If you are here, hopefully you’ve already come up with your plan of how to attack your Whole30 with a Prep-work battle plan, If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head to this post before you continue: Prepping for Whole30 (Part 1: Creating a Prep-Work Battle Plan).
Now, let’s talk menus! You can decide if you come up with a weekly menu, a monthly menu, or something in between. Remember, you have to make this work for you and your (and possibly family’s?) needs.
I like variety in my meals but I also need things to be as simple as possible. Since I’m the only person doing a Whole30 but I also don’t want to make multiple meals to satisfy everyone, I try to melt all of our tastes into one Whole30 compliant menu for dinners. I come up with 2-3 breakfast and lunch options, and 7 dinners to rotate each week. The 7-meal rotation is a saving grace for the first 2-weeks. I detox. Hard. I spend a good part of those 2-weeks feeling like I have a hangover from hell so the last thing I want to do is think about some kind of elaborate meal. I stick to the menu, not because I “have” to, but because it is my saving grace.
Basically, you can plan a menu for the whole month or you can plan weekly menus- I plan for a month and then adjust weekly as desired.
My sample MONTHLY menu looks like this:
Eggs, compliant breakfast meat (homemade sausage or prosciutto)
Sweet potato toast with topping (eggs, greens, nut butter, etc)
Nut butter with fruit (apples, bananas)
What does this mean? Every morning of Whole30 I will have one of these options. I always have eggs, compliant breakfast meat, fruit and nut butter in the house. Sweet potato toast is one of the few things I batch cook so if I happen to have some pre-made in the fridge, that’s an option, too.
Salad with meat (chicken/tuna, salad veggies, dressing)
Whole30 complaint frozen meal
Leftovers (depending on the day)
This is where the where work lies. I create a menu that is Whole30 but allows for flexibility for anyone in my family that wants to eat it a different way. For example, on burger night, my husband might choose to use bread while I eat mine without. Make sense? I only make one meal at night- my husband is a great sport and eats anything but my kids are picky. They get fruit and veggies on their plates as well, sometimes dairy, but they either eat it or they don’t…I don’t have time for cooking 2 meals. I choose 7 meals for our menu and repeat them almost every week through the whole30. For some people that might sound boring, but it’s what works for me. By weeks 3-4 I might decide I want to make something a little more creative instead of the items on my fixed menu…so I do it! The menu is a guide not a cage! I either take time during my prep-work to make sure I’m ready for it and I let myself get creative if I want to.
Weekly Dinner List:
Burger (burgers, fixings, mustard, potato, salad)
Meatballs (ground meat, compliant sauce, spaghetti squash, frozen mixed veggie)
Frittata (I make this on nights my husband is out of town)
Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage + Veggies
Buffalo Chicken Wraps (chicken, lettuce, salad, baked potato)
Mexican Night (meat of choice, seasoning, salsa, riced cauliflower, tomato paste, fixings)
Soup; Vegetable Beef or Chicken + Veggies (ground meat, compliant vegetables and potatoes, broth, tomatoes)
I make sure I have enough meat and veggies for all the meals and I also am always stocked on frozen vegetables to use anytime I need them. I keep compliant frozen burgers in the fridge for nights where my husband is out of town or we have something going on and I don’t have time for cooking something more elaborate.
I keep snacking to a bare minimum in my Whole30 but sometimes things comes up, it’s not meal time, and starvation strikes. I get it. I also drink a lot of water but like to mix that up a bit, especially late in the day when I would usually pour a glass of wine. Here are my snacks and drinks I keep stocked:
Veggies + Dump Ranch
Lemon/Ginger with hot water
Your assignment: You guessed it, make a menu! You can plan out 30 days of dinners or tackle 1 week…you get to decide! Are you going to eat the same breakfast every day or are you going to mix it up? What options do you want to have? What are your lunches going to be? You also need to list what ingredients you need for each meal. This will be critical for the next step of the process: grocery shopping! If you don’t have access to a Whole30 cookbook, the internet is a great resource. There are recipes on the Whole30 site as well as loads of food bloggers that share delicious and compliant recipes. Google “Whole30 dinner recipes” and you will have lots and lots to read!
Have your menu set? Great! You are ready for part 3, Grocery Gettin’.