“Whole30 is a whole food-centered diet that eliminates gluten, dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol and all added sugars," says Maggie Michalczyk, MS, RD. The eating plan was designed to help people identify potentially problematic foods, although Michalczyk says many people also use it for weight management. “It's often done in January when most people feel they want to get back on track after the holidays and want a specific set of rules to follow,” she adds.
Given that it cuts out so many food groups, following Whole30 makes grocery shopping and meal prepping a definite challenge. You might feel clueless wandering down the aisles, unsure of what you can and cannot eat. And since you’re cutting out processed foods, that grocery bill might be higher than you’re used to.
It should be noted that Whole30 is fairly restrictive, and isn't necessarily the right thing to try for everyone. But if you're looking to try it yourself in January, Michalczyk has a shopping list with some easy dinner ideas to get you started. Five days down...25 to go.
Your Whole30 shopping list:
- Nutritional yeast
- Almond butter
- Coconut aminos
- Snap peas
- Fresh ginger
- 2 onions
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Pre-riced cauliflower (frozen or fresh)
- 2 zucchini
- 2 sweet potatoes
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh basil
- Fresh oregano
- 2 to 3 lemons
- 1 lime
- 1 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 4 to 6 scallops
- 1 to 2 salmon filets
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 package Whole30-compliant bacon (such as Naked Bacon or Applegate Naturals)
- 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Whole30-compliant pasta sauce (such as Primal Kitchen or Rao's Homemade)
- Avocado oil
- Bay leaves
- Almond flour
From your pantry:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder
Dinner #1: Zucchini noodles with chicken meatballs
Purchase zucchini noodles in ready-made format or use a spiralizer to make it into noodles on your own. Then get started on this Whole30 take on Italian pasta night.
Yields two servings
1 lb. ground chicken
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 cup almond flour
Pinch of salt
2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles
1/2 cup Whole30-compliant pasta sauce
Nutritional yeast (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add all of the ingredients before zucchini to a large bowl and mix together. Use a cookie scoop to portion the meatballs out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes.
2. While the meatballs are cooking, sautée the zucchini noodles in a pan on medium-high heat until cooked, about two minutes. Toss with the pasta sauce until warm. (Add more sauce if needed.)
3. Add the cooked meatballs to the pan until they are slightly coated in the sauce. Top with nutritional yeast, if desired, and enjoy.
Dinner #2: No-bean chili
Most chili recipes include beans as the starring ingredient—but legumes are off-limits on Whole30. Thankfully, you can still enjoy the warming winter dish with a few easy tweaks, as in Michalczyk's recipe below.
Yields 2-4 servings
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes (don’t drain)
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 bay leaf
1. Brown the meat in a skillet along with the onion until fully cooked.
2. Add the meat, onions, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, and bay leaf to a slow cooker (or pressure cooker on the "slow cook" setting) and cook on low for about four hours. You can also simmer the ingredients in a pot on the stovetop for one to two hours if you don't have a slow cooker.
3. Serve in bowls, topped with avocado slices if desired.
Dinner #3: Spaghetti squash pad Thai
Eating out is complicated on Whole30. Bring takeout to you with this delicious, compliant pad Thai recipe.
Yields two servings
1 spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 1/2 tbsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced
1 cup carrots, grated or thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 cup snap peas
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place it face up on a baking tray, and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes.
2. While the spaghetti squash cooks, make the sauce. Whisk together the olive oil, almond butter, coconut aminos, and ginger until combined.
3. Sauté the carrots, peppers, and snap peas together until cooked through. Add sauce to veggies and combine until everything is coated and warmed through.
4. Once squash is cooked, scrape a fork through the flesh to get the "noodles" out. Add them to the pan with the sauce and vegetables. Toss to combine all ingredients together. Serve with an optional squeeze of lime juice, and top a fried egg if desired.
Dinner #4: Sheet pan lemon salmon with sweet potato fries and asparagus
Thirty-minute meals are still possible on Whole30 thanks to easy recipes like this one from Michalczyk. Sheet pan dinners FTW!
Yields two servings
1 to 2 salmon filets
2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes
1 bunch asparagus
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the sweet potatoes into thin strips for fries. Toss with with avocado oil and salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cook for 10 minutes.
2. Coat the salmon with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and the lemon juice. Add the salmon and asparagus to the sheet pan with the sweet potatoes and cook for an additional 15 minutes, until salmon is opaque and vegetables are tender.
3. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on the fries and asparagus, and serve.
Dinner #5: Bacon-wrapped scallops with turmeric cauliflower rice
Yes, you read that recipe name correctly. This decadent dinner is totally Whole30-compliant, thanks to the grain-free cauliflower rice, compliant bacon, and simple seasonings. You'll probably want to eat this long after Whole30 is over.
Yields two servings
1 package of riced cauliflower
5 to 6 small scallops
1 tsp. pepper, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 to 3 pieces of compliant bacon, halved
1 tsp. turmeric
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Pat the scallops dry and season with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and garlic powder.
3. Wrap each scallop with a half a piece of bacon. Hold it in place by piercing the scallop with a toothpick. Place the scallops on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 25 minutes. Flip and bake for about 10 more, until bacon is cooked through.
5. While the scallops are cooking, sauté the riced cauliflower with turmeric and the remaining salt and black pepper.
6. Serve scallops on top of cauliflower rice.
Looking for more help with Whole30? This is what a healthy plate should look like on the eating plan. And here's a food list to help make grocery shopping easier.
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