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What I ate during the Whole30 challenge

What I ate during the Whole30 challenge
What I ate during the Whole30 challenge

Earlier this month, I attempted the Whole30 food challenge to refocus on eating whole unprocessed food and stop relying on protein powders and bars.

Full disclosure: I cheated several times throughout the challenge and had little motivation to adhere strictly to the diet. Read more about that here.

4 weeks later I am eating paleo and doing my best to limit my non-paleo protein bar, protein powder, and dark chocolate intake.

Curious about the Whole30 challenge and what you can and cannot eat during this 30 day food challenge? Read my previous post on Whole30 here

Truthfully, I feel so much better eating this way.

My energy is better, my digestion has significantly improved, my workouts feel stronger, and my running feels easier. I do have the occasional craving for Quest Bars, scones, and chocolate, but I have no desire to eat peanut butter, oatmeal, hummus, or lentil stew. My former vegetarian and vegan self is shocked!

When I started the Whole30 challenge, I was worried that the weekly meal prep involved would be very time-consuming. It certainly can be if you want to make a variety of complicated meals, homemade nut butter and milk, and spend a lot of money on fancy ingredients. I lasted this way for the first week and then my desire to spend hours in the kitchen waned. 

Because Whole30 forces you to eat whole unprocessed food, much of the food you eat doesn’t require any preparation. I soon learned that and now my weekly meal prep is minimal, albeit a little boring. I will share my meal prep process and essential Whole30 ingredients in a future post.

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Here are some of my favourite paleo and Whole30 recipes that I have discovered during this eating challenge and diet change.

Breakfast

More Ideas

Eggless Whole30 breakfast recipes; banana chia pudding; breakfast pizza quiche; easy homemade breakfast sausage; breakfast pumpkin custard; caramelized sweet potato apple hash

Lunch

  • Big salad of mixed greens, organic spinach, arugula, or baby kale with a variety of proteins, vegetables, toppings, and dressings: 
    • Tuna mashed with avocado or tahini and mustard
    • Homemade babaganoush
    • Roasted peppers and broccoli
    • Cilantro lime chicken thighs
    • Chicken cooked in the slow cooker with a jar of salsa
    • Homemade pesto
    • Homemade guacamole and salsa
    • Hard-boiled eggs mashed with avocado or tahini and mustard
    • Homemade beef, turkey, or chicken burgers
    • Sauerkraut
    • Roasted sweet potato, zucchini, or squash
    • Beets and broccoli finely chopped in the food processor
    • Zucchini, carrot, and sweet potato cut using the spiralizer
    • Coleslaw mix (faster than chopping or shredding the vegetables yourself)
    • Dash of coconut aminos, lemon or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or hot sauce for extra flavour

More Ideas

Beautifying crunchy detox salad; cilantro pesto chicken wraps; turkey avocado wraps; taco salad in a jar

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Dinner

More Ideas

Cauliflower chicken chowder; “cheesy” spaghetti squash pizza bake; paleo nachos; pine nut Italian meatloaf; 4-ingredient crockpot pineapple cashew chicken; coconut curry meatballs with sweet potato noodles

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Pre and Post Workout

  • Chia or hemp seed pudding: 2 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup coconut milk, shredded coconut or nut butter, cacao powder. Optional: mix in pureed sweet potato or squash; add cinnamon, allspice, and ginger; or replace chia seeds with hemp seeds.
  • Hard-boiled eggs mashed with avocado or tahini
  • Handful of raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts)
  • Fruit with nut or coconut butter (bananas and apples; sunflower seed, almond, and cashew butter)

More Ideas

Paleo avocado “toast” on sweet potato; no-bake salted chocolate fudge protein bars; crockpot butternut squash; banana almond chia pudding; simple and clean granola bars

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Snacks

  • Raw vegetables with 1-2 tbsp nut or seed butter (tahini is a favourite)
  • Handful of raw nuts, seeds, or trail mix
  • Bean-free hummus or homemade guacamole or avocado with raw vegetables
  • Larabar or Nakd Bar
  • Leftovers from lunch or dinner

What is the best recipe you have made lately?

18 Comments
  • May says:

    No lentils, peanut butter, rice, or oats! 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 :(. I will prob give it a shot when i am back in cayman but for now i have several bags of lentils, rice, and a huge jar of pb to go thru. After that i’ll go back to almond butter though the only reason i feel bad for buying it is b/c of how labour/water intensive it is for the crop and how bad it is for the environment

    • daniellemleroux@gmail.com says:

      You know I actually got sick of peanut butter during marathon training round 1 which is probably a sign I ate WAY too much of it! Is organic almond butter any better?

      I don’t buy much of it, because I find it is the most expensive. I have been sticking to cashew butter – Whole Foods sells one under their name brand for pretty cheap – tahini, and sunflower seed butter. I actually made my own sunflower seed butter the first week, but it wasn’t really that economical to do it again! Haha.

  • Those poached eggs look amazing! I gave up PB for a while and felt so great being off it, then started eating it again because hello, it’s peanut butter and amazing. I wish often I could drop it!

    As for best recipe… I am obsessed with braised cabbage and made a new recipe last night!

    • daniellemleroux@gmail.com says:

      I think the only reason I could drop PB was because I ate WAY too much before! And was basically sick of it. That sounds so tasty! I always forget to buy and cook cabbage.

  • Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful meal inspo with us! I’m with you: I feel so much better eating a mostly “Paleo” template, although I still eat PB & rice cakes daily. Plus some grain a few times a week – like rice, quinoa, millet or bread. … and some treats thrown in there. Without a doubt, sugar makes me feel horrible, so I try to stay away as much as possible and just focus on unprocessed/minimally processed food.

    • daniellemleroux@gmail.com says:

      You are most welcome! There are just so many good recipes out there, and I found doing the Whole30 challenge (well kind of! Haha) really helped me try new recipes and get out of a cooking rut.

      Yeah, I basically eat Paleo and then if I eat something not-Paleo… who really cares? Not I! I am interested to see how things go as I get further into marathon training…

  • GiGi Eats says:

    THANK YOU for proving to EVERYONE that the Whole 30 doesn’t have to feel restrictive and boring! These meals look PHENOMENAL!!! 🙂 I adore the lifestyle I live (pretty much whole 30 but if you can believe it, a bit more strict)… And I love telling people that despite not being able to eat a lot of whole food groups, I still manage to eat lots of tasty things!!

    • daniellemleroux@gmail.com says:

      Haha thanks so much for your comment! That is awesome you adhere to a “stricter” Whole30 diet! I’ll have to check out your food posts. I definitely don’t feel restrictive on the diet, but I think having eaten gluten and dairy free before starting, it wasn’t that huge a shift. But if anything, it’s really encouraged me to get creative in the kitchen and try out new recipes and get out of my cooking rut! Now I just crave sweet potatoes and almond butter 😉

  • Nikki says:

    Lovely post! Thanks for the awesome paleo ideas – can’t wait to try the oatless porridge and chia hempseed 🙂 Also gotta get some of that cashew butter <3

    • daniellemleroux@gmail.com says:

      Yay thanks for reading! We also need to try that paleo place in Chinatown. That oatless porridge has become my go to breakfast!

  • Yum! Some great new ideas for menu planning. Thanks for sharing this!

  • I am SOO curious to find out what it’s like to do a Whole30 but have never taken the steps. I can’t imagine not having protein powder post workout — but perhaps chia seed pudding would work, like you say! Love the meal ideas here, and thanks for the realistic viewpoint on it all. 🙂

    • daniellemleroux@gmail.com says:

      It’s worth experimenting! Even just to see how you feel, it’s definitely been a positive change overall for me! And helped me not rely on protein powder! Haha. I’ve found eggs, hemp seeds, chia seeds to be my go-to post-workout snacks, along with some sweet potato or squash. Always happy to keep it real!

  • […] In June 2016, I attempted the Whole30 challenge. Read about my experience here and find 30 days of meal ideas here. […]

  • Lauren says:

    Love your realistic point of view. I need to clean things up but limiting things makes me stressed out especially because I’m short on time. Also I LOVE Peanut butter. I tried a Whole30 and cheated a few times a couple years ago.

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