“Mommy, is that Whole30?” asked my four year old.
I answered, “No.”
“Why?” he responded, paused, and then offered his own answer, “Sugar?”
“That’s right, buddy.”
He grinned and said, “I knew you’d say that!”.
We’ve just finished our second Whole30 as a family and my little guy has the rules down to a “T”.
Chances are you’ve had a friend post on their Facebook about doing a Whole30 – or maybe you’ve done one of your own. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, Whole30 is a month-long food challenge that’s all about resetting your food habits and gently detoxing a little. For the month, you are charged to not eat grains, sugar, legumes, dairy, or alcohol. Basically, eats lots of fruits, veggies, and meat.
As I’ve already mentioned, this was our second Whole30. Here are a few observations that we’ve made from our experiences (in no particular order).
- You’re going to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Just know that you’re going to be chopping a lot of veggies for a few weeks. You’ll need to add some extra minutes to your cooking time each day.
- There will be hard days… and some days you’ll soar right on through. Some days you’ll really, really want chocolate. Normal. Other days you’ll be surprised by yourself and find that you’re actually enjoying the changes you’ve made.
- You HAVE to plan ahead. A meal plan (for each meal of the day) is non-optional, otherwise you WILL step off plan and you WILL get to start over at Day 1 again. More about that in a minute.
- Leftovers and batch cooking are your friends. I suggest cooking a little extra at dinner – or making an extra dish for the week – to have for lunch leftovers or to pull out for a quick meal on unexpectedly busy days.
- You’re going to need a lot of food on hand. This might be a good time to consider shopping at a store like Aldi’s to preserve your grocery budget or to invest in a Sam’s or Costco membership to make buying in larger quantities a little more feasible. Either way, fruits and veggies don’t fill you up like pastas and breads. Plan accordingly.
- You’ll be proud of your accomplishment. At the end of a successful Whole30 you’ll be able to look back and be genuinely proud of yourself. You’ve said no to indulgences for a full month without wavering. Cheers!
- It’s worth it. You’ll likely feel considerably better after a month of clean eating. Some things my husband and I have noticed include less brain fog and feeling more rested upon waking in the morning.
I mentioned that planning ahead with your meals is critical to a Whole30 that’s on plan. I suggest planning either a week of meals at a time or the whole month if you have the time. We’ve created a Whole30 meal planning template for you to download and print for free! Click here to get it: WHOLE30 MEAL PLAN
I’m also going to share some breakfast and lunch ideas and our full dinner plan for the entire 30 days. (You can find a lot more recipes online. Pinterest can be a really helpful resource, just be aware that not every meal tagged as Whole30 will follow the exact guidelines and you may need to make some tweaks.)
Personally, I feel like breakfasts are the most challenging part of the Whole30 to provide some variety. Here are some ideas:
Scrambled Eggs with fruit on the side
Fried Eggs with Bacon (you’ll likely need to go to a health food store to find appropriate bacon)
Turkey Sausage with sliced avocados, tomatoes, and or fruit on the side.
Sweet Potato Hash with Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage (most groceries carry this – note that this is the only variety of Aidell’s sausage that is Whole30 approved).
Monkey Salad (a tasty mix of cashews, almond butter, bananas, blueberries, and shredded coconut – helpful if you’re missing breakfast cereal)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with bananas, nuts, etc. (helpful if you’re missing hot cereal)
Lunches are hard for me to plan. Most of the time, I prefer to just make extra dinner the night before and serve that up for a quick lunch. That doesn’t always happen, so here are a few ideas for lunches.
Vegetable Soup (a pound of ground beef, a few bags of frozen veggies, and some broth can net you a big pot of soup that you can eat off of for days.
Chicken Nuggets – Without a lot of time you can have a large pan full of these for quick lunches or even a protein snack. Serve with applesauce or cut veggies.
Salads (Keep some shredded chicken on hand to throw on a bed of lettuce along with whatever fruits, veggies, and/or nuts that you like. We like using the Tessemae’s Lemon dressing.)
Baked Potatoes with taco meat or shredded chicken are tasty and filling.
Lunchmeat with veggies, fruit, and pickles. It can be challenging to find an approved lunch meat, so you’ll have to do some leg work to see what the store’s in your area carry, but it’s nice to have on a hand for a super quick lunch to pull out.
This is our full dinner meal plan from our second Whole30. I’ve linked to as many recipes as I possibly can to make this a quick grab-n-go resource for you.
Day 1: Orange Glazed Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus
Day 2: Taco Bowls (Cauliflower Rice, Taco Meat, Chopped Tomatoes, Avocado, and Cilantro)
Day 3: Chicken Nuggets, Oven Fries, Cooked Carrots
Day 4: Date Night! We brought Whole30 approved meals in from Snap Kitchen. More about that in a few…
Day 5: Family Night! Every spring my husband’s work hosts a family night for the employees. We were able to partake of the meal by eating hamburgers without a bun, mustard, sliced tomatoes, and pickles
Day 6: Roast (in my Instant Pot), Green Beans, Cooked Carrots
Day 7: Sliders with Guacamole and W30 approved Bacon (it’s sometimes easier to find approved salami, which is crisp in a skillet – dead ringer for bacon), with Oven Fries, and Strawberries and Bananas
Day 8: Orange Glazed Chicken, Spaghetti Squash, Green Beans with slivered almonds
Day 9: Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (taco meat, avocados, and sliced tomatoes)
Day 10: Almond Crusted Chicken (no yogurt and only use Whole30 compliant mayo – I just use an egg dip instead while we’re on the Whole30), Mashed Potatoes (use coconut oil instead of butter) and Green Beans
Day 11: Date Night! We brought Whole30 approved meals in from Snap Kitchen. More about that in a few…
Day 12: Creamy Taco Soup
Day 13: Korean Beef Bowls with Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli (This was a big hit in our family!)
Day 14: Mother’s Day Meat Fest! (I requested a special meal for Mother’s Day – a grill full of various meats. We chose BBQ Chicken using this sauce, Pork Chops, Steak, and Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage.)
Day 15: Pulled BBQ Chicken (using the same sauce as Day 14), Sweet Potato Fries, and Green Beans.
Day 16: Dinner with Family! We visited my in-law’s this day. They were so kind to fix us a Whole30 meal of Grilled Chicken and Veggies.
Day 17: Date Night! We brought Whole30 approved meals in from Snap Kitchen. More about that in a few…
Day 18: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs (using this sauce recipe, minus the sugar.)
Day 19: Orange Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli.
Day 20: Pulled BBQ Chicken (using the same sauce as Day 14) and Green Beans.
Day 21: Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup
Day 22: Shepherd’s Pie (my own recipe – coming to the blog soon!)
Day 23: Sweet Potato Chili
Day 24: Grilled Burgers, Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage, Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Bubbies brand Pickles
Day 25: Date Night! We brought Whole30 approved meals in from Snap Kitchen. More about that in a few…
Day 26: Oven Roasted Whole Chicken, Green Beans, and Carrots
Day 27: Green Salsa Chicken Tacos (I cooked chicken breast in the crockpot covered in a green salsa, shredded, and served in romaine leaves topped with avocado.)
Day 28: Creamy Ham & Potato Soup
Day 29: Mexican Steak with Avocado Salsa (People! This was amazing! My favorite meal of the Whole30.)
Day 30: Hamburger Soup
Do your kids participate? YES! Why not instill some good habits and expose them to some new flavors while they’re young? I will say that we allowed them to go off plan about 10% during the month.
Do you make any tweaks? Minimal tweaks. We occasionally allowed peas and allowed more potatoes than is probably typical. The reason for this is because I’m nursing and needed to be sure to get plenty of carbs.
Was your milk supply impacted, as a nursing mom? Yes, but not in the way you’re thinking. I pump twice daily (at the same times of day), so I have a fairly good handle on what my normal output is. To my own surprise my supply actually increased by several ounces daily.
What about eating out? Eating out is extremely challenging. There are precious few places that can accommodate W30 eating. Snap Kitchen however has MANY options that are completely Whole30 compliant! They have locations in several large cities including Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and more! Because we love you, we’re giving you a coupon for $10 off your first order! Simply enter this code when you order online: LWES-CTM from www.snapkitchen.com.
What about my grocery budget? Not going to lie… We went over our grocery budget during our W30. We personally are okay with that since it’s a short period of time (just a month) and view it as an investment in our health and well-being. Other cleanses and health programs cost money, too. HOWEVER, as we went on we found a few hacks for making it a little more budget friendly. One of our best tips is to make a big pot of soup once or twice a week. We loved every soup we tried and we have leftovers every single time. Buy things in season and on sale. Go to Aldi. Avoid unusual ingredients most of the time (coconut aminos is tasty, but it’s expensive, y’all!). Stock up on on plan foods at Sam’s or Costco.
Any confessions? Yes. I’m tired of sweet potatoes. And I really like sweet potatoes. In full disclosure, I have a nursing baby with a sensitive stomach – he can’t tolerate eggs yet, so my breakfasts were almost 100% sweet potato hash.
Did you lose any weight? Whole30 is NOT a weight loss program. It’s all about instilling good habits and doing some gentle, whole foods based cleansing. However, because you’re cutting things like sugar and carbs, weight loss isn’t uncommon. I’m a nursing mom – and weight loss while nursing DOES NOT come easy for me. I lost 12 lbs. during our Whole30. Hip, hip, hooray!
What is your first post Whole30 splurge? Sorry to disappoint…. but I’m not splurging just yet. There’s a Whole30 food reintroduction protocol that we’ve chosen to follow.
Have you ever considered Whole30 – or completed Whole30? Let us know what you thought about it!