Have you heard of the Whole30 program? I had heard of it for a while, but I chalked it up as another fad diet. I finally looked closer into it and realized that it was basically a month-long challenge of eating whole foods, mostly proteins and vegetables. Sounds good so far! Then I read the “rules”, and I realized it was going to be a challenge indeed. Not only is it very restrictive, but many individuals will tell you that it is costly and time consuming.
I may not be able to help you with the restrictiveness of the program, but I can definitely give you some tips to save time and money while on Whole30.
Don’t Buy Special Ingredients
Whole30 does not require any special ingredients, and most packaged things are off limits to begin with. Many will use almond flour or coconut flour, although it is a grey area. There is no reason to buy arrowroot powder, fancy oils, unique meats, or vegetables you have never heard of before. Just eat simply. Yes, grilled chicken with steamed vegetables is boring, but it is also affordable and easy.
Make Soups a Staple
In any diet, soups are a great way to make your budget count. To make a soup work for Whole30 and to keep your stomach full, be sure to include plenty of protein and good fats. Onceamonthmeals.com has two delicious soups to try if you need ideas – their Tomato, Basil, and Beef Soup and their Chicken Artichoke Soup with Basil. Both meals should cost less than $10 to make, and you will most likely have leftovers for a day or two after, depending on your family size. Both of the soups also come with freezer directions for those who wanted to cook in bulk ahead of time.
Cook Smarter, Not Harder
It can be both time consuming and money consuming to try to create new meals every day. Think of ways to mainstream the process, such as putting together freezer meals or by doing weekly batch cooking. For example, I just made my lunches for the week by cooking a spaghetti squash in the crock pot and grilling extra chicken and vegetables for dinner one night. It took less than 30 minutes (well the spaghetti squash spent 3 hours in the crock pot, but I didn’t have to do anything while it was cooking) to mix the squash, veggies, and chopped up chicken with a jar of compliant Whole30 tomato sauce. I was then able to put them all in Tupperware containers for an easy to grab meal. Try devoting a few hours each week to making meals for the rest of the week. It will definitely save you many more hours later on, as well as last-minute trips to the grocery store or out to eat.
The Whole30 is a great program, albeit not an easy one. To make the process easier, spend some time looking up easy recipes with affordable ingredients. Many sites even have weekly grocery shopping lists paired with their menus for Whole30.