September 29, 2020

10-Step "Getting Started Guide" to the Clean Simple Eats Challenge

There are a few things you can do RIGHT NOW and throughout the challenge to make the most of your CSE Challenge experience:

Step 1 - Download our CSE+ App

Download our free CSE+ app (available on iPhone and Android) to sign up for the challenge and determine how many calories (and meal/snack servings) you should be eating based on your measurements and goals. Make sure to watch the Q&A we did HERE if you have questions about your deficits or how aggressive you should be cutting (or adding!) calories (or you can read our article about deficits HERE).

If you have questions about what to add into the app (re: # of days on average that you workout), you can read the blog post HERE!

Once you have your calorie number, the app will show you how many meals, snacks, and power bites you should consume each day (our "Macro Quick List" is also included in each hardcover meal plan) to hit your goals.

Email for assistance with the app.

Step 2 - Make Sure You Have a Meal Plan

You will need access to our recipes, either through a subscription to our CSE+ app, or the purchase of one or more meal plans.

Each week during the 7-week challenge, you'll be cooking the same thing as thousands of others. But all the entrees are interchangeable, meaning if you don't like one of the entree options, you can cook another one! The app does have the ability to auto-populate the meals for the challenge, and create a shopping list for you each week (even if you swap out a recipe here or there)!

This is a “Macro-Based” meal plan, meaning EVERY recipe has a balanced macronutrient ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. This 40/30/30 approach has been proven time and time again to offer balance and lifelong sustainability. (Because of the nature of plant-based protein sources, our plant-based recipes follow a 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein ratio.) The most beautiful thing about the CSE meal plans (minus the food itself) is the fact that you can eat like this forever! This meal plan was designed to help you AND your family gain lasting healthy habits in the kitchen and a positive relationship with food. You don’t need to worry too much about the science behind this meal plan, I’ve done all the hard work for you!

If you have questions about ingredients, or instructions, make sure to check the back of your book for gluten free and dairy free substitutions. We have a great Swaps and Substitutions list HERE in case there are dietary restrictions or special needs! For some hard to find ingredients, check out our "products we love" page!

Step 3 - Grocery Shop!

Once you've got your meal plan, pull up the grocery list for week 1 (also available in the app). Go through and cross off items you already have on hand, optional garnishes you choose not to purchase, or foods for meals you decide not to make. This will help cut down on both waste and expense. You are now ready to hit the grocery store (or place an order for grocery delivery or pickup).

You will, most likely, need protein powder. Order some as soon as possible so it will arrive in time for your first breakfast during the challenge! Our protein powders contain 30 servings.

Step 4 - Bulk Prep Ahead of Time

We include meal prepping suggestions for you during each week of the meal plan. Follow these each week to save yourself some cooking time! Here’s a great thread in our Facebook Community about all the tips and tricks (and products!) people found most helpful to get started! Here's a post on our blog with more meal prep hacks. The one MUST have is a good food scale, and we created one for you here! Prepping any snacks and power bites you want to have for the week will really help you stay on track!

Step 5 - Join the Clean Simple Eats Facebook Group

We have an amazing community with over 25,000 really helpful, experienced, and knowledgeable members! If you have questions, this is a great place to ask them. People in this group are also great at finding grocery store deals, hard-to-find items, and substitutions. After you request to join, please allow up to 48 hours for our team to approve your request, as this is a private Facebook group.


Step 6 - Take "Before" Pictures

Our CSE+ app now has challenge photos built in! From the CSE Challenge main screen, tap "Submit Your Photos" for instructions. Pictures must not be taken prior to the day before the challenge begins. If you are participating in our "Beyond the Challenge" contest (for those who have completed at least one Challenge prior to this current one), you will need to submit all of your photos through our website at the end. Please still take a before picture in the app!

Step 7 - Decide How/If You Want to Track Macros (optional)

One of the huge benefits of this plan is being able to track your macros, should you desire. You can read more about macros HERE. Our CSE+ app includes a macro tracker for CSE meals. You can set it up to automatically keep track of the meals and snacks you eat per day, to be sure you are hitting your macro goals. The calories you burn from your daily workouts are taken into account when you enter your activity level into our Clean Simple Eats app. Because of this, you won’t need to add in any extra exercise calories. Just follow the amount of calories the app gives you, seven days a week and stick to the activity level that you entered into the app.

Step 8 - Follow Our Instagram Profile and Hashtag

Follow our official accounts @CleanSimpleEats and @theCSEChallenge and follow the hashtag #CSEChallenge. Here you'll find TONS of inspiration, motivation, CSE news, and tips for success! Each week of the 7-week challenge, we host NEW weekly mini challenges on both our Instagram accounts. These challenges will be related to all things health and fitness, and they will have great prizes! It is not necessary to have a public Instagram profile to participate in the weekly challenges.

Step 9 - Journal (optional)

We have developed a Challenge Journal, and made it available as a printed booklet, a digital download, and part of the CSE+ app. The journal allows you to keep track of your physical and mental progress through the challenge, and can be a great resource for reaching your goals! Journaling is optional, but highly recommended! If you'd like to purchase a printed and/or digital Challenge Journal, you can find it HERE.

Step 10 - Get Your Workouts In

The CSE+ app and printed meal plan books have workouts for each weekday, and more (demonstrating the workout guides in the back of your Clean Simple Eats meal plans)! We also have recorded full workouts saved inside our app, and accessible to everyone for free. Follow @theCSEChallenge for even MORE workout videos and tips! 

Last but not least, email us at if you have any questions! We are cheering for you and are here with you, every step of the way!

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Each season we host a free 7-week, community-based health and fitness challenge. We work hard, get our sweat on, and work together to motivate each other to reach our goals.

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