Skin

The 7-Day Meal Plan to Banish Acne


It's true-what you put in your body has a major effect on your complexion. It's no wonder greasy pizza and sugar-heavy snacks wreak havoc on skin and cause breakouts: Where's the health component in those types of foods? Additionally, eating foods heavy in toxins is a key offender in harming your skin.

Don't get us wrong; we love snacking on junky foods during a Netflix binge just as much as the next person, but we understand we're not doing ourselves any favors while doing so, especially when we wake up to a big breakout the next morning. As a result, we turned to Maria Bella, founder of Top Balance Nutrition in NYC, to find out what to eat to stop acne and get glowing skin.

Meet the Expert

Maria Bella is the founder of Top Balance Nutrition in New York, NY. Her expert advice has been featured in Oprah Magazine and published The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Acid Reflux Diet in 2012.

Emily Roberts / Byrdie

Bella let us in on a few insider dietary tips for clear skin, the first (and most obvious) being hydration: She suggests having two to three liters of water every day and incorporating some detoxing green tea (the Ezisoul Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, $20, is great for toting around both hot and cold beverages).

Next, Bella urges you to incorporate lean protein and fiber with every meal and snack, as well as reduce sugar and dairy intake-two food groups that are proven acne aggravators. Lastly, Bella suggests eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, E, and D to help clear your skin.

Keep scrolling for Bella's seven-day clear-skin diet and kickВ acne to the curb.

Egg White Omelet

Ingredients:

1 box liquid egg whites (about 10 egg whites)
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup each chopped onions, mushrooms, spinach, and green peppers
Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Directions:

Autumn Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups dairy-free tomato, carrot ginger, or butternut squash soup (Amy's Light in Sodium Organic Soups, $4, are great)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Directions:

Steak and Cauliflower Mash

*For the steak, you can grill a 5-oz. tuna steak, tilapia, swordfish, salmon, halibut or cod

Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pumpkin Parfait

Ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt Ed. note: the probiotics fight against acne
1/2 cup pumpkin purГ©e
1/2 banana
1 tbsp. flaxseed
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Mixed Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 avocado, chopped
1 small can of tuna (in water) or 1 hard-boiled egg
Shredded carrot
Shredded beet or any other non-starchy vegetable

Ingredients for Dressing:

Lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta With Vegetables

Ingredients:

1 cup spiralized zucchini (try the Spiralizer 4-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer, $22)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 10-oz. box of frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and halved
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

Goji Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup raw spinach
1 cup raw kale
1 small apple
1 cup raspberries
2 tbsp. goji berries
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

Directions:

Herbed Lemon Salmon

Ingredients:

1 salmon fillet
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1//2 lemon cut into slices

Directions:

Easy Tuna Bowl

Ingredients:

1 can of tuna in water, drained
1 cup broccoli
1 cup quinoa
2 tsp. olive oil

Directions:

Cantaloupe Bowl

Ingredients:

1/2 cantaloupe with seeds scooped
1 cup of unsweetened soy yogurt
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Mixed Bean Salad

Ingredients:

1 can canned cannellini and kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup each of spring onions, parsley, bell peppers
1 tbsp. lemon juice or mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 butter lettuce wraps

Directions:

Seared Chicken With Avocado and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. lime juice

Directions:

2 large boiled eggs
1 fruit of your choice

Tomato Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup sliced tomatoes
1 chopped cucumber
1/4 sliced white onion
1 sliced green bell pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
Pinch of parsley

Directions:

Burger and Turnip Fries

Ingredients:

1 ground beef patty, 100% veggie burger, or salmon burger
2 large leaves of iceberg lettuce (or enough to cover your burger)

Directions:

Heat the burger in a frying pan until cooked to your desired doneness. Remove from heat and wrap with iceberg lettuce.

Turnip Fries

Ingredients:

4 turnips, trimmed and peeled
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Ingredients:

Mediterranean Breakfast

Ingredients

2 hard-boiled or poached eggs
1/2 avocado, diced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup tomato, diced
Parsley to taste

Directions:

Cook the eggs either hard-boiled or poached and serve with avocado, cucumber, tomato, and parsley.

Tuna Salad Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

1 zucchini, halved and centers scooped out
2 cans of tuna in water
2 tbsp. hummus
1 cup each chopped carrot, celery, and white onion

Directions:

Spaghetti Squash With Chicken, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup white mushrooms
1 cup fresh spinach

Directions:

Oats

Ingredients:
1 cup dry oatmeal
2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
1/2 cup berries
6 walnuts, halved
Pinch of cinnamon to taste

Simple Grilled Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed greens
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
Your choice of non-starchy vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.)
1 tbsp. lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

Baked Salmon and Asparagus

Ingredients:

4-oz. salmon fillet
1 roasted asparagus
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa

Directions:

Bella recommends two snacks per day, one after breakfast and one before or after dinner. Here are some of her favorite choices:

6 oz. unsweetened soy yogurt or 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or other fruit)

10 raw almonds and 2 dried apricots or whole fruit of choice

1 banana and 1 tbsp. peanut or almond butter

Sliced banana rolled in unsweetened cocoa powder

2 clementines and 1 hard-boiled egg

Celery stalks topped with 1 tbsp. peanut butter + 10 raisins

1/2 cup carrots and cucumber with 1/4 cup hummus