Guess what? On Monday, Dominic and I started our THIRD(!) round of Whole30! I’m pretty excited because this time my dad and my sister are going to attempt it with us and that is a huge deal! I have yet to ever write a post on it (I’m really sorry about that because I seriously have like the longest unfinished post in my drafts!), but! I did want to take a moment to acknowledge something that seriously made our second round so much easier: Cooking ahead/meal prep!
During our first round of Whole30, our only goal was to make sure we stuck to it. We were so afraid of eating something that would have hidden ingredients so all of our meals were pretty bland, think grilled chicken and a vegetable. Then during our second round, we branched out a lot more. We started experimenting with different recipes and honestly, it just made our second experience so much better, so much easier, and it seemed like it went a lot quicker, too.
Cooking ahead and meal prepping was a huge part in making our second one so much easier. By doing that, we were able to make so many more dishes, much much quicker. Really, in most cases I was able to cut my meal prep and cooking time in half because I already had things in my fridge that were made a few days earlier. In my opinion, the easier it feels like, the more likely you are to stick to it!
Here are a few things we made/did that we will definitely be doing as we move onto our third round:
Baked potatoes– Wrap potatoes in foil and bake at 375 for a half hour. With an oven glove, squeeze the potato and if it’s easy to squeeze together, it’s done. I bake about 5 of these at the beginning of the week, refrigerate them and use them periodically through out the week. A few things I use them for: hash browns, fries, mashed potatoes or even just when I want plain old baked potatoes!
Baked sweet potatoes: I cook them the same was as the baked potatoes for lunches. But! I also really love to peel them, cut them up, place them on a foiled pan, drizzled with olive oil. I bake them for 30 minutes at 350. They get nice and soft, with a little crisp around the edges. (pictured above!) Pro tip: if they get a little brown, it’s okay! It doesn’t have a burnt taste, instead the oil kind of caramelizes the sweet potato. So good, tastes like candy. I make them at the beginning of the week and eat them some mornings as a healthier alternative to hash browns :)
*I just wanna clarify that pre-whole30 I was a total carb girl, especially breakfasts. I know I’ve mentioned hash browns twice now but 95% of the time, I usually have a banana and a cup of tea for breakfast. This is more for my husband!
Salsa Verde Crock Pot Chicken- Place 3-5 chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with compliant Salsa Verde (this one is my fave, this one is Dominic’s). Cook on high for 4 1/2 hours and then shred apart. Eat alone, in lettuce cups, in eggs, or Dominic’s favorite: a salad (lettuce, this chicken, tomatoes, more salsa and guac)
Chicken Legs- Melt ghee in the microwave for 45 seconds, and then mix-in Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. Baste chicken legs on both sides and cook at 375 for one hour. So simple, and so good. (I also use this simple recipe on chicken wings!)
Salad Dressing: Equal parts EVOO, Vinegar, and generous amount of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
Tomato and Cucumber Salad- Cut grape tomatoes in half, slice cucumbers and then cut those in half as well. Put in a bowl/tupperware container, add Salad Dressing (see above) and mix together. This stuff usually stays good in the fridge for about three or four days and the longer you keep it in there, the better the flavors are able to marinate together. At least that’s what Dominic says ;)
Ground Beef/Turkey/Chicken: I make it at the beginning of the week and use them in various dishes. (like the muffins/frittata below!)
Hard boiled- as easy as you can get. Cook ten on Sunday night, put two in each Ziploc bag and boom- you have breakfast/a snack for every day of the week!
Muffins- I made these for Dominic and he LOVED them. Crack about 12 eggs in a bowl and mix in your favorite ingredients. (A favorite around here is ground turkey, spinach, tomatoes and prosciutto!) Put them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes at 350. Also, the first time I made them they kinda stuck to the pan so I used cupcake papers the second time. So much better! These keep for about 5 days!
Frittata- The same as the muffins, except in a frittata pan or any other nonstick pan you have, really. My husband likes both the muffins and the this but likes this better solely because he can make I make it into a breakfast pizza: a slice of the frittata, spread guac and top with already made ground turkey and some tomatoes!
Fruit and Veggies: the simplest of the simple. Cut your fruit and veggies at the beginning of the week, place in big containers to store in your fridge or snack-size Ziploc bags to serve as portion control when cooking or to grab and go when you’re in a rush!
Whether you’re on your first round of Whole30 or on your 30th, I hope this helps!
And if you’re a seasoned Whole30-er I ask you: what are some ways you make your Whole30s easier?