How to Eat Clean for an Entire Week: Your 21-Recipe Meal Plan

It's easier than you think, promise

The whole “clean eating” thing sounds daunting, but TBH, it just comes down to choosing real, non-processed foods in order to feel like your best self. To make things simple, we rounded up a number of healthy recipes that'll help you create a meal plan for seven days straight, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. (For a preview, day one's menu includes turmeric waffles, an avocado chickpea salad sandwich and low-carb zucchini enchiladas—yum.) Whether you make one or all of these recipes, you'll be on your way to feeling great.

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Meet the Expert

Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the CEO and founder of Nutritious Life and the Nutritious Life Studio, which offer online certification programs for jobs in the health and wellness industry. She's written four best-selling books and regularly appears as a nutrition expert on various TV programs, such as The Today ShowGood Morning America and The Rachael Ray Show.

What Is Clean Eating?

Words like “clean” can be confusing when making food choices, because they don’t always mean the same thing to the same person (or brand). But if you ask us, clean eating means choosing whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible, a sentiment echoed by nutritionist Glassman. She encourages us to choose “naturally nutrient-dense foods,” adding that clean eating “is mostly plant-based by default.” Think vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and unprocessed meat, poultry and dairy. (It’s a lot like the Mediterranean diet.)

How to Eat Clean for a Week

Now that you know what clean eating is, you can try incorporating it into your meal plan. Not sure where to start? Here are a few menu ideas:

Need further proof that clean eating isn't all carrot sticks and chicken breast? Here’s a week’s worth of clean-eating recipes to guide you.

1. Monday Breakfast: Turmeric Waffles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegan, gluten free, kid-friendly

Don’t let the turmeric intimidate you: These waffles are just sweet enough, not to mention grain free. If you have leftovers, let them cool before wrapping them in plastic wrap. They can keep in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat them in a toaster or oven.

2. Monday Lunch: Smashed Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwich with Cranberries and Lemon

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, no cook, vegan

Who needs mayo when you've got buttery avocado? The beloved fruit is so creamy, you won't miss the condiment that offers fewer nutritional perks. And the chickpeas provide protein, so you won't be hungry until dinnertime.

3. Monday Dinner: Low-Carb Zucchini Enchiladas

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, gluten free, low carb

Finish off the day with a cheesy, gooey, protein-packed meal that’s also free of refined carbs. Make it vegetarian by swapping the chicken for tofu, seitan or add extra black beans. Feel free to top them with all the guac and sour cream you crave.

4. Tuesday Breakfast: Quick Congee

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes (plus soaking time)
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, low carb

Break out of your boring oatmeal rut with this equally comforting bowl of porridge. The recipe calls for eggs, scallions, kimchi and sautéed mushrooms for toppings, but you can also add any greens, hot sauces or veggies you'd like.

5. Tuesday Lunch: Roasted Squash and Farro Salad with Avocado Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, kid-friendly, low sugar

This salad is sweet and savory with a creamy finish, courtesy of homemade avocado dressing. Kale offers an impressive amount of protein for a vegetable, but if you want to add even more, throw in roasted chickpeas, tofu, chicken...the options are endless.

6. Tuesday Dinner: Cauliflower Chili

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan (optional), gluten free, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

While we love the convenience and protein factor of ground beef, we’re also trying to eat less red meat: Cauliflower to the rescue. Sour cream and cheese impart creamy decadence, but if you're feeding a vegan crowd, leave them out and swap in non-dairy options.

7. Wednesday Breakfast: Open-Face Salad Omelet

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian, gluten free, high protein, kid-friendly

It’s never too early for salad (or a little melted mozzarella). Note that Helene Henderson, who wrote the recipe, calls for two eggs per serving here. However, you can also use three egg whites, one whole egg and two whites or an egg substitute, depending on your preference. 

8. Wednesday Lunch: Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, high protein

If you have leftover quinoa on hand, this one will be ready to eat in about ten minutes. Add jalapeños and a crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick, if you can handle it. If you're cooking for kids (or picky grown-ups), leave it as is.

9. Wednesday Dinner: Baked Sesame-Ginger Salmon in Parchment

  • Time Commitment: 3o minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, low carb, dairy free

Throw it all in a parchment packet and call it a day. (Seriously: You'll be left with almost no cleanup.) If you aren't a fan of zucchini, you can swap it for roasted potatoes, carrots or even quinoa. Trust us, you have options.

10. Thursday Breakfast: Quinoa with Almond Milk

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

Have you heard? Breakfast quinoa is the new dinner quinoa. Bulk it up with some coconut yogurt for added protein and extra creaminess. You can also add almond butter to make it richer and more satiating.

11. Thursday Lunch: Bibimbap Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, beginner-friendly

Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish commonly served with toppings like sautéed vegetables, kimchi, gochujang, sliced meat and egg. This version is a plant-based ode to the classic: We swapped the meat and egg for mushrooms to make it vegan, but kept the crunchy veggies and savory flavor profile.

12. Thursday Dinner: Sweet Potato Noodles with Almond Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, low carb, vegetarian, kid-friendly

It’s time you invest in a spiralizer, if you haven’t already. "Swoodles" (aka sweet potato noodles) are decadent, starchy and filling, but unlike regular pasta, they're packed with protein, low in saturated fat and full of vitamins. That's a win-win-win in our book.

13. Friday Breakfast: 30-Minute Breakfast Hash with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, kid-friendly

It’s so tasty, you’ll forget it’s healthy. Substitute any vegetables as you see fit, and cook the eggs to your liking. Over easy, poached, soft boiled or sunny-side up eggs allow the yolk to act as a sauce, but scrambled works, too.

14. Friday Lunch: Lemon-Tahini Salad with Lentils, Beets and Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, beginner-friendly

Kale Caesar called, and it wants a makeover. (After all, color + crunch = satisfaction, and the O.G. is dependable...but drab.) While this is already a simple recipe, you can make things even easier by using precooked lentils and vacuum-packed cooked beets from the grocery store.

15. Friday Dinner: Carrot, Fennel and Miso Soup

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, kid-friendly, low sugar, crowd-pleaser

Roasting the vegetables until deeply caramelized results in the most flavorful soup you’ve ever tasted. The seed-nut crunch adds texture to the creamy carrot soup, almost like croutons.

16. Saturday Breakfast: Triple Berry Smoothie Bowl

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, no cook, vegetarian, kid-friendly, high protein

Damn, your breakfast is pretty, tasty and ready in five minutes. And while the fruit delivers all sorts of vitamins, the pumpkin seeds and flax seeds contain omega-3s and healthy fats, making for a super well-rounded breakfast.

17. Saturday Lunch: Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken and Avocado Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, high protein, kid-friendly

The toppings are what make or break a lunch salad, but it's safe to say this one is a winner. Cooking the barley in chicken broth as opposed to water infuses it with both flavor and a touch of protein. You'll be stuffed until dinnertime for sure.

18. Saturday Dinner: Shrimp and Cauliflower “Grits” with Arugula

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Ditch the carbs but keep the New Orleans flavor. While traditional grits are notoriously rich, cooking the cauliflower in milk also makes this cauli riff super creamy, so even a Southerner probably won't mind the swap.

19. Sunday Breakfast: Quiche with Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Crust

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegetarian, high protein

Skip the dough and pile on the veggies. With crispy, caramelized slices of sweet potato, you won’t miss the pie crust. Add chicken sausage or tofu to the eggs to pack in even more protein, if you'd like.

20. Sunday Lunch: Thai Carrot and Peanut Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegan, high protein

This flavorful bisque will fill you right up. Add more chili garlic sauce if you're hungry for a bigger kick of heat, or use less than the recipe calls for, if you're cooking for a younger crowd.

21. Sunday Dinner: Buddha Bowl with Kale, Avocado, Orange and Wild Rice

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegan, kid-friendly, high protein

All of the superfoods you crave, right in one bowl. The best thing about Buddha bowls is that they're easily customizable. You can jazz them up with your favorite condiments, change up the herbs and spices, add gluten-free rice noodles—the bowl is your oyster.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...

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Freelance PureWow Editor