Is there anyone out there that isn’t trying to eat a little more healthier this time of year?! It seems like everywhere I turn someone is talking about a detox, the Whole 30 or another diet. January seems to be the perfect time to reset the body and diet and get back to a healthier lifestyle. I have found that the most effective plan for me to get back to a healthier lifestyle is to complete a round of Whole 30. Most likely you have heard something about the Whole 30 plan. If social media is any indication, it seems like so many people are currently doing Whole 30! For those unfamiliar with Whole 30, I’m sharing the explanation from the official Whole 30 Program website:
“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food. “ Source Melissa Hartwig, Co-Creator of Whole 30
My husband and I completed the 30 day challenge last year and we were pleased with the outcome. We felt lighter, less sluggish and overall healthier! Since completing our first round, we have tried our best to mostly stick to a Whole 30ish plan. However, the holidays got to us and now we are ready to dive back into another round of Whole 30.
There is so much information out there on Whole 30 (thankfully). But, as a busy mom, I am all for easy and not time consuming. So, I wanted to share my ideas on how we kept it simple while doing Whole 30.
I find that when we over complicate a goal or set our expectations too high, we fail to achieve what we set out to do. So for me, the easier I can make things, the more likely I am to follow through.
Tips for Completing Whole 30 as a Busy Mom (or Family)
While I wrote these tips for Whole 30, they can almost all apply to any type of eating or heath plan you are following!
- Keep it simple. A google search of “whole 30 recipes” will produce thousands of ideas that look both appetizing and labor intensive. While it’d be rewarding to create from scratch meals with lots of flavorful ingredients, the reality is there is not enough time in the day to do this. If you start out trying to make complex meals from the beginning you are going to burn out quickly! My suggestion is to start out basic. The first week your energy will be down more than normal, so now is not the time to slave away in the kitchen. Stick to easy protein and veggie meals to get yourself going. Maybe as you get more into the plan and perhaps on weekends when you have more time, you can try out those gourmet dishes.
- Do it with a friend. My husband and I did Whole 30 together last year and I honestly don’t know if I could have stuck to the plan as well without him doing it. We both were eating on plan so it made meal planning easier and a lot less food temptations to look at every day! If you can’t rope in a spouse, maybe you can get a friend to join you. Keep in touch with the friend with daily updates and meal ideas. It really helps to know someone is in this with you and helps you to stay accountable.
- Don’t make separate meals for you and your family. If you are making a meal for yourself and then one for the rest of the family, you will burn out! It’s easier from the beginning to start and make one meal for everyone. I just adjusted all of our meals for the kids but the main dish was the same. When we ate zoodles (spiralized zucchini noodles), the kids ate whole wheat pasta. When we made breakfast for dinner, everyone would eat the eggs and bacon. I’d add cinnamon rolls for the kids. Overall it really isn’t hard to adjust the dinner to meet everyone’s needs. The bonus is your whole family is probably going to eat healthier these 30 days even if they are not on the plan.
- Utilize packaged potatoes, fruits and veggies. Allow yourself to cut (time) corners when you can and buy pre-cut (compliant) items.
- Eat the same thing over and over again. As long as you can tolerate eating the same things, keep your favorite dishes on repeat.
- Treat yourself to take out 1-2 times a week. You can search online to find out which restaurants have Whole 30 compliant meals. Just type in the name of the restaurant and Whole 30 and you be able to find suggestions. I found a lot of suggestions at Life Health HQ. We ate at Chipolte when we needed a break from meals at home.
- Try to limit social engagements. I say this one kind of jokingly but it is really hard to have a social life on the plan! It is much easier to stay at home and eat your own food then to be in social situations with lots of temptations. To really keep yourself honest and avoid the urge to cheat, it’s easier just not go out that much. If you have plans to go to a social situation where the food won’t be compliant you will want to eat ahead of time. Maybe plan to get the event after you know a meal has been served. Or pack some healthy snacks! I would say the social aspect of the plan is the hardest hurdle to overcome. While on the plan, I really learned how much food is tied with social engagement!
Whole 30 Meal Ideas
Everyone has asked me what we ate while on Whole 30 and honestly most of my favorite meals weren’t actual recipes. We stick to our weekly meal themes and just make modifications to our usual non-Whole 30 meals!
- Spaghetti Bolognese paired with zucchini or sweet potato noodles (the kids would eat whole wheat pasta)
- Taco Bowls: Lots and lots of taco bowls! We ate a lot of Chipolte type meals. We would start with romaine lettuce, add sautéed veggies, chicken, ground turkey or beef, and of course guacamole and salsa.
- Sausage (Must be compliant) with peppers and onion
- Tuna Salad with Primal Kitchen mayo
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Paleo Chili
- Turkey/Beef Burgers with Spicy Cole Slaw (We live on this slaw!)
- Crockpot Shredded Chicken with BBQ Sauce (our Favorite sauce is Tessamae’s)
- Breakfast for Dinner (Eggs, Sausage, Veggies and Potatoes)
The best place to start to really understand the program is to read the book, Whole 30: Guide to Better Health and Food Freedom. Once you understand the program, it is helpful to look for additional resources/recipes online.
I’ll keep you posted on how this round of Whole 30 goes for us! Please comment below and let me know if you have tried Whole 30 and are familiar with the program!