Planning and prepping for your Whole30.
I have just two days left in my Whole30 challenge! The folks at Whole9 weren’t kidding when they said this was going to be a lot of hard work — and that it would require a lot of planning. Starting Monday, I’m going to be giving it a second go with Whole30, this time with nuts and seeds on the “naughty” list. I set some goals for myself before I started this program, and while I’ve chipped away at them, I haven’t quite reached them yet. I think this modification will be exactly what I need.
And so, as I am at the point where I am both finishing and starting the Whole30, I figured that there could be no time like right now to share with you all some of my top tips for planning and prepping for this huge undertaking. These are some of the things that have helped to keep me well-stocked, prepared, and excited to cook all month long. I hope they can help you in the same way!
The smartest way to approach your Whole30 is not by dwelling over all the foods that you “can’t” eat. You chose this — remember? And for good reason! Good for you! But just because certain things are “off the table” does not mean that the food you eat for the duration of your program has to be boring. If you find yourself lacking creativity in the kitchen, here are some Whole30-approved ideas for you to get you started. Many food bloggers who follow a Paleo diet write recipes that are Whole30 compliant or that can easily be made Whole30 compliant. Some of my favorite include: Nom Nom Paleo, PaleOMG, The Clothes Make The Girl, The Healthy Foodie, Multiply Delicious, and Popular Paleo. Your Whole30 does not need to be 30 days of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli! Italian Meatloaf is always a good thing. And Chicken Nuggets sound pretty good too, right? What about a Sausage and Butternut Squash Frittata? Get fancy.
For more ideas for Whole30-compliant meals, check out my Whole30 Pinterest board, updated regularly!
Write a shopping list and then stick to it — kind of.
I’m a lover of lists and I always make one to take to the store or market with me. It’s important to assess what you need before you get to the store — meal planning can really help you set yourself up for success (and food-related excitement!) when done properly. It can also help you to stay on-track and focused while you shop. If you know what you need, you can skip certain aisles all together, avoiding that awkward moment in the peanut butter aisle when your BFF jar of chunky salted looks at you sadly and asks, “Why don’t you call anymore?” In short, write that list.
BUT. Sometimes the most beautiful Japanese eggplants are on sale at Whole Foods or you’ve spotted the perfect box of fall-spiced tea that will keep you going in the afternoon when all you really want is a cookie. (Or five.) In that case, have at it! Stray from the list when you come across these special treasures.
Also, I think it’s a pretty advisable rule of thumb to buy much more produce than you think you can possibly consume — especially if you aren’t a big veggie eater to begin with, and especially if your schedule doesn’t allow you to hit the grocery or farmer’s market every day. Believe me, you will be hungry and you will be feeding that hunger with an awful lot of vegetables. Fill that cart right to the brim. (Then bike home very, very slowly.)
Cut the whole onion.
And the whole pepper. Brown off the whole packet of turkey meat. Hard-boil all of the eggs. Do it — trust me. Who wants to pull out a cutting board every time they want to put a few chops of onion in an egg scramble? Not me. And I’m also much less likely to add turkey crumbles to that egg scramble if the turkey is not already cooked — or the kale is not already washed, or the broccoli is not already blanched. Do you see where I’m going with this? Doesn’t an egg scramble with onion, turkey crumbles, kale, and broccoli sound better than just plain old scrambled eggs? I think so. So yeah. Cut the whole onion.
Set aside a couple of hours to prep things that you can use in many different ways throughout the week. Once you start cutting the whole onion, the whole pepper, the whole bag of carrots, and whole bunch of celery, you’ll find that you eat things like onion, pepper, carrots, and celery more often. And that’s the whole point.