I just started my second Whole 30 last Friday, and went back to reread this post so I could remember the things that helped me through the first one. I figured if any of you are doing one now, it might be helpful.
I also wanted to add a few resources that helped me out with it.
- The Modern Mrs. Darcy has several Whole 30 posts. This one was really helpful.
- Well Fed & Well Fed 2 Paleo cookbooks. Well Fed 2 has a Whole 30 section in it and her meat + veggie + seasoning combos in Well Fed were great to help make quick meals. I just checked them out at the library.
I also want to emphasize how important seasons are. I did the last one when I felt peace about it and it went really well. My second one I am contemplating quitting or modifying because I’m not sure it is the season for it. I’ll let you know what I decide and the reasons for it. But whether you do the Whole 30 or not. Or start it and quit because the timing is not right, please give yourself grace and be conscious of your season.
If you could use a little help figuring out what season you are in and how to embrace it, subscribe to Living in Jubilee and you will get a FREE copy of 7 Steps to Embracing Your Season with printables and journal pages. I go through it periodically to reassess my season. Hmmmm…..actually, I should probably go back and do it again now!
I hope some of these resources can help you on your journey!
*Repost from February 2016*
My husband and I just started the Whole 30 last Monday. Traditionally, I do terrible with anything “diet” related. Of the NUMEROUS things I have tried, I usually only lasted about 2 days but sometimes less before I was binge eating ice cream or bread or chocolate!
I tend to do better when I practice moderation and focus on eating more nourishing, healthy things, adding more fruits, vegetables and water. Focusing on deprivation of certain foods makes me want to gobble down an entire package of Oreos.
So, while I was interested in the Whole 30, I waited to try anything new until I felt a peace about it. Amazingly, I was really excited to try it and even more astounding to me was how easy it has seemed!
I had a mild headache on one or two of the days, and felt a bit tired (although, I do have a baby and toddler, so that might have a lot to do with it too!) but really didn’t have any problem with sticking to it, or even with cravings. But the last couple days I have been really wanting some stir fry or greek food, so they are on my radar for after we finish the 30 days!
After giving some thought to what I think has made this week pretty easy, I have come up with these seven tips. Hope they help in your Whole 30 journey!
1. Tailor it to what your family already likes
My husband loves Mexican food and meat but dislikes most soups and salads. He’s a meat and potatoes (or tortillas) kind of person. He doesn’t need a lot of variety. Instead of trying to look up a bunch of different recipes, I looked at what we already ate and figure out how to make it Whole 30 compliant. Chicken fajita salad instead of in tortillas, taco salad, grilled chicken/steak/fish with veggies. I added a bunch of avocado and the vegetables he will actually eat, like sauteed/steamed broccoli or green beans and radishes and cucumbers with lemon and garlic salt.
2. Make it Easy
I have a two year old and a six month old who can now crawl all over the place. I need things to be easy. I don’t have a lot of time to spend making meals. If something takes a lot of prep time, I usually won’t do it.
I have come to terms with the fact, that while I enjoy feeding people, I don’t enjoy the extra time to make time consuming, elaborate dishes. There are other things I want to do.
So if I have a head of lettuce in the fridge and I have to wash and dry and tear up to make one salad, I just won’t eat the salads. Or if I have to wash, and cut up the broccoli or green beans and then figure out a way to steam them when I don’t have a steamer, I probably won’t do it. And then I will watch as they go bad in fridge while I keep telling myself, “Tomorrow, I will make them tomorrow.” And it’s no surprise that tomorrow never comes!
So I buy the pre-washed ready to use spring greens for super quick salads, plus a bag of romaine hearts that I will rinse and chop for fajita or taco salads. I also found frozen broccoli and green beans at Sam’s Club that come in one pound steamer bags that you pop in the microwave and five minutes later you have your vegetables ready to eat. (Soooo worth it inmy case!)
3. Prep Ahead
Prepping ahead was key for my success during our first week. If I get to the kitchen to make dinner and the meat is not thawed or I’m starving and nothing is cleaned and ready to go for lunch or snack time, then I am in definite jeopardy of cheating!
Do things like:
-Grilling up a bunch of meat on the weekend and freezing it for quick dinners and lunches during the week. Just today I realized that I forgot to look at the meal plan after being gone all morning so I pulled out some grilled chicken breasts from the freezer. Add a steamer bag of vegetables and a salad and avocado and we are set.
-Make a batch of soup for the week and freeze. This is my go to lunch. I freeze the soup in two gallon Ziplock bags and take one out on Monday and the other one Thursday or so. I alternate between the soup and salad or a baked sweet potato and salad. Both are super quick and easy. If I’m going to be gone all morning, I have the soup because I don’t have to chop up a bunch of toppings.
-Prep fruits and vegetables for snacks. I usually make sure to have at least one cucumber already cut up and ready to go. Sometimes I will cut up oranges and keep them in baggies, or portion out some nuts for convenience and portion control.
4. Be Prepared
If I’m out and about and forget to pack a snack, I’m in trouble. I try to make sure to look at the schedule to see when I’m going to be outside the house and make sure I have enough with me to make it until I get home.
-Larabars. I keep a bunch on hand for emergencies. I never leave the house without at least one in my bag. I try to use them sparingly but they are perfect for when I’m on the run and need something easy to eat. (If you are one of those people who has extra time and will actually make them yourself, then go for it!)
-Bottle of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Especially because I am still breastfeeding.
-Baggie of nuts or fruit. Sometimes I’ll grab a banana, or chop up an apple or orange for the road along with a little baggie of nuts. Plus, it’s great in case the kids get hungry!
5. Make a Detailed Meal Plan for the Week
It is ok to reuse it every week if you want. Like I said, my husband does not care much about variety, so he’s fine with Chicken Fajita Salad every week, or the piece of meat and veggies. The more variety, the more ingredients you need, and the harder you have to think about it. I personally didn’t have the mental energy to have to make four different meal plans, so I am mostly reusing the same one.
-Keep it basic. If you want to change something up, you always have that option, but if you have a week’s worth of quick easy basic meals already in place, you are set in case you get behind and don’t have time to think about meals before the next week is upon you. (This is me most of the time)
-Keep in mind where you will be and what days need something really minimal prep, like a crock pot meal, or breakfast for dinner, etc…
6. Clear Out the Pantry/Fridge
It really helped me to know that basically everything in the fridge I could eat. (Minus the milk, cheese, and yogurt that I was keeping on hand for Joseph) I also boxed up most of the beans, pasta, grains, chips, etc… in the pantry that would tempt us and I put it in our guest bedroom. Out of sight, really out of mind. There is a much better chance that I will stay with it if I am not staring chips or pasta, or sourdough bread in the face everyday.
7. Keep Your Meal & Snack Times Regular
In trying to figure out why this felt so easy for me, I started to realize what an important role, regular snack and mealtimes played in it. Before I started this, I felt starving ALL THE TIME! I would stuff myself at lunch and dinner, wolfing down my food as if I hadn’t had a meal in a week. But when I started the Whole 30, I was being super mindful about having a mid morning and mid afternoon snack. And for the first time in a long time, I was able to have one medium bowl of soup and feel full as opposed to scarfing down 2 huge bowls and then feeling obnoxiously stuffed thirty minutes later. The few days that I accidentally skipped a snack, I would overeat at the next meal.
Perhaps, this is accentuated for me because I am breast feeding and need more calories, but if you find that this is a problem for you too, I would encourage trying the regular snack times. It really made a world of difference for me!
So there are my seven tips and tricks for an easier Whole 30!
** P.S. I’ll be posting my Whole 30 Meal Plan: Week 1 in a day or two, so check back, or subscribe by email so you don’t miss it!