So I did the Whole30 last year, and while it was super challenging to give up wine, cream, and peanut butter, I made it through and still maintain a lot of what I learned. Recently I have had a few friends ask exactly how I did it - while working and being a mom of a little one, so I decided to write up some of my tips in case they help anyone else. Feel free to let me know if you have questions and if you find any of this helpful!
Keep it simple! For the most part, I used my meal planning process (video). I based my meals directly on the template, and tried not to overcomplicate it, especially during the week. I picked a few sauces and dressings that I loved (the mayo/aioli and usually a salad dressing a week) and used them for everything! On the weekends when I had more time, I would pick 2 recipes and make those, and then repurpose them during the week
I bought the main condiments I needed - hot sauce, mustard, etc. and made big batches of ones I didnt want to spend the money on (mayo, etc.) I didnt like any of the store bought mayos and used this as a base for a million other things - so it was worth the 5 minutes! My Whole30 Vitamix mayo recipe
When I was out and had to eat - again, I kept it simple - a lot of the time I ended up at a grocery store and went right off the template as best I could - healthy fat + veggies + protein (nuts, salad, chopped chicken or apple / chomps stick / carrots + celery or other veggie, nut butter or nuts) When i went out to eat - I did the same - meat, veggies, fat - usually either a salad or “dinner” option where that was already what the plate looked like. I focused more on what I needed rather than what I couldnt have, and made it work from there.
I stocked my pantry with the necessities that I found myself using over and over again (list below) so I stocked up and added them to my list when I ran out - the nice thing is most whole30 recipes call for the same ingredients.Staples list: almond flour, coconut flour, almonds, cashews, avocado oil, olive oil, canned coconut milk, eggs, ghee, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, unsweetened almond milk, proteins/meats, lots of frozen veggies, chopped fresh veggies (celery, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers), apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, almond butter, seasonings
Make substitutions as needed! (within reason) If a recipe calls for something I dont have - espeically a fat, veggie or protein, I just used one I did! I subbed out veggies and tomato-y type sauces etc. for this alll the time. If something called for ketchup, I subbed tomato paste and coconut aminos. If it called for lemon juice - I used apple cider vinegar or lime - I went for cosistency (creamy, etc.( and taste (sweet, salty, etc.) over what the actual ingredient was, or I would have been running to the store waaay more than I already was. One instance I would be careful doing this is with flours - coconut and almond mostly - they have very different properties and can really alter a dish.
Make double of everything. Repurpose leftovers for lunch and breakfast! Lunch- over cauliflower rice or chopped roasted veggies, salad, collard wrap or in cabbage leaves. Breakfast, chopped with compliant breakfast sausage, apples, bacon and/or eggs.
Dont be afraid to experiment - I always figure if you start with a protein, season it with things you like, add a healthy cooking fat, its VERY hard for it to taste bad!Add some roasted veggies, avocado, and a sauce or dressing and you are done.