Interested in clean eating but feeling a bit overwhelmed? Forget diets and new trends, clean eating has been something that attracts people everywhere because it simply means eating real food … not junk! However, it can often feel a little mind-boggling when you first begin and realize that you won’t be able to just swing through a local fast food chain or pick up a frozen pizza dinner at the supermarket anymore. Clean eating means eating fresh, real food. That means time and sometimes mean creativity. But, don’t lose hope! There are some simple, fuss-free ways to eat clean that will provide you with optimum nutrition and satisfy your cravings without you feeling like you’ve taken on a second job.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you eat a cleaner, healthier diet is to get your greens in. Greens provide more overall nutrition per serving for their calorie content than any other food. They’re certainly not rabbit food either—if you know how to pair them with the right ingredients that is. It can be easy to go all day long and realize you really haven’t had that much green food in your day. So dinner is the best way to seal the deal on a with a rejuvenating, clean and lean dinner. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed, energized, your digestion will be much better, you’ll have less inflammation, and hopefully, you’ll be eager to eat more greens earlier in the day after just no time at all!
Here are five simple, no-fuss, clean green dinner ideas you can try today to get healthier by tomorrow and feel brand new in just weeks!
1. Broccoli Kale Stir-Fry
Both broccoli and kale can seem so boring on their own, despite being two of the most nutritionally dense foods out there in the veggie kingdom. The best way to maximize your nutrition in one meal is to work them in at once. Keep things hearty and interesting with a stir-fry. Just saute some garlic and broccoli in a pan for 3-4 minutes and add some shredded kale (de-stemmed) right as it finishes so the kale wilts nice and gently (you don’t want to overcook kale as it becomes burnt and bitter tasting). Add a squeeze of lemon at the end, a pinch of pink or sea salt and pepper, and serve with lentils, black beans, wild rice or quinoa, chickpeas, or your favorite plant-based protein option (hemp seeds would also be nice!). You can also try this Ultimate Stir-Fry for a tofu version.
2. Romaine Quinoa and Black Bean Roll-Ups
Romaine lettuce is such the versatile green! Don’t negate how healthy it is for you either; it may be an awesome salad green, but romaine lettuce is also packed with nutrition. Romaine offers vitamins A, C, and K, plus omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also a nice sweet green if you’re not into more intense greens such as turnip and mustard greens. It also happens to be a fantastic bread alternative. You can purchase large heads of romaine (not just the hearts sold in bags which are smaller), and use these as roll-ups for dinner just like wraps. Add some pre-cooked black beans, quinoa, and fresh mushrooms, carrots, and tomatoes to a bowl. Add the juice of a lemon and lime to the mix and toss to coat. You can also add hummus or tahini to help everything stick together better, plus any spices you enjoy such as black pepper or all-purpose. Scoop 1/2 cup of this mixture into the center of a large romaine leaf. Roll these up and pin the ends with toothpicks if needed. Serve just like you would tacos or traditional wraps.
3. Grilled Zucchini and Asparagus With Amaranth
Amaranth is a particularly alkalizing (and very tiny!) seed that provides 6 grams of protein in just 1/4 cup. Pair it with zucchini and asparagus for an even more alkaline dinner that also bumps up the protein, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Asparagus contains 4 grams of protein per cup of chopped stems (about 4-6 large stems) and is a wealth of potassium, folate, and vitamin C. Zucchini is full of fiber and vitamin C, plus it has a tasty caramelized flavor once cooked. Grill up some zucchini and asparagus which is the best way to keep these veggies flavorful without turning mushy or overcooking them (you can also pan roast them for a similar effect). Serve over a bed of amaranth and season with tamari, nutritional yeast, and some black pepper for a flavor-packed meal in minutes!
4. Raw Spinach Avocado Power Bowl
This is a truly incredible dinner. We often think if we eat raw leafy greens, we’re just eating a salad, but that’s not true! Leafy greens are like grains in the fact they serve as a bed for anything you want to put on them. Make a raw spinach power bowl with the following items on top of 2 cups of raw spinach: 1 large chopped carrot into slices or matchsticks, 1/2 cup raw mushrooms, 3 chopped Roma tomatoes, 3 tbsp. hemp seeds, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast, 2 stalks chopped celery, 1/4 an avocado, 1 tbsp. sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds, and finish with the juice of a lemon and lime. This meal packs 35 grams of protein (yes, really!) from the nutritional yeast, avocado, almonds, hemp, and spinach. It’s also packed with iron, biotin, magnesium, folic acid, and alkalizing ingredients. Flavor-wise, it satisfies with the perfect mix of hearty, savory, tangy, sweet, and zesty. Enjoy this on hot summer nights when you’re short on time and the stove just isn’t an option.
5. Green Monster Veggie Dish
This dish packs ALL the best green veggies into one meal and is perfect for the greenest of Green Monsters out there. Take some a cup each of: chopped broccoli, spinach, kale, zucchini, asparagus, and add 2 tbsp. diced celery, onion, garlic, and a fresh sprig of cilantro. Toss everything in a bowl with some Bragg’s amino seasoning, tamari, or some simple lemon, black pepper, and apple cider vinegar. Add everything to a large (11 inch) sized skillet—or you can use a pot— and add in 1/4 cup water just so they won’t stick. Then chop 1 clove of garlic and add 1/4 tsp. onion powder for a more savory, deep flavor. Toss everything together and cook on medium heat. Continue to toss every minute or so for a total of 6 minutes. This makes a great bed to serve cooked quinoa or wild rice over. Or you can add some cooked tempeh or tofu if that’s more your thing. Top with some sliced or slivered almonds, cashews, or even some pumpkin and sunflower seeds. You just made up for not having any veggies all day long!
For more ideas for how to eat clean and green, see Seeds to Pair With Greens for a High Protein Meal and get our Clean Eating Survival Guide for more easy tips on how to eat clean and lean while staying satisfied.
Lead Image Source: Spicy Kale, Quinoa, and Black Bean Salad