Your First Whole 30, Part 2: Prepping & Stocking Your Kitchen

Did you miss Part 1 of my “Your First Whole 30” series?

Don’t worry, you can check it out here!

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out the New York Times Bestselling Book, It Starts With Food, here!

Earlier I talked about how to prepare YOURSELF and get ready for tackling your very own first Whole 30. Today we’re going to talk about how to get your kitchen ready to go so that you have everything you need to hand to make easy, delicious and Whole 30 compliant meals and snacks. Yay!

Your First Whole 30 Part 2

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Prep your “First Whole 30” kitchen

If you can, remove all of the processed and junky foods from your kitchen. If you can’t do this because you live with people who aren’t following the Whole 30, see if you can maybe rearrange the kitchen so that all of the things you can’t eat are in one place. It’s just easier not to see them, if possible. Check the labels of remaining food items for no-nos like MSG, added preservatives / sulfites / nitrites / nitrates or additives like carrageenan. Here are some examples:

  • Vinegars and salad dressings often contain preservatives, vegetable oils and sulfites.
  • Coconut and almond milks found in the dairy section are full of added sugars, preservatives and nasties. Stick to canned coconut milk and check the labels. Although guar gum is “ok” on a Whole 30, I try to avoid it so use this coconut milk wherever possible because it is just coconut milk. I don’t personally drink almond milk, but I suspect that you may have to make your own if you do. Sorry.
  • That jerky you like to snack on? It’s filled with (probably) at least 2 types of sugar. Sorry. Again.
  • Ready made meat products like deli meat, hot dogs , bacon or sausages. You need to check these, too. They’re hiding places for sugars and preservatives. Sausages often have some kind of dairy in them, too. You want to keep bacon uncured, nitrate free and – sadly – to a minimum. (Read the Whole 30 Bacon Manifesto here).
  • Protein bars or powders: there’s nothing “real food” about these. They’re usually dairy product based (whey protein) AND full of sugars.

Tips for Stocking Your “First Whole 30” Kitchen

Fats & oils

  • I recommend you use coconut oil or ghee for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for raw things like salads and dressings.
  • Avocados! I love them and they’re a great portable way of getting much needed fat into your diet. Once they’re ripe, keep them in the fridge to stop them going brown, or make them into guacamole.

Meat & Fish

  • Fill up your fridge and freezer with the best quality meat you can afford: we eat a lot of ground meat, stew meat, whole chickens and bulk bought seafood (see below). Fancy cuts and steaks? Not so much.
  • Cheap roasts go in the crockpot so that we can keep shredded beef to hand in the fridge for “tacos” or breakfast bowls.
  • Check out the freezer section for seafood. I can buy a 2.5 lb bag of wild caught individually wrapped cod fillets for less than $13! They make a great base for a meal and defrost quickly.
  • When my butcher’s sausage links go on sale, I buy lots. Then I freeze them in 3 link portions (for two people) and defrost them the night before I need them.
  • Cans of wild caught tuna or salmon (in compliant oils or water) are great to keep to hand for quick lunches or post workout snacks.
  • If you like breakfast meats like sausage patties or chorizo, make your own or find varieties without added sugar or preservatives. Here is my chorizo recipe!

Vegetables

  • I chop ready to go bags of staples / base ingredients like onions and carrots. That way I have soup bases to hand. The same goes for your favorite stir fry vegetables, too!
  • Fill your fridge with ready chopped snacks, too. I like to keep baby carrots, cucumber sticks and pepper slices around for dips or just crunching on.
  • Keeping an emergency freezer supply helps! Whether you prep vegetables yourself or buy frozen, keep a few servings of vegetables around. When you’re hungry, your veggies just need a quick steam. Top them with ghee and you have an easy, filling side. Yay.
  • Large bags of coleslaw mix are great and need almost no prep time: use it in place of “noodles” for stir fries, saute with garlic and your favorite spices as a quick side – I even love it for breakfast with some eggs!

Fruit & Nuts

  • Anything that can’t be eaten as is, I try to peel / prep / chop up the day I buy it. That way I can stash it in the fridge using airtight containers (wide mouth mason jars are perfect for this) and just grab a serving when I’m hungry.
  • Frozen fruit is useful. I buy it in large 2 lb bags – use it to liven up breakfast eggs, make quick salad dressings or marinades or for snacking.
  • Dried fruit needs to be completely sugar free and is probably best kept to a minimum: it’s so easy to over eat and won’t help people who are struggling to kick a sugar habit.
  • Most commercially available nuts are roasted in canola, safflower or peanut oil, all of which are no nos. Try picking up raw unsalted versions: bulk bins are good for this. Raw nut butters are also an alternative – again, keep these to a minimum at first.

Other Pantry Goodies

  • Almond Flour – in small amounts, NOT for baking.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – great for dressings and for adding to bone broths to extract extra flavor and minerals
  • Cacao Powder – adds fantastic flavor to chili or in dry rubs
  • Coconut Aminos – as a replacement for soy sauce
  • Coconut Butter – a great boost of good fats that I like to add to my fruit snacks!
  • Fish Sauce – make sure it’s gluten free!
  • Sunbutter (or almond butter; I can’t stand the stuff. Don’t call the Paleo police!)
  • Tahini – I love to use this in sauces, dressings or dips

Dried Herb & Spice Blends

Here are some of my favorite blends – you can make your own, too! Whatever you buy, though, as always: check ingredients. Many, many spice blends have either sugar, corn starch or preservatives. So make sure you are buying JUST herbs or spices.

Other Tips

  • If you’re a meal planning type person, go for it! Make your lists and plan your meals – just budget for a few extra portions here and there so you have lots of leftovers to work with for snacks or lazy meals. If you want to try a meal planning service, you can get a free sample Paleo meal plan here.
  • If, like me, you’re not that kind of person, don’t worry! I tend to organize myself by checking out all the different stores’ sale items on a week by week basis: if there’s a great deal on bay scallops, say, then that’s what I’ll buy and eat. (And if necessary, invent new recipes to go with them – food blogger problems!) Don’t feel like you have to do your first Whole 30 everybody else’s way!
  • You’ll probably need way more storage containers for your fridge or toting lunches and snacks everywhere! I like these glass containers with lids because they double as oven safe dishes! For everything else, I have a variety of wide mouth mason jars!

And here’s what’s coming in Part 3 of Your First Whole 30: make ahead meals, snacks, menus and resources! Whooop!

Do you have anything else you would recommend adding to this list? Let me know!

If you missed Part 1 of this “First Whole 30” series, check it out here.

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18 comments

    1. Good question, thank you!

      Because one of the main parts of the Whole 30 is not falling into the habit of “paleofying” treats or junk food-like recipes, you’re not supposed to make things like pancakes or baked goods, even if they are with ingredients that are themselves Paleo. The thinking behind it is that any kind of “paleo” treat is not going to taste “as good” to a Paleo newcomer as the “real thing” – and that means people tend to either over eat, or even fall off the wagon completely because that “paleo” food triggers their junk food craving. Basically, it actually makes sticking to a Whole 30 harder for a lot of people. For those of us who return to do a 2nd Whole 30 or more, the avoiding paleo treats part is still useful – because it’s easy to let all of those treats and “paleo” yummies add up in our diet and they still aren’t nutritionally optimal. The Whole 30 creators call it “Sex with your pants on” and they explain it better than I do here 🙂

    1. Working on it today and it will probably go up tomorrow – it’s got 90 recipes, plus resources, so it’s kind of a huge one! 🙂

  1. Printed a few of your recipies for the whole 30 that came on FB feed the other day. I planned on starting Monday, but didn’t have time to shop or prep. So for sure..I’ll be starting Monday. Will shop & prep this weekend! Wooohooo….super excited. Can’t wait for part 3 so i can be fully armed & ready to rock this!

    1. I’ve got to get on that, thank you for the reminder! I have a list of posts I want / need to write a mile long, it always seems 🙂

  2. I also just found the first several posts and I think this is just the “jump start” my husband & I need for the new year. Anxiously awaiting part 3… Thanks for all your hard work!

  3. Has Part 3 been posted yet? I searched the site and couldn’t find it, but I’m really excited for it as I’m planning on starting my first Whole 30 in the next few weeks 🙂

    1. I have to confess that I didn’t make it to part 3 yet, since I got diverted by writing the autoimmune paleo cookbook I’m working on! Once the book is done, I will definitely return to this series, but in the mean time, I have a Pinterest board that I share with some other paleo bloggers that’s full of Whole30 resources here and a roundup of 30 Whole30 slow cooker recipes here. Hope that helps a little You might also like these round ups of 30 Whole30 breakfasts here, 30 Whole30 lunches here & 30 Whole30 dinners here 🙂

      1. That’s great! I actually came across the Whole 30/Whole 9 because of an autoimmune condition I’m dealing with. Now I’m really excited for your book! Thank you for sharing the links, I’ll definitely check them out!

  4. Thanks so much for all your stuff on Whole 30 here. I’m going to start one in the next few days, and mom is willing to join me, but highly hesitant. the ‘no legumes’ thing and not having cream in her coffee are 2 issues. So, I’m going to try and hunt up some coconut milk & see if that helps. the legumes issue I think will resolve itself once I start testing out some recipes. Dad’s a cereal-and-milk guy, so there’s no way he’s gonna be on board…but we’re both going to miss the dairy. we get ours local, grass-fed, all-Jersey and delivered to the door, and I make yogurt myself from it. (no really, 4 gallons a week is average with 3 adults and 2 nephew/grandson types being babysat a few days a week)

    ANYWAY, all very long-winded to say I so appreciate the recipes, prep-your-kitchen, and so forth that you offer here.

    As far as we know there aren’t any food sensitivities or issues, but I’m eager to see what happens when all the junk is cleaned out (sugar creeps in on me like crazy — baked goods are so.hard.to.walk.by). I hope to be able to leave the junk where it is without feeling like I’m missing it! brain reset!

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