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Day 1 Of The 2015 Clean Eating Challenge

This is part of a two-week healthy meal plan that will make you feel like your very best self. Don't jump into the middle — start at the beginning here.

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BuzzFeed Life's Clean Eating Challenge is a two-week plan that's all about eating real food in order to feel great and have more energy. The food is low-carb and gluten-free with an emphasis on lean protein, healthy fats, and lots of fresh produce. There's no processed food allowed; every meal is homemade.

It's important that you follow the meal plan in order starting with Day 1 since most of the recipes call for leftover ingredients from previous days. But you can start any time and find full instructions here. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours and try not to eat within two hours of bedtime.

***Before you start Day 1, check this post and make sure you did the prep: Bought your groceries and put the meat and bananas in the freezer.***

Banana-Coconut Green Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

½ large ripe banana, peeled then frozen (from Saturday)

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

PREPARATION

Cut the banana into 1-inch chunks, then add all ingredients to a high speed blender and puree until smooth (about 1 minute).

310 calories, 16.3 g fat (3.1 g saturated fat), 37.1 g carbohydrate (5 g dietary fiber, 21.9 g sugars), 9.6g protein, 114.1 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol

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.

INGREDIENTS

2 large bulbs fennel, cored and cut in ½-inch wedges, lengthwise*

2 medium red onions, peeled and cut in 8 wedges each

2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

freshly ground pepper

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed

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.

PREPARATION

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 canola 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 canola 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.

446 calories, 23.2g fat, (9 g saturated fat), 29.7 g carbohydrate (11 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g sugars), 33.5 g protein, 873.9 mg sodium, 394.4 mg cholesterol

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.)

PREPARATION

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.

Let the eggs sit in the ice water for 3 minutes, then crack them gently and peel them underwater.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Peeling them underwater helps get the shells off easier and more cleanly.

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.

INGREDIENTS

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

PREPARATION

Put chicken breasts and salsa verde in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 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 low heat on the stove and cook, covered, for 90 minutes. Shred with two forks, then continue to cook, covered, for 20 minutes more.

Broiled Grapefruit with Shredded Coconut

Makes 1 serving

This recipe only uses half a grapefruit; save the other half for lunch on Wednesday.

INGREDIENTS

½ large grapefruit

½ teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

PREPARATION

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 3-5 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.

120 calories, 3.5 g fat (2.1 g saturated fat) 24.9 g carbohydrate (3.7 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugars), 1.3 g protein, 3.7 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol

Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the edges are browned. Make sure your oven rack is as high as it can go, so that the grapefruit is as close to the broiler as possible.

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

358.7 calories, 8.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 33.2 g carbohydrate (9.1 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugars), 32.8 g protein, 860 mg sodium, 70 mg cholesterol

Cauliflower "Rice"

Makes 2 servings

You'll eat half of this rice today and the other half for dinner Tuesday.

INGREDIENTS

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

¼ cup low-sodium chicken stock

PREPARATION

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.

Pulse cauliflower in a food processor, just until it's the consistency of rice.

Don't pulse it too much, or it'll turn to mush when you cook it. If there are some big florets left, you can just pick them out.

Eat half of the cauliflower "rice" for dinner tonight. Let the leftover cauliflower "rice" cool completely, then store it 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.

INGREDIENTS

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups raw green beans, ends trimmed

5 raw, unsalted almonds (10 for men), roughly chopped

PREPARATION

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.

Bring at least 5 inches of water to a boil in a large pot, then add the green beans.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

It's important to have lots of water. If you don't have enough, the water temperature will drop too much when you add the green beans, and they'll overcook and not be super green.

As soon as the green beans and bright green and cooked al dente, use a mesh strainer to lift them out of the water. Put 2/3 onto a plate, and plunge the remaining 1/3 into a large bowl with ice water.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Let them sit in the mesh strainer in the ice bath. Otherwise you'll have to pick them out later, which is a pain.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

2 squares (1 ounce) dark chocolate.

105 calories, 9 g fat (5.5 g saturated fat), 4 g carbohydrate (1.5 g fiber, 2.5 g sugars), 2 g protein, 10 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol

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

Before bed, prep the Chia Pudding with Strawberries, Fig and Almonds (recipe below) for tomorrow's breakfast, and 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 post-dinner snack over the next two weeks.

INGREDIENTS

2 large, very ripe bananas, peeled and cut in chunks

1 medjool date, pitted

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

PREPARATION

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.

Put 4 dixie cups in a shallow dish, then fill them up with the blended banana mixture. Leave about half an inch at the top of each cup.

Chia Pudding with Strawberries, Fig and Almonds

Makes 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon honey

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 dried Turkish fig, thinly sliced into strips

3 large strawberries

10 raw, unsalted almonds (20 for men)

PROCEDURE

In a small mixing bowl, combine chia seeds, almond milk, honey, vanilla extract, and the sliced fig. Stir everything together to combine, then transfer to a small airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

When you're ready to eat the pudding, slice the strawberries and roughly chop the almonds, then add them to the chia pudding and eat.

358 calories, 21.7 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat), 39g carbohydrate (19 g dietary fiber, 19 g sugars), 13 g protein, 151 mg sodium 0 mg cholesterol

So, you’re taking the Clean Eating Challenge? We’d love to see how it goes! Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and tag them #BuzzFeedCleanEating

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.