Happy 4th of July everyone! I’ve got a recipe today for when you need something quick to take to your 4th of July potluck, or when you’re just chilling at home and want to do something fun and patriotic with the kids. This quick and …
Oh Whole30, how I love you and hate you at the same time. As I write this I am currently on day 19 of my third round of Whole30. The first time we did it was in 2015 and we did it together with a few other friends who all lived within a few houses from us. We all worked and lived together on one large complex, so we decided to do it all together. That was really a great way to go, because we set up a rotation where we would cook enough for everyone participating, but only one out of every 3 lunches and dinners. We were on our own for breakfast. But it was fun to share food and try some meals that maybe we wouldn’t have normally thought of.
What is the Whole30?
For those of you who don’t know what Whole30 is, let me explain. It is a 30-day elimination diet during which you eat only certain types of food (meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts, etc.) and you eliminate other types (dairy, grains, added sugar, legumes etc.) You do not count calories. You are free to eat as much of the approved foods as you want (within reason). The idea is to help you identify what types of food may be triggers for you, so that you can move forward with a healthier, more balanced diet. Here is a screenshot from the Whole30 starter kit that explains it a little better. You can get the full starter kit on the Whole30 website by signing up for their email list.
What does a real Whole30 look like?
So, now that you know what you can and can’t eat on Whole30, I thought it would be fun and helpful to see what that looks like for a real person in real life on a real budget. Yes, there are many things you have to take into account when doing Whole30. For example, if you like to have sauces on your food, you will either need to purchase the specialty Whole30 sauces, which tend to be more expensive than their sugar-laden counterparts, or you can experiment and have fun creating your own sauces and dips. You might even be surprised at how easy and fun it is to create new dishes made only with real food. I hope to eventually create and share more of my own Whole30 recipes. But for this post, I’m going to walk you through everything I ate on the first seven days of Whole30 and link to the different recipes I used. If I altered the original recipe, I will provide notes on how I changed it. I hope these easy Whole30 meals are helpful for you as you eat clean and healthy.
What makes an easy Whole30 meal?
A few nights before we started Whole30 I created a meal plan for the first week. I wanted to do a combination of easy Whole30 meals that are already familiar to our family and that I know we like, but just tweaking to make them compliant (like ribs with homemade BBQ sauce rather than the bottled kind), and also try a few dishes throughout the week that are new to our family (like coconut shrimp). A few things I tried to keep in mind when creating the meal plan:
- Ready in roughly 30 minutes or less
- Uses ingredients that I already have in my kitchen
- Filling and kid-friendly
- Bonus if it makes enough to have leftovers on another day
- 8:33 am – Omelet with bacon, turkey, spinach, onion and bell pepper accompanied by fresh fruit
- 12:13 pm – Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup from the Whole30 website
- 12:27 pm – Tangerine
- 2:34 pm – Apple slices with Almond Butter
- 7:07 pm – Burger sliders on Sweet Potato and White Potato buns (I cooked both the burgers and the potatoes in my new Ninja Foodi Air fryer… this was my very first time using it as I had received it as a Mother’s day gift the day before we started Whole30)
- 8:20 am – Fried eggs, bacon, roasted fajita veggies (cooked them in the bacon grease after the bacon came out of the oven), avocado and cantaloupe
- 10:24 am – Banana
- 1:06 pm – Grilled chicken leg meat** (Used the seasoning mix from this recipe and hubby cooked it on the charcoal barbecue) , air fryer potato slices, salad with this ranch dressing (Note: i used fresh parsley and dill instead of dried: when substituting fresh herbs you use triple the amount since dried herbs are more potent)
- 1:49 pm – Grapes
- 3:55 pm – Pistachios
- 6:08 pm – Pork Posole with tostones from The Whole30 Cookbook
- 10:25 pm – Cashews
**This was a lifesaver during Whole30. We bought about 7-8 pounds of chicken leg meat on sale at the grocery store and barbecued it all on Monday and then we were able to have it all throughout the week as a quick and easy lunch protein
- 8:30 am – The Mess (with one change being that I skipped the last step of scrambling the eggs and just covered the pan and let them cook undisturbed until they were ready), Strawberries and Blueberries
- 12:51 pm – Charcuterie tray consisting of left-over grilled Chicken from Day 1, Apples, Strawberries, Cucumbers, Carrots, Pistachios and the same Ranch dressing from Day 1
- 6:53 pm – These Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp with this BBQ sauce (did not use cayenne pepper and since I only had regular paprika instead of smoked, I increased the Liquid smoke to compensate), Cauliflower Rice and oven roasted Vegetables (Broccoli, Carrots, Onion, Bell Pepper)
- 8:46 am – Veggie Frittata topped with BBQ sauce and Avocado, served with tangerine and blueberries
- 12:35 pm – The Mess (same as yesterday, didn’t scramble the eggs), topped with BBQ sauce.
- 12:48 pm – Watermelon
- 6:32 pm – Instant Pot Pulled Pork sliders using the same BBQ sauce as before on Air Fryer Sweet potato and White Potato “buns”, steamed Broccoli and a Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad from the Diabetes Cookbook
- 7:34 am – Leftover Veggie Frittata with a Tangerine
- 10:39 am – Pistachios and a Tangerine
- 12:51 pm – Leftovers Lunch: Grilled Chicken, Burger Sliders and Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad
- 6:54 pm – Left-over Pulled Pork, Instant Pot baked potato with ghee, green salad with Ranch dressing
- 9:56 pm – Smoothie Bowl (AKA Whole30 ice cream which is technically not allowed, so that’s why I’m calling it a smoothie bowl ;o): In a food processor add frozen banana, fresh mango, frozen strawberries and coconut milk. Process to desired consistency.
- 8:48 am – Banana pancakes** topped with stewed strawberries (i.e. I put some frozen strawberries in the microwave until they were warm), bacon and fried eggs.
- 2:16 pm – Charcuterie lunch consisting of: grilled chicken (see what I mean? That chicken really came in handy!), watermelon, carrots, cucumbers, deviled eggs, apples and pistachios
- 6:12 pm – We took the kids to the movie theater for the first time since the pandemic (first time ever for the twins) and after the movie I didn’t have a dinner plan, so we got Fire-Grilled chicken from El Pollo Loco with a side of steamed broccoli
- 9:25 pm – Watermelon
**Yes, I do know that pancakes are not allowed on Whole30, even if they are made from compliant ingredients. But when your hubby asks you for pancakes and you worry he might quit Whole30 on day 6 if he doesn’t have some pancakes, you make them. Because Some is Better than none!
- 7:39 am – The Mess (not scrambled again… I promise, usually I scramble them, I was just experimenting this week with how long to cook the eggs if I didn’t break the yolks)
- 11:53 am – Left over grilled chicken, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, tangerine
- 12:14 pm – Curried Zucchini soup
- 6:21 pm – Ninja Foodi BBQ Ribs: Here’s what I did: Cut the ribs into sections of about 4-5 ribs each. Rub them with this dry rub minus the sugar and place them standing up inside the 8-quart Ninja Foodi with the meat side against the edges of the pot. Add 1 cup of water, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon Liquid smoke. Close the pressure cooking lid and set it to cook under high pressure for 35 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes and then open the vent. Slather the ribs with BBQ sauce and lay them flat on the rack. (I had to take 2 of them out and do this part in shifts.) Switch to the air fryer lid and cook, checking every few minutes, until crispy.
Helpful tools for your easy Whole30 meals:
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Every Sunday morning in our house (and even more frequently right now while we’re doing another round of Whole30), you can count on one thing: “The Mess” on our table for breakfast. (Okay, so we don’t always eat it at the table. Usually if we …
This sweet boysenberry crunch is one of our favorite desserts. Tangy boysenberries (or blackberries) are sweetened and then baked between two layers of a sweet, buttery, golden crust.
You have a goal.
We all have goals, right? Or at least we do on January first. But why is it that the vast majority of people don’t stick to their resolutions or don’t achieve their goals?
I think a big part of it is the “all or nothing” mentality that we tend to adopt. We want to go “all in” because it seems like the fastest way to get us to the end goal. But when we approach life this way, what happens when we mess up? What happens if we miss a day? What happens if we eat that slice of cake that we know we were supposed to avoid? (You too?)
Our tendency, when we take the “all or nothing” approach (even if we don’t realize it at first), is to throw in the towel when we make a mistake. We didn’t accomplish exactly what we set out to do, so all is lost! But here at Some is Better, we are convinced that there is a better way to approach life and our goals.
And to be honest, those baby steps will look different for each person. So don’t compare your progress or your path with someone else’s. Progress is progress, even if it’s one miniscule step at a time.
But How Does This Apply to a Food Blog?
This is where I have a hard time with many of the popular dieting trends out there today. Most of them subscribe to this “all or nothing” mentality, and there’s little room for us to be human (and by being human, I mean eating a real cookie every once in a while). Now I understand that for some people, dieting has to be all or nothing or it doesn’t work for them to achieve their goals. I get that. But what about those of us who need some semblance of normality and cannot completely transform our entire way of eating, but still want to make healthy changes that work for our lifestyle?
Enter: Some is Better. Some progress is better than none. One healthy change at a time is better than nothing.
Maybe it looks like adding pureed carrots to your pancakes so your kids don’t even know they are eating a vegetable. Or maybe it means choosing the lower carb side dish to accompany your dinner. Or maybe it’s prepping lunch ahead of time so you can avoid getting fast food again.
We Can Help.
Whatever your baby steps are, we are here to help you think of fun and creative ways to accomplish them on the path towards a healthier you. Your life is a marathon, not a sprint, so let’s establish habits that will help increase your endurance so you won’t want to throw in the towel the first time you stumble. Because, let’s be honest, “I never want to eat another cookie again,” said no one. Ever.
Our goal at Some is Better is to create and share delicious recipes, while at the same time giving you the tools you need to alter them to suit your individual dietary needs. For some, that means lowering sugar content, for others, lower fat or cholesterol. Some prefer vegan recipes while others can’t eat gluten. We will do our best with each recipe to explain the benefits of each particular modification, while also giving you an idea of how the taste/texture will change so that you can make an informed decision. Because sometimes you just need that full-fat-full-sugar-give-me-all-the-gluten cinnamon roll. But maybe you’ll just eat one this time, because now you know that Some is Better.
Let us know in the comments what baby steps you are planning to take this week to move you towards a healthier version of yourself. #someisbetter