I love the Whole30 and have learned a thing or two after going through it multiple times. The first time Nate and I went through it was a struggle! I felt like I was washing dishes 2x a day, at the grocery store 3x a week and in the kitchen cooking and prepping with every free hour I had for all kinds of recipes – some of which were complete duds! All that work for nothing. But my second and third Whole30 experiences were so much easier! I was able to take what I learned from the first go around and save time, money, and sanity.
I wanted to put together a list of life savers that pulled me through every Whole30 cycle. These were items that helped with recipes, saved time, added a little something extra to bland dishes and overall made the experience less painful and more flavorful!
1. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
I used to never be a black pepper person. I would usually always use salt but just didn’t think pepper did much for any of my meals so always decided to forgo it because I couldn’t even tell whether it was there or not.
Well boy did I change my tune! Seasonings become your best friend on the Whole30 because you really rely on them to add flavor, depth, and taste to a recipe instead of using things like non-compliant sauces, cheese, condiments, etc. I use it on a daily basis now. Some of my favorite things to use it on are salads, eggs, dressings & marinades, side dishes, etc.
But you HAVE to use fresh cracked black pepper from a grinder! It’s so much better and has so much more flavor than the stuff that’s really finely ground and comes in shakers or mass quantities. With any salad I make, I usually use an olive oil based dressing or just plain old EVOO and a bunch of fresh cracked black pepper and that’s it! So delicious 🙂
2. Plantain Chips
Another thing I was completely wrong about – these are delicious! I know plantains are a variation of a banana so I always assumed these would taste similar to banana chips and I hate banana flavored things. So I steered clear until I tried them at a friend’s house. They taste exactly like a potato chip! They’re salty, crunchy, and savory. Totally wasn’t expecting it but I’m glad I have them a chance. You can normally find them in the section of your grocery store that has bulk candies, nuts, trail mix, etc that you can weigh and scoop yourself.
3. DIY Ghee
Ghee was something I had to look up because I had no clue what it was. Basically, it’s clarified butter meaning the dairy component of normal butter has been taken out. Usually butter is made butterfat, milk solids, and water. When you remove the water and milk solids, you are left with clarified butter aka ghee!
I used to buy this at the store (which is expensive and difficult to find) until I realized it’s much easier to make at home. I usually just make a bunch at once to store in the fridge and use when I need it. With the milk solids removed, it will last a long time! I will take a couple sticks of butter and melt over medium heat. The water will evaporate so thats 1 ingredient gone and once the melted butter stops making a sputtering sound, remove it from the heat and strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer. All done!
4. Pre-Packaged Cauliflower Rice
Any previous Whole30-er will know that cauliflower rice is a staple and great alternative to rice, potatoes, pizza crust, etc. But if you are like me, the prep to make cauliflower rice is a pain in the butt. I’m already prepping and chopping my butt off everyday so some extra steps to make cauliflower rice at home just wasn’t very worth it to me so I started to forgo recipes that included it to save myself some time and sanity.
But a friend recently told me that Kroger sold it pre-packaged and ready to use! Can we just take a moment of silence – thank you Jesus 🙌🏻 I found it in the produce section near the packaged vegetable medleys for stir fry and mushrooms, etc. I can’t remember how many ounces 1 package is but it’s a ton! It’s ready to be added directly to recipes or slightly steamed and softened.
5. Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing
This dressing has so many different uses and great flavor! The ingredients are all Whole30 compliant so I don’t feel the need to make my own. I obviously use this as salad dressing but I also love to use it as a marinade. I usually place this dressing in a big ziplock bag with raw chicken and some extra seasonings like Italian, salt & pepper or whatever else I prefer and shake it up until everything is coated. I will stick it back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so all the flavors can marinate and then grill the chicken or pay-fry! It’s juicy, yummy, and easy.
6. Hand-Held Spiralizer
I had never spiralized anything before so wasn’t sure I would like it and didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a standing spiralizer. Therefore, I opted for this hand-held one that does the job! It’s a bit more labor intensive but I don’t mind. I love using it for zucchini noodles or cucumber spirals for salads.
I haven’t tried it with potatoes assuming it probably won’t be big enough/sharp enough to spiralize them so go with the stand-alone version if you want to use it for potatoes, apples, and other heavy-duty foods.
7. Fruit & Nut Bars
Snacks can sometimes be hard to find on the Whole30 or not very convenient and quick to grab and go. I have to look hard and read my labels but fruit and nut bars are great to curb my hunger or throw in my bag in case I need it. Hangry takes on a whole new meaning when I’m doing the Whole30 and no one wants to see that!
Larabars are probably the most popular brand that has compliant options but be careful because some of their bars aren’t compliant. Some flavors I personally love are banana bread, key lime pie, and apple pie.
I just google which ones were compliant and this handy list showed up at the very top of my search. I love Google.
A brand I recently tried and really like is Thunderbird. I found them at Fresh Thyme.
Thunderbird Fruit & Nut bar flavors:
Thunderbird Nut & Seed bar flavors:
That’s my roundup of Whole30 lifesavers! What are some of yours? I would love to know any hidden secrets or gems. Ultimately, the more things that help make Whole30 more manageable and practical, the more likely I am to stick with it indefinitely and make it a lifestyle.