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Preparing for Your Whole 30 Challenge

The following post is from Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy: Preparing for Your Whole 30 Challenge

Editor’s Note: I’m starting my own Whole 30 — starting today, actually! — and Anne graciously offered to share a guest post with some tips for preparing for your own Whole 30 based on her past experiences.

Have you heard of the Whole 30? This short-term nutritional reset is designed to “restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.”

I recently completed my first Whole 30 in over a year and feel amazing.

The Whole 30 is worth doing, but it’s not easy. It’s built around fresh, whole foods, which require some (or a lot) preparation. When you’re on your first Whole 30, you must figure out a new way of eating while simultaneously cooking a ton. You could handle either challenge on its own, but doing both at the same time is tough!

To succeed with a Whole 30 (or any other big lifestyle change), the key is to simplify the cooking until you get a handle on this new way of eating.

Use these tips to succeed at your first Whole 30:

Rely on the same foods. Even if you love to cook, don’t mix up 3 new recipes daily. Choose staple meals and repeat them often.

Stock up. The Whole 30 relies on fresh foods, so make sure you have plenty on hand. For me, this means my counter holds avocados and citrus fruit. My pantry is filled with coconut milk, canned tuna, and nuts. My fridge holds eggs, meats, and veggies. My freezer is stocked with hamburger patties, shredded chicken, fish, chocolate chili, and veggies galore.

Batch prep. Once you’ve decided on some staple meals, prep the ingredients, so you always have an easy meal within reach. I rely on big batches of hard-boiled eggs, browned ground beef, and shredded chicken. (The easiest way to shred lots of chicken quickly is to use your mixer: shred warm chicken breasts with the paddle attachment.)

Frozen vegetables are your friend. You’ll eat tons of veggies on the Whole 30, and frozen ones make life so much easier. They’re already prepped, always fresh, and can be ready to eat in 2 minutes. Here’s a tip: not all frozen vegetables are created equal, so if you don’t like one brand, try another: my go-to choices are broccoli, spinach, and green beans.

Season well. You could get pretty tired of eating the same foods for 30 days, but varying the seasonings keeps things interesting. Plain shredded chicken or beef can be transformed into a Mexican feast, spicy Thai deliciousness, or French bistro food with the addition of a condiment, sauce, spice rub, or side dish. (I love the cookbook Well Fed for examples and recipes.)

Figure out your snacks in advance. Snacking isn’t encouraged on the whole 30, but you’re gonna want something sometimes–especially if you work out. Figure out what it is and stock it. My go-to snacks are hazelnuts, apples, baby carrots, and coconut chips.

Once you get the hang of it, you can knock yourself out by sampling from the many wonderful cookbooks that offer Whole 30-approved recipes. But until then, use these tips to get your bearings.

Good luck with your nutritional reset. I hope you feel amazing, too.

Have you done a Whole 30? Could you use a reset?

Anne Bogel loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy. She’s a big fan of the Whole 30, even though it’s complicated.