Tips from The Kitchn

The Most Important Thing I Learned During Whole30

Image Credit: Maria Siriano

In the weeks leading up to my first round of Whole30, I spent hours scouring Pinterest, blogs, and what felt like every corner of the internet searching for delicious-sounding compliant recipes to fill my upcoming meal plan. While I felt productive about planning ahead and lining up recipes, it was also extremely time-consuming. And to be honest, while I came away with a long list of recipe ideas, I felt just okay about them; they didn't necessarily get me excited.

But a couple of weeks into the program I had a revelation about the way I choose recipes for my Whole30 meal plan, and it changed everything. Not only did I save time meal planning, but I also felt really excited about the recipes I added to my plan.

Start by Choosing Recipes You Want to Eat

What I realized is that I was going about building my meal plan all wrong. I started by strictly seeking out Whole30 recipes, then whittled them down by what I actually wanted to eat. My approach was totally backwards.

What I should have been doing all along (and what I started doing!) was choosing the type of food and recipes I wanted to eat, then adapting them to fit my Whole30 plan by swapping out non-compliant ingredients for ones that were within the guidelines.

Read more: Here's What You Can and Can't Eat on Whole30

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Why This Approach Makes a Difference

Even if you haven't tried Whole30 yet, I'm sure you know that there are a wide range of foods that are off the table. For some people, the restrictions are hard to get used to, and for some, not so much. But either way, I found that choosing meals based on the type of recipes I wanted to eat really eased the transition and made it easier to stick with the plan. Feeling satisfied by the meals I cooked made it easier to shift the focus away from restricted foods, and this approach also made meal planning faster and more efficient.

Get inspired: Meal Prep Plan: A Week of Easy Whole30 Meals

Common Whole30 Substitutions

Adapting my favorite my standard recipes to be Whole30-compliant sometimes meant making ingredient swaps, most often with condiments. Here are a few of the most common swaps.