The Clean Cook: 5 Seasonal Fit Recipes

These five recipes incorporate some of the season's best vegetables and gourds with the muscle-building powers of protein. Cook clean and live lean!

Being a clean cook means more than learning to plan and prepare meals with the proper macronutrient ratios. You have to understand the food you prepare and how different dishes work together. You have to know where your protein and produce come from, who grew it, raised it, and the methods they used to bring it to your table.

I use good ingredients from good places! I invest my money in my food, because my health depends on it. I trust whole foods from local farms and markets. I know some of the ingredients in my recipes, like almond meal or ghee, can be hard to find at times, so use your best judgment and replace where necessary.

These recipes are out of the ordinary for a reason. You need variety in your life and your kitchen. You don't always have to have chicken, fish, and turkey. You can eat a variety of meals, have fun, and still get great results.

1. Protein Pumpkin Loaf

Protein is important for building a great physique. Heck, this macronutrient is so important that it can be boosted with protein powder in your baked goods! This pumpkin loaf is perfect for the holiday season and won't bankrupt your calorie count.

If you need an egg-free option, replace the eggs with 1 banana and 1/3-1/2 cup of water or rice milk. You can also add in an additional tablespoon of coconut oil. Always start with less milk or oil; it's easier to add more of the wet ingredients than it is to subtract them.

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2. Almond-crusted Walleye Pike and Asparagus

I love using palm oil when cooking white fish. It makes the fish a little crispy and adds great flavor. The walleye pike is among the leanest freshwater fish you can get. A lot of white fish—sea bass and cod, for example—go well with almond meal, so mix up your protein sources!

I don't do tilapia because most of it is farm-raised. A lot of people stick to the same foods, but fish in a different stream and you may be surprised by new flavors and nutrients. This is a great meal to share with a loved one.

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3. Sun-Dried Tomato and Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

This recipe is phenomenal! It's clean, rich, and delicious. Make the meatballs from quality chicken and you can't fail. The squash can be a bit of a challenge if you've never dealt with this particular gourd, but even new cooks can quickly get the hang of it.

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4. Roasted Turkey with Sweet Potato Puree

When I prepare a bird, I want it to be super tender and juicy. They say you should roast a turkey 10-12 minutes for every pound, but that wasn't long enough in my case, so be sure to check your turkey with an internal thermometer. The sweet potato puree also stands alone as a great post-workout meal!

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5. Pesto Skirt Steak and Vegetables

Sometimes you just need a good steak to keep your body and taste buds satisfied. I use grass-fed beef because the hormones and antibiotics in other beef give me various issues. Grass-fed beef is also higher in various vitamins and healthful fats.

This meal comes together from three pieces: grilled steak, blended pesto, and raw vegetables. I used a Gefu spiral slicer to make the zucchini pasta. I love this kitchen tool! The right tools matter in the workshop and the kitchen.

I used shallots because I'm allergic to garlic, but you can use garlic instead. You can use the pesto various ways, so save some for other meals!

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