We can't be the only ones that go completely off the rails with our eating over the summer ... right? You'd think that with all this extra time we have, we'd be cooking more and eating better! But honestly, the last thing we want to do is spend time in the kitchen after these long, lazy summer days. So it's been a lot of easy and quick meals, which are always the healthiest. Plus s'mores and wine. But now that summer is winding down, we're looking to get back into a good groove. So we rounded up some of the best clean-eating recipes we could find to share!
Now, before you balk at getting your kids to eat healthy, hear us out - these aren't your typical clean-eating recipes. These are recipes designed for the whole family, from parents to even the pickiest of eaters. Eating clean doesn't have to mean sacrificing flavor and variety! Plus, so many of these are simple recipes that won't take a lot of time to prepare. Which we know is KEY once school starts back up and everyone is pressed for time! So fire up your meal planner and start taking notes - these clean-eating recipes will quickly become part of your regular family meal routine.
Chicken nuggets - what kid doesn't love chicken nuggets?! Come to think of it, are there adults who don't love them, too?! They're one of those easy-to-please staples every parent has on their menu. But we don't love some of the ingredients or the oil used for frying. Which is why we're digging this recipe for baked herbed chicken nuggets from AllRecipes. It calls for a mixture of bread crumbs and wheat germ for the breading, plus all kinds of yummy herbs and spices in the breading. Plus, baking cuts down on the use of oil, and make this a winning clean-eating recipe.
There's nothing like a short stack of fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning, right? But when you're trying to eat clean, they probably aren't the best choice. So opt for these banana pancakes from Happy Healthy Mama instead! No need to sacrifice your big weekend breakfasts (or any flavor!) with these delicious cakes. These banana pancakes are gluten and dairy-free, and are made with oats and mashed up ripe bananas. The addition of spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and even a bit of sugar (or artificial sweetener) will make these delicious pancakes a clean-eating favorite in no time.
We don't want to live in a world without pizza. But luckily, there are plenty of clean-eating recipes that show us we don't have to do that! Kids LOVE pizza, and it's probably already a regular part of your dinner rotation. So keep everyone happy and go clean with this recipe for cauliflower pizza crust from PureWow. The crust is make with cauliflower, eggs, cheese, and spices. It bakes up nice and crisp, but still has that chew that makes a good pizza crust! Make a couple ahead of dinner and have a Make Your Own (Clean) Pizza night.
Tacos are right up there with pizza on our list of favorite foods. But as we've seen with some of these clean-eating recipes so far, eating better doesn't mean you have to sacrifice some of your favs! These lentil tacos from Allrecipes are a great swap-out for your traditional taco nights. The filling uses brown or green lentils instead of meat, and the spice mix (cumin, ancho chile powder, coriander, oregano, salt, and fennel seed) means your clean filling will taste just like a traditional taco. Top with whatever you like - we always go for guacamole and salsa!
If you could make a list of the most comforting home-cooked meals, spaghetti and meatballs would probably be right at the top. But when you're eating clean, the usual just won't do! So take your pasta night to new levels of healthy with this recipe for zucchini spaghetti and gluten-free turkey meatballs from Inspiralized. The zucchini spirals replace traditional pasta and give this normally heavy meal a lightness that everyone will love. And the turkey meatballs are made without any breadcrumbs - just ground turkey and yummy herbs and spices. Use your favorite jarred sauce to make it an easy meal!
Breakfast for dinner, or brinner, is one of our all-time favorite things to make. But sometimes you want something a little more savory - and maybe just a bit cleaner and healthier! Enter the waffled falafel from Allrecipes. Making your own falafel is actually super simple; just throw some garbanzo beans, egg whites, onion, herbs, and spices into a food processor. But instead of frying or baking them in balls like traditional falafel, put the batter in your waffle maker and whip up some of these delicious Mediterranean waffles by adding tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, or tzatziki sauce.
Image: Damn Delicious
Egg salad is easy, delicious, and packed with protein. But if you're looking to eat clean, the traditional egg salad might need some tweaks. This egg salad from Damn Delicious is made with Greek yogurt instead of a lot of mayo, so it's a healthier, lighter version of the picnic favorite. Throw some on a baguette for an egg salad sandwich, or make a batch to put in lunches for the week.
It never fails - you get home after a long day of work/parenting/driving your kids around, and you find yourself in the kitchen scrambling to find something to make for dinner. No one wants to do take-out every night, so having some stuff in your freezer is key! And what freezes better than pasta sauce?! This clean pasta sauce from Allrecipes is perfect for busy nights. The sauce is made with ground beef (but you could easily sub turkey or make it vegan and omit the meat), zucchini, canned crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, and lots of yummy herbs and spices. Thaw some out, throw it on some zucchini noodles or whole wheat pasta, and get those hungry kiddos fed!
We LOVE zoodles (zucchini noodles), but sometimes you want something besides zoodles and red sauce, you know? And we know how often kids decide that they suddenly don't like something, even though they loudly declared it to be their favorite meal a week ago. So this zoodle stir-fry recipe from PureWow is perfect in that regard - it's an exciting twist on a classic, but clean! The best part is, you can totally use this as your kitchen sink or fridge clean-out meal. Throw in all the veggies that are about to turn, whatever meat you have thawed, and voila! A healthy, delicious dinner for everyone.
Granola bars are a great on-the-go snack for busy families. Just toss one in your bag and stave off the hangry meltdown when it hits! But if you're trying to eat clean, or your family has some dietary restrictions you need to work around, store-bought granola bars aren't an option. These oat-free and gluten-free granola bars from Allrecipes are a great substitute! They're made with almonds, sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut, and dried apricots (or whatever dried fruit tickles your pickle), and they use honey instead of refined sugars. Make a big batch and stick them in the freezer for grab-and-go!
Nothing says summer like firing up the grill and cooking dinner outside! But if you've had your fill of hamburgers and hot dogs already, you might be looking for cleaner, lighter versions of your favorite grill foods. These summer chicken burgers from Allrecipes are just the ticket! The boneless, skinless chicken breasts are seasoned with just salt and pepper, and you can even cook the onions right on the grill in a cast iron skillet. Skip the mayo and opt for Greek yogurt on your whole wheat bun to make them even healthier.
Image: Oh My Veggies
Let's be honest - after the first week of school when you have your ish together enough to make breakfast every morning, you're going to want something grab-and-go. As important as starting off the day with a solid breakfast is, that extra 20 minutes of sleep is nice. So make a big batch of these apple and cottage cheese muffins from Oh My Veggies at the start of the week! They're packed with apples and protein (from the cottage cheese), and they're an easy and quick breakfast on those hectic mornings. If you want to omit the sugar in the muffin and topping, use honey or Stevia instead.
Image: Ambitious Kitchen
It's almost time to head back to school, so you know what that means: it's almost Crock Pot season! Nothing beats tossing a bunch of ingredients into your Crock Pot in the morning and coming home to a delicious and filling meal after a long day. But you don't have to sacrifice your clean-eating ways for convenience with clean-eating recipes like this white chicken chili from Ambitious Kitchen. The recipe calls for pre-cooked shredded chicken, but you can use raw skinless and boneless chicken breasts in the CP. The creaminess comes from a can of blended chickpeas added to the chili.
Image: The Clean Eating Couple
Give us all the zoodles, seriously. We love them! But sometimes, you need pasta. Actual, carby pasta. That's just the way it is! But the good news is, you don't have to completely derail your clean-eating ways to satisfy that craving. This recipe for healthy baked ziti from The Clean Eating Couple uses whole wheat pasta and ground turkey, but doesn't skimp on the cheese. And the best part is this recipe is super easy! You can definitely make this ahead of time and pop it into the freezer for a hearty and healthy weeknight dinner.
Image: Eating Well
Part of the fun of clean-eating recipes is finding the ones that still allow you to indulge your cravings and give your kiddos what they love. It's not easy, we know! So when you find a good recipe, you hold tight to it. And you are going to want to hang onto this recipe for pineapple "nice" cream from Eating Well. It doesn't call for any added sugar, and the best part is you don't need an ice cream maker! Just combine frozen pineapple and mango in your food processor, then add a squeeze of lime juice. Serve immediately or store in the freezer for a sweet treat.
Image: The Seasoned Mom
What kid doesn't love popcorn?! OK, we'll admit, we've got a soft spot for it too. Popcorn is such an easy snack, and is required for movie nights, right? But you don't always want to stand at the stove moving the pan around while the kernels pop, and while microwave popcorn is easy, there's a lot of definitely NON-clean stuff in those bags. So this recipe for clean, healthy, EASY microwave popcorn from The Seasoned Mom is a must-try. All you need is popcorn kernels and a plain paper lunch bag - 1/4 cup of kernels in a bag takes just a minute in the microwave! Season with whatever you want when it's done.
Image: Yummy Mummy Club
Let's be real - some of these clean-eating recipes are just a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more veggies. And there is nothing wrong with that! We could probably all stand to eat more vegetables, and hiding them in foods we love is what we have to do sometimes. So that's why these sneaky cheesy cauli-tots from Yummy Mummy Club should be a part of your regular dinner rotation! They use shredded cauliflower, cheddar cheese, and cornmeal, and they're baked in mini muffin tins. You won't even miss potatoes after popping a couple of these cheesy tots into your mouth.
Soup is one of those things that everyone loves, and it can be really simple to throw together! Again, these clean-eating recipes are really about healthy meals that your whole family will love, but that won't have you slaving away in the kitchen for hours. Because no one has time for that! This marinara soup from The Seasoned Mom can be ready in just 20 minutes, and it's full of good stuff like carrots and beans. It's made using jarred marinara sauce, so it's so easy! And you can add pasta or more veggies if you want. Would be delicious with some cheesy cauli-tots, just sayin'.
Image: Half Baked Harvest
Sometimes we see a recipe and think that the whole clean-eating thing has completely jumped ship. And we will admit - making brownies with avocado had us scratching our heads. And then ... we tried them. And holy cow, you guys! YOU CAN MAKE BROWNIES WITH AVOCADO! This recipe for fudge avocado brownies from Half Baked Harvest will totally blow your mind, we promise. The avocado is used in place of butter, and the brownies are made with almond meal or almond flour and coconut sugar. We're telling you, they're delicious - gooey and fudge and rich, and you would never know you were eating a brownie made with AVOCADO.
Have you tried jackfruit yet? We'll admit, we were skeptical at first, too. How in the world could this weird fruit replace some of our favorite meats?! Sorcery, we tell you! But once we tried it, we were hooked. The tangy tropical fruit is an amazing substitute for pork or chicken in some of our favorite recipes. And it comes fresh, canned, or frozen, so there are definitely easy options for incorporating it into your dinner rotations! We love it in tacos, and this recipe for jackfruit tacos with grilled pineapple from PureWow is a great place to start if you're new to jackfruit. The jackfruit shreds up like pulled pork, and the whole shebang comes together in about 30 minutes. Leave the cheese off to make them vegan!
Image: Minimalist Baker
These clean cookies are like the unicorn of clean-eating desserts: they're healthy, super simple, delicious, and require ZERO baking. You read that right - no baking! We all have a sweet tooth every once in a while, but there's no reason to abandon your clean-eating ways when the mood strikes. These no-bake coconut cookies from Minimalist Baker are chocolately, peanut buttery, the perfect balance of crunchy and gooey, and they can be made vegan and gluten-free. And we repeat: NO BAKING. Gotta love an easy and clean cookie recipe.
When you become a parent, cooking becomes less about trying something new every night and more about stretching your dollar and time. Who has time to make a different meal every single night?! Give us two or three things we can make in large batches and reheat, repurpose, and freeze the rest of the week. These chicken spinach meatballs from Allrecipes are perfect for that. Use as your main protein, on pasta night, in soups, and then toss some in your kid's lunches. They use ground chicken and are full of lots of good veggies. And cheese. Lots of cheese.
If you've got some chicken and a bunch of veggies in the fridge you need to use, why not just throw them all together and roast them into golden, delicious perfection? We're such fans of one pan meals. They're easy and don't require much work, which means they're perfect for busy weeknights. This one pan chicken and veggies recipe from irealfood is clean-eating at its easiest. Just chop up a bunch of hearty veggies (think sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and peppers), cut up some boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs, toss them lightly in olive oil, and season to your liking. Then pop them in the oven, and you've got dinner and plenty leftover for lunches!
OK, yes, cauliflower rice isn't exactly like real rice. We know, we know! But you know what? It's a decent substitute, and if you're eating clean, it's the best you're going to get. Plus it's a great way to get those veggies in everyday. This cauliflower fried rice recipe from PureWow is easy (especially if you use pre-riced cauliflower!), and you can totally customize it to your liking. Use up all those veggies in the fridge, add some more protein in the form of chicken or tofu, whatever you want! Serve with a fried egg and plenty of sriracha, obviously.
Fajitas are, hands down, our favorite thing to order when we eat out at a Mexican restaurant. There's just something so exciting about your food being walked out in a sizzling skillet, and being able to eat it however you want. But making fajitas at home can be tricky, what with the smoke alarms and whatnot. So skip the fire hazard and make these clean one pan chicken fajitas from Eating Well. Sliced chicken breast, red and yellow peppers, and onions, tossed in just a bit of olive oil and seasoned with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt, roasted to perfection in the oven. Serve with tortillas, and use the leftovers in a fajita salad the next day.
And we're not exactly mad about it! Cauliflower is tasty, and super versatile. Take these cauliflower sweet potato burgers from PureWow. We'd have never thought to turn riced cauliflower and boiled sweet potatoes into a burger, but this recipe has us running out to get a few bags of frozen riced cauliflower and sweet taters! These veggie burgers break the curse of dry, flavorless veggie patties, too. They're moist, full of flavor, and get a nice crust when pan-fried (but you can bake them too if you want to cut down on the oil).
Image: Foodie Crush
A big part of clean-eating is meal prep; you don't want to be caught unprepared after a busy day, scrambling to pull something together. That's why we love the clean-eating recipes that allow you to do the bulk of the work ahead of time, and just assemble with very little work at dinnertime. These slow-cooker teriyaki chicken bowls from Foodie Crush are awesome. Using their recipe for slow-cooker teriyaki chicken that you can make ahead, you can quickly stir-fry some whatever veggies you have in the fridge, and serve them with the chicken over rice. Or better yet, make a big batch of cauliflower fried rice at the beginning of the week, and just heat and serve together.
Nachos are pretty much the perfect food, but they're not really what we'd consider clean-eating. But they can be! With a little creativity, you can adapt most of your favorite foods to fit in your new healthy lifestyle, and nachos don't have to get the boot. This recipe for loaded sweet potato nacho fries from Eating Well swaps the tortilla chips for sweet potato spears, but clearly doesn't skimp on any of the other tasty additions that make nachos so yummy. Add beans, veggies, and the protein of your choice.
Are you getting tired of using cauliflower in place of ... well, everything? We get it! It's good stuff, but even too much of a good thing can be too much. But don't let cauliflower burnout derail your clean-eating habits! Opt for a recipe like this chicken quinoa fried rice from Eating Well and stay on track. This is perfect if your clean-eating means cutting back on carbs and upping your protein intake, as quinoa is really high in protein. Once again, use whatever veggies you have at your disposal (you can even use frozen veg and make your quinoa ahead of time to keep it simple and quick).
Clean and easy - that's the name of the game! One pan, one skillet, make ahead, whatever gets you out of the kitchen and sitting down to a healthy, delicious meal with your family in less time, right? This recipe for Tex Mex skillet sweet potatoes from ifoodreal takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, so you could totally whip this up on a weeknight! Save the leftovers for breakfast hash in the morning, with a fried egg on top.