Now that you’ve cleaned out your pantry and removed all the non-approved foods, you’re ready to hit the grocery store, right?
Although it’s extremely tempting to let your excitement get the best of you and send you running to the store to stock up on proteins, tons of healthy vegetables and fruit, and good fats like avocado, coconut oil, and ghee; STOP. Take a breath. Grab a pen and a notebook, and make a meal plan and a shopping list. Otherwise, this is what will happen.
I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a meal plan and shopping list before you head to the store, especially when you’re doing a Whole30. Two of the keys to success are having a kitchen stocked with good food, and having an idea of what you’re going to do with it because trust me, there will be days where you won’t want to cook. There will be days when you don’t want to eat any of the things in your house, but having food on hand makes it that much easier to resist temptation. Plus, you’ll have much less waste and sacrificial produce if you start with a plan. You know what I mean – how many times do you end up opening your crisper drawer to find a head of lettuce that’s growing fur, or something that may once have been a cucumber but now you’re not so sure? By knowing exactly what you need and what you’ll use it for, you not only save time but money as well.
So what should you focus on?
This shouldn’t be the first time you’ve heard this, but when you step foot inside your grocery store of choice, shopping list in hand, you’ll want to spend approximately 95% of your time shopping the perimeter of the store. And really, you’re only going to focus on about half of the perimeter of the store – namely the produce department and the meat department, with a quick hop over to the eggs.
Here are some of my favorite Whole30 meal staples (tailored to February on the East Coast):
– Roaster Chicken – canned seafood (crab, salmon, tuna, sardines)
– ground beef and turkey – chicken breast and thighs
– fresh, wild caught fish – pork shoulder roast
– Avocadoes – leafy greens, spinach, spring mix, butter lettuce
– sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, parsnips
– fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut
What about snacks and “extras”?
Although the Whole30 program focuses on three meals a day (plus pre- and post- workout “meals” when necessary) and limited to no snacking, things come up. Maybe your breakfast wasn’t enough to get you all the way to lunch one day. Maybe you stayed at work a little later than normal one night and are looking at an extra long commute before dinner. Maybe your body just needs some additional calories. It’s okay – just make sure you aren’t making these snacks an everyday occurrence.
Some of my favorite snacks and extras:
– sugar snap peas – prosciutto slices
– raw unsalted nuts (my favorites are macadamias, cashews, and pumpkin seeds)
– no sugar added dried cherries (used sparingly)
– carrot chips – fresh green or black olives
– baby bananas – granny smith apples
– Artisana individual nut butter packets (my favorites are pecan and walnut)
But eating meal and vegetables every day sounds pretty boring.
Eating meat and vegetables every day can be pretty boring – if you’re only eating meat and vegetables. What do I mean by that? Well, there are tons of Whole30 ways to spice up your meals. Some of my favorites:
– 21 seasoning salute – south african smoke seasoning
– green tomatillo salsa – spicy brown mustard
– Frank’s Red Hot – Fish Sauce (look for no sugar added)
– jarred jalapenos/banana peppers – guacamole (watch your ingredients)
– Various tomato sauces (look for varieties with no sugars!)
– fresh or dried herbs – Coconut Aminos
What about drinks? How will I survive without my (insert sugary beverage here)!
Fortunately for me I stopped drinking soda years ago, I’ve never been much of a juice person, and I already drink my coffee black. Nevertheless, you can survive for 30 days without the diet cokes and your morning orange juice – here are some great alternatives:
– sparkling water (plain) – flavored La Croix sparkling water
– unsweetened brewed tea – loose leaf brewed teas
– coconut water (no sugar added) – plain water with lemon/lime/cucumber slices
What about pantry staples?
In addition to buying the items on your shopping list from the meal plan I know you’ve already sat down to write, here are a couple of items every Whole30 pantry should include:
– ghee (store bought or make your own!) – coconut oil
– apple cider vinegar – other vinegar varieties (balsamic, champagne, red wine)
– olive, sesame, avocado, macadamia nut oil – canned or jarred olives, capers, artichoke hearts
– canned tuna/salmon/sardines – thai curry paste (green/red/yellow)
– tomato paste/sauce – coconut milk (full fat, watch for no added ingredients)
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and everything is going to be based on your own personal preferences. What’s important is to have a variety of clean, whole food on hand so that you’ll never find yourself standing in front of the refrigerator with no idea what to make. (Sure, there will be times when you have no idea what to make – but having a well stocked kitchen gives you options!)
Let’s get ready to Whole30!