The great thing about a Whole30 is that it really makes you meal plan, and you find ideas for so many vegetables in your diet, you might buy out the produce section. You might even start your day with a load of vegetables, like this “tastes like pizza breakfast hash” I discovered.
This menu plan demo is from my husband’s first Whole30 (during Lent one year). It really rocked our world with difficulty. Thankfully it fit perfectly with my trying to heal my cavities, so my meals are included as well. It wasn’t easy – but it was worth it. Even if you’re a Whole30 (or grain-free of any kind) rookie, this menu plan should feel doable (it was for us). This is how I learned to stick to meal planning long term.
Our Whole30 Diet and Anti-Cavity Plan
We both avoided grains, legumes, sugars and all sweeteners, and he skipped the dairy while I skipped nuts. So take note of these in the meal plans and make sure you stick to the Whole30-approved foods if you are following the diet.
The only high carb foods left were white potatoes and fruits (and I was not supposed to overdo the fruits either).
At first, it felt like we might starve. Or buy all the vegetables in the store. Or spend hours washing and cutting vegetables and then still feel starving half an hour after eating.
The reality ended up being far short of that (but in the general direction).
We did start out feeling pretty hungry all the time (it didn’t help that day one was Ash Wednesday, when adult Catholics are asked to fast by eating only one meal plus two small additions and avoid eating between meals). (Note: It got easier.)
This was my first shopping trip:
That’s a lot of produce!
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Whole30 and Anti-Cavity Meals at the Kitchen Stewardship® House
The following are standbys, things we always eat but won’t list (note many of these are not Whole30 compliant, but are for my kids or my anti-cavity diet)
- salad with fixings: diced onion and pepper, green onion, feta for me, plus Caesar dressing, Italian dressing or spicy dressing
- lots of raw veggies (carrot sticks, cucumbers, pea pods, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower)
- sometimes homemade guacamole or homemade ranch dressing for the kids
- I often have milk, 1-2x/day with meals
- homemade yogurt with frozen fruit usually at lunch
Snacks Might Include:
- homemade jello
- crispy nuts for hubs
- dried fruit (although I should always eat less of this!)
- lots of cheese slices for me (not Whole30 compliant)
- pea pods and raw veggies
- lots of bananas for hubs
- egg for breakfast (hubs) – I ate a piece of leftover grain-free banana bread from The Healthy Breakfast Book
- egg for lunch (hubs), my lunch was a salmon burger, yogurt, pea pods.
- For dinner I screwed up French Onion soup because I forgot it had a whole stick of butter in it until I got to making it, already later than I should have been! We ended up having broth, sauteed veggies and flatbread for the kids (I made and froze gluten-free flatbread so they could have something with soup in general)
- egg and veggie scramble (peppers, onions, bok choy – topped with feta for me and radishes and tomatoes for him) + green smoothie (dairy-free for him – not entirely recommended on the Whole30, but I had greens I wanted to use up)
- leftover meatball soup (one key to making a new elimination diet work is to make some “legal” meals leading up to it so you have leftovers to pull from!)
- roast chicken, sweet potatoes, creamed cauliflower (pulled out steamed for hubs), sauteed veggies (fennel, onion, garlic, green beans, broccoli, spinach)
Friday (meatless for Lent)
- (kids and I) grain-free banana pancakes (to the right), (hubs) eggs and veggies
- (kids) leftover white chicken chili, (me) tuna salad with cucumber slices, yogurt, (hubs) big salad with nuts, spicy dressing, lots of raw veggies
- egg drop soup (recipe in The Healthy Breakfast Book), baked potatoes, roasted veggies (red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onion) tossed in olive oil and a seasoning blend (picture above)
- quick breakfast before sporting event – eggs and veggies for adults, oatmeal for kids
- leftover soups, chicken on salad (I was at a party – egg drop soup)
- steak stir fry (how to marinate and stir fry in Better Than a Box) including bok choy, onions, peppers, broccoli, green beans, pea pods, and I forgot to include the cabbage. Was going to do cauli-rice but decided to skip it and just did some white rice for the kids.
- sausage patties with egg “sandwiches” (photo), sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and greens, mugs of broth, plus yogurt for me (Sunday is cereal day for the kids)
- leftover meatball soup (one bowl each left) plus chicken on a lettuce “wrap” with veggies (cheese for me)
- cheeseburger soup without cheese for hubs, just served it at the table to mix in. Worked great! Served over leftover cold white rice for kids for some bulk (helped to cool their soup down without using an ice cube). Grain-free Cheesy Biscuits (eggs, butter, cheese, coconut flour ) from Better Than a Box for me and kids. We are skipping pizza night on Sundays for Lent, although this time “simple soup” wasn’t much of a sacrifice!
Whole30 has partnered with Real Plans to bring you a interactive meal planning experience to make following a Whole30 diet easier.
They’ve even included options to make the reintroduction phase a no brainier! Check it out here.
- Grain-free cinnamon apple breakfast porridge for those who could have nuts and yogurt for me (not Whole30 compliant)
- last of leftover roasted chicken on a salad with veggie toppings, cheese for me (mustard and Italian as dressing) + leftover roasted veggies from Thursday (I just toss the leftover veggies on our big cast iron griddle to heat them up – easy, and we don’t wash it, just scrape, so thankfully no new dishes are created)
- hamburgers on grilled portabella mushroom caps with grilled onions, homemade guacamole, tomatoes and lettuce, homemade French fries, mug of egg drop soup
- scrambled eggs, leftover diced fried sweet potatoes, small sausage patty (cheese on mine)
- steak fajita salad with grilled onions and peppers, diced red onion, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa without sugar added from Meijer naturals (I thawed and sliced a bunch of steak Saturday and marinated some for Asian style stir fry and some for fajitas – such a yummy lunch, look at those pictures!)
- spaghetti squash with no-sugar spaghetti sauce and homemade sausage with seasoning, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, salads, guac for dipping
A New Twist on Batch Cooking
Instead of making large batches of food and saving them for later, I batch together kitchen tasks and link one night’s dinner to the next. Think of it as getting a head start on your next meal. The net result is time savings AND fresh dinners every night.
The current trend in meal prep seems to be focused on taking several hours on a weekend day to chop and prep veggies, cook meats, and then assemble the leftovers into a multitude of containers.
This is great if it works for you, but my family gets sick of eating leftovers all the time and I get tired of keeping track of all the containers in the fridge! Plus, spending 3-4 hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is usually the last thing I want to do.
My Real Food Head Start 7 Day Dinner Plan provides a framework for incorporating my technique each day to save time on future meals and even start stocking your freezer if you want, while still making and serving a fresh dinner. The best part is, you use the time you are already in the kitchen – no extra prep day needed!
- breakfast was probably whatever we had leftover from the week – shopping day! See how full the fridge gets after I get home?? Carrots, peppers, cabbage and rutabaga all get demoted to the countertop for a few days. The crisper drawers are PACKED, and they can handle it…If it wasn’t in the single digits, I’d leave all that in the garage. Here’s the rest of the shopping trip, plus 4 bunches of bananas, 10# of carrots, 6 peppers and 2 heads of cabbage:
- Hubs was out for lunch with his old co-workers (steak and a dry potato) so the kids and I had whatever was around
- Hubs remained out with friends to work out, and they fed him a legal dinner (chicken breast, broccoli, fruit) so the kids and I had leftover cheeseburger soup and grain-free biscuits.
- me and kids: green smoothie with yogurt, for everyone: eggs made to order with various veggies, leftover Thai ground meat from neighbor’s party Saturday (thanks, neighbor, if you’re reading! It was delicious and used in a couple random meals this week!)
- me: liver strips dredged in shredded coconut (I’m determined to heal these cavities!!) and plenty of mustard, leftover fajitas for hubby and John
- leftover stir fry, mugs of broth (and then life starts to get tricky again – we had little food at the beginning, then I made gallons and gallons of broth and huge meals and we had a surplus of leftovers, but a few days in a row of eating leftovers and the fridge starts to look empty! Ok, so not empty…but just full of vegetables!)
- kids: oatmeal, husband: leftover nut-based porridge, me: half grapefruit, sliced banana and coconut chips with milk
- sauteed asparagus, onions, peppers and Brussels sprouts (in bacon grease) with optional egg on top, egg drop soup, tuna with homemade mayo and mustard, cheese for me, fresh veggies and salad for hubs (pic above)
This was such a yummy meal! We had a friend of my husband’s in from out of town, and lo and behold, he had just finished a Whole30 that week! It was a bit of a Twilight Zone experience for my husband, who has basically zero friends with kids, to suddenly have a friend even remotely “in his world” and “speaking our language.” It was fun! And I was happy to feed them well before The Big Cheat the following day…
- St. Peter’s spicy seasonings for fish on tilapia or salmon, baked potatoes, roasted beets (I’m the only one who will eat them), roasted purple cauliflower with smoked paprika and EVOO (delish! and gorgeous!), salads, black bean and avocado salad without the black beans (so good – so that’s tomato, avocado, pepper and onion salad with cilantro – super happy it worked without a main ingredient!)
- kids: leftover oatmeal adults: scrambled eggs with Swiss chard
- leftover spaghetti squash (with cheese for me and the kids) + egg drop soup
The Big Cheat – hubby had tickets to a local event with good beer and better friends, and he lined it up with God before Lent that he would take this day off. He’ll still have 30 days+ before Easter to get the full experience, so we looked at the first 10 days as good practice.
- sauteed cabbage, onions, mushrooms and Swiss chard with garlic, sliced sausage on top (they do sadly have sugar in the ingredients, but my husband was out and they were going to expire before Lent ended, so I decided to save my homemade ground sausage for another day), mugs of beef broth, sauteed Brussels sprouts (for me). Kids had white rice added and lots of fresh veggies for munching.
Just after this weekend, hubby started taking a new probiotic – Prescript Assist, which we received from my affiliate partner after I realized that our regular liquid probiotic has agave in it, a no-no on the Whole30. I didn’t want him off probiotics for 30 days, so I’m happy to have a non-dairy probiotic alternative.
- “Tastes like Pizza” Breakfast hash – so yummy! It included leeks, celeriac, turnips, fennel, greens…and it was my kids who gave it its name, after I served it expecting them to hate it. Nice!
- lunch was scraping the bottom of the barrel of leftovers, and I had liver strips – the 3yo, easily the pickiest eater in the household, steals them from my plate and eats them! Crazy….
- baked chicken with pizza sauce (had an open jar I needed to get rid of) and cheese for the kids, taco seasoning or curry for the adults, roasted veggies (rutabaga, leek, carrot and Brussels sprouts), garlic soup (because I need to take a new photo – do NOT click over there, it’s horrible!)
It was at this meal that we heard the priceless phrase, “Rutabagas are good!” from the 3yo after fighting his “taster bite” for the entire meal. Yeah, this guy:
I could eat those eyelashes right up, but I’m not sure they’re on my plan.
Have we had to THINK so hard about every meal? Has it been really tough not to graze on chocolate and junk? Is it crazy when there aren’t any easy substitutes and you must plan something or you eat nothing???
But I am hoping it will all be worth it.
What “Worth it” Looks Like:
- 3 healed cavities
- lost weight, 10-20 pounds would be nice for hubby, 8-10 for me and a flatter tummy (I’m 4 mos. postpartum)
- improved digestion (hubby has Crohn’s Disease, although it’s really not active and hasn’t been for years, but we always figure a Lenten “reset” is a good idea)
- more energy
- reduced sugar cravings
- a new love for vegetables
We didn’t lose weight in the first two weeks, but that came later.
The cravings had gotten a little better after two weeks though, to the point where at least I didn’t feel ravenous after every meal. I journaled that my tummy was getting flatter already, in spite of the lack of change on the scale.
And the veggies! Oh, the veggies!
The kids are eating more veggies naturally, and I just loved all the variety. I know how to cook – but I used to think of a side veg as a last minute thing and grab frozen green beans or broccoli and call it good.
So a Whole30 is definitely very good for your meal planning muscle and your vegetable buying muscle (and then some). I highly recommend it!
Meal Planning Resources
Here are the meal planning services (in no particular order) that I endorse for you to pick based on you and your family’s needs!
PrepEar Connected Cooking App (previously Super Healthy Kids Meal Plans)
Try out their freebies (some even have tree trials) to see what fits your personality and preferences!
UPDATE: Here is part two of the Whole30 and Anti-Cavity Diet Meal Plan – we made it, and it got easier!