For 30 days this month we're exploring Whole30, the 30-day reset and refocus on whole foods. Whole30 isn't a diet or a judgmental labeling of foods as "good and bad." It's actually a simple reset that has helped many of our readers cook more and figure out the foods that make them feel their best. Read more about our coverage here.
Whether it's your first time doing Whole30 or your fourth, preparation doesn't get any less important. In addition to a can-do attitude, a few non-food kitchen essentials, and your groceries, there are few more things you can do for your pantry to ensure that you get the best results from your 30-day temporary break from sugar, alcohol, dairy, and more.
1. Hide your non-Whole30 pantry supplies.
The key to a successful Whole30 is actually more about what's not in your pantry than what's in it. Get rid of any junk foods or temptations now, or hide them in a separate area for your family that's out of your line of vision.
I'm not telling you to go waste a bunch of food or throw out perfectly healthy foods you can go back to after Whole30, but think about what kind of lasting changes you want to make to your lifestyle. Do you want to go back to snacking on Doritos and candy bars after these 30 days? If not, get rid of them.
2. Stock up on compliant snacks.
Get some easy, no-preparation-required compliant snacks, like dried fruits, RxBars and Larabars, jerky, and nuts. Check the labels before you buy any of these things to make sure they are compliant. You never want to feel hangry or tempted to veer off-path with non-compliant snacks, so make sure you have some emergency provisions that cater to both sweet and salty cravings.
If you're a soda drinker and worried about kicking the habit, try flavored seltzers. LaCroix is a Whole30-approved favorite.
3. Stock up on basic canned goods.
Whole30-compliant cooking might be completely different from the way you normally cook, or maybe you only need to make some minor tweaks. Either way, it's important to fill your pantry with some basic canned goods you can fall back on so you don't have to run out to the grocery store every day. Canned salmon and tuna work great in salads for an easy protein fix. Crushed tomatoes, curry paste, canned vegetables, and coconut milk can go far in lots of recipes, from stews and curries to roasts and sauces.
4. Stock up on coconut products.
Say hello to your new best friend: Coconut products are huge on Whole30. Coconut oil works great for cooking, and I use coconut water and coconut milk to make chia pudding. I've also used coconut flour in meatballs. You've probably never heard of coconut aminos before Whole30, but they're a low-glycemic, gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
5. Refresh your spice rack.
This is a great time to explore new recipes and flavors in your cooking. Take inventory of your spice rack and make sure you have the basics, such as black pepper, red chili flakes, cinnamon, and garlic powder. Then consider picking up some new spices you might be less familiar with but will be glad you tried, like turmeric, curry powder, paprika, and Chinese five spice. Fair warning: Spices can sneakily add up to a lot on your grocery bill, but a little goes a long way, so think of them as an investment in your delicious culinary future.
If Whole30 has been a helpful tool for you in your cooking and eating, what pantry changes have been most beneficial for you?
30 Days of Whole30: We're kicking 2017 off with 30 days of Whole30. Why Whole30? It's not a permanent diet; it's not a prescription for eating. It's just 30 days of eating whole foods and exploring a more purposeful, mindful approach to food. Read more here on what Whole30 is and how to follow along.