2 days left until me and some friends embark on a Whole30, which means it’s time to stock up. Here are some tips for how to fill your grocery cart to ensure Whole30 success:
1. Make sure you’ve got the staples. Check your cupboards and pantry, and stock up on any of the following that you might be running low on:
- Whole30 approved cooking fat (clarified butter, ghee, coconut oil, and/or animal fats like lard, duck fat, tallow)
- A variety of spices, whichever your favourites are. My “must-haves” are garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, and curry powder.
- Oils and vinegars for salad dressings. All gluten-free vinegars are allowed on Whole30, so go ahead and grab anything except the malt vinegar. For oils, extra virgin olive oil, nut oils (walnut, macadamia, etc), and avocado are great.
2. Buy enough food. It’s probably a good idea to roughly plan out your meals for the week. If you’re used to eating out often and are switching to more home-cooked meals, you will probably under-estimate just how much food you need to get through the week. Keep in mind you will no longer be snacking or doing things like eating a bowl of instant noodles for a meal. You will need a substantial amount of protein and veggies at every meal or you’ll be hungry all the time. The first couple of weeks of my first Whole30, I was back at the grocery store every 2 days to replenish, because I simply could not comprehend how much good food just two people needed when we weren’t doing any more burger runs.
3. Buy your favourite vegetables. Don’t buy things just because they’re healthy. Buy them because they’re delicious, or you will not eat them. They will rot and make you feel sad. Hate salad? Don’t eat it. You have a huge variety of vegetable options, so don’t feel like if you don’t eat kale you’re doing a bad job. Once you’ve hit your home-cooking, vegetable-eating groove, start trying one or two new veggie dishes a week to get some more variety in your diet. But the most important thing is to make it as easy as possible to follow the program, so don’t make your dinner options too daunting.
4. Buy enough to double or triple recipes. No more bowls of cereal, no more Subway runs at lunch. If you don’t want to cook 3 full meals from scratch a day, you’re going to want to have some leftovers in your life. Maybe buy 4 lbs of ground beef and a bunch of crushed tomatoes and some mushrooms and peppers and make yourself a huge pot of chili to have for lunch all week. Or buy the biggest roast you can find and use the meat in all kinds of meals. I’ve been known to buy a big old turkey, roast it, and eat it for the next 3 days (it’s like Thanksgiving, but you don’t have to split the leftovers with your relatives!)
5. Buy a LOT of eggs. In It Starts With Food, the Hartwigs point out that a serving of eggs is about as many eggs as you can hold in your hand. That’s about 3 for me and 4 for my husband, so when we’re having eggs for breakfast (and we usually are), that’s 7 eggs a day. I buy 3-4 dozen eggs at the farmer’s market every week and never have any regrets. If you’re worried about the cost of eating only whole foods, eggs are a very affordable protein, so take advantage.
6. Buy things you can cook quickly. Steaks, pork chops, fish fillets, etc can be cooked very quickly for weeknight dinners. Pair them with a salad and some sauteed vegetables, and you can easily have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. It’s great to cook something fancy and awesome a couple times a week (or just on the weekends), but if you’re not realistically going to spend an hour plus in the kitchen on a weeknight, make sure you give yourself quicker options.