Whole30 Lifesavers + Easy Weeknight Dinners

On a scale from 1-10, there are some people who unabashedly take Whole30 at a level 14. I'm looking at you, crazy people in the Whole30 forums. I would like to state, on the record, that I'm taking Whole30 at a solid level 8. While I have not broken the rules or "cheated" so to speak, I have not followed the "recommendations" perfectly. And by that I mean, I eat snacks every day. And I make a smoothie every day. 

Snacks and smoothies are not "recommended" on Whole30, but to that I say, pssshhhhhhh. Have you seen me when I'm hangry? It's not cute. 

Anyway, I've got five days left of this program, and have had lots of people asking lots of things on Instagram, so I'm going to do a few posts over the next week or so about our favorite items, recipes, strategies, etc and then I promise I'll get back to regular programming and stop talking about food.

I really want to share my top Whole30 lifesavers (not to be confused with candy lifesavers, which are definitely not compliant). If it weren't for these items, I don't know that I would have survived 30 days. If you're planning for your first Whole30, I highly recommend stocking up on: 

  • Almond butter (buy it anywhere)
  • Chile lime chicken burgers (Trader Joes)
  • Wellshire Farms sugar-free paleo bacon (Whole Foods)
  • Applegate chicken + apple sausage (buy it anywhere, best deal at Costco)
  • La Croix (buy it anywhere)
  • Everything But The Bagel seasoning (Trader Joes)
  • Zest tea (Amazon)
  • Tessamae's ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings (Raley's)
  • Trader Joe's grass-fed beef roast (Trader Joe's)
  • Ghee butter (anywhere)
  • Teva black iced tea (anywhere)
  • Pressed Bars by Kind (Target)
  • Apple pie larabars (Target)
  • Primal Foods mayo + dressings (Nugget Markets)
  • Unsweetened almond milk (Nugget Markets)
  • Wholly Guacamole cups (Costco)

And now I bring you ... a few of our favorite week-night no-fuss-no-muss recipes:

1. Trader Joe's Chile Lime chicken burgers with guac over a bed of lettuce. HOLY YUM. Brett likes to use butter lettuce to make burger wraps, but I prefer to cut the patty into pieces and dip three ways (ketchup, mustard, guac, in that order). Pairs well with cherries or pineapple on the side. I could easily eat this once/week moving forward, and honestly don't miss the bun at all. 

2. Shredded BBQ chicken inside a baked potato topped with ghee butter, everything but the bacon seasoning, and green onions. DELICIOUS. Will definitely make this a regular meal after Whole30. Great with a side salad, or roasted veggies. I put raw chicken breast tenders in the crockpot at noon, dump 1/3 of a bottle of Tessamae's bbq sauce over it, set to low for 5-6 hours, and voila! Shred with a fork, and you're good to go. I usually make a ton and it lasts for 4-5 meals. 

3. Ground turkey with sugar-free marinara sauce over zucchini noodles. Aka: Whole30 spaghetti. Three cheers for three-ingredient meals! I borrowed a spiralizer from a friend without realizing the full extent of dishes and cleanup that was involved in Whole30 ... which is what led me to buying pre-made zoodles from Whole Foods for $5.99 (#worthit). Also, I thought it was going to be really hard to find sugar-free marinara sauce, but it's not. I found great options at Target, Costco, Raley's, Nugget, and Whole Foods. 

4. Trader Joe's Grassfed Beef Roast with baked potatoes + roasted veggies. This is a one-pan meal and if you use foil on the pan, there is practically NO CLEAN UP. Praise hands. The roast is already fully prepared; you literally take it out of the package and plop it in the oven for 20 minutes. For this meal, I do baked potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes, and then put them in the oven on the same pan as the roast for 7-8 minutes, along with whatever veggies I want to cook (we've done a lot of summer squash and asparagus). Boom. Whole dinner, done. I pack up leftover meat for the following day's lunch with half of my baked potato and a scoop of veggies; Brett usually makes a big salad and puts the leftover meat on top. 

Two other recipes we've made (and really loved!) that take a bit more time/prep are these paleo Italian meatballs and this chicken piccata. Dinner was really the most work for our Whole30. We ate scrambled eggs + sausage (or bacon) + fruit every single morning for 30 days. Lunch was almost always leftovers, or a salad + chicken, or chicken salad (primal mayo is perfect for this!), or some days when I was super lazy and out of good options, a couple of applegate beef hot dogs + guac and a side of fruit. But most days, we ate leftovers. 

I'll be back next week with a post about my favorite items from Nugget Markets, a full recap of our results, and the biggest lesson we learned while completing Whole30 (spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with food and everything to do with ourselves). 

If you've done a Whole30 and have any go-to items that you ate over and over again, will you tell me in the comments? I love hearing what worked for others! 


Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.