A Week of My Whole30 Meal Prep Plan
The easiest way to make it through a month of clean eating? Start with a plan.
Not many people get as excited as I do about a good meal plan. (Please don't tell college-me that this is what 30 looks like.)
Almost every week, I come up with a semi-healthy way to use up whatever is left in the fridge and make myself 5 days' worth of breakfasts and lunch and dinners. But then my annual Whole30 comes around and I realize that my weekly meal prep is peanuts compared to the amount of prepping and planning that goes into successfully eating clean for a full 30 days.
So, what is Whole30? It's a 30-day commitment to remove all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, certain preservatives and artificial sweeteners from your diet, plus about two weeks of reintroducing the foods that you've removed so you can see how they interact with your body.
It's definitely a challenge, but helps me feel like I've accomplished something right at the beginning of the year when there's not a whole lot going on – plus it's harder to quit than other resolutions because there's a set list of rules and a set amount of time to do it in.
At first, it's a little daunting – no wine or hummus?! – but the easiest way for me to prepare for my Whole30 is to plan out what I'll be eating for the entire month. That may flex depending on what vegetables are on sale or if I have friends over for dinner, but I like going in with a plan that I can change, rather than no plan at all. I also set up a list of quick snacks and meals that I can fall back on if I'm short on time and approaching the dreaded hangry state.
No matter what I'm meal prepping for, I always write up my shopping list as I go and plan to fully use up any ingredients that I’m buying. For example: If I'm making a butternut squash chili for my lunch and know I only need half of it for the chili, I'll plan to serve mashed butternut squash as a dinner side to use up the rest.
Here's what my first week of Whole30 is going to look like.
Weekday Breakfast: Hot Apple Cereal
This is so, so good. I swapped the coconut flour for almond flour because that's what I had on hand. It's the perfect replacement for my standard oatmeal breakfast, and I love it so much that I make it whenever I have extra apples on hand.
Weekday Lunch: Thai Curry Veggie Noodles with Chicken (pictured above)
A super easy and flavorful lunch, and another Whole30 meal that I make sometimes even when I'm not doing Whole30. I usually swap in spiralized sweet potato for the carrots and cucumbers because I always start out the month with a giant sack of sweet potatoes.
Weekend Brunch: Steak and Egg Salad
On the weekends I usually eat brunch after going to the gym and running some errands, so this steak and egg salad is the perfect way to refuel and start the day.
Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Simple Broiled Flank Steak with Herb Oil, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, FN Essentials/Weeknights/Fall/Holidays Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network
Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Steak and potatoes is always a winner in my house, so I used Whole30 as an excuse to liven things up a little with fresh sauces and dressings. Promise you're going to be using that herb oil on pretty much everything.
This whole dinner takes about 30 minutes to put together. Totally doable midweek and totally hits the crunchy notes that you want. (*I nix the brown sugar on the fries during Whole30 – they still taste great.)
Instead of going out to eat like I normally do on the weekends, I'm treating myself to something that's a little more hands-on prep-wise, but only takes 10 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot.
Saturday Dinner: Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
I'll make this recipe (without the beans or sour cream) for dinner on Saturday and will use the leftovers for dinner another night the next week.