Dietitian’s Guide to Clean Eating |

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.


Happy New Year Everyone!

I’m sure you all have plenty of New Year’s resolutions on your mind! Remember it’s better to pick one or two that you will work hard to maintain throughout the year rather than several that you will do for just a couple weeks. Don’t overwhelm yourself and know that every positive change, no matter how small, is of benefit to you and your health!
This year I’m sure many of you are focusing on clean eating. This term has become so trendy and overused and unfortunately also incorrectly used. Everyone seems to have his or her own definition of what it means.

As a registered dietitian, clean eating means to eat a well-balanced diet, with the proper portions of each and every food group. This includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. It really is that simple. There are no miraculous pills, shakes, drinks, or cleansing tablets, and no, coconut oil is not a part of clean eating. It is 92% saturated fat, which is the fat that increases our total cholesterol. And there is no reason to cut out or limit an entire food group. Our bodies need carbs, proteins, and fats. I will focus on the right types of foods within each of these categories. We also what to eat as much whole food as possible, meaning the less processed the better. That allows for lower sodium and lower added sugars that provide no nutrient value in our diets. Also to eat clean doesn’t mean to eat only raw produce items. Cooking will not kill the nutrients; in fact it can enhance the bioavailability of some nutrients. Bottom line: eat a variety of foods in all the food groups cooked and prepared in a variety of ways without added sugar and sodium… BOOM! Not as complicated as they make it!

See the information and blog links below for a more in depth definition on how to make the best choices within each food group.


Protein is an important component of our diet as it is an important component in every cell of the body. It is required for structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. It promotes:

  • Growth
  • Tissue Repair
  • Immune Function-Antiobodies
  • Hormones/ Enzymes
  • Hair, Skin growth
  • DNA Synthesis
  • Building of Lean Muscle Mass

The average person only needs about a bout 10-15% of our daily caloric intake should from Protein At MOST 1gram/kg body weight. Did you know our body can only absorb about 25 grams of protein at a time; the rest is excreted out of our bodies through urine. If this is too high of a level and happening frequently it can cause damage to our kidneys. So be sure to stick to proper portions of protein. A typical serving is about 3 ounces per meal. Here are sources of protein:

  • —      Meat
  • —      Seafood
  • —      Soy
  • —      Tempeh, Miso, Soy milk, Soybeans, Soy nuts, edamame, tofu
  • —      Eggs
  • —      Dairy
  • —      Beans/Lentils
  • —      Nuts
  • —      Nut butters
  • —      Whole grains
  • —      Protein Supplements (Most Americans get enough protein and do not need to supplement)

Chicken Avocado Salad

Check out this delicious recipe for a Chicken and Avocado Salad, which covers your proteins in an ultra healthy way as well as whole grains, healthy fats, dairy and vegetables!


Chicken-Avocado Salad
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. 100 % Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp. Sherry Vinegar
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Cooked Bulgur
  • 2 Oz. Roasted Chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Avocado, sliced
  • 6 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 T. Feta Cheese
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  1. Combine olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Toss bulgur with chicken.
  3. Top with avocado and cherry tomato halves.
  4. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
  5. Drizzle dressing over bulgur mixture; toss gently to coat.
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Covers Protein, Whole Grain, Healthy Fat, Dairy and Vegetables


Ground Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad covers proteins, vegetables and dairy servings. It is a very unique spin on a normal taco salad and it is extremely healthy, especially if you load it up with all your favorite healthy veggies!


Ground Turkey Taco Salad
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
  • 1 Lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1 Pck. Low Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans
  • 6 Cups Lettuce, chopped
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
  • Options: Salsa and Fat Free Sour Cream
  1. Brown turkey in a large skillet.
  2. Drain off any excess grease.
  3. Add taco seasoning, water and pinto beans.
  4. Cover and let simmer 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, chop lettuce and tomato.
  6. Serve meat and bean mixture over lettuce and top with tomato, cheese, salsa and sour cream.
Covers Protein, Vegetables and Dairy


Lemon Grilled Salmon

Lemon Garlic Salmon is simple recipe that goes from pan to table in just several minutes, which is wonderful for the time savers out there. Simple salmon fillets are sautéed in browned butter and garlic, while lemon juice adds a zesty finish. Serve with a hearty salad or along couscous or quinoa for a healthy and delicious dinner. Salmon is already ridiculously healthy, so this variety covers proteins perfectly!


Lemon Garlic Salmon
  • 2 T. Light Butter
  • 2 tsp. Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. No-Salt Added Lemon Pepper
  • 2 6 Oz. Salmon Fillets
  • 1-2 tsp. Lemon Juice, to taste
  1. In small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until garlic becomes aromatic.
  2. Season both sides of salmon filets with lemon pepper and place in pan.
  3. Cook salmon until the steaks easily flake when tested with a fork. Make certain to flip the fillets midway through cooking to brown on each side.
  4. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
  5. Serve.
Covers Protein



Here is some information on grains from one of my old blogs:

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Check out this delicious recipe below and learn how you can make delicious Banana Oatmeal Pancakes at home! They cover not only the grain section, but also the fruit and healthy fat section as well!


Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
Serves: 16
  • 2 Cups 100% Whole Wheat Pancake Mix
  • 1 Large Banana, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  1. Prepare batter according to package directions.
  2. Stir in the banana, oats and walnuts.
  3. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray.
  4. Turn when bubbles form on top.
  5. Cook until the second side is golden brown.
Serving size: 2 Pancakes Calories: 155 Fat: 4 grams Sodium: 293 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams Protein: 7 grams Cholesterol: 0
Covers Fruit, Whole Grain and Healthy Fat

No Bake Energy Bars are wonderful for on the go or  active people. It makes a great snack and it is much healthier to create your own instead of buying them. Plus, no bake is always a wonderful aspect! If you are an extremely active person and you want to supplement in you protein, feel free to add protein powder to the recipe!


No Bake Energy Bars
  • 1 Cup of Oatmeal (dry)
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter, Almond Butter or Sunbutter
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1/2 Cup Chia Seed
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (dark chocolate mini chips are best)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Optional: Add powdered protein
  1. Mix everything in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut into bars to the size desired.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!
Covers Whole Grain and Healthy Fat


Whole Grain Veggie Pizza

Pizza is delicious, and what better way to feel good about eating pizza than for it to be healthy! Whole Grain Vegetable Pizza is great because it has 4 times the amount of fiber a white bread pizza crust has. The average American consumers about half of the recommended amount of fiber needed daily and only about 10% of Americans are meeting that recommendation. Check out the recipe below and learn how a homemade pizza can help you cover the Whole Grain and Vegetable categories.


Whole Grain Vegetable Pizza
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 9
  • 1 100% Golden Home whole grain ultra thin pizza crust
  • 1 Can (15 Oz.) Hunt’s No Salt Added Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Can (14.5 Oz.) Hunt’s No Salt Added Stewed Tomatoes, drained and squeezed
  • 2 Cups (8 Oz.) Crystal Farms Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Can Hormel No Salt Added Canned Chicken Breast
  • 1 T. Garlic Powder
  • 1 T. Oregano
  • Olive Oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly brush crust with olive oil and bake 3-5 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.
  3. Mix in medium sized mixing bowl Hunt’s no added salt tomato sauce, garlic powder, & oregano and spread evenly over pizza.
  4. Top with cheese, fresh mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and chicken.
  5. Place on baking sheet and bake 8-12 minutes or until cheese is melted
Covers Whole Grain, Dairy and Vegetables



Fat is essential for our bodies and it is not “bad.” It is important for energy, nutrient absorption, insulation, and the protection of our organs. Did you know without the presence of fat we cannot absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K? We want to make sure we are choosing the right types of fat. We want to limit saturated fat as this can raise our cholesterol levels and opt for the unsaturated fat such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated options and we want a variety of these healthy fats as that provides the best overall nutrition. We should focus more on the type of fat that the amount of fat we are consuming each day.

Healthy fats include unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated, these include:

  • Soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil (Omega 6)
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout (Omega 3)
  • Nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds, tofu and soybeans.
  • Tofu and other forms of soybeans.
  • Flaxseed/chia seeds

And mononunsated, which includes:

  • —      Plant-based liquid oils such as: olive canola, peanut, safflower, high oleic sunflower, and sesame
  • —      Avocados
  • —      Peanut butter
  • —      Nuts and seeds

Avoid trans fats at all cost. Trans fats are to be removed from the American food supply by Jan of 2018 because of how detrimental they are to our health. They increase our total cholesterol levels, increase our bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower our good cholesterol levels (HDL). Be sure the ingredient list doesn’t contain any partially hydrogenated oils, if it does there is trans fats in the product even if the label says “0” grams, yes this is currently legal.

Here is a simple Chicken Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe! It covers the healthy fats, whole grain, vegetables and proteins section and it is truly delicious.


Chicken Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
  • [b]Chicken[/b]
  • 2 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, grilled or sautéed and thinly sliced
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 3 T. Soy Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated, or 1/4 tsp. Dried Ginger Powder
  • 1/2 T. Sesame Oil
  • [b]Wrap[/b]
  • 2 heads of Boston, Bib or Butter Lettuce
  • 2 1/2 Cups cooked Quinoa (*see notes below on how I made it)
  • 1 medium or 3 small Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 2 medium Carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 bunch of fresh Cilantro
  • [b]Peanut Dipping Sauce[/b]
  • 3/4 Cup Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger dressing
  • 2 T. Creamy Peanut Butter (microwave 30 sec if peanut butter refrigerated)
  • 1/3 Cup chopped peanuts, optional topping
  1. In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients of your marinade: 2 T. olive oil, 3 T. soy sauce, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (or 1/4 tsp dried ginger powder) and 1/2 T. sesame oil.
  2. Place chicken breast in a medium bowl, add marinade and stir to coat the chicken evenly.
  3. Refrigerate for 20 minutes (prep your veggies in the mean time).
  4. Once chicken is marinated, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the chicken along with some of the oil in the marinade and sauté until caramelized and browned on both sides and fully cooked.
  5. If chicken breasts are very large, you might cover with the lid when sautéing the second side for the chicken to cook through.
  6. Remove from heat and let chicken breasts rest on a cutting board 5 minutes before cutting into it, then slice into thin strips on the diagonal.
  7. [b]For Dipping Sauce[/b]
  8. Combine 3/4 cup sesame ginger dressing with 2 T. creamy peanut butter and whisk together or shake together in a tupperware with a tight fitting lid. Transfer to a small bowl and top with chopped peanuts if using.
  9. [b]Serving Suggestions:[/b]
  10. Place all prepared vegetables on a platter: lettuce, sliced cucumbers, sliced carrots and sprigs of cilantro.
  11. Add your bowls of chicken, quinoa, and peanut sauce to the serving platter.
  12. You can either pre-assemble the lettuce wraps or let your hungry folks assemble their own (my favorite method!). Start with the lettuce leaf, add a heaping Tbsp of cooked quinoa, a strip or two of chicken breast, sliced cucumber and carrots along with a couple sprigs of cilantro.
  13. Drizzle with prepared creamy peanut sauce and be prepared to love this.
[b]Cooking Quinoa[/b][br]Rinse quinoa in a fine colander until water runs clear to get rid of any natural bitterness. Quinoa is cooked similar to rice. The ratio is 3/4 cup dry quinoa to 1 1/2 cups filtered water. I cooked mine in the rice maker on the white rice setting without adding any salt or butter and it was done after about 20 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a bowl to cool. You want it to be room temp or cooler before using in lettuce wraps.[br][br]Covers Healthy Fat, Whole Grain, Vegetables and Protein


Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

The next healthy fat recipe is Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. This Salad also covers your protein and vegetable categories.


Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Can (15 oz.) Garbanzos, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Can (15 oz.) Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, diced
  • 6 Lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Celery, finely chopped
  1. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, parsley, garlic and pepper.
  2. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil.
  3. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the beans and onion.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and toss gently to mix well and coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate until served.
  6. To serve, put 1 lettuce leaf on each plate.
  7. Divide the salad among the individual plates and garnish with chopped celery. Serve immediately.
Covers Healthy Fat, Protein and Vegetables


This Olive Oil and Lemon Salad Dressing is the perfect way your body can get the healthy fats it needs!


Olive Oil and Lemon Salad Dressing
Author: Coborn’s
Serves: 75 Servings (1 tsp. each)
  • 8 Cloves Garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  1. Mix all ingredients into a container with securable lid.
  2. Tighten lid.
  3. Shake vigorously until olive oil and lemon juice blend into one, after about 1 minute of shaking.
  4. Spread over fresh spinach or any shredded salad greens!
Add this dressing to any shredded salad greens. This dressing would complement a Greek style salad; add tomatoes, red onions, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, sesame sticks, toasted walnuts, low fat feta cheese, and lemon wedges. [br][br]Covers Healthy Fats


Fruits and Vegetables

Here are some links for more information on Fruits and Vegetables:

Groovy Smoothie

Here is a delicious smoothie recipe that will meet your fruit and veggie requirements all in one!


Groovy Smoothie
  • 1 Cup Kale (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice, no added sugar
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Cup Frozen Berries
  1. Put all ingredients in the blender in the order shown above.
  2. Pulse and blend until desired consistency.
  3. Please note a serving is 8 Oz. at most.
Fruits and Vegetables


And finally we will conclude with Dairy. Dairy is an important part of our diet and the USDA dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that we consume a serving of dairy at every meal; this could be milk, yogurt, or cheese. Try to avoid heavy whipping creams and other creams based products as your serving of dairy as these are high in saturated fat and don’t have much nutritional value.

Dairy products tend to be good sources of calcium and sometimes vitamin D. Milk has both and yogurt can as well, so check that label, however cheese doesn’t typically have vitamin D. We want to make sure our dairy products are low fat, because the type of fat in dairy is saturated. This again is the type of fat that we want to limit as it can increase our cholesterol levels putting us at risk for heart disease. I definitely recommend drinking plain milk as opposed to chocolate due to the added sugars in chocolate milk and be sure that the yogurt option you choose is either plain or lower in sugar. To sweeten it add fruit, fresh, frozen or dried! As for the cheese make sure it is low fat such as mozzarella and watch that added sodium; Swiss cheese is the lowest in sodium.

Mashed Cauliflower covered in delicious cheese and skim or almond milk is a yummy way to get your dairy and veggies covered. This is so tasty you’ll forget  you’re even eating something so good for you!


Mashed Cauliflower
Author: Coborn’s
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 3 T. Skim Milk or Almond Milk
  • 1 T. Light Butter
  • 2 T. Light Sour Cream or Fat Free Yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Snipped Chives
  1. Separate the cauliflower into florets and chop the core finely.
  2. Bring about 1 cup of water to a simmer in a pot, then add the cauliflower.
  3. Cover and turn the heat to medium.
  4. Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender.
  5. Drain and discard all of the water (the drier the cauliflower is, the better) and add the milk, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and mash with a masher until it looks like mashed potatoes.
  6. Top with chives.
Covers Dairy and Vegetables


Supreme Grilled Cheese

Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are for all the kids at heart out there. Not only is this a great way to get a little bit of dairy in your diet, but these sandwiches also have whole grains and vegetables! Feel free to swap out the veggies for a different favorite, such as tomatoes!


Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • 1 Cup Peppers, red yellow or green
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 8 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
  • 1 Cup Spinach Leaves, rinsed
  • 4 Slices of any Cheese (Lowest in sodium is swiss!)
  • Non-Stick Spray
  1. Slice onion and peppers very thin.
  2. Lay out 8 slices of bread and spread lightly with butter.
  3. Add in layers of the spinach leaves, peppers, pinions and a slice of cheese.
  4. Heat skillet to medium low.
  5. Lay sandwiches in skillet.
  6. Cover with plate, lid or aluminum foil.
  7. Heat sandwiches until cheese melts (about 2-3 minutes) or until the bottom is golden brown.
  8. Serve warm.
Covers Dairy, Whole Grain and Vegetables

Cheers to a new year of happy and healthy eating! Follow Coborn’s on twitter for links to some recipes as well as a daily clean eating tip now through January 31st!

Peace and Wellness,


Coborn’s Registered Dietitian


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