the idea of Whole30 prep has a way of overwhelming us. Maybe it’s fear of the unknown: What exactly can I eat on this plan? How many eggs are too many? Will I do anything other than cook and clean my kitchen for a month? Maybe it’s a belief that we simply cannot live without our nightly dessert or glass(es) of wine. Maybe it’s because we know we need to change our relationship with food, but we really don’t if Whole30 will work out for our particular situation. Whatever the root cause may be, I believe that in order to complete a successful Whole30, you really do need to be bought in to the validity and substance of the program, which brings me to the Number 1 key to a successful Whole30.. here are my 5 ways to Rock Whole30
1 – Educate yourself
To complete a successful Whole30, you must educate yourself on the in’s and out’s of the program. Make it your mission to become a subject matter expert in the field of Whole30. The reasons for this are twofold: 1. You will be better able to create satisfying meals for yourself and 2. you will be able to recall the reason behind all of the restrictions the program has. If you can articulate to yourself – and nosey coworkers of family members – exactly why you believe cutting grains is a good health choice for you, you will have a greater chance of succeeding in the program. For quick reference when you are caught off guard by someone intrigued by your eating style, check out these Manifestos by the Whole30 authors: The Alcohol Manifesto, The Sugar Manifesto, The Legume Manifesto, The Dairy Manifesto, The Butter Manifesto, The Grain Manifesto, The Whole30 books provide excellent background information explaining the history of the program and it’s rules.
Remember when meal planning that the Whole30 Meal Template should be followed at all meals to ensure your body is receiving the appropriate amount of fuel throughout the day. It can be tempting to load up on certain meal components while ignoring others – be mindful as you plate your food that all of the meal components are represented.
A note about plated fat: there is a common misconception among Whole30ers that Cooking with Oil or Ghee counts as a Plate Fat but this is not true. Because most of the nutritional value and calories used while cooking do not make it to your plate, you do still need to add plated fats to each meal. Examples of plated fats include: olives, seeds, salad dressing, low quality bacon, avocado, mayo, ghee or oil placed on food after cooking is complete.
Remember that just because all of the ingredients are compliant, does not necessarily mean a recipe is. There should be no recreating of foods that are not in the spirit of Whole30 – even with compliant ingredients. Examples of this include Pizza crust made from cauliflower and egg, baked goods, deep fried food in compliant oils, and things of that nature. These are considered SWYPOs and are not helpful to establishing a healthy food relationship, so they are off-limits on the program.
2 – Set reasonable expectations regarding variety
As Americans, our entire lives revolve around food and the endless variety of food available to us at any given moment. Most of us can look out our office window and see half a dozen places to acquire a fairly wide variety of food. This ease of access has led most of our taste buds to expect totally different culinary experiences 3 times per day, 7 days per week. Now, if you’re followed the advice above, you’ve probably figured out that eating out on Whole30 isn’t super easy or convenient. That being the case, you will probably be cooking more during these 30 days than you are used to. Do you really think it’s reasonable to expect yourself to cook 90 different meals over the course of the next 30 days? Absolutely not. Expecting that of yourself will all but ensure your inability to complete the program.
So what is reasonable? That depends on your situation and your family but what has worked for me is to decide on 2 breakfasts, 2-3 lunches, and 3-4 dinners each week. We also use a lot of dinner leftovers as breakfast or lunch components the next day. Leftover steak from dinner? Make a steak frittata the next morning. Leftover veggies? make a great salad out of them. By allowing yourself the freedom to NOT create a new meal mutliple times a day, you can utilize more of the food already prepared in your house and spend more time out of the kitchen enjoying the next 30 days. All of this is possible by…preparation. See more below!
3 – Prepare, prepare, prepare
Like we’ve already talked about, a Whole30 round will require quite a bit of cooking to stay compliant. I’m a working momma so the last thing I want to do after being away from my kiddos all day is spend the entire night in the kitchen. My life and schedule absolutely necessitate meal prepping. Meal prepping can take up as much or little time as you want and is a great way to start the week off with a plan, and food in your fridge ready for the week ahead. A typical Whole30 prep for our family goes like this
make meal plan for following week – take note of any commitments we have that might interrupt meal time. Lunch meeting, after work commitments and bible study are pretty much a weekly occurrence for our family
grocery shop – With the exception of occasional speciality meats from a local butcher, I place an order for all of our groceries once per week. I use the Shipt Grocery Delivery service and absolutely love it. They partner with local grocery stores so the shopper is shopping at your store – with your favorite foods in it. I used to love grocery shopping – now I love saving myself the time and investing that time in our family.
Prep Lunch/Dinner – Each week I will intentionally have 2-3 lunch/dinner meals that can be fully cooked ahead of time so I start with fully cooking those. The best meals to prep for us are also soups/stews or Instant Pot Recipes. I have an entire post dedicated to soups/stews that are all a prepper’s dream.
Make Enough to Freeze- If you are prepping a meal that you know your family enjoys, make one to eat now and one to freeze. You will build your freezer meals quickly with this method
and you will have plenty of wiggle room on nights when you’re stuck without a great option for dinner. *Pro tip: Always be sure to label meals in the freezer with their contents, date frozen, and reheating instructions.
Prep Breakfast – I prep all of our breakfast meals on Sunday. I know enough about myself to know that I will not get up early enough every single day to make breakfast. Does that mean I can’t complete a round of Whole30? No. It simply means that I need to plan and prep our breakfasts ahead of time. Because of that, I normally only have 1-2 breakfast options each week.
Hard Boil eggs – I use this great egg cooker. It hard boils SEVEN eggs in about 11 minutes and they peel flawlessly. Winning!
Chop Veggies for non-prepped meals – Go ahead and chop all the veggies that you will be using throughout the week
Store meals by serving – to avoid drying out or wasting food, I always store the prepped meals according to how we will consume them. If soup is prepped for dinner, I will store 4-6 servings together. If salads are for separate lunches, I store each serving separately. I’ve found that this method cuts down on wasted food and saves time by not having to repackage servings later in the week. I order these meal prepping containers before each round. I like that they’re durable but disposable and leak proof!
Like any other lifestyle change, completing a Whole30 without any support from friends or family with be a tough row to hoe. The best thing you can do for yourself would be to convince a friend or relative to try a round with you! Not only is it a great bonding experience, but having an accountability partner greatly increases your odds of completion. Even if you are doing Whole30 solo, try to explain the importance of support to your friends and family. Let them know that this will be difficult for you and that you would welcome their questions or support of your journey. Finally, there are tons of Facebook groups dedicated to supporting other going through a round, sharing recipes, and commiserating during the journey. Just search “whole30” and click “groups” on your Facebook App! I have a Facebook group, Whole30 Journey Guidance and Support, that you can join as well!
5 – Remember your why
Let me start by assuring you of a few things: you will have moments of frustration during your Whole30 journey. I mean seriously, how often have you gone 30 days without getting frustrated at some point? There will be moments of hunger when the general inconvenience of the program will make you want to quit. To overcome these moments, you must dig in and remember WHY you decided to embark on this journey in the first place. Better health? Weight Loss? Increased mobility/ability? Just to prove to yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to? Whatever it was, recall your why as often as possible. WRITE IT DOWN. Create a note on your phone detailing what it is about Whole30 that made you want to start in the first place. Break out that note when you’re feeling discouraged or tempted to quit. Choosing to stick through the program will not only provide a whole host of benefits to your physically, but you will realize how mentally strong you are. You are strong enough to overcome your routine. You are strong enough to say “no” to food or alcohol temptations. You are STRONG!
This has been such a fun article to write and it has reminded me of my love for the Whole30 program. Thank you so much for following along with me! I’d love to hear how your rounds are going and what your Whole30 hacks are! If you liked this post you should check out my Facebook The Hungry Mommy, Instagram @that_paleo_mom, and Pinterest The Hungry Mommy! I’ve also started a Facebook Accountability group for anyone on a round called Whole30 Journey Guidance and Support See you there!
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