menu monday: super simple whole30 tips

This morning starts day seven of my Whole30. I started last Tuesday and because we were out of town the weekend before I didn’t have much time for prep. I thought I’d share today how I put together a simple plan for a week of Whole30 eats.

Make a plan. Even if you have really limited time to prepare, taking a second to make a plan is key. When I don’t make a plan, I find that I never end up with enough food. Not having enough food on hand is one of the reasons I’ve ended up not completing a Whole30 in the past, or in general picked a less healthy meal option. The plan doesn’t need to be fancy, but getting down what you’re going to eat for each of your 21 meals that week is the only way you’ll have an idea of what you need to have available. Here’s the quick menu I put together in about five minutes while timing friends on an exercise at study group. I’m not sure it can get more simple than this. IMG_6132_edited-1

Eat and repeat. If you don’t like repetition this might be hard, but I don’t mind eating the same foods for my breakfasts and lunches all week. The key here is to make meals you know you like. Don’t try a new recipe for a week’s worth of lunches. Been there, done that, thrown it out, and picked up other food. I only go with favorites if I’m going to be eating one meal all week. Breakfast this week was hard boiled eggs mixed with homemade mayo over baby spinach and topped with sauerkraut. Lunch was chocolate chili over spaghetti squash and a side salad. One of my favorite meals ever. IMG_6122_edited-1

I had one hour to prep food on Sunday night and made the most of it. I got the chili together and simmering then put the squash in the oven to roast. Once those were both going I hard boiled the eggs and made the mayo. Finally, I used my “convenience foods” to put together salads for each day of the week.

Mix protein, fat, and veggies. I didn’t have time on Sunday to prep meals for dinner so I went another easy option, creating super simple meals to make each night. When I need to cook on weeknights, I follow the formula of a quick cooking protein and veggies with a good fat. Greg ended up working late in the office most nights this week and my food went further than expected. Boo for no hubby, yay for less cooking. I made cracklin’ chicken that lasted several evenings and finished off the week with salmon on Friday night (living large here, people). The key to the formula working is making a plan to ensure that you have purchased or defrosted your proteins. Not having anything defrosted makes it very difficult to put together a ten minute meal.


This salmon dish took less than 15 minutes. I melted ghee in one pan, tossed the salmon with Old Bay seasoning, and pan seared it until done. At the same time I had bacon fat in another pan and let cherry tomatoes cook down (I recently read about this but can’t remember where). Once the tomatoes were done I sautéed spinach for a minute or two with a shake or two of sea salt. Dinner.

Buy convenience food. Typically when I’m going to do a Whole30 I have a lot more prep time and make more than normal from scratch. Since that wasn’t the case last week I needed to rely more on prepared and convenient foods. I like to think of this as my own version of don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good (commonly attributed to Voltaire). Sure, homemade everything is best, but you know what’s a lot better than eating pizza for lunch? Eating salad dressing on my salad that someone else made out of good, clean ingredients. Be practical and be realistic with yourself.

For my lunch salads I purchased pre-washed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, cooked beets (I did have to chop these), and my favorite Tessemae’s dressing. I also picked up ghee, which I’ve only ever made in the past. Butter is off limits, but ghee (butter in which all milk proteins have been removed to make a pure fat) is okay. Knowing I would need options for sautéing, I picked it up and moved on. I also bought a package of prosciutto, bananas, and the no-sugar added version of Sunbutter for snacks.

This coming week we’re trying something new with PreMade Paleo. Painters will be in our home all week, turning our walls into one, neutral color (you don’t even understand how excited I am). I have five days worth of meals being delivered on Monday because I don’t know how much access we’ll have to the kitchen during the week and I’m not willing to compromise on these thirty days. I will report back next week on how we feel about the service.


I’ve been taking a few minutes to jot down my thoughts every night, mostly out of my own curiosity to understand what I get out of the experience. If you’re curious on the musings of someone on a Whole30, here you go. Everyone’s experience is different, but the Whole30 creators put together a general timeline as well that I find to be pretty accurate. 

Day 1 Sleep deprived and had to get up earlier than normal for our 6:30am ultrasound. Glad I had the guidelines or I would have snacked all day because that’s what I do when I’m tired. Planned for big enough meals I didn’t get too snacky. Did have a banana with sun butter in the afternoon. Going to try to get 8+ hours tonight. Fingers crossed.

Day 2 I woke up wanting donuts, which is funny because donuts are not a go to vice of mine. Though maple bars are delicious. Mmm, maple bars. I digress. Fall tea (my favorite: Tazo Baked Cinnamon Apple) with a splash of apple cider vinegar is the perfect evening treat. I’m hoping a little ACV in the morning and evening will help with my heart burn. Slept okay last night, better than lately but still running very behind and need to catch up. Eating the same meals over and over actually reduces stress on busy weeks. I don’t have to think about it, I just eat what’s in the fridge when I’m hungry and move on.

Day 3 I slept last night! So happy. Woke up once with a terrible leg cramp (pregnancy fun?) but immediately went back to sleep. It’s amazing what a different outlook on life I have when I actually get more than a couple hours of fitful sleep. Made it back to prenatal yoga after two weeks off, too. Was much needed. Starving all day and ate a ton of fruit around the office. Hardest thing about doing Whole30 while being pregnant is not knowing when I’m going to have starving days. I guess I just need to prepare more food.

Day 4 I slept poorly last night, waking up at 4am and not really getting back to sleep after that. It’s frustrating, but I also understand I can’t expect 72 hours to fix a few months worth of bad habits. On a positive note, I’m not having any cravings for any off limits food. I’m so happy to be eating home cooked food after weeks of take out that I’m feeling really satisfied (and digestively good) with what I’m making myself. Ready for the weekend and some more sleep!

Day 5 Another crappy night of sleep and a headache that has lasted most of the day. I get why on the timeline these are called the “kill all the things” days. I’m exhausted and grouchy, but at least I know it’s just my body making sense of the changes. And I know WAY better days are just around the corner. So I’ll keep sipping my fall flavored tea and studying my notecards. 15 days to go with school, 25 with the whole30. Martian and I have got this covered.

Day 6 I slept so much better last night and feel really good today. Tons of energy. I have only eaten homemade food these six days and there’s such a difference. Wondering if I can go the full thirty days without eating out? Best part of today – finding sugar free bacon and having a $20 off coupon at our local co-op. FREE sugar free bacon.

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