If you know about Whole30, you know planning and preparation are key. You know your Whole30 meal plans will carry you through the moments you want to give up, give in, and eat the darn cookie. And — chances are —you’ve also heard this little reality check:
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
Okay, so Whole30 isn’t “hard.”
But when you need to make all your meals from scratch because Whole30-compliant restaurants and packaged snacks are few and far between, you might struggle to make it work. And instead of food freedom, you might feel food deprived.
Unless you have a meal plan.
Before even beginning, know that Whole30 meal plans are non-negotiable. You will need them. You will use them. And they’ll make your life easier.
What’s more, according to Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of Whole30 — label-reading and meal planning are two good habits that will stick with you. Long after day thirty.
With that out of the way, here are our best tips on how to meal plan for Whole30.
Cook heavy on Sundays
Get ready for the week ahead by spending extra time in the kitchen.
For example, wash and prep a couple bunches of kale (here’s how to store your veggies). Batch bake some sweet potatoes and stash them in the fridge. Hard boil a dozen eggs. Make dressings, blend up some salsa. And for the veggies that can withstand a little prep, slice and store them so that they’re ready to go when you are.
Use your leftovers
Not sure what to do about breakfast? Overwhelmed by lunch? Remember, meal planning simplifies your life.
This means making extra food for dinner and planning to eat it for breakfast or lunch. See? Simple.
Also: If you didn’t know, your freezer is one of your best kitchen tools. It will come to your rescue on days when you unexpectedly arrive home late. It will store ingredients so that you can get dinner on the table in a fraction of the time it would normally take. Heck, it will even store entire meals for you.
Use your freezer. And use leftovers too. Not sure which leftovers are freezable? 10 Paleo Freezable Meals For New Moms Here’s a good place to start.
Read your recipes
As in, the whole thing. The ingredients. The amounts. The steps. Make sure you know your recipes so that you can plan for them.
This doesn’t only mean tallying up what you need from the grocery store.
It also means pulling meat out of the freezer hours before you’re ready to cook. Having roasted root vegetables waiting for you in the fridge. And making sure you have the kitchen equipment and tools you need.
In case of emergencies…
Always give yourself options. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re famished and there is nothing for you to eat, you might not make it to 30 days. In your purse, bag, or car — carry jerky, seaweed, and food bars like RXBARs.
If you are on the road, know that there are plenty of options when it comes to traveling with food or picking some up along the way.
If you need protein, look for deli meat, smoked salmon, or jerky. Veggies like carrots, celery, bell pepper, and cucumber are easy to grab and go. Dried fruit won’t spoil. And olives are kinder to your digestion than nuts.