I have learned that, when starting a new routine, it can be somewhat overwhelming (hello, obvious). This is definitely true of following a Whole 30 eating plan. This past week as I have prepared for the next 30 days, I have felt so many things–excitement, fear, dread, anticipation to name a few. As @whole30 puts it, “You’re ready to take on this challenge, but you’re kind of freaking out. You can’t wait to try new ingredients and recipes, but you’re worried about what’s going to happen once that Sugar Dragon rears its head.” The fear of failing or struggling is a real deterrent for me, but I try to push through it to see what I can accomplish. Because we did a Whole 30 last year, I know all the ‘nitty gritty’ of a process like this. You will have hard days and you will want to pull your hair out, but it will be worth it in the end!
This week, I had my own little freak out as I checked out at Kroger. I had spent $60.33 the night before at Aldi for all of this:
(I know, right?!) But, I still had to get a lot of meat and other essentials at Kroger. I knew my total cost would be pretty hefty, but I was not prepared for $129.80. Yikes! However, when I got home, I decided to do a ‘fun’ little experiment and see how much we had spent eating out. I went back ten days since the food I purchased is supposed to last ten days. Y’all, we had spent $251.86 just on food in the last ten days! That is insane. I know it was over the holidays, so it was much easier to just go get what we were in the mood for. But, still. Ridiculous. Thankfully, instead of beating myself up about making such poor food choices, I saw this as a huge motivator to be excited about the Whole 30. Deeper sleep, better digestion, more energy, and better choices are all definitely worth the $190.13 that I spent. Don’t you think?
Bottom line: I decide what my health is worth. I decide what’s important to me, and make daily choices that reflect that. I can’t say “Oh, that’s too hard” or “That will take too much of my time” or “I don’t feel like it.” I have resolved to change my life and no momentary craving will trump that.
Now, moving on to the fun part! I have found that the time I spend planning and preparing drastically increases my motivation and my overall results. So, are you ready to plan for a Whole 30? Here is what I do!
1. I spend a lot of time searching for recipes on Pinterest, reading books like this and this, and following @whole30recipes and@whole30 on Instagram.
2. Once I have gotten some inspiration, I look through my fridge and freezer to see what foods I already have. This week, I had a whole organic chicken and a pound of grass-fed ground beef to begin with. Literally, that was it. So, my slate was wiped pretty clean when it came to meal-planning. This left lots of room to pick whatever recipes I wanted. Yay!
3. Finally, I get to planning!
- For these first ten days, I picked out four breakfast options, two meals that are easily made in the mornings and two casseroles that can be eaten over several days. This means more time in my warm and cozy bed!
- For lunch and dinner, I decided on eight options. These meals usually make four servings at least, two for us to eat for dinner and two for us to have for lunch the next day. We have found that this method works very well for us, since cooking for two with no leftovers is very difficult to do. In addition, it cuts out some cooking time so I don’t have to make a new meal every single lunch and every single dinner.
- Things like chicken salad, and turkey roll-ups, need very little preparation. I usually keep ingredients for those items on hand anyway. The rest of the recipes incorporate some similar ingredients, so I am not wasting anything. For example, I will use the salsa from southwest scrambled eggs as a snack with raw veggies, then again with the taco salad. I will use the leftovers from the whole chicken to make chicken salad.
- While it may seem annoying to have so many leftover meals, we actually don’t mind at all. The Whole 30 requires a LOT of effort, so anything I can do to cut down on minutes I spend cleaning and chopping vegetables, watching over a skillet, or washing and drying dishes makes it all worth it!
4. Time to shop! This is where I have had to think through what works best for me. While I would love to shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Costco we live at least 35 minutes from all of those. Instead, I have decided to shop at Aldi first (love, love, love Aldi) then stop by Kroger on my way home for things that Aldi does not carry. This has worked really well for me. For some people, going to multiple stores isn’t worth the time. But for me, I save some serious money by shopping at Aldi first, which makes all the difference for me.
I hope this helps get you started on your Whole 30 journey! Check out the meal plan and recipes below for some ideas. I’ll be sure to let you know how they turn out!
Best Chicken Drumsticks Ever
Asparagus Potato Hash–Three ingredients. Awesome.
Southwest Scrambled Eggs from Whole 30
Baked Salmon with Garlic and Dijon–So good!!
Best Roasted Veggies
Bacon Butternut Squash Quiche
Paleo Chicken Tortilla Soup
Fresh Salsa from Whole 30
Stuffed Peppers from Whole 30
Roasted Tomato Sauce over Spaghetti Squash–One of Daniel’s favorites!
Easy Whole 30 Meatballs
Taco Salad w/ Avocado Dressing from It Starts with Food
The Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot