Your 4-Week Meal Prep Guide for Clean Eating

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Your 4-Week Guide to Meal Prep for Clean Eating

Whether your goal is to eat better in 2018 or lose a few pounds this month, setting aside time for meal prep is a surefire way to find success. Because when your weeks get jammed with activities or your energy starts to fade, you’ll already have healthy meals waiting for you to grab and go. To keep you motivated to make smart dishes all month long — and plan out those meal prep days — we created this complete guide to grocery shopping and cooking for four weeks straight. Stock your pantry with olive oil, salt, pepper and spices, then follow our list for at-home clean eating that’ll feel easier than ordering out.

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Your One-Month Guide to Clean Eating Meal Prep

Clean Eating Meal Prep Plan: Smoothie Recipes

Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote

Week 1

Your Grocery Essentials

  • Your favorite fruits and veggies (including bananas)
  • Almond milk
  • Plant-based protein powder
  • Nut butter
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken

Healthy Meals to Make

  • Breakfast: Start your mornings with some delicious, vitamin-rich smoothies. Choose one high in protein (especially post-workout), heavy on greens or both. Or keep it simple with these easy, three-ingredient concoctions. Store the ingredients in baggies to toss in the blender in the morning. Or blend a few, add to muffin tins and toss in the freezer to grab when you wake up.
  • Lunch: Get creative with quinoa bowls. Make a big batch of the ancient grain so you can use it as the base for dishes topped with eggs and avocado, fruits and nuts, corn and black beans or steak and veggies. You can use it as your side at dinner, too.
  • Dinner: Chicken doesn’t have to be boring. When you make a bunch of chicken breasts at once, you can use them as the main ingredient with a side of veggies, in wraps (with leftover quinoa), in one-pot meals like this balsamic, barley and chard, or as a satay with a little peanut sauce. Make life even easier by picking up a rotisserie chicken and using it for any one of these recipes.

RELATED: 15 One-Pot Meals for Quick, Healthy Dinners

Clean Eating Meal Prep Plan: Make-Ahead Salads

Photo and Recipe: Evan Thomas

Week 2

Your Grocery Essentials

  • Your favorite fruits and veggies
  • Lots of leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • A grain, like farro

Healthy Meals to Make

  • Breakfast: Make it all about eggs this week. Go for protein-packed muffins, burritos and frittatas — all of which you can cook on Sunday and heat up at the office during the week. Add produce, like broccoli or Swiss chard, for extra fiber to keep you full all morning.
  • Lunch: Mix leafy greens, such as kale or spinach or even Brussel sprouts, with an assortment of veggies, and top with a protein like tuna (which you can also eat at dinner). Toss with homemade dressing (or a store-bought one with few ingredients) for a tasty, nutritious salad. Put it in a mason jar for a soggy-free and portable meal.
  • Dinner: Salmon, shrimp, tilapia, cod — all super easy to make and extra-good for you thanks to the protein and healthy fat content. Opt for a DIY poke bowl, a fancy seafood-and-wine pairing, or crave-worthy tacos. You can even pan-sear a filet for a ready-in-10-minutes dinner or bake one in the oven for another no-fuss dish. 

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Clean Eating Meal Prep Plan: Zoodles and Meatballs

Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote

Week 3

Your Grocery Essentials

  • Your favorite fruits and veggies (including a few you can spiralize)
  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Milk and/or yogurt
  • Ground turkey or chicken 

Healthy Meals to Make

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats are so trendy, but oh-so-easy and nutritious. Make a big batch, store in baggies and customize to suit your mood. Choose a high-protein recipe, try a savory option or whip up a three-ingredient variation. Layer with berries or nut butters — and don’t forget to Instagram it!
  • Lunch: It’s all about cooked veggies this week. Spiralize your sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash and carrots at the start of the week and you’ll have them for zoodles, side dishes and the fiber base for lunch and dinner. Top with your favorite protein, like shrimp or ground turkey for a satisfying meal.
  • Dinner: Love meatballs? So do we. And you can easily make a lean, healthy batch of turkey or chicken balls that offer lots of variety to your meals for the week. Add them to your zoodles, make ‘em into a soup or create a sweeter version with cranberries.

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Clean Eating Meal Prep Plan: Sweet Potatoes Seven Ways

Photo and Recipe: Alexa Schirm

Week 4

Your Grocery Essentials

  • Your favorite fruits and veggies (including cauliflower and broccoli)
  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut milk (or your milk of choice)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Protein of choice 

Healthy Meals to Make

  • Breakfast: Add a touch of sweetness to your morning meal with fiber-rich chia seed pudding. Like overnight oats, you have limitless combos to choose from. And because the seeds swell in the fridge overnight, you get a dish that leaves you full until lunch. Try this vanilla-almond blend or an energizing matcha recipe to get started.
  • Lunch: Sweet potatoes, seven ways! Loaded with vitamins and fiber, these healthy starches pair perfectly with beans and cheese or avocado and lentils. Or toss them into a plant-based taco or burrito. Best of all, use them in place of toast for a low-carb meal, topped with your mashed avocado or almond butter and bananas.
  • Dinner: Swap your typical fried rice dish for a big serving of vegetable “rice.” You can use cauliflower or broccoli (or both!), chopped up, as your base. Toss with olive oil and add corn, peas, chicken, tofu — or whatever pleases your palate. Keep changing it up to keep your taste buds happy for the next few days.

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