The former editor of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK), Christopher Kimball declares, “I hate the idea that cooking should be a celebration or a party. Cooking is about putting food on the table night after night, and there isn’t anything glamorous about it.” Kimball may not have designed a Whole30 meal plan, but after decades of cooking for ATK, he does know that putting food on the table requires planning and preparation.
Inarguably, whole foods, particularly Whole30 foods, pushes the necessity of meal planning and preparation to a new level. Do you need help in this area? Join the ranks with the rest of us who do.
Putting food on the table, sounds simple, right? Not really. I am at stay-at-home-mom and writer-in-residence (my own residence not glamorous but convenient), so I pass through my kitchen countless times a day. I open my refrigerator and pantry more times in one day than I can count. In spite of my close proximity to the kitchen, I still neglect to plan meals on a habitual basis. I either forget to defrost the meat or I am missing an essential ingredient for a recipe (the bane of my existence). All due to a lack of planning on my part. Not a handy habit to maintain when you live with a house full of omnivorous farmers with hearty appetites. I wish my meal planning endeavor were as consistently executed as are my visits to my favorite local coffee hang-out. Hello, transparent me!
Whole30 Meal Plan for Week One
I Repeat: Learn to Meal Plan and Meal Prep
You need to meal plan for the next thirty days; there is no way around that fact. Regardless of when you start the program, preparation for meals is crucial.
The Bad news: because the Whole30 Program temporarily restricts specific foods from your diet, failure to meal plan could alter your success in the program.
The Good news: You are developing a habit that will benefit your budget, reduce stress, and maintain healthful eating. James Clear who writes about behavior psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement wrote an inspiring piece for the Huffington Post about how long it takes to form a new habit. Even if the latest research indicates that it actually takes 55 or more days to form a new habit, and not the 21-30 that you were always told, you are establishing the habit of planning healthful meals that expand beyond your Whole30 Challenge. And that my friend is transforming.
Imitate the Professionals, Role Model for the Minors
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. A professional chef spends time chopping, slicing, dicing, in preparation for the meal BEFORE the meal is actually ordered. You can replicate some of that wise chef-like prep time by building a “prep day” in your week. I enjoy spending a portion of my Saturdays prepping for meals while listening to a webinar, audio book, or Pandora. On occasion, daughter # 3, the sixteen-year-old, will slide into the kitchen, grab a seat, and chat away. From time to time, completely unsolicited, she will join me in the chopping, and the culinary chore gradually transforms into one of those magical moments of motherhood.
Be a Label Detective, not Just a Label Reader
As a fledgling real foodie, don’t just glance at food labels, scrutinize them. Park your grocery cart to the side of the aisle, hoist out the cell phone, Google-ready, and research any unfamiliar ingredients. If an ingredient looks suspicious or if a fourth grader couldn’t decode it, kick into detective mode and solve the ingredient mystery. And don’t feel as though you need to apologize for the time and space you are taking up in the aisle doing your sleuth work. Some people spend the same amount of time reading the latest issue of People magazine perched at the end cap while waiting in the checkout line.
Be Brave Enough to Alter Recipes
A subscriber recently messaged me to ask about soy sauce in an otherwise Whole30 compliant recipe. I reviewed the ingredient list, and we agreed to substitute Coconut Amino for the soy sauce, a simple solution. In the meal plan included with this post, I suggested some minor substitutions of ingredients that make the recipes coincide with the requirements of the Whole30 Program rules.
Join the Crowd of Whole30ers
“We all eat and drink with others; rarely would we elect to dine alone,” affirms Lonni Collins Pratt in her captivating book Radical Hospitality. Whether this Whole30 journey is your first or third, make sure you don’t travel down this Whole30 path alone. Food nourishes our body, but friendship within a community feeds our heart. A community of people,who share a common goal, can help you overcome the obstacles that try to hinder you on this journey to improve your health. Visit my facebook page and share your Whole30 journey with other participants.
What meal planning tips can you offer others who are doing the Whole30?
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