Take BuzzFeed's Clean Eating Challenge, Feel Like A Champion At Life
This is a two-week detox plan that's actually realistic. You'll learn to eat healthy, feel awesome, and stay that way.
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.
It's going to make you feel like this:
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.
Here's a printable calendar of everything you'll need to do for Week 1:
Here's a printable calendar of everything you'll need to do for Week 2:
COOKING EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:
FOOD STORAGE EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:
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.
2. Freeze salmon and ground turkey when you get home from the grocery store.
3. Prepare Smoothie Packs for both weeks and put them in the freezer.
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.
READY ... SET ... GO!
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.