Whole30 Prepping: Tips + Hacks Before Starting Your Program

I’m embarking upon another Whole30 adventure next week, and this time I’m taking a crew along with me. Including……WAIT FOR IT…..MY HUSBAND. Pray for us.

I’ll also be facilitating a group of friends through out this 30 day journey with tips, hacks, recipes and support. If you’re interested in joining, you can sign up here. The program will include a few weekly emails, posts, and a FB support group to share recipes, tips and support.

Even though the program doesn’t officially start until Tuesday, I’ve collected a few recommendations on things you can do to get ready for the month long journey.

Official Program Materials

The Whole30 Program is A LOT OF FREAKING INFO. I remember the first time I discovered the site, I think I singled-handedly killed 45 trees printing off all of the rules, steps, templates, guides, lists. I stared at the pages for a good two weeks before even attempting to start the program. It was overwhelming. GREAT info, but it’s a lot. So for you TL:DR people, here’s the highlights:

Really get to know the rules.

Like, be able to recite them in your sleep. Because don’t you know it, you’ll be having to explain the program to every. single. person. you. encounter. for. a month. once you tell them you’re doing a Whole30. Be an advocate. Learn the stuff. Knowledge is power. YEAH!

Sign Up for the Whole30 Daily.

This daily email was a lifesaver for me. My first Whole30 was 3 years ago and there weren’t nearly the amount of available resources that exist today. So this daily email was my program bible. They have great educational knowledge, support, recipes and resources and I loved seeing that daily reminder for accountability. It’s $15. There’s also an option for $5 for updated info if you’ve signed dup in the past.

Read the Book It Starts With Food

I did not do this before my first Whole30, and I completed it fine,. BUT, I wish I had. Reading the book is not necessary to have a successful Whole30, but for me, it gave me mental ammunition to understand the WHY and the HOW. Y’all, this program isn’t easy, and it’s probably 85% just mental stamina. So any help you can give your brain is a good thing. It also helps when that one @sshole contrarian will try to make you feel dumb for trying a program that has the potential to change your life. So get to know the science. It’s important.

Clean House.

Most of you will probably be on a solo effort here, meaning your partners and kiddos might be looking at you like you’re crazy right about now. Nevertheless, press on! My first 3 W30s were done in isolation and I’ve got some tips on making this work. As Fleetwood Mac so gracefully reminded us, You CAN Go Your Own Way. Even if you’re cheating on your husband who’s in the same band. So anything is possible, you guys. Here is a good list of things you can do to prep your kitchen. You guys are going to be in a love hate relationship for the next 30 days. You. With your Kitchen. Embrace it. It’s the heart of this program.

Organizational Tools

If you didn’t write it down and mark it off a to do list at least 3 times, did it ever really happen?! Probably not. I’m a big visual learner and despite my career in digital marketing, I still like the idea of having a physical plan I can touch, markup, and color on. Below are a few of my favorite ways to get my WRITE on during the Whole30.

Write Sh*t Down in a Planner 

I kinda feel lame for putting this on here because the Get Sh*t Done planner by Meraki Printing is SOLD OUT for 2017, BUT you can pre-order 2018 now. This is an incredible year long goal planner that was beautifully conceived and designed by my friend Amara. Get on the list for the 2018 planner, they WILL sell out. If you don’t have a GSD Meraki Planner, you can also try a bullet journal (here’s a nice example) or your favorite day planner. Point is, out it in writing. Make it look pretty. Things in print have the power to make you accountable.

Print out a Whole30 Calendar

I did this in May during my last Whole30 and IT GAVE ME LIFE. I printed this calendar off below and tacked it to the wall in my office and nothing gave me greater joy than marking those days off with a big black X.

Get you some good Tupperware or prep containers

The Whole30 is like 93% meal prep. Learn to love your Tupperware! I’m a big fan of the Joseph Joseph food containers, but for this round I’m trying out these reusable sectioned containers. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just make sure all your containers currently have a complete set of tops and bottoms because you know the Tupperware lid thief visits your cabinets at night. I have also started using glass containers that are microwave safe, if that’s your cup of tea.

Cooking Tips from the Unlikely Chef

As soon as my close friends an family get themselves of the floor from ROTFL until they’re red in the face, let me give you some of my favorite cooking tips. From the girl who used to store shoes in her oven. Who literally couldn’t boil an egg until about 10 years ago. Look, I’m not a natural in the kitchen. So if I can learn to make this program work, I promise you there’s hope for you.

 Shop Smarter, not Harder.

Says the person who used to have panic attacks at the grocery store. Get out of that once a week huge grocery run habit. It’s killing you. You’re overwhelmed at the thought of making ALL the lists. You buy a ton of sh*t you don’t need. Food (well, quality food like the kind you’re supposed to be choosing for the Whole30) goes bad in a few days. And inevitably you forget something you need to go back for.

I shop twice a week. Usually Sunday mornings, and Wednesday evenings. And I use “shop” loosely as I’ve rarely stepped foot into a grocery story since my neighborhood got cleared for the Instacart delivery area. Best. Day. Of. My. Adult. Life. Embrace food delivery services like Instacart and Shipt if they are available in your area. These apps allow you to create a template list for basics, things you need each week, and just add on new ingredients for recipes you’re making that week.

Meal Prep is LIFE PREP.

Friday night. Sunday Morning, Saturday during your kid’s nap. GET HER DONE. Biggest success factor for me during all 3 of my Whole30’s has been having a dedicated 2-3 hours a week to block out and prep food for the week. I’ll detail this in a future post, but typically for me this looks like this:

  • The second that my son goes down for a nap on Sundays I throw some tunes on and run around making my kitchen a chaotic mess.
  • Breakfast: I’ll pick a Breakfast item for the week and prep all but the egg component (I don’t like reheated egg.) This could look like making some sweet potato hash patties, roasting some sweet potatoes in the oven, or making some spinach and mushrooms so they’re all ready for me to fry and egg or two and throw it on top.
  • Lunch: Picking a Lunch item for the week (I’m notorious for eating the same thing each day of the 1 week on W30). Mostly this is some sort of chicken salad. I’ll add bell peppers to serve with and some veggies from the night before.
  • Protein: I’ll make several chicken breasts in my InstantPot, brown some ground beef, make turkey meat balls. You always wanna have protein on hand you can throw together with something.
  • Fat: I make guacamole like it’s going out of style. I put avocados on E’RYTHING.
  • I make this cauliflower rice from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy every single Sunday. It’s a great base for any protein and veggie combo.
  • If I can get enough protein made ahead of time, I’m usually only cooking veggies each night. I don’t like reheating most veggies so I’ll save that for cooking with each dinner.

Hot Plates

Learned this little hack from my all time favorite Paleo food blogger Melissa Joulwan from Well Fed. She changed my life during my first Whole30, by showing me that meals don’t have to be elaborate. Her concept of Hot Plates explains that all you need for a healthy Paleo meal is a protein, veggie, and a fat (in the form of a sauce). Throw them all together in tons of different combinations and BAM you’ve got a meal. Here’s a great recap on her site of the Method to her Madness. And Brilliance. Love her. To Paleo Pieces.

I’ll soon be sharing my favorite recipes and weekly meal plans, with details on how I make things work in my busy, sometimes masochistic life. If you’d like to join my August 2017 Whole30 Support group, you can sign up here. It’s free. And will be a WHOLE lotta fun. With plenty of puns.



  1. Jane Miller July 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    This is a great thing you are doing. I applaud you. Now that I’m old, that would be almost 63, I have to live like this all the time, not just sometimes. It’s a lifestyle to live well and long.
    I have a couple of things to add:
    Don’t fall into the thing I hear all the time:
    “If I buy fresh stuff, it just goes bad and is a waste of money.” Yes, true. It happens. But if you keep track of how much you spend on eating out, think about how much waste restaurants inherently have, it’s a win. And you’ll get better at it over time.
    Secondly, eventually, you’ll have to live like this all the time. Once you get used to it, it won’t be your special diet; it will be your life well lived. So you can enjoy your grandkids and the last part of your wonderful life in a healthful way, and as an example to your grandkids.

    1. Monica July 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks Jane! Yes the whole30 has transformed the way I cook and eat for the last 3 years. It’s definitely not a once in a while diet. I’ve been eating paleo for the last 2 years. And I hope that by introducing others to the Whole30 they will also see its benefits!

    2. Monica July 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Also I should clarify the 30 in Whole30 isn’t intended to mean only for 30 days, it’s an elimination period. There is a reintroduction period that maintains much of the principles taught in the Whole30, the program just loosens up to allow for moderation after the initial 30 days is completed. 🙂


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