Meal planning can be overwhelming when you start your first round. Today, we’re turning over the reins to our wonderful member Christa Page so she can share her meal plans for five weeks. FIVE weeks! Admittedly, I can’t get myself to put together one week of meals so my hat’s off to Christa for being organized on par with the likes of Mary Poppins. Her notes, recipes links, and meal schedule may be found below. Here’s a link to the Excel sheet with the meal plan schedule and a link to our Pinterest board that has all the meals below pinned. Enjoy and a big thanks to Christa for making this available to everyone.
Back when I lived in Illinois, I had a two hour commute each way for work (and that was if there were no train delays!). One week I started making dinners on the weekend that we could heat up during the week so that we weren’t eating at 7:00 at night or later. Then I started grad school, and moved to California, so things slacked off a bit.
When I had decided to do Whole30, I thought about those meal prep days and figured if I’m going to do this, prepping as much as I could was the way to go. I stalked the Whole30 Facebook group, and stockpiled recipes. I was now armed with information I needed. I prepared around 10 freezer meals, and had an idea for easy breakfast and lunch meals. It was a success! I did two rounds almost back to back, and was loving life. Then I got carried away with Food Freedom – apparently, I cannot be trusted on my own just yet. So here we are, round three!
I’ve started and failed round three a handful of times. Probably for the same reason most of o us face – the challenge is over. We’ve been there, done that. We know we can do it. Knowing myself, if I’m going to be successful, I need a plan. So I sat down to do some meal prep, but this time for the entire round.
Since my first couple of rounds, I’ve been good about weekly meal prep. Toward the end of a week, I plan my meals for the next week. Then I create my shopping list so I make sure I only get exactly what I need. Saturday is usually spent prepping – chopping, measuring, etc., and then Sunday is cooking day. I try to utilize both my Instant Pot and Crockpot. Then I portion out my breakfast and lunch meals into glass containers so they’re ready to grab and go. For dinner, I place each one in a big container and we reheat as we go along.
When people have asked me for advice on how to make Whole30 a success, I always tell them, preparing is key. Have a plan, even if it’s just week to week. Know that it can vary as things come up. So here are my tips from experience:
- Gather recipes. Use an app to save them – apps like Paprika and Copy Me That will let you store recipes and make grocery lists saving you lots of time!
- Be prepared. When I cook ahead for the week, I find it easier to package everything in portions so it’s a quick grab and go. I have enough containers to at least package my breakfast and lunch during the week since dinner is usually at home.
- Look ahead. Are you going to be going to a concert in a park? Don’t have a microwave at work or a meeting offsite? Plan for a meal that doesn’t need to be reheated. Do those days first and then fill in the blanks.
- Make a grocery list. List everything you’ll need for each recipe and then search your pantry first to remove any items from the list you might have. Seems silly to add pepper to the grocery list when you just know you have it, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve assumed that, and then not had enough for the week. It’s easier to remove things from the list after an assessment than to have to run back out to the store when you’re in the middle of cooking.
- Cook away! On days when I’m cooking everything for the week, which is most weeks, I look at all of my recipes. Is there one in the crockpot, and one in the Instant Pot? If so, I’m going to make sure the crockpot is started first so I can do everything else while that’s cooking. You don’t want to do recipes one by one only to get to that crockpot recipe at 4:00 in the afternoon and it needs 6 hours to cook.
- I am only cooking for two. Breakfast and lunch are on my own so, for those, I only account for single servings. Dinners are split with my husband so for those, for example, you will only see it three times on the chart, but it is actually six servings. I suppose I should feed him once in a while, lol!
- Certain food allergies keep me from eating fish and certain nuts so my plated fats are quite repetitive. Feel free to adjust.
- Usually, I cook around two or three dinners each week, and alternate each night so although they’re repeated three nights in a row, it’s not necessarily how we eat them. It just makes it easier for a placeholder.
- Be sure to watch ALL recipes – some might include non-compliant ingredients (like the breakfast taco scramble, Days 8-15), so you will need to omit those per the recipe instructions.
- I used the Whole Smiths Good Food cookbook and the Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook for some meals.
- Breakfast (M-F): Three hard boiled eggs. Veggies are usually onion, bell peppers, and potatoes. I season them with whatever I have and then roast them in the oven.
- Breakfast (Sa, Su): Omelet is usually just a couple of eggs and frozen onion & bell peppers mixed in.
- Lunch (M-F): Egg Roll in a Bowl – I stretch the four servings into five and have a side salad with it.
- Lunch (Sa,Su): Veggies here will be whatever tickles my fancy. Probably some steamed broccoli, or sautéed green beans topped with ghee.
- Dinner (M-W): Instant Pot Boneless Pork Ribs. You can do around 3-3.5 pounds with the same ingredients and cook time to get around 6 servings. For the Low-Carb potatoes, use this recipe but sub in coconut milk and ghee for the milk and butter. I sprinkle a little garlic or dill on mine when eating.
- Dinner (Th-Sa): Steak Kebabs with Chimichurri
- Dinner (Su): Grilled steaks seasoned with pepper. Some carrots and celery with dump ranch. Nice and easy!
- Breakfast (M-F): Breakfast Taco Scramble. With this one, I increase the ingredients a bit to get five servings out of it instead of four.
- Lunch (M-F): Green Chile Chicken. You’ll probably get a few extra servings out of this, but if you do, you can always freeze it for later!
- Lunch (Sa, Su): Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken Potatoes.
- Dinner (M-W): Baked Cajun Chicken Breasts. Cauliflower Buffalo Bites.
- Dinner (T-Sa): Slow Cooker Beef Roast Carrots
- Dinner (Su): Slow Cooker Gumbo. This will also be used for dinner next week so you’re one step ahead!
- Breakfast (M-F): Whole30 Breakfast Meatloaf. This is new to me but looking forward to an eggless breakfast – another first for me!
- Lunch (M-F): Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Tacos Crockpot recipe
- Lunch (Sa, Su): Found in the Fast & Easy cookbook, page 229.
- Dinner (M-W): Leftovers from previous week.
- Dinner (Th-F): Found in the Fast & Easy cookbook, page 141.
- Dinner (Sa, Su): Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Freezer Friendly. Will serve with extra veggies if needed.
- Lunch (M-F): Easy and Healthy Crockpot Salsa Verde Shredded Pork Tacos. Will serve this over cauliflower rice with some pickled cucumbers.
- Lunch (S, S): Marinated Chicken Freezer Packs for the Grill in 25 Minutes. We’ll see that week which one I pick from the following:
- Dinner (M-W): Ranch Pork Chops Potatoes Sheet Pan Dinner.
- Dinner (Th-F): Jalapeno Turkey Burgers. Served with potatoes roasted in the oven.
- Dinner (S, S): This is going to be a play-it-by ear weekend. Something nice and simple on the grill.
Day 30 (with six bonus days!)
- Breakfast (M-F): My husband usually cooks our omelets the night before so I reheat them at work in the morning.
- Lunch (M-F): Recipe from the Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook, p. 116.
- Lunch (S, S): Bacon Wrapped Guacamole Stuffed Chicken. Will serve with some sort of vegetable side or salad.
- Dinner (M-W): Easy and Healthy Crockpot Steak Italiano Marinara. Will serve over either zoodles or spaghetti squash.
- Dinner (Th, F): Recipe from the Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook, p. 126.
- Dinner (S, S): Sloppy Joe Baked Sweet Potatoes.