I am finishing up my Whole30 challenge and I have definitely learned a lot! For one, I can drink coffee black, and it is starting to taste good! Of course, I will be finding a dairy-free option to add a little creaminess to it once I’m done! Also, I can go 30 days without cheese! Goodness, before this challenge I was the dairy-queen for sure. I could easily pop cubes of cheese all day, because I thought I “needed” it. Well, that got replaced by almond butter and avocados.
So anyways, my biggest challenge was when the sweet cravings came on, or I saw others eating scrumptious desserts. Being sugar-free already, I’m used to watching others at the dessert counter, but I normally pack myself something baked and sweet too. I didn’t do any such thing this time. I found ways to conquer my cravings without cheating.
So here is my list of budget friendly foods (I call essentials) to keep on hand, and I hope they help you on your Whole30!
Avocados – (best price was at Aldi’s for just $.29 each) – they are the perfect complement to any meal offering you the healthy fats you need to feel great. I noticed a few days into the diet, that chicken and veggies were not satisfying my hunger. I needed more protein and healthy fats to do that. All the veggies were great, but I was feeling piunie.
Berries – (best price for blueberries was at Aldi’s for $1.29 per pint, strawberries 1/lb was at Sprouts for $.88) – I consumed quite a bit of blueberries and strawberries. Fruit is allowed, but in moderation. Berries naturally have a low glycemic index, which make them the perfect fruit during Whole30. I ate blueberries as my dessert, or I mixed them with a little almond butter and cinnamon.
Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes – (best price was $.50/lb at Foods Co. or Kroger) – I also noticed a few days in, when all the veggies were making me feel a little bloated (sorry, TMI) that if I just added a small potato to my meal, I felt so much better. Even eating out was made simple by ordering a baked potato with a piece of meat and veggies. For lunches, I ate a lot of roasted potatoes topped with chicken and salsa. Every Sunday, just roast a bunch of whole potatoes for the week. You can always have one on hand when you need it.
Carrots – (best price was at Aldi’s for $.69 per 2 pound bag) – Good old fashion carrots, not baby carrots my friends! I ate carrot chips just about everyday too. Just use a mandolin, the one listed below is my very favorite, and make your own delicious and easy snack. Carrot chips are a family favorite and so simple. Seriously, you must give them a try, you will love them!
Cucumbers – (best price was at Aldi’s for $.29 each) – Cucumbers were the perfect “chip” for me. I used them to dip in salsa, tuna salad, chicken salad, or I just ate them by themselves. I ate them pretty much every single day! Of course, it helps that I have them growing in my summer garden right now too!
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – (best price was at Albertsons for $1.29 per pound, and Zaycon Fresh 40/lb pick-up for FREE)
Each Sunday, I cooked up batches of chicken breasts to keep in the fridge. I am a grab and go kind of girl, especially at lunch time. I don’t want to think about lunch too much, just something quick and simple. Having potatoes and chicken in the fridge made my like so much easier. I highly recommend always having chicken cooked up and ready.
Wild-Caught Salmon Fillets – (best price was at Aldi’s, pack of 4 for only $3.97) – this is the best price on wild salmon I have ever seen. They are the perfect portion size, and super easy to prepare. I would quickly thaw one in luke warm water and saute it for just a few minutes. Then, I would make a quick red bell pepper and cucumber salsa to top it with. It was the easiest dinner and very tasty.
Prosciutto – (best price is at Aldi’s for $3.29) – Prosciutto only has two ingredients, pork and salt. So for lunch you can wrap prosciutto on avocado slices, dates, cucumbers, or even asparagus. It’s also great cut up and eaten on a salad. You can even crisp them up like bacon for a salty treat.
Eggs – (best price was at Aldi’s for $.99 per dozen) – Eggs naturally are pretty cheap and are a great source of protein. I ate eggs everyday for breakfast and sometimes for lunch. I LOVE jammy eggs! Jammy eggs are super easy to make. For the recipe, see below this picture. They are the perfect compliment to a salad because as the yolk runs out, it creates a dressing over your salad, YUM! Also, when making hard boiled eggs, you can use the yolk for making salad dressings instead of mayo, or to add to tuna salad with avocado.
HOW TO MAKE JAMMY EGGS
- Bring a pot of water to boiling (add a teaspoon of salt and a splash of vinegar to the water)
- Gently lower in eggs with a slotted spoon (no more than 4 at a time)
- Do not cover pot, set timer for 6 minutes and walk away
- When timer goes off, pull eggs out
- Rinse under cold water and gently pull the shell off
- Cut in half. Egg white should be firm and the yolk should be runny
Coleslaw Mix – (best price was at Aldi’s for $1.05) – Coleslaw mix does not always need to be eaten cold. Honestly, I only ate it cold a few times. Most of the time I would saute it with a little coconut aminos and eat it as a side dish with my fish or chicken. It’s delicious, easy, filling, and super good for you!
Coconut Aminos – (best price was at Trader Joe’s for $2.99) – Coconut aminos will help make delicious sauces on Whole30. It’s like soy sauce, and for some reason, making Asian dishes on Whole30 was just super easy! I also used coconut aminos to make salad dressings with a little dijon mustard and oil. Simply delicious and essential for this diet.
Almond Butter – (best price was at Costco for around $10 for a large jar) – Almond butter was another healthy fat and protein. I would get cravings for something sweet, and put a little almond butter inside of a date, and that was dessert. Super simple and satisfying. Almond butter was also used on celery sticks and apple slices. I couldn’t have done this challenge without the almond butter! It was definitely my favorite sidekick.
Larabars – (best price was at Albertsons/Vons for a 5 pack only $2.99) – These were definitely in my purse at all times! I would eat one on the go at church or running errands. Because of the cost, I tried to not eat them at home, but only when I needed one when I was out.
RX Bars – (best price was at Costco, pack of 12 for only $16.99) – now only half of these are Whole30 compliant, so save the other half when you’re done. You only get 2 flavors at Costco, Sea Salt Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chocolate. These were a real treat and something that I buy every single month when I do my Costco runs.
The key to having a successful Whole30 is not wasting money on Whole30 approved convenience foods!!! I cannot stress this enough, they simply ARE NOT NECESSARY!!!! You do not need Whole30 compliant: mayonnaise, coffee creamer, snacks, lunch meat, sausage, bacon, salad dressings, etc. You can simply make your own, or just simply give it up for 30 days. Seriously friends, it’s 30 days… not the rest of your life. I craved certain “healthy” foods that weren’t compliant, and it’s not a big deal to say no for 30 days.
All this to say, you can do it! It’s a great way to jump start your healthy lifestyle. There is a detox period, but I simply didn’t have it. I am super thankful for that! I just had to learn how to balance my meals better with healthy fats, and not eat them in access. Try not to focus on what you can not have, but focus on what you can have! There is a rainbow of food of out, go find it and enjoy it!
Here are pictures of meals I made often throughout the month
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Whole30 Sloppy Joes Recipe – click link here
Healthy BBQ Sauce (Whole30 Compliant Version) – click link here
Healthy Homemade Coffee Creamer (Whole30 Compliant) – click link here