Whole 30 – A Realistic Meal Plan – Week 1

My husband and I have decided to give the Whole 30 Program a try. A lot of people find this program intimidating because you do have to cut so many things out of your regular diet and they don’t provide a set meal plan, just a shopping list and some basic master recipe suggestions. I have tried a lot of various eating plans and cleanses and I have to say that the lack of specific instruction is exactly why I am loving this one so far. I can use so many of my normal recipes that our meals almost seem normal other than not being able to have any sugar or the occasional glass of wine.

General idea of the Whole 30 Program is 30 days without:
Sugar or sweeteners (real or artificial, including honey, agave, etc.)
Alcohol (not even for cooking)
Dairy
Grains
Legumes
MSG or sulfites
Soy
Replacement baked goods or junk food (GF, DF, Paleo, etc.)

I did some research on Whole 30 blogs and people’s meal plans but I honestly don’t know anyone who has the time or energy to cook 21 different homemade meals in a week.  I certainly don’t want to do that, and I love to cook!  Also, most Whole 30 meal plans are heavily reliant on eggs and I am allergic to them. So, I just read the book and created my own meal plan. I say that this is a realistic meal plan because it includes real life strategies like using leftovers and eating the same thing for lunch and breakfast more than once in a week. For example, on Day 1 I made a Pork Hash, something I made up and had never made before, and my husband has requested it for breakfast every day this week. We’ll get tired of it soon but since I can’t eat eggs, I’m guessing you’ll see a lot of variations of hashes in my breakfast meal plans. Although it is really good, we are getting a little tired of this same salad so we have been trying to switch it up with different meats but I have already decided that Week 2 will feature a lot of dinner leftovers for lunch.The key to lunch for us is having something tasty that is easy to pack to take to work with us. Also, we have found that with eating healthy, substantial meals, we aren’t always hungry for 3 big meals per day so you’ll see the meals where we chose to just eat some almonds and fruit to tide us over to the next meal because we just weren’t very hungry.

I’m going to blog each week about what we actually ate and I’ll link to recipes that I created to be Whole 30 compliant (links in bold, I’ll add more recipes as I can get them posted). Since I already exclude a lot of ingredients from my diet, my normal recipes are fitting in very nicely to this plan. For those of you who don’t normally deal with food restrictions due to allergies, I can imagine that it is a much bigger transition so hopefully you will find this helpful! I’ll also include where I added eggs to Gil’s portion so you have the option of doing it with or without eggs. (Although, I have to say that if I could eat eggs, you would definitely see an omelet or scramble or frittata for breakfast quite a few days).

Drinks: We have had 1 cup of pressed coffee with a teaspoon of coconut milk each morning and other than that we have only had water. I did make infused water by putting a few slices of lime, cucumber, and some crushed mint leaves in a pitcher of water. We leave this in the fridge and grab a glass any time we are wanting something other than water to drink and it really does help satisfy that craving.

For portion size of all meals – the protein should be about the size of your palm and the rest of the plate should be produce, mostly veggies.

Day 1:
Breakfast – Pork Hash & half of a peach
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken
Dinner – Tilapia with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Caprese Salad (pictured below)

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Day 2:
Breakfast – Pork Hash (leftovers) & a plum (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs) (pictured below)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken (leftovers)
Dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Green Beans

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Day 3:
Breakfast – Raw Almonds, a nectarine, and 3 strawberries (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken (leftovers) (pictured below)
Dinner – Yellow Curry Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower (this was a recipe from the book and it was awful, I’ll work on a tastier adaptation)

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Day 4:
Breakfast – Pork Hash & 3 strawberries (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs) (pictured below)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Sautéed Salmon
Dinner – Raw almonds, a plum, and a banana

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Day 5:
Breakfast – Pork Hash (leftovers) & half of a peach (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Lunch – Dry roasted almonds & a banana (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Dinner – Sirloin Steak with Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Green Beans (pictured below)

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Day 6:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and a peach (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Lunch – We had a late breakfast so we weren’t hungry and just ate dinner a little earlier.
Dinner – Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (from Whole Foods, I checked all ingredients) (pictured below)

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Day 7:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with a handful of blueberries (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs)
Lunch -Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (leftovers)
Dinner – Mexican Chicken with Roasted Asparagus

Is is worth it?
So far, we are feeling great and I’m honestly not really missing anything very much eating this way. Gil is missing bread very, very much but is feeling pretty good and still on board to keep going. Other benefits: I have found that I love spending more time at the meat counter at Whole Foods getting high quality meats and I really love having a refrigerator full of healthy produce and actually eating all of it. We’re also saving a lot of money even though everything we ate last week was organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc. and was purchased at either the Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods. We do usually eat out quite a bit so not only are we saving money by eating at home, but we are finding that it feels like we have a lot more time together since we are working on the meals together and always at home after work. We have also found that we already have more energy and are getting a lot more things done on very long to-do list before we move to Spain (Read more about that here).

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Whole 30 Program and this meal plan is simply my personal interpretation of the recommendations found in their book.

Spinach Salad with Guacamole

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This is easily my favorite lunch to take to work with me. It is super healthy and Whole 30 compliant but it will also keep you full and fueled for the entire afternoon.

Ingredients (1 serving):
1 small tomato, diced
a handful of baby carrots, cut in half
1/4 of an English Cucumber, deseeded and sliced
1/4 of a green onion (green part), chopped
1 large handful of baby spinach
Approx. 10-15 dry roasted almonds
1/4 of a lime
2 tbsp. guacamole, homemade or Wholly Guacamole Minis are perfect for work lunches

Put the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and then when you are ready to eat, squeeze the lime juice all over it and put the guacamole on top of the salad. Toss the ingredients to coat everything in lime and guacamole (they are your dressing) and enjoy!

Variations: Add Grilled Chicken, Salmon, or Burger Patties to add more protein to the meal.

Roasted Vegetables

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I eat this side dish at LEAST 3 times a week. I always change out the veggies, the recipe is pretty much identical for asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, whole green beans, mushrooms, and any combination of those that you desire. Most of my pictures seem to be of broccoli but I would say that I actually eat asparagus the most often.

Ingredients:
Veggie of choice – enough for 2 people
1-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. Wash and chop veggies to desired size:
Asparagus – trim the ends off but leave each one in one long piece
Broccoli – florets ( I prefer pretty small ones)
Cauliflower – florets ( I prefer pretty small ones)
Green Beans – trim the ends but leave whole
Mushrooms – whole or halved

Toss veggies in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. (You can also do a sprinkle of garlic salt if desired.)

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Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes until starting to get crispy and a little brown in some spots and serve immediately with your entree, they will get cool really quickly. Enjoy!

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Roasted Potatoes

This is one of most go-to side dishes, especially when we aren’t eating grains and my husband needs a little more substance to a meal than just veggies. You can use Russet, Gold, Red, Purple, Fingerling, whatever kind of potatoes you like and have on hand. My personal favorites are Purple, Fingerling, and Russet.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
1 large potato or 2 small ones
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch each of:
garlic salt
onion powder
parsley
salt
pepper

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Preheat the oven to 400F and slice the potato into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices or cubes, whichever you prefer. (The picture above is of a small cutting board, not the largest potato known to man!)

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In a bowl, toss sliced or cubed potatoes and all other ingredients. Make sure each and every slice is coated in olive oil or it will stick to the pan.

Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet and put into the oven for 12 minutes.

After 12 minutes, flip each slice over or, for cubes, toss to stir and make sure nothing is sticking. Put the potatoes back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until they are just turning golden brown. For a taste a little more like homemade chips, cook thin sliced ones until they just start to get crispy.

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Serve with your favorite main dish and enjoy!

Pork Hash

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This tasty, hearty breakfast is a meal I came up with for our adventure doing the Whole 30 Program. You can read more about my meal plan for Week 1 here. This recipe makes 4 servings and I typically serve it right after I make it on Day 1 and pack it in tupperware so that we can take it to work with us on Day 2, it still tastes great heated up the next day.

Ingredients:
1 lb. organic, grass-fed ground pork
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, cubed
1 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
1/2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tbsp. oregano
1/2 tbsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
2 eggs (optional)

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for about 10 minutes until soft and slightly browned.

In a separate sauce pan, bring water to a boil and then boil the cubed potatoes for about 7 minutes. Strain and set aside when cooked.

After 10 minutes, add the pork and all of the dried seasonings (everything except sage and garlic) to the skillet with the onions. Break up the meat as you cook it. After the meat is mostly cooked (about 5 minutes) add the garlic and sage and cook for about 3 minutes more.

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Create space in the middle of the skillet by pushing the meat and onions to the sides and add the potatoes in the center of the skillet. Try to get them in a single layer as much as possible, and put everything from the sides of the pan on top of the potatoes and don’t stir at all for a few minutes. This gives the potatoes a chance to get a little bit of a crisp on them.

Mix all ingredients in the skillet together, cook a few more minutes and then serve.  If you don’t eat eggs, you’re done! Enjoy!

Additional options:

Serve with 2 scrambled eggs on top of the hash.

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Or, for what my husband says is the tastiest version of this dish:
Take the portions of the hash that you plan to save for following days and put into separate containers. Pour 2 raw scrambled eggs into the hash and stir and cook until the eggs are cooked through. Serve immediately.

 

Naked Chicken Chile Rellenos

I’m a Texas girl and when I found out about my allergies, one of the very hardest things to give up was Tex Mex.  No corn, no flour, no cheese, no eggs…at first that all seemed to add up to no Tex Mex and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty upset about it.  Last summer at the farmer’s market I saw some beautiful poblano peppers and decided to fix this gaping hole in my life.  I started experimenting with chile relleno adaptations and this probably took more effort than any other recipe I have come up with, but it was worth it.  This is a work intensive recipe but it isn’t difficult and it freezes really well so make a big batch and save some for another night when dinner will be wonderfully easy to make up for the work you put in on the first round!

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4 poblano peppers
1 chicken breast
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
manchego cheese (sheep’s milk)
1 packet gluten free taco seasoning
olive oil

Set your oven to broil and rub a very light coating of olive oil all over the poblanos.  Place them in a baking dish and broil them for 12-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so, until the skin has charred and bubbled.

While the peppers are in the oven, bring the chicken stock and 1/2 of the taco seasoning to a boil.  Add the chicken breast in the stock and boil for 10 minutes then cover and simmer for 20 more.

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When the skin on the peppers has bubbled and the peppers look like the picture above, peel the waxy skin from the peppers then slit them lengthwise – one side only, leave the pepper intact as much as possible – and scrape the seeds out as well.  Turn the oven to 350 and set the peppers aside on the counter for now.

After 20 minutes of simmering, pull the chicken breast out of the stock and shred it using 2 forks.  Add the shredded chicken back to the stock to soak up the flavor.

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Place the seeded, skinless peppers back in the baking dish and place slices of manchego cheese inside the peppers.  Scoop chicken, with just a little of the stock into each pepper and then add one more small slice of cheese on top of the chicken and pull the sides of the pepper back together.  (Note: If you are going to freeze some, freeze them at this point in the recipe.)

Bake the rellenos at 350 for 20 minutes then enjoy the fruits of your labor!!

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I pulled the seam apart a little in the final picture so you can see inside them a bit.

Spinach Salad with Hummus

I work from home several days each week so I’m always experimenting with quick, easy, healthy lunches.  This is one of my favorites, it’s basically a salad I created using the items I always have on hand and it literally takes about 5 minutes to put together.

ImageFresh Baby Spinach
Tomato, diced
Goat Cheese Crumbles
Roasted Almonds
Hummus
Cindy’s Kitchen Fresh Avocado 
Vinaigrette

A few notes:

The salad dressing is from Whole Foods and it’s a little pricy, but I just use a little so it lasts awhile (it has a little spice to it so you don’t need much) and it completely makes the salad.  Absolutely worth the cost.

I use whatever flavor of hummus I have on hand, artichoke & garlic or black bean & lime are my 2 favorite hummus flavors in this salad.

The ingredients listed here are the staples but for variety I toss in whatever other fruits and veggies I have lying around, depending on what sounds good that day, carrots, cucumber, avocado, even cranberries.

For a little extra protein, this salad is great with tuna or grilled chicken as well.

Just combine everything on a plate and enjoy!

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