Complete Whole30 Guide – How to Survive a Whole30 (With Menu & Shopping List)

whole30 guide meal plan shopping list

Complete Whole30 Guide – How to Survive a Whole30 (With Menu & Shopping List) – making Whole30 doable with this foolproof basic survival guide, complete with the best tips, meal plan, shopping list, and links to easy family friendly recipes.  

Some Whole30 Background

Are you on the fence about beginning a Whole30?  Whole30 seems crazy intimidating, right??  I never thought I would survive a full 30 days (without pizza, chocolate, and wine!), but I did and it was so worth it!  With the right mindset and planning, it’s also easier than you think.  Over the past year, I have become ultra passionate about the Whole30 program and lifestyle and wanted to make it more approachable for those considering the journey.  I hope this guide will provide some encouragement and simplify the process with some helpful tips and easy recipes.

So what is Whole30?  The Whole30 concept aims to eat only clean, unprocessed foods for 30 days, much like a Paleo diet.  No dairy, sugar, grains, soy, or processed foods of any kind.  After the 30 days are up, certain food groups are slowly reintroduced in order to determine their true effect on the body.  It’s all about finding balance and your own personal “food freedom” based on what works for you.  If you feel constantly fatigued, are pre-diabetic, have persistent digestive issues you can’t pinpoint, or just need a reset, Whole30 might be for you.

My Biggest Takeaways from Completing a Whole30

Yes, both my husband and I lost weight.  9 pounds for me and 15 pounds for him.  I’d be lying if weight loss wasn’t a big motivation.  And don’t get me wrong, I felt great about that, but the non-scale victories were the life changing ones. Here’s what changed for me and what will motivate me to continue on a clean eating path and find my personal food freedom:

  • I sleep SO much better and have easier time falling asleep (and I’ve struggled with this my whole life!)
  • My energy level is AMAZING
  • That disgusting bloated feeling?  GONE!
  • Reading food labels is crucial to healthy eating.  Sugar is in EVERYTHING!
  • My kids are eating better and LOVE the food!
  • Treats and splurges can and will always be a part of my life, just not EVERYDAY!

Whole30 Survival Guide Tips for Success

Get the Book

Purchase it here or head to your library and pick up a copy of The Whole30: The 30 Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom.  I can’t tell you how often I reference back to the book, for basic recipes, tips, and reminders of the rules.  Still, even after completing multiple rounds, I learn something new every time I open this book.  It provides the background and theory behind the plan and I love and appreciate the honest, matter of fact style.  If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the book, do lots of online research and at the very least check out the Whole30 website, which has plenty of downloadable reference guides.

Find an Accountability Partner

I’m not saying you can’t do it alone, but I’m pretty certain your chances of success increase by like 1000% with a partner.  My husband and I completed the round together and it was so helpful to have someone to talk through the ups and downs with.  Another great tip I’ve heard from others…find a local friend and cut down on the cooking by sharing and trading meals.  I used my Instagram stories as another way to keep myself accountable.  I posted a picture of my meals 3 times a day – I treated it like my daily check-in with an accountability coach!

Make a Plan and Meal Prep!

I can’t emphasize this enough.  Set a date to start, make a meal plan, and commit to a weekly meal prep session (check out these top 10 prep tips).  Spoiler alert: you will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen so it’s best to be efficient with your time.  Without a solid plan or time devoted to preparing, you may find yourself fumbling through the day to day grind of making meals.  A weekly meal prep session will help keep things on track, save tons of time during the week, and prevent slip-ups.  It’s harder to cheat when you have a frig full of healthy prepared snacks and meals!

Find Inspiration

By this, I mean look for others who have found success with Whole30, whether in the virtual web world or in your real life.  Listen to their advice, ask questions, take inspiration from their stories, and follow their examples.  Instagram is a great place to find inspiring bloggers and individuals, great recipes, and some much needed comraderie.  Here are a few favorite Instagram accounts, including my own: @tastythin, @whole30recipes, @wholekitchensink, @physicalkitchness, @nomnompaleo, @thewholesisters

Keep it Simple

Look for recipes with minimal steps, that don’t require obscure ingredients, and that are familiar and family friendly.  Trust me, this is not the time to attempt elaborate Pinterest meals or try new cooking techniques that are way outside your wheelhouse.  You will quickly become overwhelmed and frustrated.  Find easy favorite recipes that offer slight modifications to make them Whole30 approved.  My blog is full of examples of this.  Check out the Whole30 archives here.

Listen to your body

Whole30 will open your eyes to how your body reacts to certain foods.  During the elimination phase, you will feel different and most likely a WHOLE lot better.  Pay close attention to the changes you’re feeling, both good and bad.  Document in a journal if it helps.  Remember the purpose of this program is not necessarily to eat Whole30 forever, but to find your own food freedom based on what works for you.  You’ll have lasting success if you LISTEN to your body, LEARN from the process, and IMPLEMENT changes after 30 days.

Basic Whole30 Recipes You’ll Want to Have on Hand

Whole30 Mayo – It’s delicious and perfect in everything from protein salads to Ranch dressing; I’m truly hooked on this homemade recipe made with avocado oil.

Whole30 Ranch Dressing – I prefer the homemade version so much to those you can buy, but either way, you’re going to want this in your frig at all times!

Homemade Seasoning Blends – skip expensive store bought spices full of MSG and other junk and make your own!  They are a staple in my pantry and I use them in tons of my recipes!

Essential Whole30 Items

Instant Pot – can’t live without mine (especially for meal prepping), but a slow cooker is a close runner up!

Meal Prep Containers – I love these glass dishes, 3 section containers, and mason jars for storing my prepped ahead meals and condiments

Spices – stock up on basic spices and make your own seasoning blends for fast and easy flavor boosters

Avocado Oil – for making homemade mayo and cooking ALL the things, this is a must!

 Ghee Butter – LOVE this, especially for my morning eggs.

Check out this Ultimate Whole30 Pantry Guide for more!

Whole30 Guide Meal Plan & Shopping List

If you’re brand new to this, I’ve made it super easy to get started by putting together a 14 day meal plan and shopping lists with the most popular Whole30 recipes on my blog.  The recipes here are simple and family friendly – also 100% approved by my husband and kids!  If you’re already a pro, use this free printable template to make your own meal plans and grocery lists!

Week 1 Menu & Shopping List

Week 2 Menu & Shopping List

I hope this Whole30 Guide is helpful and inspiring!  Don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite tips to inspire others!

whole30 guide meal plan

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Beverly Quetano
    October 28, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I’m about to start over 30, and this was very helpful! And especially going to try mini of your suggestions unfortunately, I’m allergic to onions, so I am going to have to try to very elliminate onion to all the seasonings recipes. If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again for your inspiration!

    • Reply
      Nikki
      October 28, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Hey Beverly, you can just leave the onion powder out in the seasonings. They’ll be fine without!

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