished dish like fresh herbs! Just don’t roast them; they’re super delicate and won’t survive the oven.
**Men, use 3 eggs.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Add the fennel and onion wedges to one of the the baking sheets, drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil, and season with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Toss to evenly coat, and roast in the preheated oven until caramelized and soft, about 35-40 minutes.
When the fennel and onion wedges have been roasting for about 20 minutes, put the asparagus on the second lined baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining teaspoon of oil, and season with the remaining ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Toss to evenly coat, and roast on a second rack in the oven until cooked but still a little bit crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, prepare your hard boiled eggs.
Plate half of the roasted vegetables with the hard boiled eggs and shaved Parmesan and eat.
Let the leftover vegetables cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Hard Boiled Eggs: Women, cook 4 eggs; men, cook 6 eggs You’ll eat two of these eggs now, one tomorrow, and one as a snack on Friday. (Double those amounts for men.)
Fill a medium saucepan with a lid with 5 inches of water and bring to a boil.
When water is boiling, add eggs one at a time, dropping them in carefully with a spoon so as not to crack the shells.
Reduce the heat as low as it will go, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, set up a medium mixing bowl with 1 ½ cups cold water and 1 ½ cups ice.
When eggs are done, use a spoon to transfer them, one at a time, into the ice water bath. Cool 3 minutes, then peel the eggs.
Slice 2 eggs (men use 3 eggs) and add to the veggies.
Refrigerate leftover eggs (2 for women; 3 for men) in a paper towel lined airtight container.
PREP FOR LATER:
After lunch, prepare this Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken (recipe below) for dinner.
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken
Makes 3 servings. You’ll eat one third of this recipe tonight, one third for Tuesday’s lunch, and the last third for Wednesday’s dinner.
2 medium boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (12 ounces, total)* 8 ounces salsa verde** *Men, cook 3 large breasts (24 ounces, total) **Men, use 12 ounces salsa verde
Put chicken breasts and salsa verde in a slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, until chicken is cooked through.
Use two forks to shred the the chicken into pieces, then cook on low for another 30 minutes.
Eat ⅓ of the chicken for dinner tonight; cool the leftover ⅔ completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
Note: If you don’t have a slow cooker, put the chicken and salsa verde in a small saucepan over very low heat on the stove and cook, covered, for 90 minutes.
Shred with two forks, then continue to cook, covered, for 20 minutes more.
DAY 1 SNACK: Broiled Grapefruit with Shredded Coconut
(I eat my snacks in between breakfast and lunch, not in between lunch and dinner).
Makes 1 serving
This recipe only uses half a grapefruit; save the other half for lunch on Wednesday.
½ large grapefruit
½ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
Preheat the broiler of your oven, and put an oven rack on the top rung of the oven.
Use a knife to slice all the way around the grapefruit flesh where it meets the pith, to loosen it. Then, make little slices on both sides of each segment to loosen them. This will make the grapefruit easier to eat.
Place the grapefruit half on a baking sheet or in a skillet and spread the honey over the surface of the grapefruit.
Broil for 35 minutes, or until the top of the grapefruit is beginning to brown and caramelize.
Take the grapefruit out of the oven and immediately sprinkle it with the shredded coconut. Let the grapefruit cool for a minute, then eat. Wrap the unused half grapefruit in plastic and store it in the fridge for lunch on Wednesday.
DAY 1 DINNER: Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken with Cauliflower “Rice” and Green Beans
To make this dinner, you’ll combine:
4 ounces* (⅓ recipe) Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken (recipe above, prepared this afternoon)
½ recipe Cauliflower “Rice” (recipe below)
⅔ recipe (about 2 cups) steamed green beans with almonds (recipe below)
2 tablespoons parsley leaves, for garnishing the rice and chicken
1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced, for garnishing the rice and chicken
*Men, eat 8 ounces
Makes 2 servings. You’ll eat half of this rice today and the other half for dinner Tuesday.
1 large head cauliflower (about 1 ½ pounds), cored and cut into florets
2 teaspoons olive oil 1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
¼ cup lowsodium chicken stock
Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they’re they consistency of rice. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the florets with a knife until they’re the consistency of rice. (Note that this will take much longer and will be messy!!)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the minced shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallot starts to soften, about 30 seconds.
Add the minced garlic, stir quickly, then add the cauliflower, stir, and let it cook for about a minute.
Add tamari and chicken stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender but still crunchy, about 6 minutes.
Eat half of the cauliflower rice for dinner tonight, then cool the leftover half completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
Blanched Green Beans:
Makes 2 servings
You’ll eat a third of the green beans today and the rest for lunch tomorrow.
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3cups raw green beans, ends trimmed
5 raw, unsalted almonds (10 for men), roughly chopped
In a large pot, bring at least 5 inches of water to a boil with the kosher salt.
In a large mixing bowl, set up an ice bath (half ice, half water) that’s deep enough so that you can completely submerge a medium mesh strainer in it.
When the water is boiling, add the green beans. (You may need to cook them in two batches if your pot isn’t very big, in which case fish the first batch out with a slotted spoon or tongs so the water stays boiling for the second batch.)
Cook until the beans are still a little crunchy but not raw, 3-4 minutes. As soon as the green beans are cooked, strain them into the fine mesh strainer.
Take out about ⅔ of the green beans and set them aside on a plate and top with the almonds (you’ll eat them for dinner—make sure they don’t sit out for longer than 15 minutes before you eat them).
Submerge the remaining ⅓, still in the strainer, in the ice bath in the mixing bowl. Let the blanched beans sit in the ice bath for at least 2 minutes, then drain them on a paper towel lined plate until they’re completely dry, and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
DAY 1 NIGHT SNACK: 2 squares (1 ounce) dark chocolate 1
DAY 1 (SUNDAY) TOTAL NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: 1,341 calories, 60.2 g fat (22.1 g saturated fat), 128.8 g carbohydrate, 30.7 g fiber, 41.9 g sugars), 79.2g protein, 1916 mg sodium, 464 mg cholesterol
Feel free to leave comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or concerns! Also, if you are on social media, I want you to tag me (@newforchews on twitter and instagram) as you follow along!
Before bed make the Chia Pudding with Strawberries, Fig and Almonds (recipe below) for tomorrow’s breakfast (it needs to soak overnight in the fridge) and make the Banana, Chocolate, and Coconut Popsicles (recipe below)to eat as night snacks throughout the challenge.
Banana, Chocolate, and Coconut Popsicles: Makes 4 popsicles.
You’ll eat these for a postdinner snack over the next two weeks.
2 frozen bananas
1 medjool date, pitted
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Combine bananas, date, almond milk and vanilla in a blender and puree until smooth. Take the blender container off of the electric base and set it on the counter, then add the coconut and cacao nibs and stir together with a spoon. Divide the mixture between four popsicle molds. You can also use small dixie cups; just put them in a shallow container before you fill them so it’s easy to transfer them to the freezer and they won’t move around. Put a popsicle stick in the middle of each, then freeze until solid before eating. Keep the popsicles in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.
Come back tomorrow for day 2, which you will be eating on Monday!