Last Monday, G and I dove head first into the Whole30 Program. (Let’s not talk about how Sunday, I ate ALL THE CHEESE… I mean, I had to get it out of the fridge, right?). I’m not going to bore you with a million recipes because that’s what Pinterest is for. But I thought it might be helpful to share some of my survival tips. I am 7 days into this thing, so obviously I’m a pro at this point. [Kidding – not even really sure I know what I’m doing]. But if I can do it, I think just about anyone can.
First, let’s talk about why we are doing it. I’ve talked before about my desire to get healthier. I’ve got a toddler to keep up with and – in all honesty – I want to feel good about the way I look. I want to set healthy examples for my child so that making the healthy choice will be the natural one for him. G is at a point where he wants to lose some weight as well and he’s got some willpower like nothing I’ve ever seen. Several friends and coworkers have done the Whole30 program recently and it seemed like a tough but good plan for us to kick off a healthier routine… and it was NOT based on deprivation, special shakes or drinks, and weird supplements, which was big for us.
Second, let’s talk about the hardest parts. For me, that was dedicating the time and energy to meal prepping and coming up with snack options. The solution to this was to just keep it simple. Pinterest is full of fancy, complicated and deliciously photographed recipes that require 25+ ingredients only found at Trader Joe’s. That is so NOT necessary. A lean meat with some roasted veggies will do you just fine. And who has time to slice and bake 600 sweet potatoes to make like 5 servings of sweet potato chips? Not me, that’s for sure. So here are some things I did that made things much easier than I anticipated.
- I got some high quality food storage tupperware. I’ve always just grabbed a stack of the basically disposable stuff at the grocery store but I knew that for this kind of meal prep, that wasn’t going to cut it. I love the Rubbermaid Brilliance 14-piece set. The tops snap on and keep raw items fresh and cooked items from geting mushy. They stack nicely too!
- I set aside time before the week started to prep meals. Even if there wasn’t much I could cook ahead of time, I at least chopped up vegetables, marinated meat and got everything as prepared as I possible could to make weeknight cooking easy and quick.
- I cooked extra servings at each dinner. I’m not much of a salad person – not because I don’t like salads – but mostly because I just always want a “hot” meal… maybe it’s a Southern thing? The best way to keep from burning out on salads was to just make extra servings at dinner so we could enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day. Sometimes I’d even make enough to last us two dinners and a lunch. Cooking every night can be hard when there’s a tiny human trying his damndest to destroy your kitchen so being able to just heat something up is like having an night off!
- I kept fresh fruit everywhere! On the kitchen island and in the fridge. As soon as I got home from the grocery store, I washed and chopped my fruit, tossed together and kept in tupperware at eye level in the fridge for a go-to snack. I also bagged up individual servings to grab when we left for work. (NOTE: you’re gonna need alot of ziploc bags). Farmers markets and local farm stands are a great way to keep from dropping Benjamins on fruits and veggies. I’m always amazed how much more expensive it is to shop healthy! Support your local farmers and save yourself some money. If you’re local to Birmingham, I love J & S Produce farm stand at Trinity Methodist Church in Homewood. They are in the parking lot every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning.
- Guacamole has become my best friend. Sure, I’d love to make it fresh each time but ain’t nobody got time for that. Sabra makes a smallish/medium-sized tub perfect for sharing and snack-sized portions as well. I’ve been throwing it on salads, dipping carrots (seasoned with chili power and lime juice) in it. Any way you can add avocado to a meal, you’re gauranteed to stay fuller longer and it’s a great source of healthy fat.
- Portion out and package your snacks so eating on-the-go isn’t a disaster. It’s those moments when you’re out running errands and hunger hits you that are the most dangerous while doing Whole30. There is almost no compliant quick fix from the convenient store and eating out is pretty difficult. (We’ve eaten out once so far and there was basically one option on the menu that we could have). Grabbing a bag of carrots or almonds that is premeasured so you don’t binge in one of those Snickers hunger moments can totally save your day.
- I stopped stereotyping my food. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Grilled chicken isn’t just for lunch or dinner. Eat what you want (that’s compliant) when you want it. This morning, I had roasted vegetables for breakfast. And I’ll be having a hard-boiled egg with my lunch. The notion that certain foods are for certain meal-times can really box you in and leave you with not enough options… especially when the fridge is getting bare and you haven’t made your next grocery run.
- Be confident that you have the willpower to do this. It really isn’t that hard. You just have to want it bad enough. Want to give you body a boost, rid it of the stuff that shouldn’t be there and reap the rewards. You’re not really supposed to weigh on this program but I am. And the scale is moving in the right direction. That may not be your reason for doing this program, but it sure is a nice perk!
So, if you’ve been on the fence about tring Whole30, I say do it! What’s the worst thing that can happen? You cheat? You fail? You probably would still be eating and treating your body better than you did before. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Let me know if you decide to try it. I want to hear all about it!
Note: Whole30 website has some awesome resources here.
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