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Nutrition

Five Steps to a successful Whole 30 Challenge

By ShelleyB | In Nutrition | on October 3, 2011

Now that you have gone through the seminar, let’s get off to a good start.  Here are five steps you can do this week to prepare for your Whole 30 challenge.

STEP 1:  CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE/PANTRY

Yes, it is painful, but just do it!  Let’s face it, we have seen the reports recently that companies are adding sugar, salt and fats in their products and making them addicting. There is a reason for that…they want you to consume it, so you buy more.  The less you are tempted to eat these addicting foods, the more successful your challenge will be.  So, PURGE IT! 

How do you do this successfully? 

  1. If need be, get yourself a partner to keep you accountable on what you throw out
  2. Get some paper bags or boxes to place items in
  3. Read the labels:  If you cannot pronounce it, have no clue what the ingredients are, and it isn’t a naturally occurring item in the food chain…THROW IT OUT.
  4. If the food is still within the expiration dates, donate it to your local food pantry.  Not only will you help yourself, you will help others less fortunate.

STEP 2:  PLAN AHEAD: ALL MEALS, SNACKS, AND PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED HUNGER ATTACK

We all start out with good intentions. But when life hits, we revert back to what is easy and convenient. That Snickers candy bar or potato chips in the vending machine looks pretty good at 3:00 pm in the afternoon when lunch was a distant memory and dinner is too far away.  Or when you got out of work late and forget to get the meat out to thaw…takeout looks pretty good.

How do you plan ahead?

  1. Set aside 1-2 hours EACH WEEK for the following activities:  recipe gathering, menu planning and generating a shopping list (include couponing tasks if you like to save).
  2. Have planning tools available:  computer, pens, paper, coupons, scissors, envelopes, menu planning template, shopping list template, etc.  Consider making a box or area designated for this.  If you make it easy & accessible, you would be more likely to do this.

Click here for Meal Plan Sample, Shopping List Template, Sample Shopping List

you choose recipes, write down the ingredients you need from the grocery store on your shopping list. 

STEP 3:  UPDATE YOUR SPICE RACK

One of the fears of healthy eating is that you get sick of bland tasting food, or food that is boring.  Eating Whole 9 approved does not mean the food has to taste disgusting.  Fruits, veggies and meat can all be spiced up.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t even know what is IN my spice rack.  It can be a mess.  So, here is what I suggest to do prior to the Whole 30 Challenge:

  1. Inventory your Spice Rack – write it all down on a list and post it in your cabinet for reference.  Keep this up to date as you add and delete spices.
  2. Throw out old, buggy, clumpy spices…replace it with a new jar of that particular spice
  3. Consolidate multiple jars of the same spice (we get multiples sometimes because we don’t know what is in there)
  4. Keep your spices organized – get a spice rack if you need it
  5. Think fresh!  If you have an herb garden GREAT!  If not, you can buy fresh herbs at the grocery store.  Invest in a fresh herb keeper – it will save you money in the long run.

STEP 4:  STOCK UP ON PANTRY ITEMS

Now that you have cleaned out your fridge and pantry of NON Whole 30 approved foods, stock up on pantry items you will use in a variety of recipes.  Either buy all at once so you have a good stock on hand, or gradually add as you plan your meals each week…adding what products you need to do the recipes you are making for each week.  Eventually, you will have what you need by doing this.  However, just like your spices, you need to inventory and keep your pantry organized for efficient and successful meal planning.  Here is what you should consider:

Oils:  Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia Oil

Stock items:  olives, coconut milk, sauces and spice mixtures (tomato & curry), vinegar, horseradish, tamari sauce, almond meal, flax meal

Nuts & seeds:  macadamia, hazelnut, almond, pistachio, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds (realize only 4 oz a day)

STEP 4:  GATHER & ORGANIZE PROPER KITCHEN UTENSILS & YOUR KITCHEN

Cooking is harder when you don’t have the right equipment or utensils.  If you can’t find something or don’t have it, it will be easier to throw out your “plan” than to go to the store to get it. So, before you start, take note of what you have and what you need. 

Here are some thoughts to consider:

  1. Note what knives you have.  Take the time to sharpen now.  Get what you need, if you do not have many.
  2. Make sure kitchen appliances are easily accessible and in working condition.  Good appliances to have:  food processor, steamer, blender, Crockpot, Magic Bullet, dehydrator, mandolin food slicer, nut grinder, if you are so blessed to have this…a VitaMix.  I also use a toaster oven to bake in, since it is just the two of us.  And oh…a coffee pot.  I cannot go without my coffee and I am so thankful coffee is not contraband in Whole 30!
  3. Pots and pans.  These are essential.  Have a few good sizes of saucepots, a couple of small to large skillets, a wok pan is good to have, griddle, grill pan, a soup pot and maybe wok pan (if you have it).  I love cooking on cast iron.  If you are cooking on cast iron, make sure you the skillet is prepared.  Also consider your baking pans & dishes – various sizes of baking dishes, cookie sheets, and muffin tins.
  4. Utensils:  Find, organize, and get them ready to use.  Good tools to have on hand:  wooden spoons, vegetable peeler, garlic press, grater, whisk, measuring cups & spoons, mixing bowls, spatulas, cutting boards (two would be good – one for meat & one for produce)
  5. Good storage items:  You need plastic ware & Ziplocs to keep all you prepped food items, leftovers.  Something I LOVE is the green veggie keeper bags – they really do work.  (Debbie Meyers Green Bags)

 Now, that you have gathered all you are need, take some time to organize your kitchen.  Items that are organized and easy to find will be easy to use.  A little organization creates more opportunity for success.

STEP 5:  PREPPING FOOD

Folks, this is the key to quick, easy meal preparation.  When you are short on time, and have to get meals on the fly, you will often choose the easy, less healthy route.  If you prepare ahead of time, you will have food at your finger tips, and meals will take half the time. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. FREEZE IT!  Many items you can freeze to use at a later date.  Know what can freeze and what cannot.  You would be surprised at what can go in the freezer.
  2. When you get meat home from the grocery store, divide your meats into meal portions.  For instance, if you buy hamburger in bulk, make them into 1 lb serving sizes.  Better yet, prepare some of them and freeze, or marinate them in the freezer.  Brown your burger, sausage, etc and put into freezer bags.  Marinate a dinner amount of chicken in Ziplocs and place in the freezer, so all you have to do is pull it out to thaw.
  3. On Sundays, prepare sauces and soups for the week.  Freeze leftovers.
  4. Chop your veggies at the beginning of the week place in plastic containers.
  5. Prep salads for the week.  To do this, wash and THOROUGHLY DRY the lettuce.  Place serving amount in 5 plastic containers.  Place “toppings in a separate container on top”.  Pull out what you need each day.
  6. Double your recipe so that you have “leftovers” for other days or other meals.  If you cannot eat it this week, you can freeze it for a lunch next week.

 OK GANG, you can do this – with enough preparation this week, you can have success!

One final thing…  Check out this recent article by Robb Wolff.  This is a great article for newbies (or those who want to refresh their vision) on “What is the Paleo Diet”.  It is sure to inspire you as you plan and set your goals for this month.

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