All Posts Tagged ‘meal prep

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Whole 30 – Week 5 – Meal Plan

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Only two more days! Congratulations to everyone who has held on this far. Now the most important part is coming next: Life After Whole30. Don’t mess this up! Carefully re-introduce foods in the proper manner. You’ve worked hard so please don’t throw it all away now.

Breakfast:

Sausage Egg Cups

Spicy Breakfast Stew (I’m sure by now you guys have become accustomed to eating weird stuff for breakfast!)

Meat Crust Quiche

Dinner:

Beef Pot Roast

Baked Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Balsamic Marinade

Spicy Shrimp Butternut Squash “Rice” with Tomatoes

Italian Chopped Salad

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

Previously:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

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Whole 30 – Week 4 – Meal Plan

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Breakfast:

Zucchini Fritters

Potatoes O’Brien

Sweet Potato Quiche

Dinner:

Spicy Sausage and Potato Soup (Add more veggies!)

Paleo Butter Chicken (Skip the Naan…sorry guys. Use cauliflower rice instead.)

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy

Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffed Peppers  

Spicy Pineapple Chili (This is one of my favourite recipes to double or triple and freeze.)

Lemon Pepper Spaghetti Squash with Scallops and Kale

Salmon with Avocado Salsa

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Whole 30 Meal Plan – Week 3

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Week 3! Finally in the second half of Whole30 where everything starts feeling gooooooood. I can’t believe that I can wake up now and actually function without coffee. I definitely still miss the taste, but I’m so glad that I’m not relying on it.

What do you find the most challenging about Whole30? For me it’s definitely the social functions. I hate being the odd one out, not eating yummy treats at a ladies night or dinner get together. I also hate turning down food that has been cooked for me by someone who loves me. A friend of mine had me over last night and baked a wonderful looking gluten free peanut butter pie and I felt awful for turning it down. I REALLY hate being thought of as the girl who is always on a “diet”. That’s not at all who I am, but when you give the 30 second Whole30 run down to someone, it can certainly come across that way.

However, with all that being said, I’ve found that most of those people at those social functions eventually come to me later wanting more information about Whole30. I’ve seen a lot of them change their lifestyle around completely, and then it’s all worth it, right? We’re spreading the Good Food Word. Plus, no hangover, no food baby, and no extra toilet time.

Here’s what I’m eating this week.

Breakfast:

Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

Baked Yam and Brussel Sprout Hash

Sweet and Savoury Quiche 

Dinner:

Easy Paleo Pot Roast

Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

Healthy Braised Pulled Pork

Vegetable and Mango Curry With Basil-Ginger Quinoa (Use cauliflower rice instead of quinoa, chicken instead of chickpeas, and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.)

Cabbage Rolls

Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon

Bacon Chorizo Chipotle Smothered Meatloaf (I always skip the almond flour here and have no problem, but it IS approved to use on Whole30 for this recipe if you wish to use it.)

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Whole 30 – Week 2 – Meal Plan

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Hey there! Wow, this no caffeine thing has been ROUGH. For the first 3 days I had a non stop pounding headache, was exhausted during the day, and awake in the middle of the night. By day 4 I was feeling way better though, and I’m excited to see how things improve even more over the next few weeks.

Here’s my meal plan for this week. A few breakfasts that I will double, and leftovers for lunch every day. 

Breakfast:

Yams and Eggs (There isn’t much to this “recipe” but it’s one of my favourites. I chop the yams into cubes and fry them in coconut oil and steak spice until cooked through. I remove them from the pan and cover them to keep them hot. Then I quickly fry 2 eggs and put them on top of the yams. You could partially boil the yams at the beginning of the week to make them quick and easy to fry up in the morning.)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

Crustless Quiche

Dinner:

Mexican Meatza

Chocolate Chili on spaghetti squash

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque (skip the corn)

Sweet Pineapple Ginger Meatballs 

Lemon Garlic Chicken on Zoodles and Kale

Italian Sausage and Zoodles

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

I suggest tripling the Chocolate Chili and Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque and freezing them for Whole30 emergencies. Those are two of my favourite recipes…you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!

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Life After Whole30

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So you’ve completed the Whole30 challenge, but now what? How do you make this work in real life? After some trial and error and multiple Whole30 challenges, I’ve found what works for me, and I think this process will help you find what works for you too. 

Step 1: Reintroduction

I really messed this part up after my first Whole30 challenge. If I remember correctly, I ended my challenge with a binge meal at Olive Garden of all places. In a single large meal I reintroduced dairy, gluten, alcohol and sugar. Trust me, this is NOT the way to celebrate! Needless to say I ended up on the toilet pretty soon after my meal, but I had no idea which one of those things caused it.

A lot of people miss this incredibly important step of the process: reintroducing the food groups that you have cut out for 30 days. You’ve successfully cleansed your body from all potentially harmful food, and now is your chance to see what kind of reaction your body will have to each of these foods, telling you whether or not you should eliminate them completely.

While still keeping your diet Whole30 compliant, reintroduce a food group, one at a time, and wait three days before reintroducing the next previously restricted food group. During those three days, be in tune with your body and keep a close watch for any changes. Watch for all kinds of reactions, ranging from sluggishness, bloating, or pimples, to diarrhea, constipation, or stomach cramps. After 3 days, while still keeping your diet Whole30 compliant, reintroduce another food group. Watch for changes in how you feel. Repeat this process until you’ve reintroduced all of the food groups that you feel like you missed out on during your Whole30 challenge. Don’t bother reintroducing foods that you did not miss and are not interested in including in your diet.

It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig goes into a more detailed description of how to do this and I highly recommend buying it. You can also find their complete reintroduction plan on their website, Whole30.

Here is a sample schedule of how you could reintroduce food. This is just the order I chose to reintroduce foods into my every day diet but you can alter it to your preferences and needs.

Day 1 (Day 31 of Whole30): Reintroduce dairy. Throughout the day, add some cheese, milk or yogurt to your regular meals. Watch for signs of intolerance. Many people get stomach cramps, pimples, a runny nose and congestion from dairy products. Decide how you feel and if it is “worth it” to add dairy back to your regular diet. For myself, dairy gives me dark circles under my eyes, a runny nose the next day, and a general feeling of tiredness. Because of this, I keep it out of my regular diet. However, because it doesn’t send me running to the toilet or give me intense stomach cramps, I have no problem indulging in some dairy as a treat once in while at a birthday party or similar situation. I know I won’t feel my best the day after, but it’s not going to make me extremely ill.

Day 4 (Day 35 of Whole30): Reintroduce grains/gluten. Have a bagel or some toast, some crackers and maybe some rice throughout the day. Just as you did with the dairy, pay attention to any reactions you may have. For myself, bread make me constipated and sluggish. I hate how I feel for 24 hours after I eat it and so I avoid it as much as possible. Some grains bother me less than others but almost all make me feel sluggish and so I keep them out of my regular diet.

Day 7 (Day 39 of Whole30): Reintroduce sugar. This was such an eye opener for me. I had no idea how sensitive I am to sugar until I did this reintroduction. Just a handful of M&M’s can give me a major sugar crash about 20 minutes after indulging. With the exception of high quality very dark chocolate, I reserve sugar for special occasions. I rarely sweeten things in my regular diet, but if I do then I use organic raw honey or organic maple syrup in small quantities.  Pay special attention during this evaluation as the signs may not be as physical and obvious as they can be with gluten or dairy.

Step 2: Eating Well for Your Body

So now you know which foods irritate your body and which foods make you feel great. You’ve decided which foods are worth adding back into your regular diet either consistently (every day), moderately (2-3x per week), or rarely, for special occasions. Now you get to practice this in your life and get comfortable with your new way of eating. Learning to meal plan and meal prep takes time at first, but with practice it becomes quicker and simpler. It used to take me a few hours each week to make my meal plan, write out the corresponding grocery list, and chop/prepare my food for the week ahead, but now I spend approximately 20-30 minutes making my meal plan and shopping list and maybe another 30 minutes preparing food.

Every Sunday I receive an email from my CSA group letting me know what veggies I will be receiving on the following Tuesday. Once I’ve skimmed the email and got an idea of the contents, I sit down and make my meal plan. I thumb through my favourite cookbooks (Against All Grain, The Paleo Kitchen, Well Fed 1&2, Practical Paleo, Nom Nom Paleo, etc) and find recipes that use the produce I will be receiving. I choose 7 dinners and 3 or 4 smaller meals for breakfast and lunch. As I write down the title of the meal and page number of the cookbook it’s from, I jot down any extra ingredients that I will need to buy on a separate piece of paper, and that is my grocery list for the week. (With more and more practice and exploring, I’m aiming to make this extra ingredients list as small as possible so that I am using only what comes in my CSA box.)

When I receive my CSA box on Tuesday, I wash and chop most of my vegetables and separate them into produce bags or glass containers. If I know that I have an exceptionally busy week ahead, I will chop and partially cook any yams, potatoes or beets. You can partially steam any dense vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, or you can also pre-shred your zucchini and yams for Breakfast Hash. If I have any vegetables left by the end of the week, I throw them all together in a Breakfast Skillet.

Each week I visit my local butcher shop and get just enough meat for the week, corresponding with the meals I have planned for. I ask them to wrap it all separately for each individual meal so it defrosts quicker on the day I need it. In Well Fed 1 and 2, Melissa Joulwan lays out a detailed description of how to cook and prep your meat for the week. I have the time to cook mine fresh each day, so I don’t follow her plan, but I know others who do and find it extremely helpful.

I cook once and eat two or three times from that meal. I love leftovers and never let any food go to waste. I often eat leftover dinner for breakfast, and leftover breakfast for lunch.

Why?

Where do I even begin? Because I’ve never felt so strong as I do now, after about 1.5 years of consistently eating this way. Because I no longer have any guilt related to my food choices. Because by choosing to live this way, I can keep up with my 3 year old and 1 year old and still have energy to spare. Because I’m free from the anxiety and confusion surrounding my food choices. Because I’m showing my children that this lifestyle is a real, attainable and sustainable way to live.

Read more about why and how Whole30 Changed My Life and helped me recover from years of disordered eating.

Some of my favourite meal planning resources:

Nom Nom Paleo

The Clothes Make the Girl

Against All Grain

PaleOmg

Civilized Caveman

Photograph by the incredibly talented Vanessa Voth Photography.

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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Over the course of this summer, I’ve heard a lot of this:

“I’ll start eating healthy after my vacation is over.”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on vacation.”

“It’s too hard to eat healthy while camping.”

“Whole30 is impossible on vacation.”

Of course, I took this on as a challenge to prove that it IS all possible, and that it’s not that difficult or time consuming with a little guidance and prep work. We had two short trips almost back to back, giving me two opportunities to test out my ideas. (Read Part 2 – Camping to see how we stayed healthy on our road trip to Alberta).

First, we got to spend a weekend in Whistler with our good friend and her daughter. We stayed in a lodge with a full kitchen, making this the easier of the two challenges. Still, we only had 2 nights there, and I wanted to spend as little of that time in the kitchen as possible, so I prepped almost everything ahead of time.

whistlerfood

Here’s a complete list of what I packed:

Green beans

Kale/Swiss chard mix, washed and torn

Yellow carrots

1 large zucchini

4 avocados

1 bunch of bananas

Cherries

Apples

1 dozen eggs, half of those hardboiled

Chicken (2 large bone-in breasts and 2 large thighs)

Homemade sausage patties

Homemade meatballs

Partially cooked diced yams

Cooked beets

Cashews

Larabars

Date/Coconut balls

Black coffee

At first glance, all that cooked food may look like a lot of prep work, but it really wasn’t. I like to keep it simple and use shortcuts.

For the chicken, I threw it all in a crockpot the night before with about 1 tbsp of rosemary, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 sliced lemon, salt and pepper, and drizzled olive oil on it. I let it cook all night on low, then let it cool in the morning and packed it away in tupperware. This took about 5 minutes of hands on time.

For the beets, I also used the crockpot. I scrubbed them, threw them in the crockpot and covered them with an inch or two of water. I cooked them on high for 2 hours. Once they cooled, I slid off the peels and then packed them in tupperware. Maximum ten minutes of hands on time.

The meatballs and sausage patties were what took the most time, and so I doubled both recipes knowing that I could use the extra for camping the next week. For the meatballs I used the Greek version of Melissa Joulwan’s meatballs. I packed half of them in a tupperware and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for camping. For the sausage patties, I used my absolute favourite homemade sausage recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo, found here. I did the same as I did with the meatballs, packing half in a tupperware container and freezing the rest in a ziploc freezer bag for camping the next week. This only took about 30 minutes of hands on time the night before our trip.

While the meatballs and sausage patties cooked in the oven, I peeled and chopped about 6 small yams. I fried them in coconut oil but left them slightly hard so that they wouldn’t get mushy over the next few days. This took about 15 minutes of hands on time, and about 15 mins of frying time. 

The morning of our trip, I threw it all in a cooler and unloaded it all in the fridge once we arrived. Over the weekend, we simply ate different combinations of all these foods. Bonus, we came home with a ton of leftovers that we ate at home over the next couple of days. All of this food was Whole30 approved, and because I’m not actually doing the Whole30 challenge this month, eating this way for our 3 main meals a day left room for treats like this that I found at the Whistler Farmer’s Market:

applebaconpie

Apple Bacon Pie. Seriously.

Spending the small amount of time to do this ended up saving us a ton of money (dining out in Whistler is expensive!), a lot of frustration and exhaustion trying to keep our two wiggly children quiet and entertained at restaurants, and left us with so much extra time to explore and have fun. 

Try it, I know you can do it!

(Side note: I was so happy to bump into Caveman Grocer at the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Check her out!)

Kayaking in Whistler

Kayaking in Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

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Whole30 Tips

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This post has been updated since it was originally published on 7/29/2014.

I’ve completed the Whole30 challenge a few times now and generally live a Whole30 lifestyle, but I still remember how overwhelmed I felt during my first challenge. Since then I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that will really increase your chance of success. I wish everyone success with their challenge, and here are my top thirteen tips!

1) Choose a reward for yourself.

It may sound childish, but sometimes you just need a little extra push to complete something difficult. Before you start, choose some sort of reward for yourself to meditate on during the thirty days. It should go without saying, but do not use food as a reward. If you spend the thirty days dreaming of a huge ice cream sundae that you can’t wait to stuff into your face as soon as the challenge is complete, then you are missing the point. (And you will end up with a really sore stomach!) Choose something more along the lines of a new pair of shoes, or a day at the spa. On those extra tough days during Whole30 (usually the first few days), look at photos of what you’ve set as your reward. Remind yourself that you can do it!

2) Surround yourself with those who support you.

To the average person, Whole30 sounds extreme. I’ve crossed paths with a lot of people who write it off as a crazy fad diet before actually knowing anything about it. Do not waste your time arguing and trying to convince those people. Avoid them during your Whole30 challenge and surround yourself with family and friends who love and support your lifestyle change. If you can’t find friends and family who support you, look online. The Whole30 community is huge and incredibly encouraging. Search Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and you will find thousands of people going through the challenge with you.

3) Do your research and know what you are getting into.

The official Whole30 website is fantastic. It’s clear and easy to understand. Make sure you read it and know what to expect. Know that you will probably feel worse before you feel better, and that this is normal and good! Take a look at this timeline to get an idea of what your thirty days will feel like.

4) Build your resources.

Now that Whole30 has gained so much popularity, there are never ending resources online. Spend some time looking at all of the recipes available online. A bunch of us foodies have already done all the work for you, so take advantage of it! Some of my favourite recipe resources are: Well Fed 1&2 By Melissa Joulwan and her blog, Nom Nom Paleo, and The Foodie. There are so many more, so keep looking!  Most of the recipes I post under ‘Cooking with Joanna’ are Whole30 approved or easily modifiable.

5) Meal plan.

Once you’ve found a bunch of recipes that you’re interested in, set up a meal plan and a corresponding grocery list. The first few times you do this it might seem time consuming, but as it becomes a habit and as you become more familiar with the foods you eat, it becomes easier and much faster. Now, I spend about thirty minutes, once a week, setting up my meal plan and grocery list for the next 7 days.

6) Meal prep.

Once you’ve set up your meal plan and shopped for your groceries, prepare those meals ahead of time as much as you can. Spend a couple hours at the beginning of the week chopping your vegetables, partially steaming your vegetables, and cooking your meat. You will be so glad you did! Melissa Joulwan teaches you how to prepare your meals in detail in her cookbooks Well Fed 1&2. I highly recommend them, as all the recipes are Whole30 approved.

7) Cook once, eat twice.

Leftovers are a huge key to surviving Whole30. Look through each recipe in your meal plan and decide which ones are the most simple to double or triple. I always double or triple any meatballs, hamburgers, soups, chilis or casseroles that I make. You can either eat the leftovers over the next few days just as they are, or repurpose them (use leftover meatballs to make a soup), or freeze them for future days in the month where you are too tired or too busy to cook a fresh meal.

8) Keep emergency food handy at all times.

Snacking is not encouraged during Whole30, but neither is starving yourself. During the first few days of your challenge, experiment with the size of your 3 meals a day to make sure you are eating enough to keep you satiated until your next meal. However, sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t eat our breakfast, lunch or dinner at a regular time. In this situation it is so helpful to have “emergency” Whole30 snacks easily available to you. I like to keep Larabars (you can buy them at Costco, but read your labels because not every flavour is approved), approved beef jerky, Energy Balls, hardboiled eggs, and meatballs either in my fridge or in my purse. The hungrier you become, the less likely you are to make a smart decision about food, so in a pinch, use a snack to stop you from making a poor food choice. Do not use these snacks if you are feeling bored, tired, or emotional. Only use them if you are legitimately hungry and will not be able to have a meal soon. (Side note: notice that all of these snacks are mainly protein. If you snack on fruit, you will be hungry in 10 minutes. Protein and healthy fats are the way to go for snacking.)

9) Read your labels.

The first grocery shop that you do during Whole30 will take twice as long as usual just because of all the label reading you will need to do. To avoid an accidental slip up, check the label on everything you buy. It is shocking how many products contain sugar, preservatives and soy. Be aware and watch out!

10) Focus on what you CAN have, not what you can’t have.

Yes, you need to memorize the list of foods you can’t have during the Whole30 program. But once you’ve done that, stop focusing on those foods and start to get excited about all the new vegetables, spices and herbs you are going to try. I kept this Whole30 Shopping List on my fridge during my first few rounds of Whole30 and it helped immensely.

11) Get outside.

If you are feeling tired and sluggish, get outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Remind yourself why you are doing this challenge. It is amazing how many times I find myself in a slump in the middle of the afternoon, and then when I force myself to go outside even just for a quick walk, my mood improves dramatically. Remind yourself that you are changing your life by doing this challenge, and that is very admirable!

12) Make sure you eat enough.

I hear lots of people complain that they are constantly hungry during Whole30. I take a look at what they’re eating and immediately see one of two problems. Either they’re eating toddler sized portions each meal, or they are not eating any carb-dense or starchy vegetables and healthy fats. If you are eating the same amount as your three year old, then yes, you will be hungry all the time. If you are trying to survive on a small chicken breast and spinach salad every day then yes, you will be hungry all the time. Make sure you include vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli and cauliflower, and healthy fats like avocados, olives and nuts. Your body needs them for so many reasons, one of them being to keep you full.

13) Don’t measure your success by the number on your scale.

Say it with me, your value has nothing to do with your weight. Absolutely nothing. Get that idea out of your head. Our society has pounded it into our minds, but I’m challenging you to spend the rest of your life erasing it from your psyche. Instead, be in tune with your body to notice more important changes. How are you sleeping? How do your nails, skin and hair feel? How is your mood? Energy level? Bloating? These are the results that are life changing, not a number on the scale.

I love this post on the topic of weight and the scale.


I’m so excited for you and wish you the best of luck! Feel free to comment and share your own tips or ask any questions. I would love to be a Whole30 resource for you!