Recipe Review Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge Part 1

I’m falling in love with eating this way. Even just 5 days in I’m starting to worry what am I gonna do when the meal plan runs out!

Challenge Tip: If you need to pack your lunches and snacks as well as make dinner, at first be prepared to spend about 2 hours prepping food at night… make this a week you don’t have plans! It get’s faster but unless you are already a pro at this be prepared to spend time on it. You can find the Challenge details here, and here is a link to the printable version of the full challenge instructions and recipes (I found it helpful to print it out and put in a binder. You can read more here about my prep). Links to each day’s menu and recipe are included in the title, “Day #” below.

*Review Key: Eat it= Delicious. Skip it= you guessed it, I don’t prefer this item.

Day 1:
Other than the morning shake, all of the meals seemed more bland than I would have hoped. I could definitely feel myself detoxing from sugar and coffee. The Asparagus salad tasted a bit gross after being in the fridge overnight (Skip it). Perhaps my lemon was too big and made it too “lemony”. Since this is supposed to be a Sunday meal I’m guessing it’s not meant to be made in advance. Dinner wasn’t bad, just nothing to write home about. I think this is really the “cleanse” day… if you know what I mean. I felt great the next day and was all cleared out. I definitely recommend starting Day 1 on Sunday not Monday to see if these meals are better fresh.

Kale Smoothie, Day 1
Kale Smoothie, Day 1

Day 2:

  • Overnight oats with blueberries and chia seeds– Eat it. This is a huge breakfast portion! I kept double checking that I hadn’t over done the ingredients (when I usually make it it’s about half as much). After the light meals of yesterday this seemed like a TON. It was good too. I would absolutely make all three meals again. So satisfying.
  • Kale, Chickpea, and fennel salad with orange Vinaigrette– Eat it. hearty and tasty. I was totally satisfied.
  • Sliced tomato with basil, feta, and balsamic– Eat it. Who doesn’t like a caprese type salad? With just 1 ounce of feta, this is still a filling and yummy snack.
  • Napa Cabbage wraps with chicken, mango, and avocado and lime-basil vinaigrette– Eat it. I was skeptical about dinner, lettuce wraps can be bland, but this was DELICIOUS! The basil and mango and avocado were a great mix of flavors and balanced well with the crisp napa cabbage wrap.
Kale, Chickpea and Fennel Salad, Day 2
Kale, Chickpea and Fennel Salad, Day 2

Day 3: 
Lunch was easy to prep in advance. I was worried about not prepping breakfast in advance since I can be slow in the mornings… I managed to get it all prepped in time, though the traffic still made me late :-(.

  • Blackberry-Yogurt Parfait-Skip it. The parfait was alright. Only alright. The ground flax seed flavor was a bit over powering and I decided to “cheat” and add  a pack of Stevia sweetener. After that cheat and a long drive to work, I found we were out of green tea at the office, so I cheated again with a mug of decaff coffee. It didn’t taste very good though, so it wasn’t worth the cheat.

Both lunch and dinner on day 3 are SO GOOD.

  • Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari-Lime Vinaigrette Eat it. I would absolutely make this salad again. The Napa cabbage from Whole Foods was flavorful and crisp and the dressing was perfect.

Last night we went to a free, preview showing of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie Blended. They are always a cute pair and the film was funnier than I had expected. We got home really late but I was determined to stick to the challenge! I whipped up the Big Batch Cooked Lentils and Cauliflower steaks as swiftly as I could

  • Cauliflower Steaks with LentilsEat it. The lentils. OMG, the lentils. I have made lentil soup before, but other than that I don’t usually work much with lentils. THIS RECIPE is AMAZING. I used red lentils (that’s what I had in the house already), and the paprika and Tamari seasoning are a perfect combo with the shallots and garlic. I can’t wait to eat this again. The cauliflower steak is good, but I could have skipped it for more lentils (I didn’t). I was so full from the lentils and cauliflower that I wasn’t even hungry for the night time snack (and I figured chocolate that close to bedtime was a bad plan). My cauliflower head must be bigger than theirs though, cause there was enough left over for 3 omelets, not just the 1 we make on day 5.
Asian Chicken Salad, Day 3
Asian Chicken Salad, Day 3

Day 4

  • Scallion, Feta Omelette Eat it. It’s worth it. Again, super flavorful and filling. I’m definitely liking this meal plan despite the work. I wouldn’t have known to cook the white part of the scallion first and then add the green part. This method cooked it up perfectly and the salty creamy feta just topped it off.
  • Greek Salad with Lentils and Lime VinaigretteEat it. It’s very good. I’m adding this salad to my lunch repertoire. I don’t prefer red bell peppers so I swapped it out for an orange one, it still worked with the flavors and the lentils. I could see making a big batch of these lentils regularly to eat with many meals. I was skeptical about adding it to the salad, but it really works with the other flavors.
  • Mango-Banana Smoothie with Chia SeedsEat it. This is a really great combination for a smoothie. I will definitely make it again. The chia seeds completely break down and make it a thick smoothie full of flavor. I’d use a more-ripe banana though. Mine were pretty greenish-yellow when I put the smoothie mix in the freezer and I think that effected the flavor. I had to add a little bit of Stevia to sweeten it up.
  • Roasted Chicken Breast with Fennel and Spinach– Eat it. Fennel is my new favorite vegetable. I am going to be cooking with fennel regularly from now on. Seriously, roasted fennel is absolutely incredible. It almost didn’t mater what was in the salad with it, the fennel stole my heart and tummy. I can’t wait to eat the rest on day 5.
Roasted Chicken Salad with Fennel and Spinach, Day 4
Roasted Chicken Salad with Fennel and Spinach, Day 4

Challenge Tip: If you need to eat dinner later like I do (because of my commute I can’t start prepping dinners until about 7pm most nights), you might want to consider taking your night time snack as an afternoon snack for between lunch and dinner. I’ve found that I’m really hungry around 3-4pm and need something to hold me over so I’m eating my morning snack

 

Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge Prep

Week 1 haul

I’ll admit, when I saw the headline for the Buzzfeed Food Clean Eating Challenge I thought it was satire. I didn’t even click through. Later a friend mentioned that the recipes actually looked pretty good, so I gave it a second look.

Though the lengthy shopping lists and daily instructions seem a bit daunting at first, I was glad to see every detail of how to logistically follow the challenge laid out in full (i.e. prep this today, defrost that, etc.).

Be prepared to spend A LOT up front ($160+). We had many expensive ingredients already on hand, like chia seeds and flax seeds, and it still cost an arm and a leg.
Clean out your fridge in advance because you are going to need the room. I wish I’d taken a pick of the packed shelves before I started the meal prep!

Shopping:
I did most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s (that’s our usual store so we were headed there anyways). I ended up making a separate trip to Whole Foods and Meijer for the remaining vegetables that either were not available, didn’t look good or were too much in quantity at TJ’s ( I had to go to Meijer’s because Whole Foods was out of Arugala, apparently that’s a hot item on Mother’s day). If you don’t mind the price tag, you could do your full shopping trip at Whole Foods and avoid the running around. We also had a number of ingredients already in the house. Be sure to take stock before you leave to save yourself the money (and space!).

Prep:
There is a bit of extra food prep on day 1 to get all of the smoothies frozen ingredients bagged up, and if you are going to need to pack your next day lunches to take with you, I recommend you start earlier in the day to prep, not 9pm. If you have any evening plans during the week you may want to pre-make or prep the ingredients for those as well.

Links:
The plan-

  • The full plan and links to each day and the printables here
  • Printable plan with instructions and recipes here

Shopping lists-

  • Week 1 shopping list here
  • Week 2 Shopping list here

Daily Instructions (instructions without images are included in the printable plan as well)-

I started on Monday (the plan starts on Sunday) so I’m just shifting each day forward one. So far so good!

Wish me luck! After just shopping and prepping I’m already a little nervous about what I’ve gotten myself into. If you’ve tried a challenge like this before or are doing it now too, or eat like this on a regular basis (look at you, super star!!), please comment with any tips or tricks for staying on top of it all.

Now let’s just see if I can go two weeks cranking meals out like this. The eating isn’t the hard part, it’s definitely the prep time.

Cheers!

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