I have completed two rounds of Whole 30 and done multiple resets and I love this program. If you take the time to understand what it is and how to properly utilize it, you will see tremendous benefits. It can seem overwhelming at first, so I wanted to condense my top tips and tricks to help you not only stick to your Whole 30 but to get the most out of it.
1.) Read It Starts With Food – this is the first book that co-creators of the Whole 30 program Melissa and Dallas Hartwig wrote. It is packed with vital information and will give you a knowledge and understanding of the why behind the program.
2.) Clean Out Your Pantry – Get rid of the junk and anything that is not compliant. You don’t need it staring you in the face every time you open your pantry doors. You can donate it, throw it away or pack it up in a box and store it in the house somewhere.
3.) Meal Prep – I know that when most people think of meal prep, they get overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it helps to have some things made ahead of time. This makes it easy to throw a quick meal together. I do like to have these Greek Turkey Meatball Meal Prep Bowls made, because they are a delicious healthy lunch option.
4.) Do It with Someone – You don’t have to do it with someone to be successful but it really helps to have a partner to encourage and support you along the way. I did a full round with my husband and that really helped me when it came to cooking and meal prep.
5.) Stick to Your Budget – I am a very passionate person, so when I start something that I am excited about, I go all in. The first Whole 30 that I did, I went and bought every approved/compliant product that I could find. That cost a fortune. My husband and I are on a journey to become to debt free, so it is important to me to stick to our budget. After my second round (and with eating this way in general) I have discovered that it is possible to do a Whole 30 and stick to your budget. My friend Bailey from wholekitchensink.com wrote a whole series on doing Whole 30 on a budget.
6.) Call Ahead When Eating Out – The only place that I usually eat out during a round is Chipotle, for a compliant burrito bowl. They have all the info you need on their website. If you are going to a formal sit down restaurant, most of them will be very helpful. You can call and ask them what oils/butters they use to cook in and if you are able to customize your order. If you do this ahead of time you won’t have to worry about it once you get there.
7.) Always Carry Emergency Food – I always keep emergency food in my bag in case something comes up and I don’t have any compliant options available.
These are some of my favorites….
- An apple (although not ideal on it’s own, so I try to pair it with a handful of nuts or nut butter)
- Nick’s Sticks – Grass-Beef Snack Sticks
- Almond Butter Pouches
- RxBar – make sure you choose compliant flavors
8.) Compliant Pre-made Sauces and Marinades – I love these pre-made sauces and dressings for a quick meal, but I also like to make a batch of my BBQ sauce to have on hand as well.
9.) Keep it Simple – I love to cook, so it can be fun to experiment with new dishes, but I am also a working mom. That means that a lot of times I am throwing a protein, veggie and starch in a pan and calling it a day. I have some simple one pan meals that I love, like my Braised Cabbage with Kielbasa and Bacon and my Shrimp and Sausage Skillet.
10.) Rotisserie Chicken – This goes along with the tip above, these really come in handy! I use them as is, throw the meat in a soup, or make a big batch of chicken salad with it. I also use the bones to make an easy bone broth! I often use a rotisserie chicken to make a big batch of my Curry Chicken Salad.
11.) Print Out the Additive List – It can be difficult to remember what additives are compliant. I like to carry a copy of the list with me or bookmark the link on my phone so that I can reference it when I am shopping. You can get the list here.
12.) Books to Read –
- It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
- The Whole30 Day by Day: Your Daily Guide to Whole30 Success
- The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook: 150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30
13.) Follow the Rules – They are there for a reason and it’s only 30 days. These rules have been tried and tested with so many people and they work. Trust the process and commit to it. You will see the most benefits this way.
14.) Eat Breakfast – It is important to set yourself up for success. Eating a healthy, well rounded breakfast is a great way to start fueling your body from the start. I love my Sweet Potato & Apple Breakfast Skillet for an easy and quick morning meal.
15.) Coffee – I’m including a section about coffee because this is one thing that a lot of people freak out about. I did too, so no judgment here. First of all, black coffee is really not that bad, it just takes a little time to get used to it. With that being said, I love Nutpods in my coffee. The French Vanilla is my favorite.
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16.) Try New Foods – There are so many incredible foods out there that you probably have never heard of. Look up what is in season, because then it will taste better and contain more nutrients. Then go find it at the grocery store or farmers market. Even better, get your kids involved. Let them pick out something new and help you prepare it.
17.) Journal – This can be so beneficial for you to be able to track how you are feeling and really pinpoint some things you might be noticing. For example, your emotional connection to the scale, struggling with overeating (even compliant foods), or how certain foods affect your body. You can do this in your own journal or use The Whole30 Day by Day
18.) Take Measurements – I always tell people to do this but I am notoriously bad about following through with it myself. Which allows me to tell you how much I regret not doing it. It gives you another way to see the changes that have taken place in your body.
19.) Learn to Read Labels – After some time you will get used to what to look for. The biggest thing I recommend is learning the different names for sugar (i.e. fructose, corn syrup, cane sugar etc). It is insane how many products have sneaky sugars in them.
20.) Freezer Options –
- Hash Browns
- Fajita Veggies
- Cauliflower Rice
- Bone Broth
21.) Pantry Staples –
22.) Focus On Health not Weight Loss – This is hard but so so important. When I was doing my first round I had a panic attack about not weighing myself. Even though I was feeling so much better, I was so concerned that I wasn’t losing weight. The Whole 30 is not a diet or a weight loss program, it is about improving your health and changing habits. It is also about gaining knowledge of which foods might be negatively affecting your body. Weight loss is often a positive after effect, but it is not the main focus.
23.) Don’t Recreate Your Favorite Junk Foods/Treats – Just DON’T DO IT. You are changing habits, and this defeats the purpose. Read this for more reasons why.
24.) Follow Inspirational Accounts – these are some of my favorites to follow on Instagram:
25.) Have Grace for Yourself, but Don’t Give Up – You might eat one too much nut butter one day and think you have to give up, but please have grace for yourself. Write that down in your journal and make an effort not to do it again. Stick to the rules, but don’t expect to be perfect. No one is.
26.) Be Intentional (learn) – This is why I like to journal. I learned so much about myself and my relationship with food and the scale during my rounds. I came to learn that I had begun to care more about the number on the scale than the actual health of my body. Don’t just focus on sticking to the rules, be intentional and learn to listen to your body and your heart. You might be surprised what you learn when you aren’t comforting/numbing yourself with food.
27.) DO the Reintroduction Phase – This is the whole point of the program. It gives you knowledge that is vital to the health of your body. It helps you take back control of your health. You might get to day 30 and just move on, but I really really encourage you to follow the reintroduction that is laid out in the Whole 30 books and on their website.
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