If you’re on board with clean eating, you probably know that your protein and carbs shouldn’t be the star of the meal. The shining star on your plate should be your veggies! You can pretty much have unlimited veggies on a clean eating plan, just be careful not to douse them in olive oil (I’ll talk about this later on in the post). So here are a few of my favorite side dishes that compliment any meal.
Sweet Potatoes: these have quickly become one of my favorite meal staples. Sweet potatoes are considered a good carbohydrate, have betacartotene and potassium to aid in recovery from your workouts. They also have manganese which is great for healthy muscle function. You can mash or bake them, or turn them into healthy sweet potato fries. Don’t ruin the nutritional value by using butter on them. If I need a little flavor, I’ll add 1/4 teaspoon or less of cinnamon to my portion.
Black Beans: These have fiber-rich carbs, protein and antioxidants. The protein and antioxidants help fuel muscle recovery after a workout. You can eat them warmed up, or in a side like this Black Bean Salad:
- 2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 15 oz corn, drained
- 1 medium red pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup lime juice
combine beans, corn, pepper, and cilantro in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle lime juice while stirring, making sure it’s mixed in well. Cover and chill 1-2 hours before serving. Serves 8 half cup servings. 100 Calories.
Berries have high amounts of antioxidants and vitamins that helps stave off soreness from after a hard workout. Berries work great in Greek Yogurt.I also love plain berries lightly mixed with some granola (for my easy DIY granola recipe, click HERE).
Quinoa: a healthy carbohydrate that provides healthy muscle building protein. It also has the 8 amino acids your body needs to put protein to good use. I’ve loved this Garlic-Mushroom Quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)
- In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in quinoa until well combined.
- Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.
Roasted Veggies: This is my favorite way to eat vegetables! The flavor is amazing and most of the time you can roast your veggies at the same time your chicken is cooking. Chop a variety of veggies and put them in a baggie. This is where you have to be careful about using too much olive oil. I start with about 1 tablespoon or you can spray your veggies with an oil like PAM. Mix the veggies in the bag until they are evenly coated. I also might lightly sprinkle them with some garlic salt only about 1/4 tsp– again less is more! Put them on a tin-foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350 until done (usually about 20-30 minutes)
Cauliflower Rice: I love cauliflower! You can eat it raw, roast it, mash it, or use for cauliflower rice (my favorite!):
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- Grate cauliflower florets or pulse in a food processor until it resembles rice.
- Place grated cauliflower and water in a microwave-safe covered dish.
- Cook cauliflower in microwave on high until tender, about 7 minutes.
- Stir lime juice, cilantro into cooked cauliflower until well blended.
I hope you’ve found some healthy alternatives to use as sides that your entire family will love!