Want to try a Whole30 but don’t know where to begin? We’ve got you covered with this plan that will teach you key habits and cooking techniques you’ll rely on to make it to the end.
Get the recipe here.
The Skinny on Snacking
The Whole30 recommendation is to eat three well-balanced meals each day that will keep you full for three to five hours. Allowing for more time to pass between meals reduces the burden on your pancreas (for insulin production) and allows your body to learn how to use the fat from your food and from your body as a fuel source. But if you are hungry as you adjust to this new style of eating, pregnant or very active, you may need to add some fuel between your meals.
Snacks should be a “mini meal,” well balanced and able to hold you over for a couple of hours. When choosing a snack, look for a mix of protein, fat and carbs, such as:
- Nut butter + piece of fruit
- Hard-boiled eggs + sliced veggies
- Turkey slices + sliced pickles or cucumbers
- Roasted chicken + salsa + guacamole
- Avocado + hemp seeds
- Almond milk + 1 scoop collagen + 1 tbsp flax seeds
Top Ten Tips for a Better Whole30
- What’s your “why”? Grab a piece of paper, a matcha latte (try our recipe on p. 88) and a quiet space because it’s time to figure out why you want to do the Whole30. What is it you’re hoping to achieve? More energy? Reduced sugar cravings? Write out your “whys” and then post them where you will frequently see them to strengthen your commitment.
- Create a supportive environment. Remove trigger foods as well as non- compliant foods from home and work (donate or trash them). Instead, surround yourself with food that will nourish you and support your success.
- Plan your meals each week. Set aside time each week to map out your meals for each day. From that plan, make your shopping list and hit the market. Then plan for one to two hours on the weekend to meal prep the majority of your meals and book a little extra time most nights for quick prep and cooking.
- Hydrate and add electrolytes. You may feel flu-like during the first week as your body is detoxing from sugar, grains and dairy. This comes from losing excess water that’s associated with inflammation, and with it go the electrolytes. Add real salt, eat magnesium- and potassium-rich foods, and drink plenty of water.
- Break up with your scale. The Whole30 discourages weighing yourself. Scales just measure your total weight but it would be more important to know how much of that weight is fat, muscle, bone and water. For good health, you want lower body fat and high amounts of muscle, but the scale will not tell you this. Plus, weight can fluctuate from day to day due to water shifts. No one should wake up, hop on a scale and let that number determine their happiness for the day.
- Enlist support. Habit-change experts agree that it’s easier to make lifestyle changes permanent when you enlist the help of your family, friends and coworkers. You can also join an online Whole30 support group on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
- Have a positive mindset. Yes, there will be difficult days during the 30 days, but acknowledging them, staying positive and tackling them head on will make you feel so much more successful afterward.
- Journal your journey. The journey to better health is not a straight line. It will have detours and bumps in the road as well as beautiful views and open roads. Keep a record of your meals, sleep, stress levels, physical feelings, energy level, emotional state, hunger and cravings. There’s no negativity allowed, just information that can be used to learn how to do better and maintain your success.
- Move your body. Weeks one and two may not be the ideal time to amp up your workout routine, but it is important to move your body every day. Walking inside or outside (connecting to nature is very healing as long as the weather permits), hiking or restorative or flow yoga would complement your healthier lifestyle.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is when your body and brain go into repair mode. When you get enough good-quality sleep (seven to nine hours per night), your hormones that control hunger and fullness function properly and cravings for sugar and refined carbs will be at a minimum.
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Written by Erin Macdonald for Clean Eating Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.