Whether you’ve been interested in the Whole30 diet for a while or you’re already a fanatic, sometimes it can be hard to craft the perfect Whole30 shopping list while living the diet life. Why? Well, there are a lot of ~rules~ partnered with the meal plan, and you might find yourself cooking the same things over and over again. (Boring!)
But hey, don’t worry—you can still keep your Whole30 shopping list interesting. That’s why WH rounded up the best grocery items to stock up on to nail your Whole30 diet, according to nutrition experts.
Remind me how Whole30 works, again?
Before we jump in to grocery talk, let’s go over the basics. “The Whole30 diet is a restrictive meal plan that focuses on consuming only whole, unprocessed foods for 30 days,” explains Erin Palinski-Wade, RDN. “The goal is to ‘reset’ your body to curb cravings, reduce inflammation, and improve energy versus focusing on weight loss.”
Also, you’re supposed to refrain from weighing yourself for the entire month so that the focus is on how you feel, rather than a number on the scale.
Which foods are *not* allowed on Whole30?
Now, let’s get a little more specific. Even though Whole30 isn’t necessarily an eating plan centered around on weight loss, it *does* have a list of foods that are technically off-limits if you’re following the plan closely. “The diet restricts all added sugars, salt, artificial sweeteners, grains, dairy, and legumes,” Palinski-Wade explains. P.S., alcohol is a no-go as well. Here’s exactly what you shouldn’t eat on Whole30.
- Any processed food
- Beans or legumes
- Dairy-based milk
What should I stock my kitchen with on the Whole30 diet?
Now that you know what *not* to be buying during Whole30, let’s focus on what you can add to your grocery list. There are Whole30-compliant foods that fit all the main food categories, including protein, fruits, vegetables, oils and fats, nuts, condiments, and beverages. Here’s what to shop for under each group.
“Protein is going to help build and repair muscle,” explains Keri Gans, RDN, as well as help with satiety. Basically, you need protein when doing Whole30 because it helps you feel full and more satisfied when eating a grain-free meal. Your protein inspo:
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Turkey breast
- Grass-fed, organic deli meats
- Grass-fed, organic bacon
- Grass-fed, organic sausage
Nuts and seeds are a great option on Whole30, explains Marisa Moore, RDN. The key, though, is to make sure you’re choosing ones that are unprocessed (meaning you should go for the plain, unsalted options instead of honey roasted.) As for nutritional value, nuts provide you with protein and carbs, and they’ve also got fat to keep you satisfied, Gans points out.
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
“Fruit is packed with antioxidants, which means they have anti-inflammatory properties,” Gans says. ICYMI, antioxidants are really freakin’ good for you: They can help reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, decrease your risk of heart disease, strengthen your immune system, and more, according to Gans.
Choose fruits you really like, as this will help you feel happier when with what you’re eating, and you’ll get a nutritional benefit regardless, Moore explains.
- Berries of any kind
PSA: Vegetables have a lot of fiber, and since you’re not eating any whole grains on Whole30, you’ll be getting almost all of your daily fiber intake from veggies, Gans notes. “Fiber may help control blood sugar, prevent constipation, and improve gut health,” she notes. So yeah, you really need it!
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc.)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Any kind of potato
Oils and Fats
The Whole30 diet recommends that you consume healthy fats, which have shown to prevent heart disease and help keep you full, Gans says. These can be used in things like dressings, cooking, marinades, and more. Oils and fats are going to make sure your diet is flavorful and satiating.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Grass-fed, organic butter
- Coconut oil
- Almond or cashew butters
- Sunflower seed butter
You’re going to be a little bit limited when it comes to what condiments you can use on Whole30. “They key would be to stick to the ones that don’t have any additives like sulfites or added sugar,” Moore explains. (For example, no standard ketchup or mayo.)
When it comes to what condiments do, they’re really just meant to make your food more enjoyable (duh). There’s no nutritional value in the following options because you use such a little amount. “But don’t underestimate the value of enjoyment,” Gans says. “If you’re not satisfied with your meal, you’re going to want to keep eating.”
- Apple cider vinegar
- Champagne vinegar
- Avocado oil-based mayos
- Coconut aminos
- Sugar-free ketchup
- Avocado oil-based dressings
- Citrus juices
- Salt, pepper, and spices
The list of available beverages is definitely on the shorter side when you’re doing Whole30 (reminder: no alcohol). That said, you can still keep things interesting by using fruits as flavoring, drinking nut milks, and having all the coffee you want. Gans notes, “Coffee can also improve physical performance, so it might help you at the gym, too.” (Always a bonus!)
- Nut milks
- Juiced fruit
- Water with lemon
- Electrolytes with no added sugar
- Smoothies with no added sugar
Here are a few final details to keep in mind about the Whole30 diet before you start shopping.
- It’s not the most vegetarian or vegan-friendly diet. During Whole30 you have to avoid all legumes, which includes foods like soybeans, chickpeas, or black beans. “It would be really hard for someone who is a vegetarian to do this diet,” Moore says. So if you’re a no-meat kind of person, you may want to reconsider deep diving into this meal plan. Or, talk to a nutritionist for input and assistance.
- Whole30 can be a little expensive. If you want to enjoy condiments or oils, you may have to purchase them from more expensive, niche brands in order to do so. “This makes it difficult for some people who maybe can’t afford some of the more expensive oils. I think the diet can be pricey,” Moore explains. Just make sure you’re budgeting for this potential lifestyle change, if possible.
- You don’t want to harm your relationship with food. “Dieting can lead to thinking with a restrictive mindset, which can unfortunately set you up for making poor choices long term,” Moore says. Basically, try to think about what you can apply from Whole30 to your actual life. Make some lifestyle choices while you try this diet that can last *beyond* the 30-day period. You’ll be happier for it, our experts agree.
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