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Day 9 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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Design by Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed. Photos by Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

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.

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Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Roasted Pepper, Cheddar Cheese, and Spinach Egg Muffins with Strawberries

2 Roasted Pepper, Cheddar Cheese, and Spinach Egg Muffins (men, 3 egg muffins) (recipe here)

4 large strawberries

You cooked the egg muffins last night. Just reheat them for 30 seconds on high in the microwave, and serve them with the strawberries.

300 calories, 19.6 g fat (7.9 g saturated fat), 16.1 g carbohydrate (2.4 g fiber, 9.6 g sugars), 19.2 g protein, 393 mg cholesterol, 475 mg sodium

Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed
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Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, White Beans, and Cider Vinaigrette

Makes 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon honey

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ bunch kale, stems and ribs removed, leaves sliced in ¼-inch ribbons (about 2 cups)

½ a 15-ounce can (about ⅔ cup) white beans, rinsed and drained (the rest of the can from lunch yesterday)

⅓ recipe (about 1 cup) roasted butternut squash cubes (leftover from Sunday's dinner)

PREPARATION

In a large mixing bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, honey, kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper. Whisk everything together until it's mixed (there should be no bits of honey floating around), then slowly pour in the olive oil, still whisking vigorously. Continue to whisk until the vinaigrette is thoroughly combined.

Add kale ribbons to the mixing bowl with the vinaigrette. Use your hands to massage the vinaigrette into the kale for about a minute, until kale starts to soften just slightly. Add white beans and butternut squash and toss just to combine.

If you're packing lunch to-go: Prep the salad in the morning, then store it in a tupperware container in the fridge until you're ready to eat it. Kale is super resilient and it won't wilt, so it's fine to dress this ahead of time.

438 calories, 15.6 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat), 55.3 g carbohydrate (16.9 g dietary fiber, 3.3 g sugars), 17.7 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 354 mg sodium

½ English cucumber, cut in 1/2 -inch slices and drizzled with 1-2 teaspoons ginger-lemon juice (leftover from Sunday) with ¼ cup hummus.If you’re packing this snack to-go: Slice the cucumber and drizzle it with 1-2 teaspoons infused lemon juice. Pack the slices in a small tupperware container and ziploc bag, and pack the hummus in a separate tupperware container. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.154 calories, 12.1 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 10.9 g carbohydrate (2.8 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars), 4.7 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 242 mg sodium
Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

½ English cucumber, cut in 1/2 -inch slices and drizzled with 1-2 teaspoons ginger-lemon juice (leftover from Sunday) with ¼ cup hummus.

If you’re packing this snack to-go: Slice the cucumber and drizzle it with 1-2 teaspoons infused lemon juice. Pack the slices in a small tupperware container and ziploc bag, and pack the hummus in a separate tupperware container. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

154 calories, 12.1 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 10.9 g carbohydrate (2.8 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars), 4.7 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 242 mg sodium

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Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Single-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Asparagus and Red Pepper

Makes 1 serving plus leftover chicken and asparagus

You'll save half of the chicken for Wednesday's lunch and half of the asparagus for tomorrow's lunch.

INGREDIENTS

2 medium chicken thighs*, bone-in, skinless** (½ pound, total)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed

1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

*Men, cook 3 large chicken thighs, ¾ pound total.
**You can buy bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, then peel the skin off and throw it away. Or, you can buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Cooking them with the bone just makes them taste a little bit better.

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Use paper towels to thoroughly dry the chicken thighs, then season them all over with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper.

Heat canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the seasoned chicken thighs, and cook just until the underside is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

While the chicken browns, combine the remaining ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, vinegar, paprika, and mustard in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the asparagus and sliced bell pepper to the mixing bowl, and toss to coat the vegetables in the vinegar mixture.

After the chicken has been cooking for about 3 minutes, add the vegetables to the skillet, scattered around the chicken thighs. You just want the chicken to stay in contact with the bottom of the pan so that it keeps browning.

Put the skillet in the oven and roast everything for 10 minutes. Take the skillet out, stir the vegetables, and flip the chicken thighs. Put the skillet back in the oven until the thighs are cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165°F, and there should be no pink when you cut into the meat), about 10 more minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, take the skillet out of the oven and use a spoon or spatula to remove the chicken and vegetables from the skillet. Put one chicken thigh (1 ½ for men, but wait at least 5 minutes to cut the chicken) on a plate with half of the asparagus and all of the red pepper.

Let the leftover chicken thigh (1 ½ for men), and asparagus and cool completely. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Remove the bone from the chicken thigh and cut it into ½ -inch cubes. Store leftovers in three separate airtight containers in the fridge.

315 calories, 18.8 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat), 10.2 g carbohydrate (3.5 g dietary fiber, 6.3 g sugars), 27.3 g protein, 113 mg cholesterol, 316 mg sodium

The root end of asparagus is fibrous and woody and tastes gross. Cut 1-2 inches off the end of the asparagus to get rid of it.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Dry the chicken thoroughly before you cook it.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed
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Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs.

I know there's no skin, but you want them skin side-down. So, the side that the skin used to be on.
Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

I know there's no skin, but you want them skin side-down. So, the side that the skin used to be on.

Cook until the undersides are browned.

It'll take about 3 minutes.
Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

It'll take about 3 minutes.

Put the sliced red peppers and asparagus into the skillet, and roast everything in a 425°F oven for 20 minutes, taking it out halfway through and flipping the chicken.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

The chicken will be cooked all the way through, the peppers will be soft, and the asparagus will be cooked al dente.

A thermometer inserted into the center of the thigh should read 165°F.

A thermometer inserted into the center of the thigh should read 165°F.

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Serve all the peppers, one chicken thigh, and half the asparagus for dinner. Let the leftover asparagus and chicken cool, then cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Store separately in airtight containers in the fridge.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed
Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Broiled Grapefruit with Shredded Coconut

Makes 1 serving

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.

122.7 calories, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 24.9 g carbohydrate (3.7 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugars), 1.3 g protein, o mg cholesterol, 3.7 mg sodium

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Run your knife around the edge of the grapefruit, to separate the flesh from the pith.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Make cuts on both sides of every grapefruit segment. This will make it much easier to eat.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Spread honey over the top of the grapefruit, and put it on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe skillet.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

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.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed
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DAY 9 (MONDAY) TOTAL NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:

1,330 calories, 69.6 g fat (18.5 g saturated fat), 117.4 g carbohydrate (29.3 g dietary fiber, 33.2 g sugars), 70.2 g protein, 506.3 mg cholesterol, 1391 mg sodium

Ummm, you have been rocking this challenge for NINE DAYS already!

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.