Can't Get Your Whole30 Round Started? Start here.

We’ve heard from a lot of people about how tough it is to get motivated to start a round. I get it. It’s tough. Is it worth it? YES! You do need to have your head in the game to start so, if you’ve been putting off doing a round, let’s tackle the top reasons that might be stopping you.

Mental Preparation
You need your head in the right place to start because when you do a round it is a commitment that you’re making to yourself. For me, getting ready means whipping my kitchen into Whole30 shape. But that takes time! Yeah, I know. That’s why I put a podcast on to listen to so the time passes quicker. Need a podcast recommendation… you can listen to Melissa Urban’s new Whole30 podcast, Do The Thing. If you want a non food related one and one of my personal favourites, try Aaron Manhke’s Unobscured. It’s the real story about what happened in Salem during the witch trials (I live in Salem so it’s a history lesson for me and super interesting!).

Your podcast is on and your ready to go so let’s get started by purging your kitchen and your mind. Click here to get the checklist.

Meal Prep

Your kitchen is Whole30 ready. Now what? The idea of preparing 90 meals over the course of 30 days can be a bit daunting. The feeling that you’re tied to your kitchen and have an endless mountain of dishes in your near future can be discouraging. I get it. Over multiple rounds, I’ve found ways to save time. Here’s some of the stuff I do:

  • Cut up veggies when I get back from grocery shopping or the night before I’m making a recipe

  • Set aside Sunday afternoon to cook for the beginning of the week. I work from home on Tuesday and usually do a bit of cooking that day too

    • I always make a sauce that I can dump on everything so I don’t have to think about a plated fat

    • Make double batches to freeze

  • Minimize the amount of dishes I use (I reuse bowls, for example, instead of taking out another clean one!)

  • Use parchment paper when doing anything on sheet pans

If you’re wondering what to cook, here is a five day meal plan and a five week meal plan.

Being a ‘Hermit’ and Missing ‘Good’ Food

Worried about not being able to go out to eat or worried about an upcoming friends’ night where one of your besties makes her famous double chocolate cheesecake? You can absolutely pre-plan for social events that you know are coming up. There’s probably something on the menu that you can eat. You can skip that cheesecake.

For me, I find it just easier to skip the restaurants when on a round and I don’t miss it–I just find what I’m cooking is better at home! But, I’m also deeply entrenched into the whole married with small kids gig and we don’t go out that often to eat. Back in the sans-kids days, I went out to eat ALL THE TIME. Try (I know, I know, easier said than done!) to flip the script and frame your gatherings around friends and family, not food. It’s 30 days, you can do it! Let them admire and be jealous of your iron-will when you say to them ‘No thanks, I’m on a Whole30 round’.

What do you do to get your head back in the Whole30 game?

Whole30 Meal Plan: Your First Five Days

Meal prepping can be daunting, especially when you can barely find time to sit down and drink a coffee uninterrupted. After several rounds, I’ve got my meal prepping routine down to a science. Any new recipes, I make on Sundays along with prepping lots and lots of veggies. Any recipes that require chopped veggies, I cut the night before because by the time I get home from work I don’t want to spend any time chopping. Mid week, I toss a couple of sheet pans of veggies in the oven to roast so I won’t be eating 4 day old roasted veggies.

I like to make some sauces on the weekend to use throughout the week so I can put a big dollop of it on my plate and be done with thinking about it. Make it easy and do the same! I’m leaving the plated flats out of the meal plan below so you can mix and match. Here are some awesome sauces–make two and you’ll be all set for the week!

Eat The Gain’s Spicy Avocado Lime Sauce

Whole Sister’s Dump Ranch

The Whole Smith’s Perfect Paleo Pesto

Lemon Tree Dwelling’s Olive Tapenade

Fit Mitten Kitchen’s BBQ Sauce

Guacamole – One avocado, diced tomatoes and red onions, garlic, lime, and salt. Simple and delish!

What You’re Making This Week:

Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Greek Breakfast Casserole

Oven Baked Green Beans (use nutritional yeast instead of parm cheese)

Cilantro and Lime Salmon

Egg Roll In A Bowl

Roasted Veggies – no recipes, just roast a couple of sheet pans of whatever veggies and seasoning you want!

Chicken Thighs – grab some Umami seasoning from Trader Joes’. Cook at 375F until browned!

Cauliflower Rice – this is so simple to pan fry! Keep it interesting by tossing in some garlic and minced onion. Crack an egg or two and scramble it in for extra tasty texture.

A Few Tips:

– Double or triple your batches. Trust me, you’ll be grateful you did when on Day17 you get home after a grueling day and don’t want to cook!

– Have some containers or freezer bags on hand for freezing and leftovers.

– Invest in a citrus squeezer. I use mine all the time–amazing how much lemon and lime are in recipes

– Invest in a crinkle cutter to keep things interesting.

– Try one or two new recipes a week to keep things interesting.

Organizing Your Whole30 Kitchen

Who’s watched Marie Kondo on Netflix? You? If you haven’t, this tiny powerhouse shows you how to organize your whole home using her KonMari method. I’m a big fan and binged watched the series within a few days–it was worth the late nights. I’ve been purging my house of things that no longer spark joy ever since I watched it. Before, I even finished the series, I ordered her ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up’ book (it’s a must read!).

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a food rut lately where nothing seems to inspire me. Seeing that I’m in the kitchen A LOT cooking, I decided to reorganize my whole kitchen. Tackling my food rut from this angle (how I USE my kitchen) has put the spark back in my cooking. Last year, we replaced our counter tops and built up our back kitchen wall with cabinets and a pantry. I rearranged my kitchen then but looking back, it was nowhere near enough.

With my newly acquired organizational skills, I took a look at my kitchen a month of so ago and, holy cow, I had a lot of stuff. SO. MUCH. STUFF. Does anyone need four olive dishes with a cute little place on the side to put your toothpicks in? I had four. Three spatulas around the same size. Close to 30 mugs? Why? And, why did I own three French Presses, an iced coffee maker, AND a coffee maker? I don’t drink that much coffee!

SCAN YOUR CUPBOARDS/CABINETS

My rapidly decreasing cabinet space could be purged. I found my local Buy Nothing facebook page and offered my three French presses. They were scooped up by a neighbour pretty quickly and I didn’t have to do anything more than set it out on my front porch for them to pick up. I looked at everything. Extra wine glasses, extra mugs, pots and pans that were in my cupboard that I never used, extra tongs that I never used, little gadgets that I bought thinking that I’d used, and you guessed it, never used.

Just opening my cupboards up and taking a hard look at whether or not I needed it, was eye opening. I was storing a lot of stuff. I set out to get rid of it by either donating them, gifting them, or throwing them out. I have some empty cabinet space now…and I still have work to do!

Step two was to get some efficient storage. I got a couple of pull out shelves here. I have some deep cabinets that I’d have to get down and dig through to get a mixing bowl. It’s such a pain in the butt getting things so I found some pull out shelves that have been life changing–I love them! And, I loved that they were super easy to install! These two shelves are perfectly aligned and you’d never know they didn’t come with the new cupboards.

My frying pan storage was a royal pain in the butt. They were all stacked on top of one another and my husband would, and this is annoying, put them in the cabinet when they were not quite dry. I NEEDED a cookware organizer. For the sake of my sanity, I NEEDED this! The pull out shelves and cookware organizers are both from the same company, which I wanted so it would have the same look/feel to it. You can get the pull out cookware organizer here.

SPICES

After I got rid of everything extra and installed the pull outs, I needed to do something quick and easy that felt like a win. All this decluttering and purging is tiring! Reorganizing my spices and seasonings did the trick. I got it done in no time–I got rid of the duplicate spices, the way out of date spices, and almost empty bottles. It’s so great to cook when you can just open a door and grab something! You can see in the first picture how easy everything is to grab. With a couple of spice organizers, found here, I can keep everything nice and neat. Definitely key when you’re cooking as much as you do on Whole30.

FOOD

How does your fridge look right now? Tidy or a holy mess? I won’t lie, mine is always a work in progress. I cleaned it today after it had turned into a bit of a leftover/science experiment. The week got away from me and it had become untidy. I gave it a good clean today and refilled the plastic storage bins I have in the fridge with snacks for the kids and my Whole30 stuff. I’ve found keeping some of my stuff separate in storage bins helps me have what I need on hand and I don’t have to dig around the back of the fridge–just pull out the bin et voila, my stuff is all there!

I also have a shelf dedicated to my Whole30 stuff. Non-compliant stuff doesn’t touch that drawer! My husband has never done a round with me but knows he can grab anything from that shelf and it’s okay to cook with when he’s making a Whole30 meal. Whole30 meals are so easy to cook and I love that he’s willing to grab some almond flour instead of regular flour when cooking for us.

UNCLUTTER YOUR DRAWERS

This was the last thing I wanted to do yet it was once of the most useful things I did. I put it off until I did most of the kitchen. My utensil drawers didn’t need much work but I had a drawer full of all my odds and ends cooking stuff that was just thrown in (I moved the knives there!). Turns out I didn’t need three sets of measuring spoons after all! Everything that I use often is in there–you wouldn’t believe how much use I get out of my citrus squeezer! It’s one of my must have kitchen items!

So, this is how I’ve organized my kitchen so far. It’s a work in progress but, right now, it feels efficient and fun to cook in. I like fun! I feel all chef-like when I have everything at hand and things are organized. It’s also super easy to clean, which is a big plus! Even today, I got rid of a two paper shopping bags of stuff and am continuing to declutter. IT FEELS GREAT!

What are your tips to keeping your kitchen clean?