It’s been two years since I stopped counting every calorie and made the change from obsessing over nutrition facts to focusing on simply eating whole, nutrient-dense foods. That’s all thanks to The Whole30. If you haven’t yet heard of the program, The Whole30 is a dietary reset that eliminates potentially problematic food groups from your diet for 30 days, and then reintroduces each food group one at a time, evaluating the effects. It’s changed my life, my eating, and my health in incredible ways (including my 55-pound weight loss journey!).
It may seem intimidating to plan meals that are dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, legume-free, alcohol-free, and contain no added sugar, but I’ll tell you a secret: It’s all in the grocery shopping. Having the right foods on hand at all times is the key to the success of your Whole30. Having versatile players in your fridge and pantry can help weeknight meals and out-the-door-in-the-car breakfasts a snap!
It’s important to stock up on high-quality spices, plenty of fruits and veggies, and lots of drinking water. But once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s a lot of fun convenience foods and store-bought compliant items that can break up the monotony of your Whole30 and help to spice up your meals! Here, a list of my must-haves.
Pederson’s Farms bacon and kielbasa It’s hard to find bacon without added sugar, but Pederson’s Farms makes a mouthwatering, high-quality bacon that’s irresistible! They also have a compliant kielbasa sausage that I promise your whole family will ask for again and again.
Bilinski sausages When all the raw meat is frozen, having Cajun, andouille or garlic chicken sausages in the fridge means lunch is as simple as slicing and sautéing. Easy, versatile, and quick! My favorite brand is Bilinski Sausage Co., but you can also find other compliant varieties from Trader Joe’s, Applegate and Aidell’s.
Bulk lettuce According to the Whole30 meal template, any available space left on your plate should be filled with vegetables. That means a whole lot of green! Along with bulk protein at Costco, I always pick up a large bulk bag of mixed greens, arugula, or kale.
Veggie Noodle Co. spiralized zucchini Ah, the humble zucchini. Have you experienced the beauty of ZOODLES? A few minutes in a skillet can turn this basic squash into a powerhouse of flavor, especially when matched with the right compliant pasta sauce. It’s the perfect way to get your serving of vegetables in while combining it with something saucy and tangy, or creamy, or spicy, or… well, now I’m getting hungry.
FROM THE FREEZER
Fresh Thyme frozen cauliflower rice This frozen bag of joy has to be the most popular frozen food item of the year. I buy mine at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, but you can also find them at Trader Joe’s and other stores. Simply use this in a meal anytime you’d use rice. Easy, quick, and useful for that giant taco salad you’ve been dreaming about.
Frozen berries Check your labels to find the right kind of frozen berries. Smoothies are frowned upon on the Whole30 because they can become a crutch in the quest to free yourself from sugar addiction. However, frozen fruit is fun to toss into a can of sparkling flavored water, top a sweet potato, or just to pop in your mouth when the mood strikes you. (They’re also significantly lower in price compared to fresh fruit.)
Tessemae’s dressings, dips and marinades I have Tessemae’s with almost every meal. That’s because they have a HUGE line of Whole30 approved products! You’ll find ketchup, BBQ sauce, ranch, Caesar, balsamic, mayo, Buffalo sauce (and more) on their website and in select stores. In my opinion, Tessemae’s is one of the best convenience options available for the Whole30.
RxBars Different from other protein bars, RxBars use egg white protein with dates, nuts, and other natural flavorings to make amazing on-the-go foods for hunger emergencies. While they can’t be an equal substitute to a meal of whole, unprocessed foods, they’re great to have on hand for when you’re in a jam and need to eat.
Yai’s Thai curry sauces This is the ultimate weeknight dinner. Throw protein (fresh or leftover) in with veggies (frozen or fresh), pour in a jar of Yai’s, and simmer. Yum! They also have some amazing salsas, sauces, and a Thai almond sauce (like peanut sauce, but compliant!).
Wild Friends Classic Creamy Almond Butter Nut butters are a delicious way to get in a healthy serving of fat, and great for pairing with all kinds of fruits and veggies. I love this brand because it’s extra-creamy and not too salty. If you’re looking for the perfect almond butter, look no further!
LaCroix This unsweetened, naturally flavored sparkling water comes in tons of flavors and is a refreshing way to get hydrated. Flavors like coconut, grapefruit, key lime, and the coveted Cola keep things interesting and help you to increase your water intake.
Zupa Noma Hands down the most delicious way to get your greens in on-the-go. These bottled superfood soups are ready to drink right out of the bottle, and have a gazpacho-like texture and taste. Plus, all their soups are not only Whole30, but also USDA organic.
Golden Root Sugar Free Turmeric Latte Mix This no-sugar-added powder turns steamed almond milk into a warm and spicy latte. And because it’s caffeine-free, you can enjoy it any time of day. I’ve used Golden Root as a replacement for coffee in the afternoons as I try to cut down on my caffeine intake.
Rishi Tea Rishi Tea sells the highest quality bagged and loose-leaf teas that you can buy. Many of their teas are flavored with real fruit pieces, essential oils, and exotic flavors. They’re a truly fine quality, intensely flavored and indulgent tea brand. Try their Turmeric Ginger or their Chocolate Cinnamon teas for Whole30 compliant, steamy goodness.
These fourteen items are just the beginning: I’m always posting new meal ideas, new products and new recipes over on my Whole30 Instagram feed, @melissasfoodfreedom!
A few more Whole30 articles to support you:
- The Whole30 cheat sheet.
- Life after the Whole30 – how to move forward.
- Five reasons you’re not losing weight on the Whole30.
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