I recently completed my first Whole30! You can read a complete recap of my experience (the good and the bad) here, as well as my results and check out all the details of the program here. Here, I’m sharing my favorite recipes from the Whole30, as well as my approach to cooking for the week.
My Whole30 Approach & Weekly Cookup
I don’t mind eating the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch. I think this would bother some people, but for me it’s totally fine. So for my Whole30, I would cook my breakfasts and lunches for the weekdays every Sunday. For breakfast, I would have a hard-boiled egg and half an avocado with black iced coffee. This is a little bit of a light breakfast for Whole30, but I found it to be the right amount for me. Some days I would have the whole avocado or an extra egg if I needed more fuel. For lunch, I would have roast chicken breast along with roasted vegetables, which I would vary week to week (carrots, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli rabe, etc.). I’d also bring an orange or apple to work to have with lunch or as a snack and would always have a Larabar in my purse (my favorite flavors are Carrot Cake and Coconut Creme Pie). Then, when I got home I would make dinners (though we would usually have enough to have leftovers one or two nights a week).
Weekends were the exception and honestly were harder for me than the weekdays. I think I do well with routine and weekends break routines. Since we don’t have a weekend wake-up time, there’s no set breakfast time. And since each weekend day is different, it’s harder to plan out in advance what you’ll eat. Still, I muddled through. Andrew and I would make awesome breakfasts (my favorite below) or go out to breakfast (by far the easiest meal to eat out on Whole30). One other thing that helped me out was doing the Whole30 in January, a month that’s super antisocial (hi, biggest snowstorm in NYC’s history). We hung out with friends a few times, but it was mostly at their house or ours, so it was pretty easy for me to stay on track.
One challenge was that my work friends wanted to throw a little birthday celebration for me. Our workplace is big on birthdays and it usually includes a breakfast of bagels and smears, an afternoon cupcake treat or a pizza lunch. Obviously, all those things were out for Whole30. I had told my coworkers about my Whole30, so they were aware and supportive and asked me what I would recommend for my birthday celebration. I came up with the idea of ordering in tacos from a great local tacqueria (that makes everything from scratch) and just ate my scrumptious chicken taco bowl with lettuce, salsa and guacamole.
Here are a few of my favorite meals from the Whole30:
Shepherds pie: If you have a disbeliever in your household, this is the recipe to serve them. It is flat-out delicious, plus it is totally a comfort food. We used ground beef because it’s what I had on hand and I used dried herbs as well, but it was OMG amazing. So filling, satisfying and comforting. I rarely had seconds on Whole30 because the food was so filling but I totally had seconds of this. Perfect for a day when you’re missing your old comfort foods.
Eggs over easy with sausage and greens: I am now the master of making eggs over easy (OK, that’s a lie, I still break the yolk like 40% of the time). But they are incredibly quick to make and the runny yolk is just sinfully delightful—even if you break it. Here’s how:
Eggs over easy: Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat with 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil or clarified butter. Crack an egg near the back of the pan. Holding the pan at an angle, let the egg cook for fifteen seconds. Lightly run a rubber spatula around the edges to make sure they are loose. Now the scary part: Flick that wrist and flip it! It takes practice (and a really good nonstick pan), but you can ease into by starting with a sort of sideways flop with the aid of your spatula. Just get that sucker turned over and let cook for 10 more seconds. Egg ready!
I loved mine served over sauteed spinach or broccoli rabe. And this sausage (the mushroom one was my favorite). It’s soooo good. I once ate this same meal twice in one day, it was just THAT good.
Shrimp stir fry: Before Whole30, we cooked Asian food in our house a lot, so removing soy sauce from my diet was definitely a bummer at first. Enter coconut aminos, a compliant substitute to soy sauce. (As a side note, before Whole30, the only coconut I was consuming was an occasional can of coconut milk with a curry. Now I’ve got coconut oil, coconut aminos, and coconut milk coming out my ears [not literally, that would be gross]!) I wanted to try using a fairly small amount of coconut aminos because it’s an expensive product and I wanted it to last. Luckily, you really didn’t need that much to get a burst of flavor! Here’s the marinade I came up with for stir frys and it was delish! I marinaded the shrimp in this for about 30 minutes and then used the same recipes halved to create a sauce. I used zucchini and snow peas, but you could use any combination of meat and vegetables.
Asian stir fry marinade (half recipe for sauce)
¼ cup coconut aminos
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 lb shrimp (or protein of your choice, chicken would be great)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium zucchinis, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 lb snow peas, trimmed
Mix all marinade ingredients and pore over shrimp. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Heat two tablespoons coconut oil in a wok over high heat. Add vegetables and cook until softened, five minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink and firm, 3-4 minutes. There will be some sauce in the pan from the marinade, but if it needs more, half the marinade recipe and add to the wok.
Fajitas: Again: Yum. Totally satisfying and flavorful. I used this marinade for steak and paired with lots of bell peppers, onions and homemade guacamole. I ate mine in a bowl plain, but you could also use lettuce to make wraps if you miss the finger food aspect.
Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken: Everyone needs a good flavorful chicken dish. I loved the tangy artichoke, smoky garlic and bright herbs mixed into the filling for this one. I substituted dill for the parsley because I have just always hated parsley. Tastes like grass to me. And we used thighs rather than breast because it’s what I had, and baked them rather than grilling them, because hi, it’s January in Brooklyn. Just bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. I served mine with these blistered green beans and roasted potatoes that I treated in the same way as the green bean recipe. Yum!