The idea of cutting dairy, sugar, grains, beans, alcohol, and processed goods from your diet can feel a bit… suffocating. Granted, this a big change from how most of us regularly eat, but I’m often surprised to find how freeing the Whole30 process feels. Anyone who has struggled to come up with a weekly meal plan or who has stressed over what the heck to cook for dinner tonight will likely appreciate these feelings of relief. When you drastically limit the number of options, it makes the decision process simpler. It’s like trying to select an outfit from a closet packed to the brim with hundreds of pieces versus picking an outfit from one of those cool, minimalist capsule wardrobes. When you keep a closet stocked with only versatile pieces you love and that actually fit, picking an outfit is a cinch.
I spent the NYE weekend eating my weight in bagels and cheese and talking to friends about Whole30, and I realized one of the biggest Whole30 concerns was WHAT to cook. To return to my wardrobe analogy, it’s as if everyone really wants a capsule wardrobe (I do, I do!), but they’re just not sure what pieces (recipes) make the the cut.
Good news. This January I’ll be sharing some ideas for weekly menus, in an effort to get those Whole30 juices flowing. Rather than a restrictive, all-inclusive 7-day meal plan, these menu ideas are meant to serve as a jumping off point.
In my last post, I laid out some of the differences between regular Whole30 and Vegetarian Whole30, including all the good stuff Vegetarians get to swap in place of meat. No matter what type of Whole30 you do, planning is crucial, and batch cooking over the weekends will make life much easier. Things get a little more complicated when you have a variety of eaters in one house. Say, for example, you’ve got a meat-eater and a vegetarian. Vegetables and fats can be shared by all, but some things that are OK for Veg Whole30 (beans, tofu, tempeh, etc.) are not allowed for regular Whole30.
In my house, we have a meat-eater who likes to regularly eat meat-free and a part-time pescetarian who prefers a veg-based diet with occasional seafood (1-3 meals per week). So, our version of Whole30 is a blended one: Veg Whole30 plus occasional seafood (meat for the carnivore).
Our Week One Menu:
- Weekday Breakfast: lentils + eggs + kale (my “basic breakfast”–see below)
- Weekend: Tomato Frittata (omit Parmesan), topped with simple arugula salad, and roasted potatoes
- Mixed green salads with Sherry Vinaigrette
- Curried chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes
- Dinner leftovers
- Bananas or apples with almond butter
- Chia Pudding (minus oats)
- Sliced peppers or veggie what-have-yous
Four ideas to try this week. The Indian dishes are the most time-consuming, but the Chana Masala can be made ahead of time, if desired. I purposely left Fri-Sun unplanned. Maybe you grab a meal at a restaurant, maybe you play around in the kitchen and try more time-consuming recipes, maybe you make tostones and burgers (or tempeh) with guacamole.
- Crockpot Detox Lentil Soup and roasted broccoli
- Burrito Bowls with Spicy Tofu Crumbles (or pre-prepared protein of choice) + black beans + avocado + sautéed peppers and onions + chipotle aioli drizzle
- Thai Red Curry with Vegetables (add shrimp or tempeh, if desired)
- Chana Masala & Aloo Gobi Mutter (omit asafetida)
Sunday Batch Cook:
The intent of the batch cook is to make the work week as simple as possible. Items are listed in the order you’ll need them during the week, so start at the top and work your way down. No worries if you don’t get to everything on the list!
- 1 bag green lentils, cooked according to package instructions
- Beans: soak overnight, rinse, then cook according to package instructions. Extra beans can be frozen, so cook the whole darn bag.
- 1 pound chick peas
- 1 pound black beans
- Homemade mayo (related: Things you can do with Homemade Mayo & Ghee)
- Use some of this mayo to make the chipotle drizzle for burrito bowls
- Wash and chop veg for lunch salads
- Sherry Vinaigrette
- Curried chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes
- Crockpot Detox Lentil Soup
- Spicy Tofu Crumbles (omit mirin, tamari in place of soy sauce) (and/or Pork Carnitas for carnivores)
Basic breakfast for one:
- 1-2 cups hearty greens (kale, arugula, etc.)
- 1/2 cup cooked green lentils
- 2 eggs
Instructions: Spray a nonstick skillet with oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add greens, season with S&P. Once the greens begin to soften, add the lentils, then scoot the greens and lentils to one side of the skillet. Add the eggs, season with S&P. Throw a splash of water on the eggs and the lentils (steam action helps the eggs cook), then cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the eggs are done to your liking.
This is my standard go-to healthy breakfast (based on Tim Ferris’s slow carb diet). I season everything with salt and pepper and a splash of hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot is Whole30 compliant). If you get bored with this breakfast, you can toss in extra veggies or leftovers from dinner. Indian food makes a great reheated breakfast.