The Eat Clean Diet

By Mike Howard

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The Eat-Clean Diet, by Tosca Reno, is physically beautiful… every page seems to leap up at you with an explosion of glossy pictures, colorful sidebars and pull quotes.

The information is laid out in a very reader-friendly way and speaks in a basic language that most will easily comprehend.


Beyond the book’s exceptional appearance though, I found the content rather unexceptional. It’s not that the information put forth isn’t sensible; it is just that it is devoid of a unique angle, twist or any hint of differentiation that separates it from other diet books (I know, I’m supposed to call it a “lifestyle”).

Under most circumstances, lack of originality is a minor transgression for me, but with such lofty claims as


…it raises my expectation levels.

So what is “Clean” Eating, anyway?

According to its author (Oxygen magazine columnist Tosca Reno) it means eating un-processed, whole foods whilst eschewing pre-packaged and processed sugar and fat-laden foods. Very good advice, and certainly effective when put into practice (as evidenced by the authors’ impressive transformation).

Besides this title Tosca also has several cookbooks available to aid in food choice.

Other than the obvious inclusion of fresh produce and the avoidance of processed foods, here are some of Reno’s guidelines (with my comments in parentheses):

  1. Eat 5-6 times per day (Good idea – not realistic for many)
  2. Each meal should be between 200-300 calories (this essentially makes it a low calorie diet as total calories would be between 1200-1800)
  3. Eat a complex carbohydrate with protein at every meal
  4. Drink at least 2L (8 cups) of water every day (not a bad idea if you are exercising daily)
  5. Never miss a meal, especially breakfast (Agree with the breakfast part but 6 meals per day make skipping the odd one almost inevitable)
  6. Avoid saturated and trans-fats (ouch… I’m leery of advice that lumps these 2 fats together)
  7. Stick to proper portion sizes (agree completely)

What I liked about the book:

Tosca Reno’s journey is very inspiring. She struggled in her personal life and has turned things around. There is useful information scattered throughout the book and a very good recipe, menu and super foods section.

Even if one weren’t able to follow all of the guidelines, one could get some good tips from it.

Less-than Desirable Aspects

  • The plan is very stringent. Eating clean foods consistently 6 times a day with minimal room for deviation would be daunting for most. Reno does broach the issue of cheat meals, but allows for only 1 meal a week. If you do the math on this, this is eating flawlessly over 97% of the time! Most experts recommend eating well 80% of the time (sometimes up to 90%).
  • The supplement section: Reno lists off 10 supplements that she believes will be effective in efforts to lose fat. She doesn’t explicitly recommend them all, but to take even half of these would cost a small fortune (especially with co-enzyme Q-10). She also made some fairly exaggerated claims on some of them. I was surprised to see Human Growth Hormone listed among the “supplements”.
  • I know it’s a diet book, but I would have liked to see a little more on exercise guidelines.

In the end, though I feel she falters where most other diet books do, which is glossing over the behavioral and psycho-social aspects of eating.

There is not much depth to the paramount importance of tackling why people overeat in the first place. Like most other plans, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

She also has published Eat Clean Recharged which includes even more clean eating guidelines.


  1. Liha

    In my own opinion I loved this book. I thought the simplicity of it made the facts sink in deeper, rather than trying to read chapter after chapter of statistics.
    I lost 7 lbs in the first week alone and I ate out one night and had 2 cocktails, which are a no-no. I can’t say I LOVED bacon and sausage, cheese, butter, sour cream etc…I did enjoy them, too often. I do LOVE cooking and grilling and that helps. I was already cooking most meals and packing my lunches for work daily, not eating out. It made me very conscious of how much olive oil I use, how much read mead, or complex carbs. I know share a sweet potato rather than buying the largest, just for me! I think its very lifestyle friendly, which is the whole idea. This isn’t temporary. I feel great.

  2. Ashley

    I have been following the Eat Clean Diet for a few months now and it’s definitely tough and expensive. Can you recommend a more realistic nutritiion lifestle plan? Thanks!

  3. Steph

    You mentioned that you feel this book by Tosca is “middle-of-the-road”, so I was wondering if there is a book, blog, or website you consider “top-of-the-heap” so to speak. :O)

    Great review, by the way, I felt it was objective with lots of great information!

  4. TC

    I have been following the Clean lifesyle via several friends for a few months now and 29 DEC I began mine. Today is 6 JAN – I decided to NOT weigh myself, and just concentrate on ‘how’ I feel, which is WONDERFUL! I have some medical issues that have been gradually getting worse, and sadly, it took finding the CORRECT MD to listen to me and when he did, and after testing was completed found I have Cushings – well, this way of eating is not going to make my weight go away however, I ‘feel’ better knowing that I am making myself as healthy as possible and getting ready for the radiation and/or surgery I will need to correct my condition.

    The hard part is telling yourself: I love ME and will take care OF me from this day forward.. the rest is easy.

    I have issues with eating constantly because my mind tells me: you are going to get bigger! but I am eating healthy, taking 4k of Vitamin C a day as well, and 1k of E & A as well as B6 & B12 – and with my daily walking, and yoga at night, my mood has improved. My family is thrilled!

    I look forward to planning the next days meals and it will ultimately help my family eat better as well, because what I make, they must eat as well.

    Try it – I am not shopping at organic stores – I just read the labels and choose accordingly. Some things you will need to buy at certain stores (clean peanut butter for one) but you can make many of the items you need as well. I truly am looking at this as a lifestyle, and cannot wait to see what New Years Eve 2011 will look like in the mirror 🙂

  5. Tiffany @

    I think part of the problem people have with “sticking to it”, is that they approach clean eating as a diet. They eat carrot sticks and a chicken breast and expect to be happy. While they may lose weight, they are typically really grouchy by day’s end, and frankly, they just won’t stick with it for very long at all.

    The thing with clean eating is, it’s really all about cooking differently.

    I firmly believe that 80-90% of your favorite recipes can be converted to a clean eating lifestyle. I convert my blog reader’s recipes all the time. It’s completely doable.

    It’s just that so many folks have become so dependent on ready-made foods, that they no longer know how to eat healthy, much less be successful at losing weight.

    I’ve been eating clean for about 3 years now, but didn’t really “knuckle down” and stick with it until about a year ago. That’s when I got serious about converting recipes, and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve lost 34 lbs since having my son 3 years ago. It’s slow, but I have other medical issues that factor into that as well.

    I have to say that I’ve never looked back. I have no desire to “cheat” because my body is getting all the nutrients it needs. There’s nothing left for it to crave.

    I think part of what is missing in the authors review, is that most Americans just don’t get it. They do NOT eat healthy or get the basics of simple and healthful eating. If they did, we wouldn’t have an obesity problem. This is new information for many folks out there.

    I will say however, that Tosca’s way of eating clean is not the ONLY way to eat clean. Jillian Michaels has her version, as does Bill Phillips. And then you have your average healthy eater who simply wants to clean the junk out of their diet, and they do. Tosca’s way is not the only way, but it’s getting the most attention at the moment. I personally feel that any book that helps people regain their health is fantastic, no matter what it’s shortcomings may or may not be.

  6. Monica Lunn

    I have read so many books about diets. This book is not a new break through on losing weight. Everyone knows or should know that prossed foods are bad. It is made to last a long time on the shelf, do you not think all these chemicals will affect your body in some way. Many books tell you to shop on the outside perrimitter of the grocery store which is where the freash natural stuff is. as far as suggesting growth hormones as a supplement, I don’t see where she figures this is natural and clean eating. This is just another diet book everyone will spend more money on when in reality healthy eating and exercise will help you accieve weight loss. Portion control is the key.

  7. terry huizar

    I just started this new way of eating and I’m having trouble letting go of my sugar cravings. I have been eating an apple a day plus two more fruits, but still this does not kill my sugar cravings. Ice cream has always been my downfall, and although I have not had it for over 1 week, I still crave it bad!
    Any suggestions?

  8. triathlete

    i agree with this program completely. it is common sense, but unfortunately common sense has become not-so common. think about how much of the grocery store is processed, artificial and has preservatives so it can stay on that shelf… most of the store is un-shoppable. i think that this has a huge influence on the whole issue of people losing sight of what a nutrient is. tosca makes a good point in this book – that produce section is usually the first thing we see when we walk into a store – we’re genetically inclined to be attracted to foods that have color, smell and different textures. but our lifestyle has taught us to go straight for bad foods, because our body has adapted to crave foods with little nourishment. times have changed as well, when there were fresh bakeries, butchers and produce stands that supported the community – all having healthy options. these are no more!

    this is a simple plan, really. it does take awhile to get into the plan, but you have to go all out at it to reap the benefits. i think people that don’t want to do this simply are still making excuses for their poor eating/lifestyle habits. they’re still looking for something that is easier, less change, maybe magical pill.

    i’ve lived that sentence right there as an athlete and i remained fat, tired and dragged myself to my workouts. i thought it all balanced out because i was working out for hours. calorie for calorie, nay – i was so wrong!! you get what you put in… good energy from smart food choices, time to prep good foods = good body, good energy levels, good life style. life is good & simple now. this has proven weight-loss results… isn’t that what people are looking for?

  9. Rebecca

    Hey Abie – eating 5 to 6 times per day is very important. Let me explain the difference with an example: If you have a fire burning and you want to stay warm…you would want to put wood on the fire 6 smaller times to keep it warm and consistent, where if you put it on 3 times you will have a big warm up and then once it’s burned off it may go out before you give it more wood.
    Think of your metabolism the same way. Over time, smaller meals will allow your metabolism to work (burn calories) continuously and more efficiently, rather than in a few small bursts and then potentially hanging on to the remaining food (wood) just encase it’s a while until you feed it again.

    If you eat less than 3 meals per day right now…then starting with 3 is an improvement and movement in the right direction, but 5 to 6 is really what you want to get to.

    I utilize Tosca’s books, and have found eating clean to be fantastic. I feel better, sleep better, my workouts and stamina have improved, and even when having a dessert (clean dessert) I don’t feel guilty. This LIFESTYLE of eating clean is very realistic and doable…and you do not need all of the supplements…they are merely suggestions and depend upon your physical and workout goals.

    Hope this helps!

  10. rachel

    as someone who has currently lost 39 pounds and still on it I fully support her book. It was hard in the beginning to eat that many times a day but now it is 2nd nature and I no longer wake up and do the middle of the night snack thing. I am a mom and work a full time job so it is possible!!! I was 270 lbs when I started and I am currently 231 and still dropping… So all I can say is it truely worked for me

  11. Suzie

    I disagree that a lot of this is common knowledge. I’ve been telling friends and coworkers about my new eating habits and half the time they don’t understand what a complex carb is, or why wheat bread you purchase in the bread isle at the grocery store most likely is not that good for you (have you ever looked at the labels? It’s terrible that they market it as healthy). I knew a lot of this information, but it was still hard for me to make the switch and dedicate myself to eating clean. Reading the book made something click for me which is what I needed to refocus my way of eating.

    In addition, I looked at this book over a year ago and I thought there was no way I was going to eat plain oatmeal, sweet potato or yogurt with no sugar and most of the foods recommended, so I put the book back. I have slowly made changes to my diet that has allowed my tasted buds to change which is why I picked up the book again last week and started officially eating clean. I would say this book was motivation for me with additional information of how to eat clean.

  12. Stac

    You said: “Remember, BMI and weight is obsolete.”
    I say: “I’m glad to see more people are starting to feel this way. I thought I was alone.”

  13. Angela

    I feel this diet plan is COMPLETELY realisitic! I agree some things may be more of a challenge than others but I have just started implementing what she says still cutting things out but I am eating about 5 times a day and am not hungry even cutting portions! I am a FT student and planning is really the key with this diet and she tells you that! Many other plans call for 5 meals a day so this is really not new info. Its actually the best way to eat altho takes some adpatation I agree. To me this is the best plan for me I have read and I have researched many other plans trying to find one that works!

  14. ki

    hey james you sound like you know your stuff! i could use a little more info on losing weight! do you have an e-mail address?!


  15. katie

    I absolutely LOVE Tosca and her books/magazine! I follow her advice every day, and it works! I am an overeater and I eat for emotional issues; I have learned that I don’t need to do that! There are better ways to channel my sadness and anger issues by talking to someone or confronting the problem and evaluating what it is I am getting so upset about that makes me it and is it worth it? I went from 180lbs at 5’4″ at 38% bodyfat down to 144lbs and 25% bodyfat! within a year of doing my best staying on Tosca’s diet. She is amazing! And she also has a book on the exercise part of it all; and work-outs for beginners, intermediate and advance levels. She has a work-out journal, a clean eatinf for men, and even a cookbook full of yummy receips to make! (I have them all!) As long as you cut out the harmful foods to a minimal in life and realize you dont NEED them anyway, its much easier to follow. And I don’t always eat 6 meals a day, sometimes its 5. It just the guildeline she is giving you. But it works if you’re willing to put in the effort and discipline! Goodluck to anyone who tries; it’s worth it in the end!

    • Wendy

      This is a very realistic plan to follow if one is committed.. I lost 100 lbs with clean eating & working out consistently. People have to understand that this is a way of life & to live this life there may be many areas that one has to change to succeed however, if one wants it bad enough then they will make it happen. All Tosca can do is show us how, she can not make anyone follow the plan. Eating 5-6 meals a day can be difficult but again one has to want it enough to figure out a way.. I thank Tosca Reno & Oxygen magazine for showing me the way to a much happier & healthier life.

  16. intensex2

    The thing about common sense is that is not too common. People know in their hearts what they should avoid but lack the conviction to avoid all too available crap! Unfortunately they lack the knowledge of what healthy choices are.

  17. abie

    please response to my question..
    according to that review..eating 5-6 times a day is long as 200-300 calories per eat but, can i take 400 calories per eat but 3 times a day?

  18. Nutbar

    Hi There,
    Regarding the issue of eating 5-6 times a day…I’m guessing that most people do this anyway through fast food and convenience options from things like vending machines and such. The difference between eating clean 5-6 times a day and eating the familiar way 5-6 times a day is the nutritional quality. I found that I was always snacking or nibbling or putting something in my mouth throughout the day and feeling as though I was hungry when doing it. I had never planned ahead for this regular occurance. (I am a full time teacher, mother, wife…) This leads me to the point about the psychological impact on why we over eat. I do believe that exists however I also believe that we overeat or snack because our bodies are continually searching for the nutrition they were denied by eating the vending machine foods, frozen dinner stuff and other low quality foods that don’t have nutrition in them or are loaded with synthetic versions of the nutrition. Synthetic versions can be absorbed inefficiently or not at all based on what the nutrient is paired with. The lack of nutrients cause our brains to think about eating in an effort to get the nutrition the body needs. Yes there is the existence of emotional eating and stuff like that but I bet it’s less of an actual issue then perceived if people were eating whole, nutritious foods as their main staple of food intake.
    I’ve changed to a clean diet and find that I just am plain ol’ NOT hungry throughout the day, which is the total opposite from my previous behaviour, and that’s with fewer calories taken in and more calories expended due to the addition of exercise into my day.
    As for the fats, I am in no way a food scientist but I have learned that fats from meats that are pastured (grass fed) and naturally raised are most efficient for our bodies with regards to fat soluble obsorption of nutrients and for an accurately balanced ratio between omega 3’s and 6’s. Fats from meats that are forced to feed on foods that do not naturally match their digestive systems do not provide our bodies with this ability at it’s full potential. So yes, saturated fats are important but only if they come from the appropriate source which is rare in meats found in our grocery stores.
    I followed the principals from the book and it taught me how to make this lifestyle portable which in the end helped me transform into a healthy person who has now lost 75 pounds…while eating every 4 hours!

  19. John

    I agree with many of your points. The book has a great deal of information, but doesn’t really present anything new. Just eat 5-6 meals a day, cut calories, and avoid processed foods, favoring fresh produce, whole grains, and the like. That’s pretty much common knowledge. The sample 2 week meal plan was about the most useful thing in it. I have a feeling that one would have to obtain the Eat Clean cookbook and workout journals to get the full benefit.

  20. Jay

    I Lost 65 lbs and for the first time see my abs, by following the guidelines in this book. it only took me 5 and a half months, I do however eat perfectly 100% of the time. I was able to do this and others are able as well, but i also see that most people won’t be able to make such a change, If you can stick with it, it is well worth it. I also have a busy schedual. I work two jobs and go to school part time. so it is definitly for anyone who wants to make a change.

  21. Mandi

    This was a well laid out review. I respect the opinion of the author, yet have to disagree with the limitations on time for eating six meals a day. I work in the retail industry and, having worked in other industries, believe this is one of the most time demanding jobs (especially in my position…). I still make the time to eat regularly and often. Six meals is about what I eat in a day, and ensure that I take the time to do it. I’m of the opinion as an ex-smoker, if I can take fifteen minutes to grab a smoke, I can certainly take the same time to eat healthy. This is what helped me to loose eighty pounds. It does all come down to discipline. If you’re dedicated and want it, you can make it happen. (I also teach my children this lifestyle/diet as I want them to grow up living healthy. )

  22. Bitkisel zay?flama

    Sounds similar to Body For Life. I don’t think eating 5-6 meals per day is unrealistic at all. It just takes a little forethought – which is worth it, because the urge to snack is definitely diminished when you know your next meal is always less than 3 hours away.

  23. Mike H.

    Good for you seinlife! I think if you get the food choices and preparation part down – you’ll be well on your way. I think it’s vital to make sure you have some snacks with you if you are going to be away from home for any extended period of time. Even if you can’t get to the 5-6 meal/day mark, you’ll do just fine.

    All the best with the plan!

  24. seinlife

    I just started on a clean diet and love it. It’s not easy to eat 5 to 6 meals a day – infact i still don’t have that down yet. Am excited about staying with it and having a healthy life.

  25. Mike H.

    Hello danae,

    Thanks for your comments. I agree that you need willpower to perservere through any change in eating and/or lifestyle. You saw my review as overtly negative – which it is not. Re-read the post and you’ll find that I think her advice is generally solid and well-founded. Here are some other thoughts on your comments;

    “the individual who gave his opinions sounds lazy and uninspired to try this diet, which shows that he shouldn’t be writing this article anyways because he has no actualy intention of using the diet.”

    Actually, I eat very similarly to this diet. To say I have no intention of actually using the diet is nothing more than a best guess and an irrelevant one at that.

    “its been proven recently that eating 5-6 meals a day is healthier because it doesn’t cause the body to pack on fat waiting for the next meal and it speeds up the metabolism if you eat more frequently.”

    Read the part where I said “Good idea”. I’m on board with the multiple meals idea. What I should have elaborated on is that for those who are used to eating 2-3 times/day – to cookie-cutter them into a 5-6x/week regime wouldn’t be realistic – at least not in the early going. I left this part vague and take responsibility for that.

    “drinking 8 glasses of water a day is a rule that everyone is supposed to follow even if you don’t work out”.

    Sorry, I call BS on this. Water intake is highly individual. If you are active, you do need more water. Ditto if you are active in hotter weather. But the whole idea that everybody needs 8 glasses a day of water is unsubstantiated.

    I think you’ll find that the majority of my criticism of the book stems from;

    a) its lofty claims: “The only sure way to fast and healthy fat loss”. When you make such a claim, you better deliver something extraordinary, unique and prefereably a combination of the 2. I found the book to be middle-of-the-road in this regard. Also, when someone claims that you will “eat the foods you love” most people are thinking pizza and chocolate ice cream – not flaxseeds and white kidney beans. We need to stop telling people that sustained fat loss is easy.
    b) Its ommision of the inspirational/mindset changes that it would take to undergo her rigorous plan. This isn’t to say the plan is unrealistic, but when you are trying to convert the poor eaters – you can’t expect them to follow your plan just because it will work (I have little doubt it will). You mention willpower in your first sentence. I agree but I didn’t see anything in the book that would show people how to stick with such a diet from a mindset perspective.
    c) Ms. Reno seems to think that because she detests things like sausage and bacon that people will just snap into the same pattern of thinking. It doesn’t work this way.
    d) and yes, 97% compliance is still pretty rigid to me.

    I appreciate your comments. You saw this review as negative, but I actually think it’s pretty sound book overall – with some slight-to-major flaws sprinkled in. I am a stickler when it comes to diet books.

  26. danae

    the point of a diet is will power. thats why theres so much negativity behind the word. the negative view towards the book in itself aren’t very thoroughly thought through. the individual who gave his opinions sounds lazy and uninspired to try this diet, which shows that he shouldn’t be writing this article anyways because he has no actualy intention of using the diet. Also the complaints about her seven rules are kind of ridiculous. its been proven recently that eating 5-6 meals a day is healthier because it doesn’t cause the body to pack on fat waiting for the next meal and it speeds up the metabolism if you eat more frequently. also drinking 8 glasses of water a day is a rule that everyone is supposed to follow even if you don’t work out. most of your body is water and you need to keep replenishing that because as much as some people don’t realize you do strenuous activity almost every day, causing a depletion of water. also of course this is a low calorie diet, but its a healthy amount. if someone is going to criticize a book they shouldn’t go into reading the book with a predisposition of how they feel. notice how he has many more complaints about the book than he does complements, when it really is a great idea of applied correctly. people dont realize that they could get in great shape if they would just follow a strict eating plan. of course every once in a while you can have something, but her idea of having only 1 cheat meal a week is a great one, without willpower for your diet and exercise you’re going to get no where if you’re trying to change your diet to healthy. if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

  27. Tristessa

    This review is flawed in parts. For example, Reno does not suggest that meals should be between 200-300 calories, but rather, 300-400. Also, as some of the above comments suggest, eating six meals a day is not that hard. Reno offers a window of time between meals, as well: two-three hours. This definitely helps in terms of flexibility.

  28. Max Westhead

    Great Review Mike! I’ve been eating several smaller meals a day since I trained for a body building competition in 2002. I believe everyone should at least give it a try – you CAN be lean and not be hungry!! (If you exercise and eat right)

    I wholeheartedly agree that the social and psychological issues associated with overeating are a big factor in society today. I used to be an over-eater myself. I’ve shared a few experiences about lifestyle changes on my blog at

    Cheers, Max

  29. Marcie

    I agree with the sentiment of this but I also would caution against telling people to avoid all saturated fats. There are some, in their natural form, that are very good for you. Anyway, I am doing research on “clean” vs. processed foods here:

    I like the word “clean” – for some reason “organic” has a negative connetation (expensive, counter-culture) for some…

  30. James

    Eat 5-6 times per day
    (Well, basically Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and dessert or evening snack)

    Each meal should be between 200-300 calories.
    (Well, I make Breakfast 200 calories with the cereal, 400 calories for the lunch (sandwich and vegtables), and 400 to 600 calories for dinner, and 100 to 200 caliroes for two snacks and a midnight snack, which can be anywhere from 1,200 to about 2,000 calories).

    Eat a complex carbohydrate with protein at every meal
    Drink at least 2L (8 cups) of water every day (Well, You don’t need much carbs, and low carb diets are effective at losing weight).

    Never miss a meal, especially breakfast
    (Or I shall say, never miss Breakfast (Cereal), Lunch (Veggie and cheese sandwich with vegtables), and Dinner (Salmon with Veggies and Rice (Preferrably, Brown Rice))

    Avoid saturated and trans-fats
    (Actually, you need some saturated fats for vitamin D absorption and cell membrane function, and not all trans-fats are bad for you. Naturally occuring trans fats found in meat are healthy, but artificial partially hydrogenated trans fats are the ones to avoid)

    Stick to proper portion sizes
    (Depending if you want to lose body fat).

    Remember, BMI and weight is obsolete. You should pay more attention on how your clothes fit, and pay attention to your body fat percentage.

    You also need to have some red meat in moderation. For dessert, prefer ice cream over cake, and if you want to have fruit, prefer high-potassium fruits such as apples and pears over oranges, bananas, and grapes.

  31. Amy

    Sounds similar to Body For Life. I don’t think eating 5-6 meals per day is unrealistic at all. It just takes a little forethought – which is worth it, because the urge to snack is definitely diminished when you know your next meal is always less than 3 hours away.

  32. TheBumbler

    This is pretty much how I eat but that level of compliance is harsh (I know, I’ve tried and ended up cranky). 90 percent when I’m cutting body fat gives me decent results and it’s do-able.

    Stupid question – with that kind of compliance expectation, does she at least advocate the occaisional “clean” higher calorie day? Having a calorie deficit every day is yucky.

    On a side note, the whole 6 meals a day thing is pretty easy when you get used to it. After two years, it’s just how I eat and if I miss a meal, I really miss it! One afternoon every couple of weekends, I do a big prep and cook-up and then toss stuff in freezer/microwave friendly reusable containers so it only takes a couple of minutes a day to get my food organized. The extra energy I get from eating many mini meals is worth the little bit of extra effort…

  33. Spectra

    It seems like pretty solid advice, but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to eat clean ALL the time. I try to eat clean about 80-90% of the time, but no one is perfect. And if you can’t have a few treats in your diet, what fun is that? I exercise, eat good foods MOST of the time, and I allow myself to have some treats so I don’t feel deprived.

  34. virg

    This is pretty much the way I eat already. I eat whole foods 5 times a day, and a simple carb/protein drink post-workout. It takes a bit of planning, and you have to be willing to get everything prepped the night before if you work out of the home. I do a lot of big batch cooking on weekends to keep the prep time down. Most bodybuilder forums and books advocate eating this way, including a meal of liquid protein and simple carbs (powdered whey and fruit juice) just before and after strength training.

  35. Brittany

    This is basically my meal plan. It does take planning though. I’m a full-time college student and part-time substitute teacher which means I’m away from my home from the early morning (6-9AM) until the late afternoon (4-7PM) and I manage to eat clean the entire day.

    I think that if I can do it (considering I work at a new school every day where I will have my lunch and break at completely unknown times and I can’t eat except on my lunch and break), most people can do it.

    People need to suck it up, buy a lunch box and some tupperware, and work out a schedule.

    Monday morning I cut up enough carrots/cucumbers to last me the entire week as my afternoon snack. I’ve learned how much fruit and what kind of fruit to buy to last me the week. Every week I head over to to find a new veggie recipe that acts as the main part of my lunch for the entire week. I have single servings of chicken and rice frozen in the freezer and canned veggies in hte cabinet in case I’m low on ideas or time.

  36. Kailash

    Good review!

  37. Michelle

    According to this, I already do #1, #2, #4, #5, and #7. Occasionally I do #3, and I’m not too hyped up on worrying about saturated fat (although my intake is about 20%). About 60% of employed adult Texans mostly sit or stand while at work, meaning, most working adults have the ability to find a way to eat 5-6 meals, if they choose to. Even those who cannot due to a full day of meetings, being at the front desk all day, or being a cashier (not always appropriate to be chowing down something…), there are still ways around it and at minimum they can be getting four (breakfast, lunch break at work, dinner, snack). After my body has been on 5-6 meals per day for the past year, I can’t adjust very well to only three meals; I need a constant source of fuel.

    As for the author’s comment on #2, yes, that would make it a low calorie diet, but I’ve never heard of a high calorie diet to lose weight…

  38. Ashley Wagner

    Eating “clean” certainly sounds healthful, but not realistic 100% of the time. I just focus on getting a combination of at least 5 fruits and veggies in a day which seems to help. I also like the advice of eating 5-6 times per day. I’ve been doing this for the last several months, and it’s been going well. It also helps that I work from home though. For someone who had to pack 4-5 small meals to take to work, it could become a bit tedious.