Take one spin around the farmer’s market and you’ll see that we are in the peak of delicious fruits and veggies, which has inspired my husband and I to take on another Whole 30 Challenge. We did it for the first time way back in 2013 and we’re excited for a clean slate with our eating habits. We will be participating for the month of August and I’ll be creating a food journal to document meal ideas and a grocery list each week.
If you’re interested in joining us, please read on to a guide I created back in the day! I’ve added in some notes in italics as updates!
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing how I prep my kitchen and create my grocery list to start the Whole 30 off on the right foot.
Let’s start with the basics. A paleo/primal diet is based off what our paleolithic ancestors ate - whatever they could hunt or gather. A modern approach includes more than just meat, fish, berries and nuts to include veggies, fruits, eggs and some fats.
A Simple Primer
There’s a bit of fine print to go along with it, so I suggest you read the full rundown of what you can and cannot eat from the experts. (Things like soy, peanuts, honey and white potatoes are not included as approved foods during the Whole 30).
You probably also want to check out It Starts with Food - a great book that explains why the list is created and the health detriments and benefits that each of these foods these foods have. Trust me, I never thought I could give up a bagel and cream cheese breakfast until I read this book (and haven’t had one in over a year!)
Cleaning Your Kitchen
First things first - you’ve gotta clear out the no-nos from your refrigerator and pantry. If there was ever a time to read labels - now is it! Any condiment with added sugar (hello ketchup!) will have to either get tossed or be hidden for the next month. Speaking of hiding things - we don’t throw everything away (although this is also a good time to check your expiration dates). For things like craft beer or condiments we want to keep, we store those on the bottom shelf of our fridge, but covered up. Outta Sight, outta mind!
We won’t be including our children in our Whole 30, so I’ve divided the fridge into sections that have things like cheese sticks, milk and yogurt that my son likes. These are low in the fridge so he can help himself and not in my sightline so I avoid them!
Planning Your Meals
You’ll be spending a lot more time in the kitchen and the more prep work you do, the easier your 30 days will be. I start my planning by writing down what I want to eat for each dinner and starting my grocery list from there. A few paleo cookbooks will show you there’s no shortage of delicious ideas! Well Fed and Primal Cravings (read ingredient lists to make sure they are Whole 30 compliant!) are two good ones!
Here’s what our first week’s dinners will look like:
- Turkey Meatballs with Steamed Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Cuban Burgers with Plantain ‘Buns’ and Garlic Spinach
- Coconut Chicken Breast with Green Beans and Roasted Carrots
- Ground Beef Chili with Sweet Potato Chips
- Kale, Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry
- Bacon Lattice BLT
- Nutty Shrimp and ‘Noodles’
Here’s another post of some of my favorites from the past! I can’t wait to make more of these meals!
Without even looking at this post, I planned many of these meals for our first few days too! Once you get into a groove with what you like to both cook and eat, meal planning will become easier. It’s also prime grilling season, so I like to have frozen chicken breast ready to thaw and toss on the charcoal!
I’ve also found that having a good breakfast menu makes starting the day off full and satisfied much easier. Here’s a week’s worth of breakfast ideas I enjoy! This time I am also going to be doing a chia seed pudding as a base for breakfast bowls of fruits and nuts! Yum!
If you’re looking for places to splurge and save on your grocery list, spend more on quality meats (like grass fed beef and free range chicken). We love our local butcher and trust me, you will taste the difference! Take your list as a guideline. If something else is fresh and looks tasty (and falls within the parameters of the Whole 30, go for it!)
We’ll probably pop back into the grocery mid week to restock any fresh produce that’s running low as well!
I’ll also pick up little extras that come in handy when you’re winging it or are good substitutions for what you normally cook with - things like almond flour, coconut oil, coconut aminos (a soy sauce alternative), almond butter (great for sauces or spread of apple slices). Spices go a long way in paleo cooking as well!
A little prep goes a long when you’re learning a new style of eating. Adam and I like to spend a little time on Sunday (or in this case, New Year’s Day) prepping foods in advance. Here are some of the shortcuts we take:
- Hard Boil eggs
- Grill and chop chicken
- Chop Veggies (for omelettes and stir fries)
- Make condiments (like fresh Mayo)
The main concept of the Whole30 is to clean up not only the food you’re eating, but your habits, including mindless eating. You’ll want to avoid making paleo versions of junk food during your 30 days, but I also think it’s important to have some treats (not cheats!) to keep your sanity. I also reach for these if I’m super starving before a workout. I enjoy:
- Bananas or apple slices with almond butter, raisins and unsweetened coconut flakes
- Carrots with Homemade Guacamole
- Muffin Tin of Homemade Trail Mix (nuts, coconut flakes, raisins)
This time around, I’m not aiming to lose any weight, instead to tone up a bit, get my complexion under control, sleep better and generally feel more awesome! Skip the scale for the entire 30 days and measure your progress by how you look and feel versus the number on the scale. You can follow my meals on Instagram!
This time, I actually do want to lose weight! And I want a reset on my eating habits!
You’re going to see amazing changes after completing this diet (see my first before and after, holy shit!) , but I’m not a physician. Please consult with your doctor before starting any health or fitness regimen!