Thinking about trying Whole30, but don't know where to start? We’ve put together an ultimate guide of tips and ideas according to Nutritionists and Whole30 Coaches.
Let's understand what is Whole30?
Some people refer to the Whole30 program as a diet, but it’s not a diet. Rather, it’s a nutritional program.
"You can think of the Whole30 like pushing the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food,” according to Melissa Urban, founder, Whole30. She adds, “for 30 days, you’ll eliminate the foods that scientific literature and our clinical experience have shown to be commonly problematic in one of four areas — cravings and habits, blood sugar regulation and hormones, digestion, and immune system, and inflammation.”
You can read more about it here. In short, you are not allowed to have the following:
- Grains (corn, wheat, rice)
- Added sugar
- Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, soy)
- Processed additives (carrageenan, MSG, sulphites)
- French fries and potato chips
What are the benefits of the Whole30 program?
According to the Whole30 website, the benefits of the program include:
- Eliminate cravings
- Balance hormones
- Heal the digestive tract
- Restore a healthy metabolism
- Reduce systemic inflammation
- Discover how certain foods impact how you look and feel
Emilee Mason, Certified Whole30 Coach
- Keep it simple - You don’t have to cook a fancy recipe for every meal. Simple ingredient meals are your friend! BBQ chicken and roasted broccoli or another compatible protein over greens with a delicious compatible dressing is perfect!
- Be prepared - Don’t find yourself in a position where you are hangry with no compliant options. Keep some compatible snacks with you in your car or purse at all times. Things like chomp stick, rx butter, fruit, and nuts are great options. Also remember “snacks” can just be mini meals (think leftovers) packed with proteins and healthy fats.
- Practice Mindfulness - Anytime a craving arises, I find it so helpful to practice mindfulness. Be present in that moment and don’t think about the remaining days on your Whole30 or the foods you can’t have, rather focus on that single moment and saying no to that specific craving while moving on to all the delicious foods you CAN have! Take control of the craving instead of letting it control you.
Whitney Stuart, Dietitian-Nutritionist & Diabetic Educator
- Purse Jerky - AKA, always have a protein rich snack with you! Fruits alone won't sustain you!
- Over-prepare - Keep a few emergency meals on hand so you're not stuck hangry.
- Spice It Up! This reset isn't meant to be bland, layer in the marinades, sauces and spices.
According to Whitney, "Instead of feeling deprived and without variety during my reset, Good Food For Good almost has TOO many sauces for me to choose from. Well, almost. I could eat that ketchup on my eggs, sweet potato or lettuce wrapped burger, thrice daily, and never get sick of that perfect tang without any high-fructose-corn syrup concerns. It's even husband approved."
John Yi, Whole30 Certified Coach
- Keep It Simple - Start with simple ingredients and build plates from one or two food items with EVOO and salt and pepper, and then throughout the month expand from that to build up to more complex recipes that call for herbs and spices.
- Always Carry Whole30 Approved Foods - Never leave the house without Whole30 compatible or Whole30 Approved foods. Life is unpredictable and hanger is real. Keep food on you at all times.
- Use Your Condiments! Some of my favorites include the Good Food For Good Ketchup.
Judith Forman, Whole30 Advance Level Coach
- Keep It Simple - There's no need to make lots of complicated recipes on your Whole30! You can do Whole30 with simple foods - mix and match different proteins, vegetables, and sauces to create different meals with a variety of flavors. If you want, choose one or two harder recipes each week (@Whole30Recipes on Instagram is a great resource for inspiration) and then fill in the rest of the days with more basic food (baked fish, burgers, grilled chicken, an easy taco casserole, etc) and batch roasted vegetables. You don’t want to burn out in the kitchen!
- Stock Your Pantry - When I first started Whole30, my meal prep was primarily based on recipes. I used to spend a few hours each weekend making sure I made enough to get me through the week. These days – and this holds true even though I am not on a round – I ingredient prep: I roast sheet pans of vegetables, make a variety of proteins, and mix and match them during the week with added fats and sauces. The key to my success with this method is a well-stocked pantry. I often find myself making easy one-pan meals with ground meat, whatever veggies I have on hand, and a Whole30 Approved sauce. I also have a variety of seasoning blends, like the ones from to change up the flavor profiles of my food and other essentials, including coconut milk, avocado oil, raw nuts, and ghee.
- Communicate with your family or yourself - Make sure everyone in your family understands that you’ll be spending more time on meal prep and cooking – and why you’re doing it! Lay down some ground rules so they know what’s off limits to them in the kitchen. There’s nothing worse than reaching for the last portion of your Whole30 buffalo chicken casserole for lunch only to find out that someone else ate it! If you live alone, be sure you've clarified your personal "why” behind the September Whole30. Write it down, hang it on your fridge, and get comfortable with it - and come back to it during the hard moments of your round. Focus on what you’ll gain from Whole30, not what you have to give up. Commit to following through and giving yourself a chance to reset emotionally and physically through Whole30. It will be so worth it!
Take your Whole30 meals to a whole new level with our world cuisine inspired recipes that are super delicious and come together in minutes with a handful of ingredients. We made these sauces to give you access to delicious global flavours without the hassle! Now, you can cook like a pro and enjoy our easy-to-use sauces on all your favourite dishes, whether it’s a simple soup or a fancy shakshuka. Our sauces are healthy, sustainable and 100% plant based so that you can enjoy guilt-free gourmet food that you can feel good about. Download our cookbook - "Global Flavors For Whole30 Table".
Amanda, Certified Whole30 Coach
- Sauce Is Boss - When you batch cook or use ingredient meals, you might find yourself looking at a plate of healthy but unattractive and tasteless food. That’s where sauces and spices come in. Transform ground turkey into a Mexican style dinner with roasted garlic salsa, or an Italian breakfast with zoodles and marinara sauce. You could also skip the blender and buy pre-made sauces and spice blends.
Laura Heath, Certified Whole30 Coach, Certified Health Coach & Certified Life Coach
- Feel your feelings instead of eating them. Allow yourself to feel through emotions even if it feels uncomfortable.
- Keep it simple! You don’t need fancy, complicated recipes. Try batch cooking simple ingredients once or twice a week, making it easy to throw together each and every meal.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. Keep your primal brain out of the decision making, and let the prefrontal cortex (your higher thinking brain) make your food decisions. I promise you; this is a game-changer!
P.S. My VERY FAVORITE condiment is my Good Food For Good Classic BBQ Sauce! It’s the BOMB!