2. This is a two-week detox plan that’s all about eating real food in order to have more energy.
Everyone wants to look and feel their best in time for summer, but it’s important that the food you eat leaves you feeling energized and not starving. So, with the help of nutritionist Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, of Food Coach NYC, BuzzFeed Food editors came up with a realistic, two-week detox plan.
4. 11 Things You Need to Know Before You Start the Challenge:
1) The plan is low-carb and gluten-free with an emphasis on lean protein (no red meat) and fresh produce. There’s no processed food allowed, so every meal is homemade, but the cooking is super simple. If you follow the scheduled prep, the making of meals is really easy — and there are step-by-step photos for each day.
2) 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. Aim to eat every three to four hours, and try not to eat within two hours of bedtime.
3) It’s important that you follow the meal plan in order since most of the recipes call for leftover ingredients from previous days. There is some prep to do the day before you start Day 1 of the challenge; instructions for that prep are at the bottom of this post. Each recipe is calculated for one person, as is the grocery list.
4) 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. There’s also a heads-up in the schedule for when to pack them (either the night before or morning of).
5) You’ll go grocery shopping twice: once on Saturday, the day before you start Week 1 of the challenge, and again the following Saturday before Week 2 begins.
6) Every serving of protein is 4 ounces for women and 6 ounces for men (this is based on the nutritionist’s guidelines); otherwise, the recipes are the same.
7) Salt amounts are specified in the recipes. Be sure to follow them to get the full results of the detox.
8) During the challenge, 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.
9) No coffee and no booze. If you can’t go two weeks without caffeine, you can drink up to 24 ounces (3 cups) of green tea per day. Be sure to only use one tea bag per cup. To be clear, alcohol is not allowed :( . But, if you cheat, limit yourself to two glasses of wine, maximum, over the course of the two weeks.
10) If you’re packing lunches to go and eating at work, you might want to keep salt, pepper, a paring knife and a cutting board at the office just in case, but our schedule has you prep everything at home beforehand.
11) Ideally, you’ll be making all the food you eat for two weeks. But, life happens. If you find yourself having to eat out a couple of times, follow the guidelines at the bottom of this post.
If you’ve never had shaved asparagus, this lunch salad is going to change your life. Since it’s a Sunday night, you’ll make a big batch of quinoa, kale, and roast chicken to use throughout the week. Click here for Day 1 recipes and instructions.
Today’s breakfast recipe, overnight oats, is a great one to master because it’s simple, filling, and healthy. The Napa cabbage wraps with chicken, mango, avocado, and tomato taste awesome and use leftover chicken to keep things quick. Click here for Day 2 recipes and instructions.
Roasting cauliflower as “steaks” like you’ll do for this dinner is a great way to make a vegetarian meal substantial and special. The avocado snack is a classic — be sure to squeeze on lots of lemon. Click here for Day 3 recipes and instructions.
This day you’ll make a big batch of roasted fennel to use as leftovers. The snack is a delicious mango, banana, and chia seed smoothie. Click here for Day 4 recipes and instructions.
Your leftover roasted cauliflower from Tuesday gets used in a tasty breakfast omelet today. The dinner is super simple because your lentils are already made. Click here for Day 5 recipes and instructions.
Breakfast today is a mango, pistachio, and chia seed pudding that you’ll probably make again and again once the challenge is over. The vegetarian black bean chili dinner is also delicious and you’ll freeze half of it to eat next week. Click here for Day 6 recipes and instructions.
Dinner tonight is really fun: You’ll make gluten-free meatballs using gluten-free oats as the binder— plus a delicious big batch of tomato sauce to use throughout the week. Also: chocolate. Click here for Day 7 recipes and instructions.
Start Sunday with a delicious blueberry yogurt smoothie then have shakshuka for brunch. Click here for Day 8 recipes and instructions.
You might think an apple omelet sounds weird, but don’t knock it till you made it because it rules. For lunch, your leftover turkey meatballs get turned into healthy collard green wraps with avocado and tomato. Click here for Day 9 recipes and instructions.
For breakfast you’ll have a quick and easy leftover cauliflower hash topped with fried eggs (you won’t even miss the potatoes). Dinner is a delicious kale and shrimp bowl with avocado. Click here for Day 10 recipes and instructions.
The avocado-banana pudding snack may not look pretty, but it tastes awesome. And for dinner you’ll have a beautiful salad that’s packed with colorful fresh produce and hard-boiled eggs you prepped the night before. Click here for Day 11 recipes and instructions.
Lunch is leftover chili with some carrot sticks for crunch. Then for dinner you’ll learn how to cook fish in parchment, which is one of the best and easiest ways to consistently make fish taste amazing. Click here for Day 12 recipes and guidelines.
Overnight oats again for breakfast, this time topped with strawberries. For lunch you’ll use leftover quinoa and snap peas to throw together something easy but delicious. Click here for Day 13 recipes and instructions.
This is a Saturday, so lunch is a little bit more of a treat and requires the oven — it’s easy, though, because everything (portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, and shallots) gets roasted on one tray. Click here for Day 14 recipes and instructions.
22. Here’s a printable calendar of everything you’ll need to do for Week 1:
23. Here’s a printable calendar of everything you’ll need to do for Week 2:
25. COOKING EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:
1) Paper towels
2) Large rimmed baking sheet
3) Large mixing bowl
4) Medium mixing bowl
5) Small mixing bowl
6) Medium (at least 8-inch diameter) nonstick skillet
7) Small (about 5-inch diameter) cast iron skillet (optional)
9) 12-inch skillet
10) Medium (at least 2 quart) sauce pan with lid
11) Wooden spoon
12) Metal spatula (optional)
13) Measuring cups
14) Measuring spoons
16) Can opener
17) Small fine mesh strainer
18) Vegetable peeler
19) Kitchen spoon
20) Paring knife
21) Chef’s knife
22) Cutting board
23) Parchment paper
24) Plastic wrap
Not pictured: box grater (for carrots)
26. FOOD STORAGE EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:
If you’re planning on packing your lunch and snacks to-go during the week, you’ll need the following containers:
1) Black + Blum Box Appétit Lunchbox, or any large (at least 1 quart) lunchbox that has a separate compartment for dressing.
2) Gourmet Collapsible Lunchbox, or any other medium (at least 1 quart) lunchbox or airtight container.
3) One 4-ounce jar with a lid (for packing hummus)
4) One 2-ounce jar with a lid (for packing vinaigrette, in case you don’t have a lunchbox with a separate container)
5) One 12-ounce mason jar with a lid (for packing smoothies)
6) On 8-ounce jar with a lid (for packing puddings and yogurt with berries).
For storing leftovers in your fridge, you will also need:
2 large (at least 1 quart) airtight containers
2 medium (at least 1 pint) airtight containers
1 small (at least 1/2 cup) airtight container
Quart-sized ziploc freezer bags and plastic wrap (these are on your grocery list)
All storage containers can be purchased from Whisk.
28. 1. Buy Groceries For Week 1.
We’ve split the groceries between two lists — one for Week 1 and one for Week 2 — to make it more manageable. This means you’ll go shopping once the day before the challenge starts and again on the last day of Week 1 (Saturday). If you want to shop more frequently so that you buy less (and carry less, if you don’t have a car) on each trip, you absolutely can, but you’ll need to adjust the grocery lists.
29. 2. Freeze salmon and ground turkey when you get home from the grocery store.
Label the bags, but instead of writing when you’ll be eating it, write when to defrost it. If you want, set a phone alarm for Wednesday night, reminding you to move the salmon from the freezer to the fridge for Thursday’s dinner. Set a similar alarm for Friday night, reminding you to defrost the ground turkey for Saturday.
Salmon: “Defrost Wednesday evening”
Ground turkey: “Defrost Friday evening”
30. 3. Prepare Smoothie Packs for both weeks and put them in the freezer.
Use a pint-sized freezer bag for each, and label it with the meal, day, and week it’ll be used for.
1. “Sunday, Week 1, Breakfast” = 1/2 bunch kale (leaves only) + 1 peeled banana
2. “Wednesday, Week 1, Snack” = 1/4 peeled mango + 1/2 peeled banana
3. “Friday, Week 1, Breakfast” = 1/2 mango, peeled and diced in 1/4-inch cubes
4. “Sunday, Week 2, Breakfast” = 1 cup blueberries
5. “Wednesday, Week 2, Breakfast” = 1/2 bunch kale (leaves only) + 1 peeled banana
6. “Wednesday, Week 2, Snack” = 1 peeled banana
Having these ready to go ahead of time will make things easier for you in the two weeks to come. Plus, frozen fruit makes thicker, more delicious smoothies.
Cutting a mango can be tricky. Start by peeling the skin off.
Then, cut just a little bit off of one end, to give yourself a flat base for cutting.
Stand the mango up on the flat base, and cut as close to the pit as possible as you slice off one side. Repeat on the other side.
Once you’ve cut two big pieces off of each side, cut smaller pieces off of the edges, still being sure to avoid the pit.
Dice 1/2 the mango for one smoothie pack, and keep 1/4 whole for another smoothie pack. Wrap the remaining mango tightly in plastic wrap, then store it in the fridge. You’ll use it for dinner on Monday.
36. CHEATER’S DINING-OUT GUIDELINES:
First of all, don’t cheat. But if you HAVE to, only cheat once.
Stick with lean proteins. White fish such as branzino and sea bass is your best bet, and it’s available at most sit-down restaurants. Chicken or lean ground turkey are also good choices. Also, choose grilled, roasted or steamed instead of sautéed or fried.
Ask for double the vegetables instead of a starch. Instead of the french fries, rice or potatoes that might come with your protein, ask for a double order of vegetables (again, choose grilled, roasted, or steamed over sautéed or fried), or a salad with oil and vinegar.
If you’re at an Asian restaurant, ask for wok-tossed or steamed vegetables and chicken satay, with no sauce. At a Mexican restaurant, chicken or fish fajitas with no tortillas or sour cream are a good option. At a more casual restaurant, get a green salad — make sure there are no croutons or cheese, and that the only dressing you use is oil and vinegar — with grilled chicken or a turkey burger with no bun.
37. READY … SET … GO!
38. Once you’ve done the above prep, Day 1 starts here.
BuzzFeed Food editors tested the entire Clean Eating Challenge and can vouch for the validity and deliciousness of every recipe. If you have questions about the challenge or any of the dishes, you can email Christine Byrne.