Nutrition Blog

3 Clean Eating Recipes for Beginners

Clean Eating Recipes for Beginners, view from inside the fridge of a woman opening fridge doors and reaching in to grab fresh vegetables. Fridge is stocked full of clean eating healthy foods.

3 Clean Eating Recipes for Beginners

When eating clean you are minimizing processed foods and opting for more whole foods. This means less additives, preservatives and “diet foods”. This eating pattern can certainly lead to better health and weight management. Yet, when starting out with clean eating, it can feel overwhelming or confusing. So, I put together this article to help educate you on the basics of clean eating and provide some easy recipes for beginners.

Principles of Clean Eating

The basic tenets of clean eating are as follows:

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables – a more plant forward diet is always best!
  2. Eat more whole grains (half your servings should be whole grain).
  3. Eat more healthy fats daily (2-3 servings per day).
  4. Limit the sodium in your food.
  5. Eat minimal to no processed foods, additives or preservatives.
  6. Limit your sugar intake.
  7. Fill up on lean protein (like eggs, fish, poultry, nuts and beans).
  8. Don’t deprive yourself!
  9. Make healthier versions of your favorite treats! (See recipe for peanut butter oat energy balls below).

Incorporating healthy “clean” recipes into your weekly meal rotation does not have to be hard. Just remember to have a kitchen that is well stocked with whole foods.

Clean Eating Recipes for Beginners, womans hand holds a to-go container filled with fresh vegetables, chicken, and a yogurt sauce on top

My Top Clean Eating Recipes for Beginners

Here are 3 recipes from eatingwell.com to get you started. They all have wholesome food ingredients that you can easily find in any supermarket or farmer’s market in the summer. Plus, they can all be quickly prepared in under 30 minutes. Super easy if you’re a beginner to clean eating! No additives, no fuss. Just awesome goodness that is sure to fill you up with the complex interplay of protein, fiber and healthy fats that will keep your body happily humming. What’s there not to like about that?

If you decide to try these recipes, send me an email with your feedback at voula@mynutritiondesign.com or using my Contact form! I’d love to hear from you. If you need more assistance in evaluating your diet and how it can be improved for a better overall well being, contact me. I specialize in weight management and mindfulness for a healthy lifestyle.

3 peanut butter balls dusted in chia seeds are set on a plate next to yogurt and cherries

1. Peanut Butter Oat Energy Balls

Sourced from EatingWell.com

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup chopped Medjool dates
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter or any nut butter of your choice
  • Chia seeds for garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak dates in a small bowl of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine the soaked dates, oats and peanut butter in a food processor and process until very finely chopped. Roll into 12 balls (a scant tablespoon each). Garnish with chia seeds, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 week.

Tip

To make ahead: Refrigerate airtight for up to 1 week.

Eggs cooking in an inch deep of tomato sauce inside a cast iron pan and garnished with fresh herbs

2. Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Spinach

Sourced from EatingWell.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped (about 5 ounces)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the spinach has wilted and the garlic is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cream and salt. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl, taking care not to break the yolk. Make a well in the sauce roughly large enough to hold the egg and slip it in so that the yolk and most of the white is contained (some white may spread out). Repeat with the remaining eggs, evenly spacing them around the pan. Sprinkle the sauce with thyme; cover and cook until the eggs reach desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-set. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with pepper.

Arugula salad topped with balls of cantoloupe melon, shredded chicken and decorated with a lemon twist

3. Arugula, Chicken, and Melon Salad with Sumac Dressing

Sourced from EatingWell.com

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (see Tip), plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces baby arugula (8 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 cups cantaloupe balls (from 1 small melon)
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, preferably sheep’s-milk, crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Instructions

  1. Whisk lemon juice, sumac, honey, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until combined. Add arugula, chicken, melon, feta and mint. Toss to coat with the dressing. Sprinkle with pine nuts and garnish with additional sumac, if desired.

Tip

Sumac comes from the tart red berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush. It adds sour, fruity flavor and a pop of color to this dressing. Find it in the spice section of well-stocked grocery stores or online.

And there you have it – three clean eating recipes for beginners! If you’re interested in more recipes, check out my “Let’s Do Dinner!” videos on my YouTube channel or here on my website.

Voula Manousos’ writing is featured in the “Winchester Living Magazine” and “The Winchester Star” of Wicked Local.

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