There’s nothing more comforting than a good warm bowl of potato soup. When we first started Whole30, potatoes weren’t allowed (they are now). At the time I was excited to discover this recipe for Baked (not) Potato Soup. While it was tasty, there is just nothing like real potatoes in my opinion. So when we were done with our Whole30, I tweaked the recipe and added even more veggies. As I was typing in this recipe I realized how different it is from the original recipe. This is daycare-kid approved! Yesterday, every kid finished their bowl and half asked for seconds. I’ll take that as a resounding “Yum!”…there’s no need to tell them they ate five different vegetables.
I will be the first to say that peanut butter is not considered paleo. But, there’s just nothing like good ol’ peanut butter…and yes, I’ve tried almond butter and sunflower butter. Just not the same.
One of my all-time favorite cookies is peanut butter cookies. So when my mom shared a different date based cookie, I decided to create my own healthier version of peanut butter cookies. And, they’ve passed the “non-paleo” friend test!
I prefer a really smooth texture for these cookies so I blend everything together really well in a food processor. I’m not a fan of finding chunks of dates in my cookies. Takes the fun of peanut butter cookies right out of it 😉
You can scoop out the dough just like any other cookies or our favorite method is to roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick, cut into rectangles and place on a cookie sheet. Because these are made with a flax egg (don’t panic…all this means is 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed) and 2.5 Tbsp water) it makes a delicious raw cookie “dough” that is safe to enjoy.
On a cold winter day, nothing says warm yumminess like Apple Crisp. This has always been a favorite dessert, well before our Paleo days. I’ve made a lot of different versions in my quest for a paleo version and this one has morphed out of a few different recipes. It is absolutely delicious! Even our non-paleo friends and family enjoyed this and I hope you do too!
One of my children has come down with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease…again. This thing is awful!! She is literally sitting on the couch with her tongue hanging out of her mouth because it hurts so bad. “It feels like a bee stung my tongue!” she cried this morning. Ugh! Breaks my heart!
HFM is something you just have to wait out. There’s no medication one can give to combat it (although I am pumping her with Vitamin C and slathering with Essential Oils). Making them comfortable is the main objective. The doctor recommended popsicles and ice cream. That doesn’t exactly sit well with me after the last year of discovering how to eat well and being conscious about what is put into our bodies. I have a hard time reconciling the idea of giving my kids free reign of sugar and other junk when they are sick, but limiting it when they are well.
Enter in Watermelon “Popsicles”. These are the best of both worlds! It’s like eating a popsicle but without all of the added sugar and dyes. I have my freezer loaded with these things and I have absolutely no problem giving them to her one after another if she asks.
It is so easy!
-Cut up your watermelon
-Put a stick in it (make sure the stick goes in enough to support the weight of the watermelon)
-Lay out one layer at a time on a pan with parchment paper
-Once frozen, stick them all into a freezer bag.
Next time, I’ll use popsicle sticks because the cake pop sticks just don’t hold the bigger ones well.
As a kid, I remember loving a big glass of 2% milk and flooding my cereal bowl with it. At some point, my mom decided to make the switch to skim milk. Ick! It tasted like water! None of us wanted to change.
Imagine our surprise when a week later my mom announced that we were all drinking skim milk and none of us had realized it. What?! How did that happen?! My mom shared that she had been slowly adding skim milk to our 2% milk until that was all we were drinking. What can I say…she’s one smart lady!
I learned early in my marriage that if my husband knew there was a vegetable in the meal or something he didn’t like, he wouldn’t eat it. I once made a meatloaf and he had four helpings before I happened to mention it contained stuffing (which he hates). I’m dead serious…the man refused another bite. He had FOUR helpings before he found out. So imagine the reaction when he found out his favorite soup had split peas in it. I soon banned him from the kitchen while I was cooking dinner and began figuring out ways to hide the veggies.
This was pre-paleo days, so veggies were a sporadic part of our diet at best. When we started Whole30, my kids [and husband] were not a fan of all the new vegetables on their plates. So once again, I started stepping up my mom ninja skills, channeling my mom’s tactic and began figuring out more ways to get veggies into our meal without altering the taste.
Here are 5 Everyday Small Things I’ve discovered to increase veggies in a meal:
1. Add shredded/pureed carrots to taco meat.
2. Add diced mushrooms into hamburgers or meatloaf.
3. In a blender, blend together any veggies you have with eggs. Scramble. Top with cheese if that is a part of your diet. I typically have peppers, squash, mushrooms and/or carrots on hand.
4. Add chopped spinach to meat sauces.
5. Add broccoli, carrots and/or spinach to a fruit smoothie.
I feel like it’s worth mentioning that if asked, I never lie and say there aren’t vegetables in the meal. It’s important to me that my kids learn to at least try foods they don’t necessarily enjoy. If my husband asks, I typically say “You don’t want to know.” which satisfies his curiosity. However I am rarely asked because they blend right in and honestly, my family has become greater veggie lovers with our diet change. My kids have no idea that carrots don’t normally end up in taco meat 😉
Does your family enjoy vegetables? Do you have any ways that you increase veggie or fruits in a meal without a family uprising? Share your tips in the comments below!
Nothing is worse than deciding to start a new healthy eating plan, and then 5:30 pm rolls around and you start looking through your pantry thinking “What am I going to cook for dinner!?” Pizza delivery never sounded so good.
Planning ahead can be the best tool you utilize to be successful and budget friendly during Whole30.
This is how I approach meal planning.
On Sunday afternoons, I sit down with my Whole 30 Meal Planning Printables. You can download them here:
I begin looking through my favorite Whole30 Resources. I not only have to feed my family of 4, I also have a home daycare in which I have to buy and prepare food for. So this is my thought process I typically go through…
I begin with a meat or main dish (i.e. soup)
Choose vegetables that will compliment the meat or dish prepared (quick tip: frozen veggies are much more budget friendly)
Add fruit on occasion
Snacks aren’t really allowed on Whole30, but I always find it good to have bananas or nuts around for those moments I just need something. Also, I allow my kids to have a snack or two during the day.
Whole30 is a complete mind shift. As you are planning out your meals, I would not suggest recreating your favorite recipes. It will not be the same and you will be disappointed. Try new recipes! Try new flavors! It’s amazing how much more flavor food has when you create it yourself and season it on your own. (So taste your food as you cook it!)
As you begin to shop, read labels. READ LABELS! Did I mention reading labels? You will be amazed at what products have sugar in them. I have had the hardest time finding tomato sauce made without sugar and haven’t quite mastered making my own.
Shopping for Whole30 can certainly be an overwhelming experience. But if you walk in prepared with a list of ingredients, you don’t have to think too much in the store. My first shopping trip, I was prepared with a list but I was still the lady in the aisle crying over this change and questioning my sanity and how I was going to feed my family (I can be a little dramatic). But it soon became second hand.
Change is hard. Few people embrace it with excitement. But if you go in prepared or at least with tools under your belt, change can be navigated more easily.
So what are you planning for dinner? Have you ever planned ahead what your family will eat?
Meal Planning is key for a successful Whole30 (let’s be honest… my life in general). Not doing Whole30 or eat Paleo regularly? You can still use these websites as springboards. Can you tolerate rice? Add rice! Can’t part from dairy? Add cheese! (Side note, cheese is the one thing I did not want to give up and thought for sure I would go back to after our first Whole30. I was surprised to find I don’t miss it at all!)
Here are some of my favorite links for Whole30/Paleo Recipe Websites:
So, you’ve decided to do a Whole30…what now? One of the hardest parts of Whole30 is getting into a new mindset of food and preparation. It can be overwhelming looking at new ingredients and recipes. And let’s be honest, I’ve never done as many dishes as I do on Whole30. Which recipes are truly worth the effort and time? Here is a round up of the McClane Family Favorites:
You can also check out more Whole30 Recipes we’ve tried on my Pinterest board.
For those who personally know us, it’s no surprise when I share that we have been on a health journey this past year that began with a Whole30 challenge in March 2014. For those unfamiliar, for 30 days we removed all processed foods, sugars, dairy, grains and legumes. Basically, we ate meat, vegetables, some fruit and spices (no, sugar is not a spice). For 30 days. I’ve never washed so many dishes! We actually ended up going something like 67 days before adding anything in. This picture was before and after our first Whole30. We were both 10 pounds lighter and felt so much better!
Desperate Times Call for Drastic Measures That’s how that saying goes, right? No? Well, it’s exactly what happened for us. I have struggled with weight issues since I was a freshman in high school…actually, let’s be honest, it was food issues. Food has been an emotional bandaid I’ve used for a long time.
So why Whole30? Fall 2013, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is the latest in a long line of women in my family who’ve had cancer. In all probability, from where I sit, it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ I have to personally fight this battle. In all of our research, we started seeing how much food plays a role in cancers and other health issues (here’s just one of the fascinating articles). So I began thinking of changing up some of my habits. Then, last January, Matt said to me “I just feel like I need to do something drastic.” Matt had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during our first year of marriage, so it has felt like we’ve been on a healthy roller coaster for the last 7 years.
I happened to see a friend post about Whole30 and my curiosity was piqued. So, I started researching it and read the book, “It Starts With Food.” (affiliate link) This book is fascinating and really shares the science behind what food does to our bodies. It was all I needed to be hooked! So I approached Matt about it and I was honestly surprised when he agreed. So there was no turning back now. Ha!
I dug in and started researching Whole30 recipes and began planning out our first week. It didn’t seem too difficult on paper. But in full disclosure, the actual shopping sent me into shock. I was the woman crying in the aisle, questioning my sanity and how I was going to feed my family for the next 30 days. Do you have any idea how many things have sugar in it?! If you don’t, start looking at your labels. Seriously. Eye opening! And depressing if you’re me on your first Whole30 shopping trip.
I experienced quite the sticker shock when I checked out. Whole foods are not cheaper, especially if you don’t know standard pricing or which produce products are budget friendly. I definitely spend more in a month at the grocery store. However, we don’t drink Starbucks anymore (and that was a daily addiction) and we eat out far less. So it’s probably a wash when it’s all said and done.
Those 30 days were difficult! I experienced flu like symptoms on days 16 and 17. 16 and 17! Talk about dismay! I was more than halfway through and STILL feeling horrible. But by day 18 and 19 I felt awesome! I was sleeping so well, I began weaning off my sleep meds.
Overall, we made it 67 days and these were some of the awesome (mostly non-scale) benefits I experienced:
Lost 10 lbs in first 30 days (as of today I’ve lost 30)
Psoriasis / dandruff – gone!
Awesome sleep / Lowered sleep meds
Digestive Issues – gone!
Mood swings stabilized
Toe infection (that I’ve had off and on since jr high) – gone!
Migraines – gone!
We began reintroducing foods and my body really did not handle anything very well, especially dairy! I began to notice that chocolate gave me anxiety attacks. Bread makes my psoriasis return. And dairy upsets my stomach. Honestly, I don’t miss dairy at all. I didn’t miss bread until I started making homemade loaves last month for my daycare kids and ate a bite…then a few slices. Man is it good!
Ultimately, I appreciate the knowledge more than anything. I make a conscious choice to eat something, knowing what the consequences will be. We make much more informed eating decisions now and have chosen to stick as close to Paleo (meats, veggies, fruits, honey and maple syrup) as we can. There are times (like the last month) that we don’t do a great job, but we definitely feel the effects and know exactly why we don’t feel well.
All in all, I am very grateful for our Whole30 journey!