January is here and I'm so excited to be starting my third round of the Whole30 program. I've picked up some money saving tips and food waste prevention tricks that anyone can utilize. Whether you're in for #JanuaryWhole30 or you're just looking for new products and delicious recipes to add to your arsenal, read on.
To begin, Whole30 is not a weight loss diet. Instead, the goal is food freedom (but, you may lose weight!) According to the Whole30 website: "think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system." (Source: Whole30 Step 1). If you're interested in participating, I suggest that you sign up and read through the program's website. You could even buy the books, but there's plenty of information online that I don't think it's totally necessary. Once you've familiarized yourself with the rules, you might be wondering how you're going to make it 30 days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, etc. I believe the answer is simple: preparation. As long as you set yourself up for success by planning out food shopping trips, meal prep sessions and go-to compliant restaurants or take-out options, you should be golden.
So, let's begin with food shopping. I'm a Whole Foods girl through and through-- I worked there in Marketing for two years and I can navigate my neighborhood location easily. I've found it to be tricky to shop at some conventional grocery stores, but have had success by googling "Harris Teeter Whole30" or "Whole30 Wegmans" to find a list of compliant products. Of course, always check labels while you shop to make sure that products you buy are in fact compliant... just because something is written online, doesn't mean it's a fact. (Yes, I realize the irony in that statement, but I'll continue anyway!)
When I food shop, I buy with meals in mind. So, for this week, I bought a rotisserie chicken ($7.99) that I will use to make 5-7 meals. I usually buy the Naked flavor or the Herb Roasted and pick the meat off the bones while it's still warm. Yes, I can get 5-7 meals out of one chicken! Let's break it down:
- Chicken Breast sliced over a hearty salad. My favorite combinations include: spinach, grape, walnuts and fennel/ spring mix, apples, raisins and sunflower seeds/ kale, avocado, tomatoes and onions. I usually make dressing once a week that includes oil (avocado or olive), lemon, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Sometimes I add ginger or turmeric and I often add whatever herb I have on hand, like basil, parsley or cilantro. These infographics are fun if you need visual inspiration. A good tip is to wash and chop your veggies when you get home from the store and then place them in separate containers. You'll be able to use your fridge as a salad bar so that you can throw a salad together easily when you're hungry.
- Chicken Salad is my go-to lunch. I use the pulled chicken and add Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo, chopped celery, salt and pepper. I generally make about 3 servings of this, and then switch it up each day so it doesn't get boring. I'll add apples and sunflower seeds one day, grapes and walnuts another day or avocado and cilantro. I like to play around with Primal Palate spices to switch it up, too!
- Bone Broth is my new obsession. For years, I would discard the bones of the Rotisserie Chicken. How wasteful! Now, I use the carcass and vegetable scraps to make bone broth/stock. Here's a great Bone Broth guide by Maryland blogger Kim Wilson. Your house will smell so great and you can drink the broth to start your day, during an afternoon food craving or use to make soup.
- Chicken Veggie soup is so versatile. You can start by cooking garlic and onions in a pot, then add chopped celery and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes. Then, add the pulled chicken, plus your bone broth, and you'll have a simple meal to enjoy for lunch or dinner. I like to heat up and serve with avocado slices, or mix it up by adding fennel in with the vegetables or some spices.
- Lettuce wraps are another way to get the most out of your Rotisserie Chicken. You can choose the ingredients that you love (carrots, peppers, avocado, riced cauliflower, etc.) or, whatever is in your salad bar fridge. Use Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo, plus any spice that speaks to you, as your sauce.
Now, it's important to note that you're not always going to be in a place where you can whip up Chicken Salad in a flash. For those times, you need to be prepared with Whole30 compliant snacks. I keep these snacks in the car or in my bag when hanger strikes:
- Ayoba-Yo Biltong & Droewors: air-dried steak slices and beef sticks with no added sugar! Look out for an upcoming blog post all about this Virginia-based, family-owned company whose hobby of making beef snacks has turned into a bustling business. (Use code PACELOVEFOOD for 10% off your online order)
- Amazi Foods Plantain Chips: these premium dried plantain chips from Uganda are addictive and provide the perfect crunch in any recipe! I'll be sharing this woman-owned business' incredible story with recipes in a blog post later this month, but feel free to check them out and use code PACELOVEFOOD for 10% off your order.
- Larabars (but not all flavors): these are great when you're on the go, but don't go overboard!
- RXBars- odd consistency, but they've been lifesavers at gas stations and airports.
I'd love to hear about your favorite products, too! Feel free to comment below if you're on the #JanuaryWhole30 journey, or if you have any questions. Check back later this week to see my favorite #Whole30compliant breakfast that I make every week. It's so good, it makes me jump out of bed in the mornings!
Pace & Love,