Expert tips for rocking your first Whole30 diet

Make a success of the Whole30 diet this new year. This is the inside track on the program

fresh vegetables Whole30 diet
(Image credit: Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash)

Are you planning to do the Whole30 diet? The month-long program, as you’ll already know if you’ve put a start date into your diary, promises both your health and your emotions can benefit from a diet reset. 

The worldwide January Whole30 starts on January 1st 2021 – although you can start yours on any day that works for you. Whichever date you choose to begin, the takeaway is that you need to follow the program to the letter for the whole 30 days. In essence, the Whole30 is an elimination diet, and so you must cut out the specified food (and drink) entirely with no slip-ups.

Sounds tough? We’ve got your back! We asked Stephanie Greunke, Whole30 Dietitian and Education Manager, on how to make the most of your first Whole30. Scroll down and get yourself set for success.

How to make the most of your first Whole30

How can people set themselves up for success on Whole30? Whether it’s grocery shopping, meal-prepping, or avoiding certain situations, what’ll make it easier for people to stick to the plan?

‘Meal planning and preparation is key to making your experience on the Whole30 and throughout your food freedom sustainable. The good news is that grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation doesn’t have to look one specific way. It’s all about finding what works for you to be consistent. For some people, this looks like grocery shopping and preparing food for a few hours on a weekend, while others stick to making simple meals and utilizing leftovers. 

‘There are Whole30 approved meal delivery services, Whole30 compatible frozen meals (found in retail stores like Walmart and Whole Foods), and Whole30 approved condiments like the new line of Whole30 salad dressings that you can use if you don’t have time or want to make your own. 

‘Regardless of how you meal prep, having convenient access to your favorite Whole30 compatible foods will help you stick to the plan. Having compatible snacks like Whole30 approved beef jerky (The New Primal and Chomps are my favorite brands) and nuts and seeds in your car, office desk, or purse will help you stay on track if you get hungry between meals. By keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with plenty of fruits and vegetables (frozen, fresh, and canned all work!), protein, and healthy fats like olives, avocado oil, and ghee you’re always a few minutes away from a nourishing Whole30 meal.’

What are some sneaky things that can derail the success of Whole30? 

‘One common thing we hear from Whole30 participants is how much they’ve learned about food through label reading. Many participants are surprised by how frequently sugar shows up in their favorite salad dressings, deli meat, and other packaged foods.’

Are there places people can go for support during their first Whole30?

‘The Whole30 offers a vibrant, supportive community on Instagram and Facebook (@whole30, @whole30recipes, @whole30approved). On those platforms, you’ll find IG story takeovers from Whole30 Certified Coaches who walk you through common barriers and tips to stay on track, free recipes and recipe demos, and you can stay up-to-date on delicious, convenient Whole30 approved products. 

‘There are many Whole30 books and cookbooks that you can use to learn more about the program, create flavorful recipes, and learn more about transitioning into your Food Freedom after your Whole30 and Reintroduction. The Whole30 Day-by-Day book is a helpful resource that walks you through what to expect each day of the program, reflect on what you’re learning, and stay accountable. 

‘If you’d like more customized support, accountability, or want to do the program in a small group, consider working with a Whole30 Certified Coach.’

Speaking of support, what should you do if you’re the only person in your home/friend group doing Whole30? How can people stick to the plan?

‘We offer lots of resources and support about doing the program on your own in our Whole30 Families blogs and in our Whole30 newsletters. You don’t have to create multiple meals to feed your family or avoid enjoying meals with friends. Sometimes it’s as easy as offering a grain-based side dish for family members while you focus on vegetables, healthy fat, and protein or leaving cheese off the entree and allowing others to add it on after. 

‘Sometimes it takes more planning like reviewing the restaurant menu beforehand and making sure you can choose a compatible option or offering to bring a compatible dish to your friend’s get-together. This article offers multiple perspectives on how to approach these sometimes tricky situations.’

Where does exercise factor into Whole30? Are certain types of exercise recommended? Should others be avoided? 

‘Exercise isn’t a requirement for individuals doing the program. Those who are currently exercising can continue doing whatever form of exercise they were doing prior to starting the program, with their provider’s approval.’

 What‘s your favorite Whole30 recipe? 

‘My entire family really enjoys these twice-baked ranch potatoes which only take 15 minutes to prep! I often bake more sweet potatoes than the recipe calls for so that I can use them later on throughout the week in other meals.’