If you're like me and love cooking you're always up to a challenge! But you may be in for a teat if you think that will be enough to get you through your Whole30 week smoothly and stress-free! I'm a stay at home mom and, even I, have to meal prep. I do need my time during the week days to get through daily routine things like running errands, cleaning the house, going to the kids' activities, making sure that everything runs as it's supposed to be during the week.
I need time for my blog - to create new posts, develop new recipes and cooking them, all during the school schedule, which can be sometimes overwhelming. It does take a lot of my time and I found out that, since starting my Whole30 I do have more time for my hobby! This is because I meal prep for the week during my Sunday afternoon. Usually this is my Sunday schedule:
That's a pretty good picture of what goes on in the house on Sundays! The kids are always entertained that evening so I can concentrate on my cooking job and make everything I planed for.
Not all weeks are equal and I try to have different meals every week so I don't get bored! I'm always talking about avoiding food boredom because, for me, this is the major obstacle for most people when we're talking about eating healthy. Focusing on the same ingredients over and over again makes you feel discouraged and fed up - that can lead up to cravings when you feel like that's the only way to get something that you satisfy you or that will taste somewhat more like a "proper"meal.
DON'T FALL INTO THAT TRAP!
If you feel like you're running out of ideas go online and search for Whole30 recipes, there are thousands out there! On blogs, like mine, on Pinterest, on Facebook groups or on the Whole30 cookbooks. Get yourself half an hour during the week, preferably at the end of the day when the house is quiet and you feel like you're mind is clear and ready to start choosing different and exiting options!
I always have a list of staples that I like to have but I'll change them every other week. For example, last week I just had potatoes with two meals and I was feeling like having them this week so I decided to roast a batch to use throughout the week. The first thing is choosing your favorite ingredients and, from there, search for recipes that don't usually fit in your daily diet so you can try something new!
"What do I need to have on my Whole30 plate?"
As anyone who's doing a Whole30 knows there is a meal template that we're supposed to use as a guideline to build each of our 3 daily meals. You are always advised to get in your plate:
When thinking about your weekly meal prep you must consider all these components and make sure to have each of them available for every meal. Being caught red handed without anything prepped may be an easy step to self sabotage and we want to avoid that, at all costs!
I'll give you some examples of the ingredients and meals I prep and then, at the end of the post I'll post up some links to useful posts with "egg-less breakfasts", which I think is a very requested item! I love eggs and I still haven't got tired of them but I usually do eggs 5 days a week, for breakfast, and 2 days off of them. At the end I'll also post my own alternative breakfasts.
There are many different options for protein sources for breakfast. I think the main issue is to stop thinking about "breakfast food". Think of the first meal of the day as exactly that! It's one of the three meals of the day and you can build it with whatever you build the other two. Don't limit yourself to sausage and bacon or you'll be having nightmares about them by week 2! These are some options that you can cook or have at hand - some of them you don't even have to cook.
This was one of my favorite breakfast so far! Grilled chicken breast, sauteed spinach, roasted sweet potatoes and a grilled pear with 1 Tbsp of "Spread the Love" almond butter. Remember when I told you that breakfast is my biggest meal of the day? There you have it! A breakfast like this makes me happy, so happy!
This is extremely important, to get your vegetables going so you don't end up getting shortcuts that wont make you benefit from a full and balanced meal! I always have fresh greens and cooked options so I can make an array of different meals that will keep the excitement for eating good food going!
These are just a few examples of vegetables to roast and use during the week. Choose the ones you and your family like and get creative with fresh herbs and olive/avocado oil. There as so many option: Brussels sprouts, potatoes (white, red, sweet), onion, zucchini, carrots, beets, peppers, kale, cauliflower...just pick some and toss them in a baking sheet to roast! If you feel like it, toss in the protein also, at the same time, and you'll have another meal cooked!
When you make a sheet-pan meal like the one you see above take advantage of the oven and cook extra veggies that will last you another couple of meals! Make the most of everything when planning and prepping!
Cooking fat and plated fat:
Two very important elements of your meal template!
Make sure to have enough of these in each meal in order to make you feel satiated from one meal to the next. I guarantee you that, if you do this right, you won't even remember to snack or "feel the need"to do it. I'm currently on day 21 and I have only felt hungry, after dinner, yesterday and it was for two reasons: I hadn't had enough for dinner because I was having a bit of a hard time having a migraine and didn't get enough food/fat at dinner and I was on my second day of my period which felt me feel hungrier after dinner. I got a small green apple with 1 Tbsp of almond butter and that was it - the only time I needed something and it was because my last meal hand't been built according to the template!
Make sure to always have a good stock of both these fats to guarantee that you stay compliant and that you're getting the right amounts of each in each meal.
Spices play a very bog roll on my Whole30, as well as fresh herbs! They make everything taste better and give you the change to play with different flavors so you don't get bored of eating the same thing allover again! Chang your spice game and start by trying out these Primal Palate spices! I just can't live without them!
It is recommended to eat fruit with moderation, mainly due to its the natural sugar content. I usually eat two pieces of fruit a day, one at breakfast and the other at lunchtime. It's also recommended to eat the rainbow - choose different fruits for different days and to make sure that you're getting a little bit of everything! One thing I usually try to do is, if I have a sweeter fruit at breakfast, like 1/2 mango, I choose a less sweeter fruit, like a green apple for lunch. It's all a matter of balance.
These are the main things I consider essential when I'm doing my meal prep, as I'm doing as I'm writing this blog post. This is the list of everything I'll be prepping between today and tomorrow - there is no school tomorrow so I get an extra day to prepare.
You can check all my meals on my weekly food journal posts but here are some ideas:
I have some very interesting suggestions for egg-less breakfasts, which I think is one of the "most wanted" Whole30 item! I hope that this post helps you to understand the Whole30 meal prep concept and importance. I really think is one of the main factors to get you going along, feeling excited about food and about this journey on which you decided to get into!
1 - Egg-less Whole30 breakfast ideas
Over on the Whole30 website, here, you can find new alternatives that will keep you excited about breakfast and, at the same time, keeping eggs out of the picture! (credit: Whole30 website)
2 - Kale, sausage and Pepper skillet (Primal Gourmet)
This breakfast is super easy and quick to make. Cook it during the Sunday meal prep and reserve in glass containers to use during the week. Just heat it on the microwave and go! Access the recipe,here. (Credit: Primal Gourmet)
3 - Plantain bacon fritters with avocado and poached egg (Paleo Running Momma)
A great suggestion that you can also prep ahead. If you don't have time to poach the egg in the morning just go with a hard boiled egg, I'm sure it'll be awesome too! Also, if you double the recipe you get to freeze extras to have at hand! Great recipe and super yummy looking! (Credit: Paleo Running Momma)
4 - Caramelized pork hash with brussels sprouts and sweet potato (I Heart Umami)
Another great recipe to cook ahead and to give you a fulfilling and tasty breakfast! Check it out here. (Credit: I Heart Umami)
5 - Warm pumpkin breakfast bowl (Jenny on the spot)
This really is a different and satisfying alternative to the meal template that we are used to. I'm trying this one out but I'm having some mini salad on the side so I can keep following the template. I'm all about rules if I see they work for me and the fact is that they have! Access the recipe here. (Credit: Jenny on the Spot)
As I've mentioned before, I haven't felt the need to snack but I've prepared myself for that event! I always keep a stock of Chomps meat sticks, Seasnax roasted seaweed and Wild Zora meat and veggie snacks. Also, almond butter and apples are something I always have and that is a perfect snack option too.
There's my coffee creamer, from Nutpods. I've tried the vanilla flavor and will go through the Original and Hazelnut over the next weeks. I like the flavor but I guess it must feel really soft/bland if you were used to having really sweet beverages or coffee drinks. Just give them a try and see what you think of them!
Any question that you may have, feel free to email me or reach out through my social media channels. I'm always trying to find out what specific information people are looking for so I can do my part and help a little!
Now, I'll get back to my meal prep!