Eat Clean Challenge: week one

Happy Monday ya’ll!

As promised here is a breakdown for the first week my 30-day eat clean challenge with my girlfriends, Emily Ley & McKay Pittman. I have surprised myself, and Mike, at how easy (and tasty) it really has been. Meal planning has been my personal key to staying on track. Go back and read my last post about how I am doing it with Plan To Eat. In all honesty there have been days where I am craving sugar, a beer, or a slice of pizza, but I keep chugging some water and stay busy. This is totally normal since it’s the beginning. With week one I tried to plan meals that I knew were going to be filling (like oatmeal for breakfast) to get me through the seven days and not feel like I was starving like most diets do. Another key factor is the water. No I’m not drinking a fancy H2O, just filtered tap….and LOTS of it. I keep a bottle of it next to me at all times and whenever I get a chance I take a swig. The frequent trips to the bathroom are annoying, but it’s the end product I desire and the trips start to slow down once your body gets used to it! Another tip is when you are planning your meals take into consideration what you have going on this week. This sounds obvious, but having your calendar out {or a super cute Emily Ley Simplified Planner! wink wink} reminding you if your husband/wife is out of town on Tuesday or ballet/soccer practice is on Thursday helps you plan accordingly…make those Crock-Pot nights!! Emily did a great post today on how she uses her lovely Simplified Planner to meal plan, read it here! Also if you are going to eat seafood plan for those to be in the beginning of the week since it won’t last that long in the fridge (if you make one large shopping trip for the week). If you want to save it for your 5th or 6th day make sure you leave a post-it or a reminder alarm in your cell phone to pick up that halibut (spoken from experience!).I’m an oatmeal lover and this recipe is a game changer for me. I’m hooked and as you will notice I had it 4x this week! I have to have coffee and for this challenge I quit using my sugar filled creamers and switched to vanilla almond milk and two packets of Truvia. I took the creamer out a few days before the challenge so it wasn’t a huge gut punch for me. Now I only have one cup of joe a day compared to two to three cups.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Adapted from The Gracious Pantry (love this blog)

1-1/2 cups cooked oats (1/2 cup oats with 1 cup vanilla almond milk)
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. honey

Cook oatmeal as directed on your container.
Stir in peanut butter, cinnamon and honey and enjoy!
*I don’t think I will ever cook my oatmeal in anything else but vanilla almond milk. This is a total game changer for me. It was so creamy and full of flavor you could eat it without the other ingredients!Day one was a busy day of errands so we stopped by Timpano’s in South Tampa and I made a healthy choice of arugula salad adding shrimp. This salad can be copied at home with store bought arugula, goat cheese (I didn’t want blue cheese), walnuts, sliced apples and light vinaigrette.For dinner I stuck to something I have already made (post here). The grilled chicken and vegetable recipe is a very filling meal and I needed the extra chicken for leftovers for lunch the next day.

We had dinner pretty early so our sweet tooths got the best of us and I baked a blackberry & apple crumble dessert that relies solely on the fruit for sugar(from Eat-Clean Diet, fyi I doubled the topping). It was simple and hit the spot and I enjoyed a cold Pacifico while it baked! So I tried my first smoothie and it was pretty good (Mike even had one!) The only change I made was I added two ice cubes to make it cold. With large amount of pineapple used this smoothie is very pulpy, a warning to those out there that don’t like that. Tropical Pineapple Breezes Smoothie found here at The Gracious Pantry.For lunch I cooked quinoa (a grain that is cooked like pasta) for the first time and it was delicious. I had some troubles trying to say this word, so FYI it’s pronounced “Keen-Waa”. Mike still says it ten different ways in an attempt to make me laugh (He is being supportive so I don’t mind if he pokes fun of the new “hippy esque” ingredients!).

Greek Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Busy But Healthy

1.5 cups raw quinoa, rinsed well and drained
99 grams low fat feta
(one small package)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato, chopped
1/2 whole cucumber, seeded & chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
(I did 5)
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Bring quinoa and 1 cup of water & 2 cups of fat free chicken broth to a boil, then turn it down to simmer for 15-20 minutes until done.
Chop up the veggies and add all the other ingredients to a bowl.
Add the hot quinoa and toss.
Place in the fridge in a sealed container to settle for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Keep this the sealed container to eat or snack on for a few days!
(*I added leftover chopped chicken to the side to make it a bit more filling for lunch)For dinner we had my folks over and I served up what is now my favorite salmon recipe ever (found here)! I grilled it over foil, which made the process even simpler. I also gave the asparagus a light of cooking spray, sprinkled with sea salt and pepper and placed on the grill (they only need about 5 minutes).Using the cooking spray is healthier than using olive oil! While grocery shopping I found these Seeds of Change quinoa & brown rice pouches that you toss in the microwave for 90 seconds. It is quick, tasty and healthy! For this challenge I wanted to make smart choices and having a few healthy options that you can microwave can help when you have little time or sanity!  Cherry Oat Bran Muffins found here from The Gracious Pantry.

I couldn’t find whole wheat pastry flour at my local grocery store so these were a little dense, but still yummy. Our cranberries (what the recipe called for) went MIA (later found in the outside refridgerator?) and I used dried cherries instead. Lily LOVED these muffins and I saved a few for her (and I!) to snack on.We had leftover Greek quinoa salad and I added shrimp. I keep frozen medium cooked shrimp to add to any meal for added protein. Thaw out a few in a colander under water. Take the tails off. Coat pan with cooking spray and sauté a tablespoon of minced garlic (I like a lot of garlic). Toss in your shrimp and sprinkle with dried oregano. I give the pan two squirts of lime juice for added flavor (plus it gives a salty taste without adding it!). Remember that the shrimp is already cooked so you are just coating the shrimp in the garlic and warming it up a bit. If you cook it too long the shrimp will be too tough. Lily and I shared a muffin leftover from breakfast.Crock pot chicken enchilada soup found here. This is such an easy and filling recipe! I added a tablespoon of fat free sour cream and ¼ of an avocado to mine. Mike added more sour cream, avocado and some sharp cheddar cheese to his bowl. This was the first time I have ever skimped on the cheese with this recipe and it tasted great without it!Not much to mention here as it’s leftovers and repeats of the tasty recipes from earlier!Repeat for breakfast with the peanut butter oatmeal. I’m obsessed!For lunch I made a spinach salad with strawberries, plain cooked shrimp, unsalted sunflower seeds (had these from the dessert I made on day one), a sprinkle of low fat mozzarella cheese, blood orange olive oil and black cherry balsamic. The olive orange and balsamic come from Florida Olive Oil Company. The balsamic alone drizzled over strawberries is a treat!Turkey Zucchini Boats

Adapted from  Skinny Taste

For enchilada sauce:

olive oil spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I just used Bertolli’s olive oil & garlic pasta sauce…it was the only thing I had since I forgot to buy plain sauce)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the zucchini boats:

4 medium zucchini
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 oz cooked ground turkey (*don’t cook all the way as you will cook it longer with the recipe and it could end up dry)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp fat free chicken broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
toppings: reduced fat shredded sharp cheese, cilantro & green onions

Prep your boats first by cutting the zucchini in half and scooping out the ‘flesh’ with a mellon baller (or spoon).
Chop the flesh and save to the side.
Start to bring a large pot of water to boil.
For the enchilada sauce:
In a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic.
Add chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Drop the zucchini halves in the boiling water and cook 1 minute; remove from water.
In a large pan, heat oil on medium-low and add onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add chopped zucchini flesh and cilantro, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes.
Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, water, and tomato paste and cook a few more minutes.
Add in ground turkey; mix and cook 3 more minutes.
Coat a 9×13 baking dish (or you could use two smaller dishes) with cooking spray and spread ¼ of the enchilada sauce on the bottom and lay the zucchini cut side up on top of sauce.
Spoon in the turkey mixture into each zucchini.
Spoon over the enchilada sauce over each boat and sprinkle with cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.

This was a crazy day full of errands and a fussy Lily. By the time lunch whipped by I realized I forgot to eat breakfast (bad Amy!). I am so glad I had the yummy zucchini boats for leftovers because I had no time to make anything! This is one of those days that pre-challenge I would have munched on anything and everything that was in my pantry. I am so glad that I had leftovers for lunch and an easy baked sweet potato for dinner! To cook a sweet potato wrap it in foil and pop it in the oven at 375 degrees. I like mine really soft so I will cook it anywhere between 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. It was a rather large sweet potato that I cut in half and sprinkled with cinnamon and one packet of Stevia. Since it was so big and I’m drinking so much water I was pretty stuffed. From all the errands I was wiped and fell asleep really early which kept me from late night snacking from the lack of three full meals!

The last day was another crazy day that started with a cup of coffee and me forgetting to eat breakfast again. I swear I am losing weight from eating clean and not from not eating! After coming home from playgroup I had a delicious bowl of my favorite peanut butter oatmeal for lunch. I could eat that stuff all day it is that good! After we took her to MyGym we stopped by a local restaurant to enjoy a few cold ones during happy hour. Lily enjoyed a quesadilla and fruit while I enjoyed an iced Pacifico. Dinner was a Michael Jordan slam-dunk of all dinners. This is one of those meals that as Mike and I were eating we barely looked at each other as we devoured our plates. I can’t even count how many times I let out “MMMmmmmmmmm” and “OMG this is the greatest meal ever.” The fish was pretty huge and coupled with the shredded veggies there was no need for any other side dishes! The market didn’t have halibut (what the recipe called for) so I purchased some sea bass and had them cut it. Remember when you are buying fish to have them go ahead and cut it to your measurements to make it easier for you. I even have the store shave off the skin on some fish, like salmon. This was the best meal to end my first week! The recipe is found here at Eat-Clean Diet.

Again we ate really early and I had a killer sweet tooth. I’m a sucker for a bowl of raw brownie mix so when I saw this healthy recipe on Fit Foodie Finds I was all over it! I am so glad I saved this recipe to my meal planner as it was just what Mike and I needed. Yes Mike even ate it!!


View Comments
  1. MEGAN commented:
    September 11, 2012 Reply

    this is awesome! I have been wanting to do this, but just don’t know how to get started. These recipes look pretty easy to make- huge plus for me.

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