10 tips to navigate Whole30 without crashing and burning

A health coach who has done Whole30 multiple times shares her best advice.

10 tips to navigate Whole30 without crashing and burning
Brooke Brennan/Instagram
January 4, 2024, 4:02 AM

The Whole30 program, based on a bestselling book, eliminates food groups like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes from participants' diets for a full 30 days.

With many people starting Whole30 in January, after the holidays are over, "Good Morning America" asked certified health coach Brooke Brennan to share her top tips.

Brennan, a mother of two from Florida, has done the Whole30 three times herself and supported countless clients, family and friends through it as well.

Here, Brennan shares her 10 tips for making it through all 30 days of the Whole30 program.

1. Focus on what you are adding, not eliminating

The food you eat fuels you to LIVE your life.

Focus on all the good things you are adding into your body during the 30 days, instead of the things you are taking out. The more good stuff you put in each day, the more good stuff you are going to get out each day.

2. Get to know the free resources available to you

There are incredible resources at your fingertips on the Whole30 website that make completing it easy to understand and prepare for. Here are some of my favorites:

Whole 30 Program RulesWhole 30 Shopping List for Omnivores<Whole 30 Shopping List for VegetariansWhole 30 Pantry Stocking List

3. Do Whole30 with a friend

Grab a buddy to do the Whole 30 with you.

The support, camaraderie and accountability can make the process so much more fun! But, if you can’t find someone who wants to join you, lean on social media. The Whole 30 Instagram page has a strong community of supportive men and women who are a wealth of knowledge during the process.

4. Plan ahead

Plan, plan and plan some more.

Eating on the Whole30 requires you to think about what you are going to be putting into your body at each meal -- which, we all should be doing every day on or off any specific diet. Write down what you want your meals to be each day of the week on the Whole30 and shop to that list.

If you plan to be successful, you absolutely will be. Don’t leave your food up to chance! See the end of this piece for a typical menu of what I eat in a day on the Whole30.

5. Focus on ingredients over calories

Shift your focus to the ingredient list on the foods you eat instead of the nutritional label.

Knowing exactly what ingredients are in the food you eat is so much more important than the number of calories the food contains.

Learn to be your own ingredient detective. Hidden sugars are in so many foods we eat. Here is a great resource on Whole 30 Sneaky Sugars to help you know what to look for.

6. Find Whole30 compliant products

We are so lucky because there are a number of wonderful companies that create Whole30 compliant plus delicious products that you can grab and use every day.

Having dressings, sauces and seasonings you can use help transform your favorite foods into brand new dishes from one day to the next.

7. Don't become a hermit

Go out to eat and be with your family and friends. Ordering out doesn’t have to be hard. You just need to know how to ask for what you want. The quicker you get out and about, the easier it will be.

Here are some ideas for things you can order at a restaurant:
- Order a salad (just hold all the non-compliant ingredients like cheese, croutons, tortilla strips, etc) and ask for extra avocado, veggies, egg and a grilled protein. Bring your own dressing or ask for oil and vinegar or lemon to dress it yourself.
- Order burgers without buns, tacos in lettuce shells with extra salsa and avocado (hold the cheese!) or when in doubt choose a protein and steamed veggies (or ask for veggies prepared in just olive oil).

8. Keep snacks on hand

Keep a snack in your bag just in case you need it. Getting "hangry" can lead to some interesting food choices, so if you feel hungry and it isn’t quite meal time, eat a snack.

Never ignore your hunger cues. That is your body’s way of telling you it needs some more gas in the tank. Our go-to snacks are hard boiled eggs, cold apples, berries, raw walnuts, leftover roasted veggies or almond butter (just look at the ingredient list and look to make sure the only ingredient is almonds!) with a banana.

9. Don’t skip the reintroduction

Whatever you do, don’t skip the reintroduction. The big magic happens in the 10 days following your Whole30, when you reintroduce the food groups one at a time to notice how your body responds.

What you learn during this 10-day process helps you to shape how you can eat to feel your best long-term. Here is the Whole 30 outline of the reintroduction phase.

10. Be confident

You can do anything for 30 days. Feel confident and empowered by your decision to complete the Whole30.

It can make you feel even better than you ever knew possible. I know we can’t wait to complete our fouth this month!

What I eat in a typical day on Whole30

7 a.m. Whole30 fiber and protein coffee.

9 - 10 a.m. Superfood nut, seed and fruit granola with unsweetened almond milk and fresh berries (Get the granola recipe HERE).

12 - 1 p.m. Buffalo tuna stuffed bell pepper (can sub hard-boiled egg or chicken for the tuna in this recipe) with a salad or roasted sweet potato.

3 - 4 p.m. Snack, if needed, of hard-boiled pasture-raised egg, a handful of raw walnuts or a small piece of fruit/berries.

6 - 7 p.m. Spinach, artichoke and leek “uncrusted” quiche with roasted dutch gold potatoes and avocado.

Spinach, artichoke and leek “uncrusted” quiche recipe

6 eggs
3/4 cup Whole30 compliant almond milk
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 large leek, sliced thin and cleaned
4 cups of baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup of artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons herbs de provence, divided
avocado oil or olive oil spray
salt and pepper, to taste
1-pound dutch gold potatoes, cleaned and halved
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly spray with avocado oil an oval oven-proof baking dish (you can use square, round or 9x11, just check it periodically to be sure it is done as cooking times will vary) and a baking sheet for the potatoes.

Prepare the potatoes by coating them in a little olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of the herbs de provence. Place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil.

Once melted, add the cleaned leek to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper.

While that cooks, whisk up the eggs, almond milk, remaining 1 teaspoon of herbs de provence and salt and pepper, to taste.

After about 5 minutes of the leek cooking, add in the chopped artichoke hearts.

Cook for 3-5 minutes longer and add in the chopped spinach.

Remove from heat as soon as the spinach is tender and just wilted.

Cool the skillet mixture for about 10 minutes before adding it to the egg mixture.

Lightly mix the two together and put in the baking dish.

Place the quiche and the potatoes in the oven.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked through. Be sure to flip the potatoes after 20 minutes to brown both sides.

Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serve the quiche and potatoes with half an avocado sprinkled with pink salt (and hot sauce if you like it spicy!)

Recipe reprinted with permission from Brooke Brennan Wellness LLC.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Jan. 3, 2019.

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