3-Day Clean-Food Detox Plan

by Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

I am not a fan of cleansing regimens that involve fasting, colonics, or laxatives. I find that a super-clean eating program can do wonders for your body, mind, and soul. I’ve created a three-day detox diet meal plan that is free of caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and sugar substitutes. Try this nutritional detoxification program and in just a few short days, you can look and feel years younger by eliminating a few dietary toxins and focusing on whole, natural foods.

I suggest you follow this body detox plan for a minimum of three days, but ideally try for it five. Most likely, you’ll feel the positive effects immediately and your body will be smiling from the inside out. If you find that removing junk food from your diet causes feelings of withdrawal (many of my clients have found sugar to be worse than caffeine), try my tips to help you manage these symptoms.

3-day spring cleaning menu and detox recipes

The three days of menus are approximately 1,500 calories per day. If you require more or fewer calories, you can simply alter the portion sizes, but do not skip any of the meals or snacks. You’ll need to eat frequently to keep your stamina going.

Also, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Keep an eye on absolutely everything that goes into your mouth. YES, I even want you to avoid chewing gum and breath mints.
  • Drinking water is a true necessity, especially when you are cleansing. Almost all of your liquids should be pure, unadulterated water. We usually recommend about 64 ounces per day.
  • Decaf green tea and hot water with lemon may be added for those people missing their warm morning mug.
  • If all of these guidelines seem too daunting to take on at once, feel free to mix and match. In other words, you could follow the menus but allow yourself one small cup of coffee. Make it work for you, but remember that the more you adhere to the plan, the bigger difference you’ll feel and the more effective your whole body cleanse

Day 1

Breakfast: 1 cup of steel-cut or Irish oats (measured after cooking), topped with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts and 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries.

Snack: ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt mixed with ½ of a banana, sliced, and 2 tablespoons Grape-Nuts or other high-fiber cereal.

Lunch: Washed baby spinach leaves (or other dark green salad greens) topped with 4 ounces of grilled chicken, 8-10 sliced red grapes, sliced red onion and 2 tablespoons slivered almonds. Dress salad with fresh lemon juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Serve with ½ of a 6-inch whole-wheat pita pocket.

Snack: Sliced green apple with 1 ounce of cheddar cheese.

Dinner: Bake a 5-ounce piece of cod or tilapia (or other white flaky fish). Place fish in a baking dish, top with 2 teaspoons olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through; serve with ½ cup brown rice and steamed broccoli.

Nutrition Information

  • 1,489 calories
  • 145 grams of carbohydrates
  • 108 grams of protein
  • 57 grams of fat
  • 31 grams of fiber
  • 41 grams of sugar
  • 784 mg of sodium
  • 665 mg of calcium

Day 2

Breakfast: In a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, make a 3-egg-white omelet filled with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese and ½ cup of sliced tomatoes and onions (or other vegetable of choice). Serve omelet with a navel orange or half a grapefruit.

Snack: 1 slice of whole-grain bread topped with 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter or almond butter.

Lunch: 5-ounce salmon fillet grilled or poached (can purchase canned salmon if easier) served over a bed of baby arugula (or other dark green lettuce) and topped with ½ cup of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Snack: ½ cup 1% cottage cheese (calcium-fortified if available) topped with ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries.

Dinner: Broil a lean 4-ounce ground sirloin burger (or lean ground turkey burger) and serve it on a whole-wheat English muffin topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Serve burger with a large mixed green salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Nutrition Information

  • 1,473 calories
  • 118 grams of carbohydrates
  • 122 grams of protein
  • 60 grams of fat
  • 26 grams of fiber
  • 34 grams of sugar
  • 2,100 mg of sodium
  • 821 mg of calcium

Day 3

Breakfast: Combine 1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt (look for Greek yogurt if available), 2 tablespoons flax seeds, 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries and 2 tablespoons Grape-Nuts or other high-fiber breakfast cereal.

Snack: 1 hard-boiled egg and a handful of baby carrots.

Lunch: Top a 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla with ¼ of a sliced avocado, 2 slices of tomato, 2 slices of part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1 romaine lettuce leaf. Wrap up and enjoy with fresh green or purple grapes (about 15-20 grapes).

Snack: 1 cup of skim or soy milk and 1 ounce of raw almonds (about 20 almonds).

Dinner: Bake a 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast with fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of capers or sliced green olives (in oven-proof baking dish at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cooked through). Serve chicken with a corn salad comprised of 1 cup of frozen, thawed corn niblets, 1 diced plum tomato, ¼ cup black beans, topped with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

Nutrition Information

  • 1,508 calories
  • 152 grams of carbohydrates
  • 109 grams of protein
  • 61 grams of fat
  • 29 grams of fiber
  • 54 grams of sugar
  • 1,872 mg of sodium
  • 1,183 mg of calcium

Tips to minimize withdrawal symptoms

Get yourself psyched to cleanse, but also be prepared. This may not be easy, but it is definitely worth it! It is really only the first one to two days that you are likely to feel any of these negative side effects, and I can assure you that by day four, you will feel better than you have in a long time!
To help combat side effects such as headaches and fatigue, try the following:
  • Drink adequate water — about 64 ounces per day. This will help to ease any negative side effects.
  • Add an extra piece of fruit or a very small glass of fruit juice if you are feeling extremely lethargic.
  • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per day. If this is not possible at night, try to fit in a few catnaps during the day.