Last week, I wrote about the 12 Awesome Things That Happened When We Did The Whole30. This week, I wanted to follow up with some practical tips and examples of what we actually ate in case you are thinking about trying the Whole30 or in case you have already decided to go for it.
A FEW PRACTICAL TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
Like I mentioned in the earlier post, I was much more worried about the logistical aspects of cooking all the meals from scratch than actually giving up processed foods. Here are a few tips and tricks that helped us pull this off.
- Plan ahead. Always have at least a loose plan of what you will be eating for each meal for the next three or four days in order to prevent this unfortunate predicament: You are hangry and in dire need of food right that second, but you have no plan and no groceries in the house. This is when the siren call from the nearest take-out joint will become almost irresistible.
- Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be. You don’t need to come up with 90 different complicated gourmet meals. It’s perfectly alright to stick to simple meals and keep repeating the recipes. It’s only a month. If you decide to stick to mostly this way of eating in the long term, you can add variety later.
- Rotate the proteins for variety. We wanted to keep things simple, but at the same time, we didn’t want to end up eating chicken for 90 meals in a row. So we came up with a simple protein rotation system. Every day, we would have one egg meal, one chicken meal, and one beef or fish meal. Most of the time, this ended up translating to eggs for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and either beef or fish for dinner.
- You only need one cookbook. You don’t need to buy a ton of cookbooks to get through the month. Just buy this one:
I love this book, because it includes awesome basic instructions for cooking different types of meats as well as charts with the cooking times for both roasting and sauteing vegetables. Once you have the basics down, you can tailor to your own tastes. I also found a bunch of good recipes via Pinterest.
Ok, read on to what we actually ate and drank…
Here’s what we drank:
- Plain water
- Plain seltzer water
- La Croix natural flavored sparkling water (found at both Costco and our regular grocery store)
- Mint tea
- Unflavored coffee with unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk
Breakfast was trickiest for us. I exercise first thing in the morning and my stomach can’t handle eating anything before I run. By the time I have gotten myself out of bed, gotten dressed, run on the treadmill for an hour, cooled off, showered, and gotten dressed again, I will have been up for two plus hours and I’m starving. I need food right that second – I can’t add another hour or even half hour of cooking to the routine.
So our solution was to cook veggie omelettes every morning with a bowl of berries or fruit on the side. Omelettes are super quick and satisfying. And yes, we could have also done scrambled or fried eggs, but we heart omelettes. 🙂 You can come up with a gazillion variations, but here is the breakfast I like to eat most mornings:
- Favorite omelette: 4 eggs + 7 diced cherry tomatoes + a few fresh basil leaves chopped up, fried with ghee (clarified butter)
- A small bowl of blueberries + raspberries + blackberries
- Plain seltzer
- 1 cup of coffee with unsweetened almond milk
Lunch wasn’t super easy to orchestrate either. We work from home, so we didn’t have to worry about packing a lunch or eating out, but our days are still busy, so lunches can’t be too time-consuming to prepare. Here are two ways we managed the lunch hurdle:
- Left-overs from the night before. We didn’t utilize this option as much as we would have liked, mainly because it took us a while to figure out the portion sizes with new recipes, so a lot of the time, we ended up eating more than we thought we would for dinner and then had nothing left for the next day. I think we’ll get better at estimating how much food we need to make in order to have leftovers in the future.
- Chicken salad. More often than not, we ended up fixing chicken salads for lunch. We would fry a few days worth of chopped up chicken breast pieces in olive oil at once and then it was just a matter of chopping up the rest of the salad and throwing it all together at lunch time. Here are our favorite chicken salad combos:
- Spinach + cucumber + water melon + grapes + chicken + chopped up raw almonds or cashews
- Spinach + blueberries + strawberries + clementines + chicken + chopped up raw almonds or cashews
- Spinach + broccoli + avocado + blueberries + chicken
- Lettuce + cucumber + apple + avocado + raspberries + chicken + chopped up raw almonds or cashews
- Kale + uncooked sugar snap peas chopped up with pods and all + avocado + strawberries + chicken + chopped up raw almonds or cashews
Here’s my go-to simple salad dressing recipe that pairs well with any of the above salad combos:
- 1/2 cup olive oil + 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar + 1 tsp McCormick Gourmet All Natural Tuscan-Style Italian Seasoning
This recipe makes plenty for two main course salads. There are also several good salad dressing recipes in The Whole30 book.
Below I have listed all the delicious dinner recipes we tried. Most of these were SO yummy we ended up repeating them. Even if you end up not doing the Whole30, you should still give these recipes a try. They are so easy and satisfying, I guarantee you’ll want to add many of them to your regular dinner rotation.
WHOLE30 BEEF RECIPES
- Minute Steaks & Potato Ragout (We left out the Worcerstershire sauce and wine to make this Whole30 compliant.)
- Mini Cheeseburger Salad With Yellow Mustard Vinaigrette (We left out the Worcerstershire sauce and cheese to make this Whole30 compliant.)
- Steak and roasted vegetables from The Whole30 book
- Meatballs and roasted vegetables from The Whole30 book
- Fried Egg Topped Burgers on Sweet Potato Buns from The Whole30 book with a green salad
- Sweet Potato Cheeseburger Casserole
- Stuffed Tomatos
- Taco Salad (Taco meat: 1 pound beef + 2 tsp chili powder + 2 tsp cumin + 1 tsp Italian seasoning + 1/4 tsp salt + 1/3 cup water. Salad: romaine lettuce + cucumbers + bell peppers + cherry tomatoes. Dressing: store-bought salsa.)
WHOLE30 CHICKEN RECIPES
- One Pot Mediterranean Chicken
- Sheet Pan Herbed Lemon Chicken And Sweet Potato Dinner
- Melissa’s Chicken Hash from The Whole30 book
- Whole30 Breakfast Hash (Totally works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!)
WHOLE30 FISH RECIPES
- Glazed Salmon With Spiced Carrots (We left out the honey and used regular mustard rather than dijon to make this recipe Whole30 compliant.)
- Citrus Herb Salmon with a green salad
Writing this post made me hungry, so I’m off to cook dinner! 😉 But I’ll keep adding to the list here as I discover new recipes.