Sugar cravings and bad eating habits – be gone! Armed with the wisdom of a Whole30 meal plan, you’ll find that you are up to the task of shooing away nagging memories of junk food and clearing monster hurdles that might stand in your way.
Whole30 is a 30-day reset that changes how you think and feel about food. It makes you healthier. It helps you rediscover the flavors of food. And it kicks sugar cravings to the curb. The general rules are this:
- Enjoy meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, and natural fats.
- Avoid sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, and paleo “treats.”
- Do not weigh yourself.
In addition to these basics, here are a few more tips to get you started.
#1 – Shun all temptation
This is serious, folks. Get rid of the gummy bear stash. And – if there’s still time – plan to do it a week before you start your Whole30.
We promise that by day two, those chewy bites of sugar will be all you can think about.
Out of sight, out of reach – out of mind? Maybe…or maybe not. But keeping gummy bears and all other non-compliant foods out of reach helps to ensure your Whole30 success.
If the thought of tossing out perfectly edible food causes you turmoil, donate unopened items to a food pantry. Or, ask a good friend to hold the stash for you until you finish – with the pinky promise that they won’t break and deliver said stash to you before your 30 days are up.
#2 – Carve out time
Planning and preparation are key.
Which is why it helps to collect your thoughts and review the food you’ll gladly eat every day – include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Don’t forget to plan for emergency snacks or something to nibble on during social gatherings.
#3 – KISS your Whole30 meal plan
KISS – as in keep it simple, superhuman.
No need to reinvent the wheel. Begin by finding the simplest meals that sound good to you and repeat them for a week or two.
The first few days are usually the hardest. Plan to eat the simplest meals then. This way, you aren’t flustered with extra work, sugar-laced memories, and hardcore withdrawals.
#4 – Explore new foods and recipes
If you’re ready to go beyond simple, whip out all your Whole30 cookbooks and root around for your most soul-satisfying recipes. Look for ones you’ve never tried.
Take time to enjoy the process of creating meals with whole, living foods. Garnish like you mean it. And try out recipes that call for more than 5 ingredients.
If cooking is your jam, use a Whole30 meal plan to bedazzle your senses with the many textures, fragrances, and flavors of whole foods.
#5 – Plan for a hangry emergency
Life can be unpredictable. So can rush hour traffic. Be sure to keep an emergency snack with you wherever you go. Devise a meal option for yourself in the event that you forget your snacks. And write it down.
Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of Whole30, recommends putting together an if/then plan: If this happens, then I will do this. She gives this example:
“If Mom invites me out to dinner, then I’ll remind her I’m doing the Whole30, and ask if I can cook for her instead.”
Also, scout around for nearby Whole30-compliant hotspots – for example, the cafeteria at work or even a chain restaurant. While you may not be chowing down on your usual fare, easy to find ingredients – like boiled eggs, spinach, olive oil, lemon or orange slices – often make a simple and delicious salad.
#6 – Break meal time “rules”
It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that some foods should only be served at certain meal times. Or that food must be cooked and plated.
While it’s ideal to stick to three meals a day and avoid snacking, you don’t need to necessarily to limit yourself to traditional breakfast, lunch, or dinner foods. Keep meals 3 – 4 hours apart and let your creativity loose.
#7 – Aim for energy
Whole30 is not about starving. Or calorie intake versus deficit. If you feel like you’re winning when you make it through the day surviving only on a box of salad greens with oil and lemon wedges, think again.
Eating enough for your body weight and lifestyle will energize your day and make Whole30 success all the sweeter.
Remember, your Whole30 meal plan isn’t a weight loss diet – even though you might drop a few pounds as you discover food freedom.
#8 – Have support
You may feel tempted to “cheat.” That non-compliant fast food might be so close you can smell the french fries and feel the soft bounce of a hamburger bun as you bite into it.
This is where a lifeline comes in.
Maybe it’s snack. Maybe it’s a support group on social media. Or a Pinterest page brimming with Whole30-compliant foods. Maybe it’s a friend who will keep you on track.
In moments when you feel like you might crumble under pressure, turn to your lifeline for support and pat yourself on the back as you continue to rock your Whole30 meal plan.
#9 – Refrain from self-judgment
You broke. You cheated. You snuck in the food you said you wouldn’t.
Relax and reject the stress that a “slip” may cause. Refrain from judging yourself harshly and instead focus on the massive amount of good you are doing by starting the Whole30. Welcome the “slip” as a much-needed lesson about your relationship with food.
And then, start over.
#10 – Take it day by day
Whole30 will forever change how you think and feel about food. Natural flavors will begin to pop. You’ll marvel at the natural sweetness of a blueberry – and happily eat a handful for dessert.
Each day focus on the good. Celebrate what you can eat, rather than what you can’t. Make a list of what’s changing for the better – reduced joint pain? Better blood sugar control? An even mood? And remind yourself of all the good you’re doing for your body.