You might have the healthiest of intentions to eat acai bowls every morning and kale salads every night, but when you’re just rolling home from a workout at 10:00 p.m, sometimes the frozen (organic) pizza is awfully tempting. That’s why celebrity chef and author Candice Kumai wants to prove that eating clean can not only be easy, it’s always worth it (yes, even late at night).
“When you eat whole foods, you feel good, and when you feel good, your whole life starts to improve,” she swears. Kumai actually credits clean eating to clearing up her chronic acne, but she also believes it boosts your health and mood.
Her clean eating rules are super simple: “It’s a lifestyle that involves consuming real food as close to its most natural state as possible,” says Kumai, who just released a new cookbook Clean Green Eats (a follow-up to her Clean Green Drinks).
And because life can get in the way, she created a foolproof menu with all the recipes you’ll need for a nutritious, delicious clean eating day—complete with a decadent dessert. (Because after all, chocolate starts as a bean.)
Keep reading for your meal plan for a perfect day of clean eating.
Breakfast: The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie
1 frozen banana (or swap for 1 avocado to reduce sugar)
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
3/4 frozen blackberries
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp bee pollen
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 cup baby spinach
1 tsp spirulina powder (optional)
1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Snack: Cucumber Aloe Melon Juice
1 1/2 large cucumbers, unpeeled
3 Tbsp peeled aloe vera leaves
1/4 cup honeydew melon, sliced, rind removed
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 up fresh mint leaves
1. Put all the ingredients into a high-powered juicer and juice. Serve immediately.
Lunch: Lemon-Soy Edamame Barley Bowl
4 cups cooked pearl or hulled barley
1 1/2 cups shelled, organic edamame
2 cups wild baby arugula
2 blocks savory, baked, organic tofu (firm or extra-firm), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 ripe avocado, halved and thinly sliced
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, oregano, and lemon zest until well combined. Add slightly cooled cooked barley to the bowl and toss to coat.
2. Add the shelled edamame and arugula and toss gently to combine. To serve, divide the barley salad among four bowls and top with tofu and avocado slices.
Snack: Clean Green Herbed Cashews
1 lb raw cashews (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, plus 1 tsp, melted
2 Tbsp low-sodium tamari soy sauce
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp granulated garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp spirulina powder (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and pre-roast for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. To a medium bowl, add the melted unrefined coconut oil, tamari soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of the dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of the garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons of the dried dill and mix well to combine. Add the cooled nuts to the bowl and toss well to coat.
3. Transfer the nuts to the lined baking sheets and bake in the oven at 350˚F for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the nuts from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried dill, and the spirulina powder, if using.
5. Return the nuts to the oven for 2 additional minutes.
6. These nuts are delicious warm, but can also be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Dinner: Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad
1 kabocha squash, halved, quartered and thinly sliced into ½-inch moons
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups curly kale leaves, tough stems removed, finely chopped
1 Honeycrisp or Fuji apple, cored and sliced into 3/4 –inch pieces
1/4 cup raw pepitas
Apple cider vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large bowl, toss the squash slices with the olive oil until well coated. Spread the squash out in an even layer across the baking sheet, making sure each piece is touching the surface of the pan to ensure even browning. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, then flip the squash and roast for another 20 minutes on the opposite sides. When the squash is fork-tender, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
3. While the squash is roasting, make the salad: To a large bowl, add the apple cider vinaigrette, quinoa, and kale and toss gently to coat. Add the slightly cooled squash, apple slices, and pepitas to finish. Toss well to coat and serve immediately at room temperature.
4. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until well combined. Store the dressing in a resealable glass jar, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.
Dessert: Vegan Dark Chocolate-Avocado Cake
Coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray, for the cake pan
1 3/4 cups gluten- free flour
1 cup almond meal
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and mashed until smooth
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 Tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut a round parchment paper base for the bottom of the cake pan(s). Grease an 8- inch cake pan with coconut oil or olive oil spray, place the parchment paper round inside, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine the fully mashed avocado and granulated sugar. Slowly stir in the water, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
4. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until the avocado is completely smooth. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the baking soda and apple cider vinegar and let them fizz. Add to the final cake batter. Batter will be thick.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan, then transfer to a plate or cake stand.
6. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the confectioners’ sugar, chocolate-hazelnut butter, and cocoa powder until smooth. Slowly add the almond milk and continue beating until combined.
7. When the cake is completely cool, spread the icing evenly across the top and sides using an offset spatula.