Smart Eating: Feel Good Food

Eating clean wholesome foods nourishes you, energizes you, and makes you feel physically and mentally strong.

What you eat has enormous power to affect more than just hunger pains. Eating clean wholesome foods nourishes you, energizes you, and makes your body feel physically strong. How about mentally? Yep, food directly affects that too. All foods interplay with our hormones, immune system, and brain chemicals.

The foods that you consume regularly as part of your diet can directly affect and regulate your mood, sleep patterns, mental acuity, physical function, perceptions of pain, and how energized you feel long term. Eating nutritiously results in an improved ability to handle physical or emotional stressors. To feel great, you need to eat premium quality fuel. Eating a variety of wholesome whole foods will ensure that you get what your body needs for both energy output and well-rounded nutrition.

Transitioning to a style of eating that connects you with your food and how it makes you feel takes time and practice—no one style of eating is right for everyone. Start this practice with one full day of clean eating from breakfast to dinner and note how you feel the next day. I’ve outlined an example day that you can follow below using mixed and matched recipes from the 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge, a meal plan designed to guide you in learning how foods affect your body and mind.

Observe what you eat and take note of how it ultimately makes you feel, both mentally and physically, a day or two days after consumption. For example, you may notice a trend with certain foods (or categories of foods) that when you eat them, you feel bloated or achy. Or perhaps certain foods make you feel super energized, or the opposite causing you to feel sluggish in mind or more fatigued in general. Take note of these feelings and alter your way of eating accordingly.

Going forward, choose nutritious foods that make you feel your best and benefit your training. Be mindful of those choices. On the flipside, be mindful and intentional when choosing to eat a few less healthy foods (like that slice of grandma’s chocolate cream pie) which is totally okay on an occasional basis.

The key to feeling great long term is eating with purpose and training yourself to be conscious about the quality of foods you’re putting into your body and aware of how they make you feel. You may discover that you perform better with a diet heavy in vegetable carbs or with more protein or with more healthy fats included. What you learn about how foods affect your body just might surprise you. Follow up your newfound knowledge by adjusting your diet according to which foods ultimately make you feel your best.

One Full Day of Clean Eating

Here is an example day with mixed and matched recipes from the 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge. Try this, or something close to it, for one day. Then note how you feel afterwards.

Daily Total Macronutrient Breakdown: calories 1656, protein 102g, carbs 155g, fat 76g

Breakfast: Zucchini Oat Bread (1 slice) with 1 cup mixed berries (calories 357, protein 10g carbs 69g, fat 7g)

Snack: Diced turkey, serving size ½ cup (calories 119, protein 21g, carbs 0g, fat 3g)

Lunch: Lemongrass Pork Quinoa Bowl (calories 624, protein 29g, carbs 60g, fat 33g)

Snack: ½ cup lowfat cottage cheese (2% milkfat) with ½ bell pepper, diced (calories 117, protein 17g, carbs 8g, fat 2g)

Dinner: Mahi Mahi with Coconut Shallot Sauce, Avocado Relish, and Daikon Radish Carrot Slaw (calories 439, protein 25g, carbs 18g, fat 31g)

Zucchini Oat Bread

Per 1 slice: calories 287, protein 9g, carbs 52g, fat 6g

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 55 min

Serving size: 1 slice (loaf makes 8 slices)


  • 2 cups oat flour or gluten free all-purpose flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 bananas, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 zucchini (about the size of a banana), shredded

Preparation Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
  • In separate bowl, mix honey, eggs, banana, and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth.
  • Place shredded zucchini in a clean tea towel or paper towels and gently squeeze to get some of the water out.
  • Stir zucchini into banana mixture.
  • Mix wet ingredients into dry and stir just until combined.
  • Pour batter into a lightly greased bread loaf pan.
  • Bake 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.


Bread will keep 3-4 days in airtight container. If you are not using the bread right away, freeze the extra in separate servings for future easy breakfasts. Take out desired number of slices the night before to thaw or defrost in low temp oven (or microwave) just before eating.

Lemongrass Pork Quinoa Bowl

Lemongrass Pork Quinoa Bowl

Per serving: calories 624, protein 29g, carbs 60g, fat 33g

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 min

Serves: 2

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemongrass paste
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or cornstarch)

Chili-Lime Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 thai chili, finely sliced

Additional Bowl Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, prepared with chicken broth instead of water
  • 2 cups bok choy, swiss chard, or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered

Preparation Instructions:

  • Place all meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix together. The best way to get an evenly blended meatball is just to combine with your hands.
  • Form small balls with your hands and place into a large sauté pan.
  • Cook meatballs on medium heat until browned on all sides and cooked through.
  • While meatballs are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in a small dish and set aside.
  • To assemble bowls, layer quinoa on bottom and top with greens, onions, cucumber, and meatballs.
  • Spoon chili-lime sauce over top.


Meatballs can be made ahead and refrigerated for 3-4 days or can be frozen. Reheat just before eating. Quinoa can be made ahead and refrigerated up to a week. Eat warmed or cold.

Mahi Mahi with Coconut Shallot Sauce, Avocado Relish and Daikon Radish Carrot Slaw

Mahi Mahi with Slaw

Per serving: calories 439, protein 25g, carbs 18g, fat 31g

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Serves: 2


  • 8 ounces mahi mahi, cut into two 4 ounce portions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mahi Mahi Preparation Instructions:

  • Combine garlic, tamari, lime, olive oil, and pepper in a small dish.
  • Rub mixture over mahi mahi and let marinate while you prepare the other items.
  • When ready to cook, heat a lightly greased grill pan to medium heat.
  • Add mahi mahi pieces and cook about 4-5 minutes per side until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Serve hot with coconut shallot sauce and avocado relish over top.

Daikon Radish Carrot Slaw Ingredients:

  • 1 cup daikon radish, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Pinch of salt or more to taste

Daikon Radish Carrot Slaw Preparation Instructions:

  • Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Let the slaw marinate to blend the flavors while you prepare the sauce, the relish, and cook the fish.

Coconut Shallot Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sauce Preparation Instructions:

  • In a small saucepan, sauté shallot in olive oil 5 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and salt and cook until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly and spoon over mahi mahi to serve.

Avocado Relish:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Avocado Relish Preparation Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss gently.
  • Serve over top the mahi mahi.


The Coconut Shallot sauce and the slaw can be made a day in advance. Cover it and store it in refrigerator. Mahi Mahi can be left to marinate covered in the fridge up to a day in advance. Avocado relish is best served immediately but can be made up to a day advance and stored in a covered container in the fridge. The avocado may turn slightly brown but the flavors will still be good.

Kari Lund's28 Day Clean Eating Challengegives you real food, real health, and real results to helps you up your nutrition game. Full plans for every meal of the day, macro counts, calorie counts, and everything you need to turn clean eating and meal planning into a habit. The lessons you learn in doing this challenge will stick with you for life.