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Whole30 Food List: What to Eat and Avoid for Optimal Results

by Lisa Bryan — December 27, 2018This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Start your Whole30 right by downloading my Whole30 Food list. It’s a shopping list that you can print out and stick on your fridge or bring to the grocery store. I’ve been around the Whole30 block and I’m here to help you navigate the guidelines and what foods to eat and avoid.

Click to download PDF

If you’re anything like me, the new year often feels like a natural moment to make a healthy shift. I’m not talking about low-calorie crash diets or unrealistic weight loss goals, though. I’m talking about hitting the reset button on my eating habits—because, even though I stick to a relatively clean diet most of the time, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all of the sweet holiday treats and festive cocktails. I’m only human, after all.

That’s why I love the Whole30. This 30-day real-food eating plan is one of my favorite ways to essentially recalibrate my taste buds to crave more whole foods, calm inflammation throughout my body, and boost energy levels—things we could all benefit from come January, or after any period of overindulgence.

For me, Whole30 strikes a nice balance of structure and freedom. Yes, there are strict rules about eliminating certain pro-inflammatory food groups and ingredients, but there are still a huge number of foods available to you—and what you can create with these nourishing foods is often truly amazing (check out my favorite Whole30 breakfast recipes and Whole30 dinner recipes).

But I’ll admit, the first (and even second) Whole30 can be a bit of a learning curve. Even if you know the basics of what to cut out and what to eat, there are many ingredients and additives that fall into somewhat of a gray area—and unless you’re an expert, keeping track of it all can be the most stressful part!

What exactly is Whole30?

Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to help you eat healthier and eliminate your personal trigger foods—these could be foods that cause an inflammatory or autoimmune response in your body, or simply foods that cause you to lose all self-control.

For 30 days, you will cut out all grains, legumes, soy, dairy, alcohol, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods containing any of these ingredients; and load up on all sorts of vegetables, fruits, eggs, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

The idea is that, after a month, you’ll rid yourself of sugar and carb cravings and start to really notice the positive effects of adopting a whole foods-based diet—whether that’s sleeping better, thinking more clearly, feeling less bloated, or having more of a pep in your step.

After the first 30 days are up, you’re encouraged to slowly reintroduce certain foods one at a time to identify specific items that may be causing unwanted side effects—and thus, what foods you probably want to ditch for good.

Why should you do a Whole30?

In a nutshell, because it totally revamps your relationship with food. Whole30 isn’t a diet in the traditional sense. You’re not allowed to weigh yourself, and counting calories and measuring out portions aren’t encouraged either.

The true goal is to eliminate foods that are pro-inflammatory and potential allergens, to recalibrate your taste buds so you naturally crave fewer sweets and carbohydrates, and to break the emotional ties you may have with certain “comfort” foods that have derailed your eating habits (and overall vitality) in the past.

What you can (and can’t) eat on Whole30

First, let’s start off with what you can’t eat. Per the official program rules, you must eliminate all of the following for 30 days, no exceptions:

  • Added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, monk fruit, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol.
  • Alcohol. Any form of alcohol is a no go, even for cooking.
  • Grains. All grains are off limits (even gluten-free grains!), including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, quinoa, and buckwheat.
  • Legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and peanut butter. This also includes all forms of soy—soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and lecithin.
  • Dairy. Milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  • Certain additives. Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites are all a no go.
  • Baked goods, junk foods, or even treats with “approved” ingredients

So, what can you eat? Pretty much anything that’s left over, with a few exceptions. Basically, this includes vegetables, fruits, eggs, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. To make your lives easier, download my Whole30 shopping list for loads of specific compliant foods broken down by food group. And always stock up on Whole30 snacks for grab and go.

You can also watch my What I Eat in a Day video for more Whole30 recipes and inspiration.

5 more ways to make your Whole30 successful

Beyond simply knowing what to eat and what to skip, here are a few more suggestions for making your Whole30 experience way more enjoyable.

  1. Prep ahead: First, print out my Whole30 grocery list so you know the ins and outs of the program; then, find some Whole30-approved recipes that you’ll look forward to eating; lastly, set aside a few hours on Sunday to meal prep so you’re less likely to cave to mid-week cravings.
  2. Remove temptation: Toss any non-compliant foods, or at least keep them out of sight, for the entirety of the program. There’s really something to the old “out of sight, out of mind” saying.
  3. Think big picture: Whole30 is going to feel impossible if you’re fighting yourself the entire way. So before you begin, make sure this is something you’re truly willing to commit to. One strategy that always helps keep me motivated is jotting down my non-weightloss goals for doing Whole30 (e.g. mental clarity, pain reduction, clearer skin) and what these things will help me do.
  4. Drink lots of tea: Whenever I find myself itching for a snack and I know I’m not actually hungry, I brew up some herbal or green tea. I personally love a good cup of matcha, which is packed with antioxidants and may help boost cognitive function and aid in weight loss.
  5. Do it with a friend: Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner! There will be moments during your Whole30 that are really tough, so having someone to commiserate with can honestly be pretty helpful. Sharing words of encouragement and tasty recipes is great too.

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by Lisa Bryan — December 27, 2018
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Imagine this: You’re going strong on Day 15 of Whole30 and you feel like you’ve gotten into the swing of things. Then the afternoon rolls around and you’re munching on your usual Larabar. You glance at the wrapper—only to realize that you just scarfed down the wrong kind of Larabar. (The ones with peanuts or chocolate chips aren’t Whole30-approved.) This means you’ll have to start the 30-day elimination diet all. the. way. over.

In order to avoid a similar scenario, you might want to consider getting a PhD—in reading labels, that is. Actually, going for whole foods that don’t have labels at all is your safest bet. But since that’s not totally realistic for most of us, it’s important to know exactly what you can and can’t have on the program, because even one banned ingredient in a seemingly healthy-looking food could derail you.

Sound impossibly strict? Well, there’s a good reason for that. Whole30’s not just about clean eating, but also examining your habits every time you reach for a snack. Melissa Hartwig, founder of the program, says one of the biggest benefits people experience from this is an awareness around their emotional connection and attachment to food. “People think, ‘This will be really hard, I’m going to miss my treats,’” she says. “But it can be really eye-opening to realize how much food plays into your emotional relationship with yourself, with your body, with other people, and with the food itself.”

Of course, it can be overwhelming to adjust to this ultra-mindful way of eating. So if you’re thinking about starting Whole30 soon, it’s a good idea to have a game plan before you hit the grocery store. Consider this the Cliff’s Notes version of what to eat (and what not to eat) on the program, right down to the banned ingredients you should look for on food packaging. See ya on the flip side, avocado toast…

Keep reading for your ultimate Whole30 food list.

Photo: Getty Images/Noel Hendrickson

The basics

This may come as no surprise, but you’ll want to stock up on organic, fresh produce. Basically all fruits and veggies are acceptable on Whole30, so your favorite apples, bananas, berries, and the like are fair game.

The same can’t be said for your green breakfast smoothie, however. Unfortunately, blending or juicing fruits and veggies and calling it a meal is not recommended on the program, unless it’s absolutely necessary. The main reason, according to the Whole30 program guidelines, is that drinking your meals or calories is less filling, tricking your brain into thinking it’s not as full as if you ate whole foods. And it’s easier to overdo the sugar from fruit and miss out on fiber if you’re juicing.

The other things you’ll have to nix for the 30 days include all dairy (except ghee), grains and breads (including oats, wheat, rice, and other gluten-free and Paleo varieties), and legumes (including beans).

Photo: Getty Images/Debby Lewis-Harrison

Beware of additives and added sugar

Since you’ll probably want to use sauces to make all of those veggies a bit more exciting, you’ll have to be extra careful when buying bottled condiments or salad dressings. In an ideal world, you’d make these from scratch, but when you’re crunched for time you have a few options. (Many of the products from Primal Kitchen and Tessemae’s are Whole30-approved).

This handy guide gives you the rundown on the ingredients you can have (like natural flavors, acacia inulin, and sunflower—not soy!—lecticthin), and the ones that are off-limits (like MSG, carrageenan, sulfites and cornstarch).

Added sugars of any kind are also a no-go. Check out this list of sneaky sugars that are often added to condiments and packaged foods. Yes, even natural sweeteners like agave nectar, maple syrup, and honey are to be skipped.

Photo: Getty Images/Simala Kema/EyeEm

Protein

The majority of your protein on Whole30 is going to come from meat, eggs, and fish. Try to choose quality meat and fish that are sustainably sourced, certified organic, free-range, and without any hormones, fillers, or nitrates.

Protein can be a tricky food group to master when you’re super busy, traveling, or on the go, so you’ll want to make sure you have some on hand that you can reach for easily. “I always recommend keeping emergency food at home in your fridge,” Hartwig says. Some of her go-tos include hard-boiled eggs, ground meat, and chicken sausage.

Photo: Getty Images/bhofack2

Nuts, nut butters, and nut milks

Since you’re allowed to have all kinds of nuts—except peanuts, since they’re technically legumes—you can still enjoy nuts and nut butters. Just make sure they aren’t roasted in grain- or legume-sourced oils or coated in sugar or with seasonings that have additives. Raw and unroasted nuts and nut butters are great for Whole30, since there’s no chance of any extra stuff you don’t want in them.

And you can still enjoy your daily latte—as long as it’s made with a dairy-free alt-milk that is free from carrageenan and added sugar. That means all of the nut milk options at Starbucks are off-limits, and so is the popular barista blend almond milk favorite from Califia Farms (which has 5 grams of added sugar per cup). Califia Farms’ unsweetened almond milk products are fine, though. And sorry, Oatly fans—the buzziest alt-milk of the moment is banned, too, given that it’s made with oats (which aren’t allowed).

Photo: Getty Images/Matilda Delves

Snacks and drinks

Whole30 generally doesn’t recommend snacking. If you do need to eat between meals, it’s best to include some protein and fat. But sometimes, when you’re putting in a lot of hours at the office or traveling, you can find yourself starving with no Whole30-compliant food in sight. This is when it’s best to have some snacks on hand until you can get something substantial. “I always fly with meat sticks or jerky. DNX Bar makes a Whole30 compliant kind of mini meal—it’s a meat, veggie, nut, and seed stick, kind of like a bar,” Hartwig says.

If you have to pick one thing to bring with you to the airport, Hartwig recommends packing protein, since it can be difficult to find. “You can almost always find nuts or seeds or some fresh fruit at your local airport, but meat is the hardest thing,” she says.

When it comes to drinks, alcohol and sugar-sweetened sips are out, but what about your favorite healthy options? Kombucha is ok (if sugar’s not listed on the label), and so are freshly pressed fruit and veggie juices. La Croix and bone broth are also compliant.

Photo: Getty Images/Anna Pustynnikova

What about dessert?

The no-dessert rule is probably one of the least-popular parts of Whole30, but Hartwig says it’s one of the most important if you’re looking to kick sweet cravings to the curb and reset your habits. She even coined a term for cheating by eating Paleo, dairy-free, or sugar-free desserts, which seem like they’d be Whole30-compliant—she calls it “sex with your pants on.”

“Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a Whole30-compliant pancake and the normal pancakes you make in the morning. Or a brownie or a cookie,” she explains. “And if you’re still eating pancakes, cookies, and brownies on your Whole30, you’re not going to learn anything about your emotional relationship with food and you’re not going to have to change your habits. We rule out on the program to force you to address the way you are using food to comfort, relieve anxiety, and self-soothe—and force you to find other ways to satisfy those needs.” Who’s up for some forest bathing instead?

If you’re looking for more tips, try these Whole30 breakfast recipes to start your day off right. And here’s a guide to life after Whole30.

Tips & Tricks

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Last updated on September 21st, 2019

A Whole30 Meal Plan that’s quick & easy! This is absolutely wonderful for kicking off your next Whole30, meal prep, holiday planning and more! Easy, healthy and delicious meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and side dishes included!)

Looking for a Whole30 shopping list?

I’ve got you covered with that, too! Get ready to feel extremely prepared for your next Whole30 by having this Whole30 meal plan, as well as the Whole30 Trader Joe’s shopping list at your finger tips.

You can also print out the guide or simply download it and save it.

This will be a game changer for you, as the hardest part of doing a Whole30 is all of the prep work that is needed for true to access.

Before starting your Whole30 diet meal plan…

  • Educate yourself & prepare accordingly

During your Whole30, do not recluse yourself from social outings and gatherings. If you’re planning a dinner date or heading out to a new restaurant with some coworkers or friends, look up their menu online. You can take a look at all of their options and figure out what is compliant on the menu.

What’s even better is you can call the restaurant if you have any questions or concerns about certain items. You will walk into that restaurant with a plan and executing that plan will be stress-free.

  • Get friends and family on board

There is nothing better than having the support of friends and/or family members while on a Whole30. This is especially true if it is your first go around. If you’ve been invited for a night out with close friends who may poke fun at your new lifestyle, ask them if you can invite along your sister, who just so happens to be Whole30’ing with you!

Having that support system right by your side when tempted to make unwise decisions will prove to be tremendously helpful. In fact, print out a copy of this Meal Plan & Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List and invite your support system to come grocery shopping with you.

How about hosting a Whole30 dinner party at your house? This would be a great way to show your friends & family what you’ve been up to. After seeing how many delicious things they can eat during a Whole30, they may become tempted to join you for your next round!

  • Share this Whole30 meal plan with others

Those friends and family members are going to feel like they want to be extra supportive if you show them all of the delicious kinds of recipes you get to eat during your Whole30!

Go ahead and send over this meal plan to them. I guarantee you that once they see all of the things you *can* eat, they’re going to forget about all of the things that you can’t.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – Print out the Whole30 Meal Plan shopping and pantry lists. That way, you can go through the recipes and check out what you already have at home and what you’ll need to purchase. Bust out that dusty highlighter of yours!

Grocery Shopping

Plan your grocery trips for twice a week. This ensures that you’ll be planning at least 2-3 days ahead of time, yet still keeping the possibility of food spoilage very slim.

Prep Work

Wash, dry and cut all produce after you finish grocery shopping and store in the refrigerator.

Portion Sizes

Be sure to portion out meals in to-go containers when you’re finished cooking. That will make grabbing breakfast, taking lunch to go and heating up dinner a whole lot easier!

Why TWO separate meal plans?

Meal Plan A
Stick to this meal plan during your Whole30. Every recipe is 100% compliant, with a wide variety of different fat, protein & carbohydrate sources to choose from.

Meal Plan B
Start this meal plan after your 30 days is up. Continue eating real, nutrient dense foods but begin experimenting with reintroductions during this time period.

I’ve created this Whole30 Meal Plan as a resource for both during and after your Whole30 has been completed. I get questions constantly about what to do after your Whole30 is over.

For 30 days, you have completely eliminated foods that both scientific literature and Melissa Hartwig’s clinical experience have deemed as the most commonly problematic in 1 of 4 areas- your cravings, metabolism, digestion, and immune system (Whole30 Cookbook, 1).

After your Whole30 is up, it is now time to start systematically reintroducing those foods you’ve cut out and now pay close attention to your experience.

This doesn’t mean that you go from Meal Plan A to a junk food vacation.

You should still be eating whole, nutrient dense meals (which is where Meal Plan B comes into play).

However, you should be reintroducing those “less healthy” foods (i.e. dairy, gluten/grains, soy, etc.) one at a time and taking inventory of how you feel.

After reintroducing sugar (regardless if its in the form of coconut sugar, honey, etc.), do you experience fatigue or joint swelling?

After 30 days of elimination and spending some time with reintroduction, you will have a firm understanding of what foods are best for you, both physiologically and emotionally.

And that is exactly what this Whole30 meal plan was created and intended to do. If you’re looking for a great place to get started, I recommend heading to this Whole30 Starter Kit!

For even more recipe ideas for during and after your Whole30,

check out my other meal plans here!

Meal Plan A (During Whole30)

Green Shakshuka with Shaved Brussels Sprouts

This healthy green shakshuka is made with shaved brussels sprouts, spinach and zucchini- what a winning combo! It is the absolute perfect way to kick off your morning!

Meal Plan B (After Whole30)

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Stacks

Who isn’t a fan of eggs benedict? Add some smoked salmon to the menu, and I think everyone is game. These stacks have cauliflower patties at the base and topped off with capers & fresh chives!

Skillet Roasted Breakfast Veggies

Hashes are the absolute best for making ahead and reheating during the week. I love the idea of this dish, as it is a Whole30 breakfast that does not include eggs. Get creative with what veggies you choose!

One Pan Chicken Apple and Squash

This one pan skillet could be the most perfect breakfast after your Whole30. With fresh apple and the warm flavors that delicata squash brings to the table, you’ll be starting your day off with lots of fire!

Brussels, Bacon & Chicken Skillet with Ranch

One pan breakfast meal to the rescue! This breakfast skillet is loaded up with all of the nutrients and deliciousness: brussels sprouts, crispy bacon, chicken & a deliciously saucy ranch for the top.

Paleo Pizza Potato Skins

What better way to start off the morning than with potato skins? Since these potato skins are loaded up with pepperoni, black olives and roasted garlic (yum), you’ll be feeling all kinds of fabulous before work!

LUNCH

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Two reasons to love this soup: 1) It’s packed with healthy fats that will keep you feeling full, longer and 2) you’re loading up on ALL THE nutrients thanks to the butternut squash in this recipe.

Cauliflower Rice Meatballs

It’s so easy to sneak in dark leafy greens and other healthy vegetables into dishes when they taste as good as this one! This recipe is for the whole family- including the kids. They are saucy & divine!

Creamy Coconut Milk Meatballs

These meatballs are creamy, delicious and the perfect recipe to batch cook ahead of time for the week. There is a hint of red curr flavor as well… does it get any better than that?!

Halibut Nicoise Salad

This salad may sound fancy and look too delicious to eat, but you absolutely must try it anyway. It’s loaded up with all kinds of nutrient dense vegetables, boiled eggs and lots of protein. Give it a try!

Mango Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

This mango chicken is served over coconut cauliflower rice for a quick & easy spin on take-out that is ready in 30 mins! Crispy chicken pieces slathered in saucy goodness- sign me up!

Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef Bolognese

A “spaghetti” and meatballs dish that is both healthier and TASTIER than the “real deal!” The bolognese can be frozen in ice cube molds so you can batch prep it for the month!

DINNER

Crispy to the Root Chicken Thighs

This recipe is the bomb, as it’s a one pan meal with very minimal prep work and cleanup time. You get to set it and forget it, pretty much. The scrumptious chicken juices drip into the root vegetables & potatoes!

Paleo Sloppy Joes

These sloppy joes are so easy to make and the whole family will surely fall in love. You’ll most likely already have the ingredients you need in your pantry. The coconut aminos are what really make this dish over the top delicious.

Roasted Tomatoes and Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

This dish sounds like the perfect balance of flavors. There’s nothing better than roasted tomatoes mixed with seafood. Imagine cioppino but with zoodles and shrimp. Amazing, right?!

Lamb Burgers with Rosemary Pesto Sauce

Lamb burgers- say what?! Rosemary and lamb always pair so well together, so this rosemary infused pesto is without a doubt a perfect accompaniment to these juicy lamb burgers!

Easy Whole30 Chili

This chili is so warm and hearty, I wake up in the mornings wishing that a bowl was waiting for me on my nightstand. Jokes aside, this chili is packed with veggies & some secret ingredients, like cold brew coffee & cinnamon- yum!

One-Sheet Roasted Sausage & Brussels Sprout Dinner

This recipe is pretty genius. You’re getting all of the healthy fats, protein and good carbohydrates, thanks to the cooking fat, chicken, brussels sprouts and sweet potato… it’s some perfection, that’s for sure!

SIDE DISHES

Easy Whole30 Cauliflower Fried Rice

This cauliflower rice has the perfect balance of herbs & spices to make it a true contender. You can convert some non believers very easily with this dish. Serve it as a side or add protein for a full meal!

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Rice

This delicious recipe should change the way you feel about cooking in advance forever. There is less mess, as you are just throwing the cauliflower into a food processor and straight into the oven. Leftovers? Yes, please!

Garlic Roasted Radishes

Radishes could be the most underrated vegetable ever. Imagine roasted red potatoes but less starchy and fewer carbs. What’s amazing is that roasting radishes bring out their natural sweetness. This side dish is a big winner.

Paleo Brussels and Bacon Slaw

If you’re sick of eating the same brussels sprouts side dish over and over again, look no further. These brussels sprouts and raw but shaved down and combined with cabbage, bacon & a delicious dressing! Mm hmm!

Zoodles Aglio Oglio, Artichoke & Tomato

A zucchini “noodle” dish with artichokes could be the best ingredient combo of the year. This side dish screams Mediterranean but can be enjoyed as a side with some roasted chicken or turned into a main course by adding your favorite protein.

Slow Cooker Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Ranch

This recipe looks to die for. It screams comfort food for sure. Slow cooked potatoes with ranch poured all over them? You don’t have to twist my arm. Set these potatoes in your crockpot and forget them while you prepare the rest of your meal.

Meal Plan A
(During Whole30)

PRODUCE

Garlic
Brussels sprouts
7 Zucchini
Cilantro
Baby spinach
Fresh ginger
1 Habanero pepper
1 Avocado
8 Yellow onions
1 White potato
5 large Sweet potatoes
1 Mango
Butternut squash
Fresh rosemary
Limes
2 Shallots
Carrot
Basil
Parsley
2 lbs Cherry tomatoes
1 Lemon
Fresh thyme
4 Bell peppers
Cauliflower or riced cauliflower
Radishes
1 Chili pepper

Meal Plan B
(After Whole30)

Mixed greens of your choice
Green beans
Spinach
Chives
Fresh rosemary
Basil
1 Red onion
10 oz Green cabbage
2 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
1 Bell pepper
1 Avocado
1 Delicata squash
1 Apple
Kale
2 large yellow onions
Fresh thyme
Fresh dill
1 Lemon
Cherry tomatoes
2 lbs sweet potatoes, plus 2 sweet potatoes
Garlic
Scallions
1 Cauliflower
1 Zucchini
Celery
Carrots
8 oz Mushrooms
4 lbs Potatoes, plus 4 potatoes

MEAT, SEAFOOD & EGGS

1 dozen Eggs
3 Chicken apple sausages
1 1/2 lbs Boneless chicken thighs
2 1/2 lbs Bone-in chicken thighs
Bacon
2 lbs Ground chicken
1/2 lb Extra large shrimp
1/2 lb Chicken breast
2 lbs Grassfed ground beef

2 Halibut filets
1 dozen Eggs
Smoked salmon
1 lb Chicken or turkey sausage
2 Chicken breasts
Italian beef sausage links
Pepperoni
1 lb Ground lamb
3 1/2 lbs Lean grassfed ground beef
Bacon

SPICES

Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Parsley
Onion
Garlic
Dill
Chives
Mustard powder
Thyme
Cinnamon & cinnamon sticks
Chili powder
Nutmeg
Ginger
Coriander
Garam masala
Cayenne pepper
Oregano
Sesame seeds

Salt
Pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Oregano
Cayenne pepper
Ground ginger
Turmeric

OTHER

Cooking fat: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, etc.
3 cans full fat coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
Chicken or vegetable broth
Fish sauce
Tomato paste
28 oz Diced tomatoes
14 oz Tomato sauce
Cold brew coffee
Coconut aminos
Apple cider vinegar
1 can artichoke hearts
Tapica flour
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Red curry paste
100% pure orange juice

Cooking fat: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, etc.
Kalamata olives
Dijon mustard
Almond flour
Coconut flour
Red wine vinegar
Capers
Nutritional yeast
Black olives
Pizza sauce
Canned pineapple juice
Coconut aminos
Apple cider vinegar
Canned coconut milk & coconut cream
Coconut sugar
Arrowroot flour
Raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
Dry white wine
Tomato paste
Paleo ketchup
Hemp seeds
Paleo mayonnaise or Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise
Champagne vinegar
Raw honey
Paleo ranch dressing

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Originally published July 30, 2017. Last updated December 19, 2019.

So here you are ready to start your Whole30. CONGRATULATIONS! We are so excited that you are ready to jump in and commit to 30 days of real food! For most people, the Whole30 is a big change to existing eating habits, and it requires a lot of effort to educate yourself on Whole30 rules, find Whole30 compliant recipes, plan meals, make shopping lists, etc. Since the Whole30 is already daunting enough, we designed a complete Whole30 meal plan to make your Whole30 as easy as possible! With our Whole30 meal plan, you’ll get a full plan for each day of the week, a complete shopping list for all the recipes each week, and the full recipe for each meal.

**NOTE: Our Whole30 meal plan is designed to serve two people.**

Sign Up

For our meal plan

Not just a roundup – it’s a complete Whole30 meal plan

This isn’t just a roundup of Whole30 recipes that we found around the web. This is a complete plan built with our own recipes so you won’t have to go around to a bunch of different sites, calculate serving sizes and create a shopping list based on those recipes. We have made a nice little package for you with this Whole30 meal plan. All you have to do is print out the weekly plan along with the shopping list and recipes. Follow along with the recipes each week, and you’ll be all set!

We’ll deliver a fresh weekly plan to your inbox for each week of your Whole30. This Whole30 meal plan is designed to serve two people for the entire month of the Whole30. It utilizes leftovers for most of the lunches and make ahead breakfasts so you can prep some food on the weekend and have breakfast ready for reheating during the workweek.

Just sign up below and we’ll send you a plan for each week of your Whole30!

Whole30 Starter Kit

In addition to the complete Whole30 meal plan, we’ve put together a Whole30 Starter Kit to help you get going. This kit is a collection of resources, helpful kitchen tools, pantry swaps, Whole30 compliant products, snacks, etc. This starter kit will provide you with the tools you need to get going and make your Whole30 as easy as possible.

Whole30 Resource Page

We’ve also put together a Whole30 Resource Page to help you find Whole30 compliant brands, products and tools. We update this page regularly to feature the latest and greatest Whole30 compliant products we use in our own kitchen that will help you execute your meal plan with ease. You can check out these Whole30 resources here.

Here’s the complete whole30 meal plan

Feel free to click around on the links in the weekly plans below and see the delicious meals you have in store for your Whole30!

BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER

DAY 1

Mushroom, Spinach & Bacon Egg Muffins* Crockpot Beef Roast & Veggies* Paleo Chicken Bowl

DAY 2

Chorizo Breakfast Hash* Crockpot Beef Roast & Veggies (Leftovers) Pizza Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

DAY 3

Egg Muffins (Leftovers) Paleo Chicken Bowl (Leftovers) Roasted Vegetable Medley with Sausage

DAY 4

Chorizo Breakfast Hash (Leftovers) Pizza Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Leftovers) Tomato Basil Cod with Asparagus

DAY 5

Egg Muffins (Leftovers) Roasted Vegetable Medley with Sausage (Leftovers) Creamy Bacon Chicken Skillet

DAY 6

Chorizo Breakfast Hash (Leftovers) Creamy Bacon Chicken Skillet (Leftovers) Ground Beef Taco Bowls

DAY 7

Simple Scramble** Ground Beef Taco Bowls (Leftovers) Pork Lettuce Wraps

WEEK 1 NOTES

*Make ahead meals. Prep these meals over the weekend to have on hand for warming up quickly during the week.

**Scramble four eggs and season with salt and pepper. Once eggs are cooked add in 2 handfuls of spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with a scoop of sauerkraut.

BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER

DAY 8

Bacon Sweet Potato Frittata* Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados* Spaghetti & Meatballs

DAY 9

Pork & Plantain Bowl* Pork Lettuce Wraps (Leftovers) Chicken Skillet w/Bacon Brussels Sprouts

DAY 10

Bacon Sweet Potato Frittata (Leftovers) Spaghetti & Meatballs (Leftovers) Salmon & Asparagus w/Hollandaise Sauce

DAY 11

Pork & Plantain Bowl (Leftovers) Chicken Skillet (Leftovers) Chipotle Turkey Burgers

DAY 12

Bacon Sweet Potato Frittata (Leftovers) Chipotle Turkey Burgers (Leftovers) Coffee Rubbed Steak w/Citrus Salad

DAY 13

Bacon Sweet Potato Frittata (Leftovers) Coffee Rubbed Steak w/Citrus Salad (Leftovers) Sheet Pan Chicken Buddha Bowls

DAY 14

Simple Scramble** Buddha Bowls (Leftovers) Taco Zucchini Boats

WEEK 2 NOTES

*Make ahead meals. Prep these meals over the weekend to have on hand for warming up quickly during the week. For the chicken salad stuffed avocados, just prep the chicken salad to make the lunch easy to put together.

**Scramble four eggs and season with salt and pepper. Once eggs are cooked add in 2 handfuls of spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with a scoop of sauerkraut.

BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER

DAY 15

Shakshuka Breakfast Bowl* Mediterranean Chicken Salad* Pineapple Cauliflower Pork Fried Rice

DAY 16

Bacon Sausage & Zucchini Casserole* Taco Zucchini Boats (Leftovers) Paleo Squash Chili

DAY 17

Shakshuka Breakfast Bowl (Leftovers) Pork Fried Rice (Leftovers) BLT Chicken Salad Wraps*

DAY 18

Casserole (Leftovers) Paleo Squash Chili (Leftovers) Chipotle Beef Burger Bowls

DAY 19

Shakshuka Breakfast Bowl (Leftovers) Chipotle Beef Burger Bowls (Leftovers) Cajun Shrimp Salad

DAY 20

Casserole (Leftovers) Coffee Rubbed Steak w/Citrus Salad (Leftovers) Spicy Thai Chicken Stir-fry

DAY 21

Curry Scrambled Eggs Spicy Thai Chicken Stir-fry (Leftovers) Pork & Pear Stuffed Acorn Squash

DAY 22

Curry Scrambled Eggs (Leftovers) Pork & Pear Stuffed Squash (Leftovers) One Pan Steak Dinner

WEEK 3 NOTES

*Make ahead meals. Prep these meals over the weekend to have on hand for warming up quickly during the week. For the BLT chicken salad wraps, just prep the chicken salad to make the dinner easy to put together.

BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER

DAY 23

Rosemary, Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash* Pulled Pork w/Roasted Veggies* Crispy Chicken Thighs w/Zesty Cauliflower

DAY 24

Southwest Chorizo Breakfast Casserole* Chicken Thighs w/Cauliflower (Leftovers) Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers

DAY 25

Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash (Leftovers) Pulled Pork w/Roasted Veggies (Leftovers) Chicken w/Creamy Mushroom Sauce

DAY 26

Chorizo Casserole (Leftovers) Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers (Leftovers) Veracruz Style Fish Skillet

DAY 27

Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash (Leftovers) Chicken w/creamy sauce (Leftovers) Simple Steak Salad

DAY 28

Chorizo Casserole (Leftovers) Simple Steak Salad (Leftovers) Turkey Vegetable Garden Soup

DAY 29

Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash (Leftovers) Turkey Vegetable Garden Soup (Leftovers) Sheet Pan Chicken & Squash

DAY 30

Chorizo Casserole (Leftovers) Sheet Pan Chicken & Squash (Leftovers) Mini Burger Bowls

WEEK 4 NOTES

*Make ahead meals. Prep these meals over the weekend to have on hand for warming up quickly during the week. For the pulled pork w/roasted veggies, you’ll pick 4 servings of your favorite veggies to roast. Cut them up into even sized pieces, drizzle with avocado oil and season with your favorite clean seasoning blend. Roast in the oven at 400° F for 25-30 minutes, or until they are cooked to your liking.

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The 7-Day Whole 30 Meal Plan Experts Say You Should Follow

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Whether it’s the Mediterranean diet, keto diet, WW, or Atkins, diets are always trending. And while each one has its own benefits, the Whole 30 food plan is unique in that it’s firmly rooted in bettering both the mental and physical relationship you have with food. Yes, Whole 30 is restrictive, but if 30 days of limitations can lead to a lifetime of food freedom, it might be worth a try, right?

What Is the Whole 30 Food Plan?

The Whole 30 diet meal plan was originally designed by certified sports nutritionist Melissa Hartwig Urban to help people learn more about how the foods they eat directly affect their health. “It’s not a weight loss program. There’s no caloric restriction. You’re not counting or weighing or measuring,” Hartwig Urban said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report.

Rather, the Whole 30 diet meal plan is set up as a 30-day elimination period during which you remove “hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups,” including sugar (meaning real and artificial sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, Stevia, etc.), dairy, alcohol, grains, food additives, and legumes, Hartwig Urban previously told us. Then, after those 30 days are up, you slowly re-introduce those foods to see how your body reacts, explains Lisa Richards, nutritionist and the creator of The Candida Diet.

When and How to Eat On the Whole 30 Food Plan

Unlike other diets that might require you to count calories or macronutrients, Whole 30 is only restrictive in terms of what you can and can’t eat. As long as your food is Whole 30-approved, you can eat whenever and whatever you want. The general guidelines suggest you eat three meals a day with minimal snacking so that you grow accustomed to eating more mindfully.

That said, you might want to reserve your Whole 30 elimination for a time when you know you won’t have too many social obligations since you’ll be eliminating sweets and alcohol from your rotation, says Amy Shapiro, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., founder of Real Nutrition.

“On this diet, you can eat meat, nuts, seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits,” explains Shapiro. Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are all fair game, too. But all forms of dairy, sugar, soy, alcohol, grains, legumes and/or starchy vegetables (such as corn) are a no-go. Unfortunately, the Whole 30 Rules vs. Recommendations guidelines also state that you’re not really supposed to recreate non-approved foods in creative ways, either (think: cauliflower pizza over regular dough, banana pancakes over regular flapjacks, etc.).

Luckily, spices are Whole 30-approved, so you don’t have to scarf down dry, flavorless pieces of fish and poultry. (Related: 12 Healthy Spices and Herbs You Need In Your Kitchen)

As for plant-based peeps, here’s the scoop: ” is in line with the Paleo diet, allowing meat, healthy fats, and vegetables, and therefore is not a vegetarian diet,” says Shapiro. That’s not to say it’s impossible to follow a vegetarian Whole 30 meal plan. But because this way of eating is already restrictive, not all experts are in favor of further modifications. Following a Whole 30 vegetarian meal plan ultimately comes down to careful planning to ensure you’re still getting enough nutrients in your diet, says Richards.

So what does a vegetarian Whole 30 meal plan look like? It depends on the kind of vegetarian diet you follow. Some vegetarians eat eggs and fish, which are Whole 30-compliant. Per Whole 30’s vegetarian guidelines, foods like eggs, salmon, sardines, and cod are likely going to be your main protein sources. Whole fruits and vegetables are obviously fair game, and you can get creative with your meals by making broccoli or cauliflower rice, soups, and salads.

It’s also worth noting that the founders of Whole 30 recently declared that white potatoes are compliant with the program, calling them a “whole, real, nutrient-dense food.” This is especially good news for anyone trying to follow a whole 30 vegetarian meal plan since it’s already restrictive as it is. However, to ensure that white potatoes are still Whole 30-compliant, the guidelines state that while you can add salt to your spuds, French fries and greasy potato chips are still no-gos (sorry).

3 Reasons to Try the Whole 30 Diet Meal Plan

Though more research needs to be done on the subject, benefits of the Whole 30 food plan may include weight loss (but note: this is not the main focus of the diet), regulated blood sugar levels, and reduced inflammation as a result of cutting out processed foods, says Richards. Here are the top three benefits of Whole 30 that experts generally agree on:

  1. Your body gets a break from processed foods. It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but processed foods can do a number on your body. Case in point: A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism showed a strong association between eating an abundance of processed foods and overeating habits, as well as weight gain.During the study, researchers assigned 20 people to eat “ultra-processed” and “unprocessed” diets for 14 days each. Meals in both diets were designed to have equal numbers of calories, sugar, fat, fiber, and macronutrients, and participants were told to eat as much or as little as they wanted. Yet, when participants were following the “ultra-processed” diet, they consumed roughly 500 extra calories, according to the study’s results. “The processed diet-eaters were seen to have extra weight gain, supporting the idea that processed, not-‘whole foods’ are seen to lead to more weight gain and potentially harmful health consequences,” explains Bonnie Balk, RD, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics (who was not involved in the study).Plus, cutting out processed foods, even if only for 30 days, can help encourage healthier habits after the fact. “Limiting your intake of most processed foods, especially the simple processed sugars and excess processed fats, will help change your habits,” nutritionist Linda Raynes Mahony previously told us. “Habits are formed over a 13-week period, so the four-week period of changing your normal routine is a good start.”
  2. You’ll gain a better understanding of the connection between nutrition and well-being. Many people try a Whole 30 food plan because they’re experiencing unpleasant health symptoms on a regular basis—bloating, nasal congestion, achy joints, and skin issues are just a few examples—but can’t quite figure out what’s causing them, says Jenn Randazzo, M.S., C.L.T., Vital Proteins’ in-house registered dietitian. “As more people learn the direct connection between nutrition and well-being, they’re open to eliminating certain foods to see how they impact their symptoms,” explains Randazzo. Eliminating certain foods for 30 days, and then slowly introducing them back into your diet, can help you better identify trigger foods and/or foods you might be sensitive to, she adds.
  3. It’s basically a dietary reset. Some people gravitate toward the Whole 30 program because they want to hit the “reset” button, so to speak, on their entire diet, says Randazzo. For instance, after periods of indulgence, such as the holiday season or after vacation, many people seek out the program as a resource to re-center mealtime around whole-food nutrition. However, it’s important to note that not all experts are on board with the Whole 30 food plan. Since the program is so restrictive, someone following Whole 30 could miss out on a variety of nutrients, says Marisa Michael, RDN and certified personal trainer. Plus, the plan could potentially be triggering for someone with a history of disordered eating, she adds. Therefore, experts strongly suggest that you speak with your doctor before trying Whole 30 to make sure the program is right for you and your body.

7-Day Meal Plan for Whole 30

You could buy Hartwig Urban’s The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. But if you’re not ready to fully commit to the program just yet, no worries. We gathered a full week’s worth of easy meal and snack ideas from dietitians and nutritionists to build this complete seven-day meal plan for Whole 30.

Whole 30 Diet Breakfasts

  • Vegetable frittata
  • Chia pudding made with almond milk and cinnamon
  • Scrambled eggs, veggies (i.e. diced tomatoes, yellow peppers, sautéed onions, and mushrooms), and avocado-stuffed sweet potato
  • Baked sweet potato breakfast bowl topped with almond butter, fruit, and seeds
  • Smoothie made with fruit, almond milk, chia seeds, and spices

Whole 30 Diet Lunches

  • Salad with non-starchy veggies of your choice + 4 oz grilled chicken and 1/2 avocado
  • Turkey breast in a Siete Foods almond flour wrap with lettuce, tomato, bacon, avocado, mayo, and peppers
  • Grilled chicken strips, lettuce, red cabbage, and avocado with olive oil and lemon juice dressing
  • Chicken burrito bowl with cauliflower rice
  • Tuna salad and lettuce cups
  • Large salad with non-starchy veggies, potato, chicken, egg whites

Whole 30 Diet Dinners

  • 6 oz grass-fed beef with roasted broccoli, steamed sweet potato, and asparagus
  • Seasoned grilled salmon with turmeric-paprika roasted cauliflower and cubed butternut squash
  • Stuffed bell peppers
  • Shrimp and pesto zoodles
  • Salmon with roasted broccoli and zucchini soup

Whole 30 Diet Snacks

  • Nuts and seeds with dried fruit
  • Apple with almond butter
  • “Pink Dream” collagen drink made with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, coconut milk, water, and muddled raspberries over ice
  • Jerky
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 avocado sprinkled with sea salt and lime juice
  • Roasted cashews with Everything Bagel Spice
  • By Julia Guerra

Whole30 Diet Meal Plan

The Whole30 diet (the stricter sister of the Paleo diet) has climbed its way to one of the top spots for popular diet trends, promising benefits like weight loss, increased energy levels and relief from chronic pain and digestive issues-so long as you faithfully follow the strict set of rules for what you can and cannot eat. Even though it’s not totally in line with all of our principles of healthy eating-you don’t have to give up beans and whole grains in our book-the Whole30 diet plan does have some components we agree with. Whole30 followers are encouraged to choose whole foods with real ingredients, cut out added sugar completely, and read nutrition labels carefully-all sound advice for a healthy diet. But the plan also calls to eliminate all types of dairy, legumes, and grains (including healthy whole grains like oats and quinoa), which are all healthy foods that provide beneficial nutrients, like calcium, vitamin D and fiber. Research shows that unless you have an allergy, there is no reason to exclude these foods from your diet, and doing so actually causes more harm than good.

Read More: The Pros & Cons of The Whole30 Diet

While we’re not super-fans of the Whole30 diet, we definitely identify with the healthy points. If you’ve been inspired to “hit reset” on your diet, rather than go full Whole30, we suggest taking a more balanced approach. The recipes in this 7-day dinner plan meet Whole30 criteria and feature simple whole foods and no added sugar. To help you get the full range of nutrients you need each day, we include healthy breakfast and lunch recipes that use hearty whole grains, calcium-rich dairy and fiber-packed legumes. This easy Whole30 meal plan makes it simple to eat healthy whole foods all week long.

Related: 30 Healthy Whole30 Recipes

Day 1: Broiled Ginger-Lime Chicken

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Broiled Ginger-Lime Chicken: Flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and lime, the marinade in this healthy recipe yields juicy, tender, lip-smacking-good chicken thighs. Serve this tangy chicken with Cauliflower Rice and a leafy-green salad dressed with olive oil, lime juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Try the Chickpea & Potato Hash for a satisfying breakfast, and for lunch, the easy Tuna & White Bean Salad over leafy greens.

Day 2: Vegetarian Thai Red Curry

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Vegetarian Thai Red Curry: This healthy vegetarian Thai red curry recipe matches sweet potatoes with fresh greens and asparagus, for a deeply-flavored dinner. Classic Thai red curry uses lime leaves and Thai basil-if you can find them definitely use them, but if you can’t this curry will still be delicious. Serve with a leafy green salad dressed with olive oil and lime juice and topped with Curried Cashews.

For breakfast, try the Apple-Peanut Butter Smoothie and skip the optional honey in this recipe-the natural sweetness from the apple is just right. For lunch, the Kale Salad with Spiced Tofu & Chickpeas get a nice crunch from roasted chickpeas.

Day 3: Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto & Shrimp

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Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto & Shrimp: Whole30-friendly spiralized zucchini takes the place of noodles in this zesty pesto pasta dish recipe. Top the zoodles with Cajun-seasoned shrimp to complete this quick, easy and satisfying dinner.

For breakfast, try the Avocado Toast with Egg, Arugula & Bacon on sprouted-grain bread, which is made without added sugars. For lunch, the no-cook Black Bean & Mango Salad makes for a colorful meal.

Day 4: Taco Lettuce Wraps

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Taco Lettuce Wraps: Don’t limit yourself to just romaine for this taco lettuce wrap recipe-any fresh green sturdy enough to wrap around ½ cup of filling works. Try Boston bibb, cabbage, lacinato kale or iceberg as an alternative. Serve with the crisp Sweet Potato & Cabbage Slaw.

For breakfast, try the fruity Vegan Smoothie Bowl, and for lunch the quick-cooking Ravioli & Vegetable Soup.

Day 5: Coriander-&-Lemon-Crusted Salmon with Asparagus Salad & Poached Egg

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Coriander-&-Lemon-Crusted Salmon with Asparagus Salad & Poached Egg: Crushed coriander seeds and lemon zest give this healthy salmon recipe complex flavor that pairs beautifully with a shaved asparagus and poached egg salad.

For breakfast, the Quinoa & Chia Oatmeal will warm you up and keep you feeling full till lunch. The Mexican Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing holds up well in the fridge and is a great make-ahead lunch for work.

Day 6: Paprika Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts

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Paprika Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts: In this healthy chicken recipe, paprika-rubbed chicken thighs are nestled into Brussels sprouts and shallots and roasted on a sheet pan in the oven for a healthy one-pan dinner. We highly recommend using smoked paprika-the subtle smoky flavor sets this dish apart. If you can’t find smoked paprika, regular will work.

For breakfast, try the Avocado Green Smoothie, and for lunch, the Easy Vegetarian Chili. Freeze what you don’t use of the chili and pull it out later for a quick dinner or premade lunch.

Day 7: Fish with Coconut Shallot Sauce

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Fish with Coconut Shallot Sauce: This easy fish recipe with a flavorful garlic, thyme and coconut sauce is perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner. Serve with the Pineapple & Avocado Salad.

For breakfast, try the Tomatillo Breakfast Tacos on corn tortillas, and for lunch the cheesy Kale & Gruyère Panini on sprouted-grain bread.

WATCH: How to Make Whole30 Paprika Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts

Don’t Miss!

Most of us can find things to disagree on. But one thing we usually agree on is that we want to feel better and have more energy. And one way to do that is to change how we eat.

That’s why I embraced the Whole30 program, an approach to eating that gets a lot of buzz, but doesn’t get a lot of love from some nutrition experts. This year, a U.S. News & World Report panel ranked Whole30 as 38 out of 41 in its list of the “Best Diets Overall.”

Ouch.

All I can say is that Whole30 completely changed my life for the better.

Before and after following the Whole30 diet. It’s changed my relationship with food. Courtesy of Lindsay Tigar

My Journey

Before starting the program in 2014, my health was taking second place to an ever-growing list of professional and personal demands. I was only in my mid-20s and I was popping antacids after eating. I knew I needed to make a change — and fast.

But when I first started looking into Whole30 I was overwhelmed. There are a lot of rules.

  • No dairy
  • No sugar
  • No alcohol
  • No grains
  • No legumes, including black beans, garbanzos, kidney or soy
  • No additives like MSG

Instead, the focus is:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Veggies
  • Healthy fats like avocado or olive oil
  • Some fruits like blueberries

I tried Whole30 first in January 2014, committing myself to the playbook by cutting out all the no-good foods for 30 (very long) days.

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It was an experiment for me, similar to the reason co-creator Melissa Hartwig began the program. Hartwig wanted to see if eliminating certain foods would help her athletic performance. She says her energy improved and so did her sleep. But most importantly, the program changed her relationship with food.

Me, too.

While dropping a few skinny jeans sizes was inspiring — Whole30 encourages you to weigh yourself before and after your 30 days, not during the program — after starting the program, it was my new attitude toward food that was important. I had fewer cravings. I knew what fuel my body needed.

I stuck with a modified version for the remainder of 2014, adopting an 80/20 rule where I mostly ate Whole30 unless I was out with friends or had a special event. I lost a total of 25 pounds and went from a size 10 to a size 4.

Me, in Miami after weight lossCourtesy of Lindsay Tigar

I did another round of Whole30 in January 2015 and lost seven more pounds. Whole30 helps me make smarter choices and pick better, more nutritious foods. I believe these choices are making a definite improvement in my health and energy levels.

I’m not alone. Since the program started back in 2009, its gained an international following — their website boasts readers from more than 100 different countries.

‘True best diet is moderation’

So I was surprised to see the U.S. News and Report ranking.

Since I started a private Facebook support group for friends (and friends of friends of friends) on Whole30, there have been many first-timers wondering why they were on a diet that wasn’t given a nod of approval.

Nutrition experts typically agree we would all better off with fewer processed foods in our diet, but eliminating certain foods may not work for everyone.

“People don’t like that the true best diet is moderation, and want to jump on a bandwagon that will be the miracle cure,” said Foodstand blogger Noni Vaughn-Pollard, a nutrition and dietetic technician, registered. “Often times, an extreme experience that shocks your system makes it even harder to change behaviors because people often rebound.”

Hartwig countered that people don’t fully understand the program.

“In general, people make assumptions about the program without actually doing any research into what we’re all about,” she told TODAY.

Hartwig has explained on Facebook that the diet is meant to be a “short-term reset.”

A Sense of Pride

What I know is, I’m happy I follow the program.

There’s such a sense of pride when you finish those very difficult 30 days. And Whole30 does recommend you gradually add back what you foods you omitted. This way, you can see how well your body responds.

The first thing I added back was wine. A few days later I tried gluten. A week or so later, I tried dairy. I threw up. Now, I mostly stay away from dairy.

For me, Whole30 is the best way I’ve found to jump-start my healthy habits for another year, especially after holiday bingeing.

If you’re looking to reboot this year, sign up for our Start TODAY newsletter. It’s full of healthy tips and advice to get you on track.

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