Welcome back to my Whole 30 Experience series! In Part 1, I told you about the program and how it works. In Part 2, I shared my experience and the results. Now I’m sharing the part you’re really curious about – the Whole 30 food! I’ve still got a couple more posts in this series and they will be helpful for you if you’re considering doing a Whole 30 yourself. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to my blog here so you don’t miss those posts when they’re published!
Though I searched for new recipes to use during the 30 days, I wanted to keep things as simple as I could and also repeat recipes that we liked. It was hard enough for me to stick with the plan and the food prep 3 meals a day, so anything I could do to make it a little easier helped. I don’t have a bunch of fancy gourmet Whole 30 dishes to share with you – just good real foods and recipes that even my son enjoyed. Most of the recipes I used were either my own or new ones I found on Pinterest or by searching. And I used some recipes from the Whole 30 book I purchased. So again, having the recipes from the book is nice, but you can totally do a successful Whole 30 just by searching online for what you need.
Whole 30 Food – Breakfast
I did keep it simple most of the time with eggs, sugar-free bacon, and fruit. But I’m not a fan of eggs.for.all.of.the.days. So I needed some egg-free ideas. Here are some additional breakfast recipes for you:
Easy and Delicious Whole 30 Breakfast: This is a type of egg casserole, with sausage and veggies. I really wanted to like it, but did not, mainly because I have issues with texture. My husband did like it and son thought it was okay. But it’s easy and makes a lot, so adjust the recipe and it might be a family fave for you!
Breakfast Pumpkin Custard: This was really a nice change for breakfast. Now I’m not a big fan of bananas sadly, so I liked this better when I made it with bananas that weren’t super ripe, but if you like bananas then use ripe ones. We all liked this one and it’s surprisingly filling. I always added some extra chopped pecans and a few plain coconut chips to my serving and I preferred to eat it cold.
Paleo Cinnamon Apple Bake: This is not approved as a Whole 30 meal on its own, but enjoy it as a side to some bacon, sausage, and even eggs. It’s so yummy – we consider this one a keeper even when not trying to eat Whole 30 food.
Berry “Muesli”: After looking at some ideas online, I realized I could create my own Whole 30 breakfast and I loved it! You can adjust the ingredients to your liking, but I used: sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, fresh raspberries and blueberries, chopped pecans, and coconut chips, topped with unsweetened almond milk. This was one was so satisfying for somebody who really likes yogurt, granola, and berries for breakfast.
Whole 30 Food – Lunch/Dinner
I don’t have a lot of new lunch ideas. I tried to keep it easier by making enough dinner so there would be leftovers available for lunch. So my lunches were mainly leftovers or salads. I recommend keeping some cooked chicken on hand (you can find a couple of brands of precooked chicken chunks with only approved ingredients) and making a variety of salads. One of my fave combinations was lettuce, spinach, red grapes, and pecans with a homemade vinaigrette.
Dinners were easier because meat with no added ingredients and vegetables makes a great dinner. We enjoyed grilled steaks and ribs with a sugar-free rub, in addition to pork loin roast, chicken breasts, and salmon fillets. And the fact that potatoes are allowed is fabulous! Here are some of our fave dinner sides and main dishes:
Colorful Roasted Vegetables
Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Mexican Chicken Soup
Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
Pork Loin Roast: This is one of our fave dinners and it’s so very simple! Just mix up the rub, put it on the roast and bake. Just as delicious as the marinated pork loins you can buy, but you have control over the ingredients.
Pork Loin Rub
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Rub on pork loin roast (up to 2 1/2 pounds) and bake for 350 degrees for about 1 hour or follow baking directions included with the roast.
Beef and Veggie Chili: Another one of our faves that came out of a protein diet book many years ago. Adjust ingredient amounts as much or as little as you like.
Beef and Veggie Chili – Low Carb
1 pound ground beef
Chopped green pepper
I can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2+ tablespoons chili powder
Salt to taste
Sauté chopped onions and green pepper. When soft, add chopped mushrooms and continue to sauté until soft. Set aside. Brown ground beef. Drain fat and add to vegetable mixture. Add in tomatoes, spices, and enough water until chili is the consistency you prefer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. I always make a double batch.
Whole 30 Food – More Tips
Notice that there’s no dessert section? Sorry, dessert isn’t allowed on Whole 30! If you MUST have something, we enjoyed some apple slices with almond butter in the beginning days, but eventually tried to stop doing that so we could retrain ourselves to know that we didn’t have to eat something sweet every evening. Here are a few more random food tips to get you through:
Pay very close attention to labels! We could only find 1 brand of sugar-free bacon that we could eat. Not really worth it unless bacon helps you through. It was yummy but you could tell that the flavor was different. So yes, almost all bacon uses sugar in the curing process – news to us!
Watch out for condiments. The difference between ingredients in different brands is amazing. I ended up making my own mayonnaise from the Whole 30 book. It’s best to make your own salad dressing as well, which can be as simple as equal parts oil and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
You can have fruit juice! 100% fruit juice is allowed on the plan, though not recommended as it’s high in natural sugar content. But you can have some in moderation, so what this means is that sparkling apple juice is allowed (Martinelli’s brand is just pure apple juice)! We enjoyed it a couple of times to make our dinner feel extra special. It also helps a little if you are really missing wine.
Find a new “fast food” to make if plans fall through. I needed something that was quick and easy to make in case I wasn’t feeling up to making the full meal I had planned or didn’t have things ready in time. Come up with this backup plan and stock up. Our favorite was Aidell’s chicken apple sausages (they are so yummy), sliced or not, sauteed in a pan and sliced potatoes (baked a bit first) fried in a pan with a little oil and salt/pepper. Add some fruit for a quick additional side.
Find a favorite snack. In the beginning of the 30 days, you’re going to be desperate for a few snacks and maybe even an emergency “dessert”, which will taper off a bit as you go. But you want to have a good Whole 30-approved snack option. Our very favorite snack was slicing up an apple and dipping the slices in almond butter – yum! And I discovered coconut cream concentrate (coconut butter), so I mixed a little of that with my almond butter for a slightly different flavor. I also used approved Lara Bars sparingly and kept one in my purse for emergencies. My faves were Coconut Cream Pie and Pecan Pie.
Whole 30 Food – Dislikes
There were a few things that I didn’t care for during the Whole 30 food plan. Here are a few:
Black Coffee. You are allowed to drink black coffee on the plan. I do not like black coffee. I only drink sweetened, creamy coffee. I decided to go without coffee rather than attempt it black or with unsweetened milk of some sort. That was crazy of me! But I survived by drinking high-caf tea every morning. I do like my tea unsweetened, thank goodness, and happened across this brand of high-caf tea at Whole Foods. One cup has more caffeine than a standard cup of coffee. One cup in the morning was just enough to keep me from having any caffeine withdrawals, but not so much that I felt over-caffeinated at all. And the rest of the day I used regular tea.
Ghee. So I did use ghee regularly through my 30 days because it is the closest to butter, but I really did not care for the flavor and have not had it since. My feeling is that it’s like they took butter…and then ruined it! But when you can’t have butter, it doesn’t seem quite so bad.
Egg casseroles. I have an issue with textures and eggy casseroles turned out not to be my thing, which is a bummer because they are handy for breakfast and even dinner sometimes. Try some out and see what you think.
Bananas. Oh how I wish I liked bananas. It would make sugar-free life much much easier. I can handle them if they’re not very ripe, but once they’re ripe, they need to be in banana bread or cake for me to eat them! If you do like bananas, you will be able to create yourself some Whole 30 smoothies or combine them with cashews and coconut for breakfast.
Cauliflower. Another veggie that I wish I liked. My husband and son asked me not to bother making anything with cauliflower as well (even though they actually like it – they just didn’t want to have much of it). If you and your family like it, you’ll be able to try new things like mashed cauliflower and cauliflower rice.
Whole 30 approved mocha. I tried a recipe, but modified it according to what I like and don’t like. It was the worst-tasting thing EVER. There was no substitute that was going to work for me, so I decided it was better to go without for a while than try drinking poor substitutes. Don’t be afraid to try a couple of crazy recipes though for your fave foods and drinks that you’re missing – you never know!
Whole 30 Food – Resources
I hope you found a few more helpful Whole 30 food ideas in this post! You can find many more recipes and ideas from a few places: either of the Whole 30 books, the Whole 30 website, searching for Whole 30 recipes online (there are forums and groups that share ideas as well), and Pinterest, to name a few. In fact, I do have a Whole 30 Ideas Pinterest board that you can check out. I’ll be continuing to add to it as I run into new ideas.
I’ve tried to include as much info as I could about the food. Have you found a new recipe to try? Are you going to try Whole 30? What other questions do you have about the Whole 30 food? Comment and I’d be happy to answer you!
Don’t forget – there are still a couple more posts to go in this series. Up next will be a post with some helpful tips for those of you attempting a Whole 30! Thanks for following along!