Fitness expert and competitive figure model Melissa Transou responds:
A “clean” diet isn’t a quick-fix diet–it’s a lifestyle diet. Unlike most diets, a clean diet doesn’t involve intense restriction or going hungry. You don’t have to avoid any particular food groups.
Eating clean means consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains. A good goal is to aim for 55% complex carbs, 27% lean protein and 18% healthy fats each day.
Meals should consist of five to six small meals, rather than the traditional three larger ones, consumed every two to three hours throughout the day. Each meal should include:
* Lean protein, such as chicken breasts, beans, salmon, tuna or eggs. (Click here for a list of 30 quality vegetarian sources of protein.)
Be sure to drink a minimum of eight cups of water each day, and don’t skip meals. Also, do your best to avoid processed foods, saturated fats, artificial sugars, sodas and juices containing sugar. Measuring portion size is also a good idea.
My favorite “clean” recipes:
- What’s for breakfast? How about a Spicy Almond Green Smoothie? Begin the day with kale power!
- Skip fattening Asian takeout during your lunch break and whip up this Vegan Coconut-Peanut Pad Thai.
- For dinner, this Pan-Seared Citrus Mahi is on the menu. Choose fresh, wild-caught fillets if possible.
You don’t have to be a top athlete to eat clean. It can support a healthy weight maintenance for anyone–and it’s great for overall health.
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.