The biggest things devotees have to adjust to are: eliminating or substantially limiting processed convenience foods; adjusting palates to accept less salt, sugar and unhealthy fats; cooking mostly from scratch; and eating smaller, balanced meals 5 to 6 times a day. The following tips and recipes can help you transition to a clean eating lifestyle with ease.
Start Your Day on a Clean Note1 of 10
The old adage that touts breakfast as the most important meal of the day is particularly true for athletes, many of whom rise early to complete a workout before their days get started and need a wholesome, well-balanced recovery meal. Even if you're not an early bird and you train at lunchtime or in the evening, you need a healthy breakfast to power your day. Try this clean eating spin on the traditional bowl of oatmeal.
Clean Eating Brunch Idea2 of 10
When you have a little more time on the weekend, invite your running group buddies over for a post-run brunch. This clean eating take on a traditional quiche is not only great for company—you can prep everything ahead of time and bake while your guests sip coffee—but it's also ideal post-workout food since it combines two superfoods (chard and sweet potatoes) with protein and inflammation-lowering foods (garlic and onions).
Southern Comfort Classic Makeover3 of 10
An iconic Southern dish made famous by low-country fisherman, shrimp and grits provides a tasty protein-and-carbs duo that's ideal fuel for athletes. Our shrimp and grits recipe makeover includes only one tablespoon of organic butter and 1 cup of low-fat, organic cheese, as opposed to an entire stick of butter and more than 1 cup of cream traditional recipes include. Don't forget your favorite hot sauce (made with clean ingredients).
Quick and Clean Packaged Bars and Race Fuel4 of 10
According to die-hard clean eating devotees, mass-produced, packaged convenience foods go against the tenets of the lifestyle. But life happens, and the time and energy demands that come with balancing work with training, taking care of yourself and your loved ones sometimes make it too hard to make all of your food from scratch. Everybody has those days; so when you need to grab ready-made nutrition, look for products made with as many wholesome, recognizable ingredients as possible.
Make Your Own Clean Bars and Portable Snacks5 of 10
At about $2 to $3 per energy bar, you certainly pay the price for convenience. The good news: If you buy wholesome ingredients in bulk, and can set aside 20 minutes, you can make your own portable snack bars and balls that provide the perfect pre-workout boost or post-workout recovery mini meal. For our clean eating date balls and fruit-and-nut bars, all you need are a few key ingredients and a food processor.
Satisfy Your Sweet and Savory Cravings6 of 10
Sweet and salty are an addictive flavor combination, so if you're going to eat more than a serving of this type of snack (of course you are), make sure it's a snack where you control what's in it. Our clean eating kettle corn with nuts recipe not only uses wholesome ingredients to achieve that addictive sweet-salty pairing, but it also adds protein to the carb-rich popcorn so you can power your muscles with the fuel it needs.
There's Nothing Like Homemade7 of 10
Making your own pasta isn't as hard as it seems, and you don't need a pasta roller or machine to do it. Once you get the technique down, you can customize our whole-wheat pasta recipe with any flavorings you'd like and freeze the dough so you can have homemade pasta at the ready whenever you want it. Our step-by-step instructions will transform you into a pasta-making machine in no time. We also include unique ideas for what to do with your freshly made noodles, such as recipes for Arugula, Shrimp and Lemon Pasta and Thai Chicken and Peanut Pasta.
If You Can't Eat Pasta, Here's the Next Best Thing8 of 10
If you're allergic, sensitive or opposed to wheat, gluten or dairy, try the following "pasta" made from spaghetti squash and topped with a creamy, herbaceous sauce filled with fiber, protein and healthy fats. Sub zucchini, carrot or parsnip ribbons for the spaghetti squash if you want a fettuccine-type "noodle" instead of an angel hair one.
You Don't Have to Eat Boring Food9 of 10
Prefab sauces might be the hardest switch to make when you adopt the clean eating lifestyle because it takes some inventiveness to jazz up your average grilled chicken with brown rice and steamed veggies dinner. Our basic clean eating sauce guide includes easy-to-make, diverse staples that pair well with unadorned veggies, proteins and whole grains.