Whole30 Rules, Foods, & Shopping List

Whole30 Rules, Foods, & Shopping List

You’ve very likely heard of the Whole30 eating plan but maybe you’ve never participated in it, or you’ve forgotten some of the Whole30 rules and need a crash course.

Look no further. We’ve got you covered – everything from the rules to your Whole30 food list and shopping tips galore!

What is Whole30?

Created by Certified Sports Nutritionists, Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig, Whole30 is a 30-day clean eating program designed to reset your body and improve your overall health. 

With an emphasis on eliminating certain food groups, the main goal of Whole30 is to help participants identify and address any food sensitivities or dependencies, and create a happier and healthier relationship with food.

But, how exactly?

What are the Whole30 rules?

Some people have a bewildered, “You want me to do WHAT?!?” reaction when they’re first told what they can eat on Whole30 and what’s off limits, so take a deep breath and remember:

Whole30 doesn’t have to be a permanent lifestyle shift in order to be hugely beneficial. In fact, it’s intentionally designed as a short-term reset rather than a long-term diet.

Once the 30 days are over, you can gradually reintroduce the eliminated foods one at a time, which will highlight how each food group affects your body so you can make informed choices moving forward.

Whole30 Rule #1: Eliminate alcohol, grains, dairy, and more!

For 30 days, say goodbye to grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts), dairy products, added sugars (including artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup), alcohol, and any processed foods or additives.

The goal of this elimination diet is to give your body a chance to heal, reduce inflammation, and balance your hormones. By eliminating these common digestive irritants, many people report benefits like increased energy levels, better sleep, improved digestion, and fewer or less intense cravings.

Whole30 Rule #2: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods 

Every Whole30 food list revolves around fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds. 

>> Did you notice the phrase “high-quality meat” there? That needs a special callout…

The typical grocery store meat that comes from high-volume meat operations (often referred to as feedlots or CAFOs, which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) can’t be defined as high-quality meat.

Explore our Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Beef Guide for the full explanation. 

The short answer is that to really get the most out of your Whole30 experience, you should purchase from transparent producers who verify their meat is one or all of the following:

  • Grass-fed AND grass-finished (not just grass-fed alone)
  • Pasture-raised
  • Regeneratively-raised
  • Forested 

Whole30 Rule #3: Read labels carefully 

If you’re adhering to Rule #2, you’ll mostly be purchasing whole foods that don’t come with labels to read at all. 

But if you wind up purchasing anything packaged, you’ve got to commit to being an extra-vigilant shopper who meticulously scrutinizes labels and ingredient lists. 

Careful label reviewing is the only way to ensure that you avoid the forbidden ingredients mentioned in Rule #1, including hidden sugars and additives.

Whole30 Rule #4: Skip the scale and measurements

The Whole30 program discourages weighing yourself or taking body measurements during the 30-day period. This might feel like sweet relief for some, while others might experience more stress or worry because of this rule.

Try to view this as an opportunity to focus on the non-scale victories, like having more energy, sleeping well through the night, and actively cultivating a more nourishing relationship with food.

Whole30 Rule #5: Avoid recreating unhealthy alternatives

If there’s a food item you might describe as “It’s a healthy version of [fill in the blank]” that food is more than likely off limits when you’re doing a Whole30.

Even if someone swears they’ve got the most delicious Whole-30 compliant recipe for ice cream, French fries, or pizza crust, the program discourages participants from recreating baked goods, treats, or junk foods even if they're made with compliant ingredients. 

The goal isn’t to upgrade your old food habits, but to replenish them entirely and train your tastebuds to appreciate wholesome, unprocessed foods.

What are the Whole30 foods?

While the lists below are definitely not exhaustive, this gives you a good idea of the most commonly eaten Whole30 foods in these categories:

Meat/Protein

  • Grass-fed beef (but don’t miss “Is Grass-Fed Beef Better?” to learn exactly how to identify the highest quality beef)
  • Pasture-raised chicken
  • Pasture-raised pork
  • Wild-caught fish (salmon, tuna, or cod)
  • Shellfish (shrimp, mussels, or crab)
  • Eggs (organic and free-range)

Vegetables

  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, and lettuce)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts)
  • Root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets)
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus

Fruits

  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and grapefruits)
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Melons (watermelon and cantaloupe)
  • Avocados

Healthy Fats

  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • Coconut oil
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Nut butters (with no added sugar or additives)
  • Coconut milk (full-fat and without additives)

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Beverages

  • Water
  • Herbal tea (without added sugars or artificial flavors)
  • Black coffee (without sweeteners or additives)
  • Sparkling water (without added sugars or artificial flavors)
  • Coconut water (without additives)

What should be on your Whole30 shopping list? 

The items we listed above would be an excellent Whole30 shopping list, but here’s a more condensed table view that might make things even easier for you.

Meat/Protein

Vegetables

Fruits

Healthy Fats

Nuts & Seeds

Beverages

Grass-fed and finished beef

Spinach

Strawberries

Avocado oil

Almonds

Water

Pasture-raised chicken

Kale

Blueberries

Extra virgin olive oil

Cashews

Sparkling water

Pasture-raised pork

Broccoli

Apples

Coconut oil

Walnuts

Coconut water 

Wild-caught salmon filets

Green beans

Oranges

Ghee

Macadamia nuts

Herbal tea

Shrimp 

Sweet potatoes



Bananas



Nut butters 

(no added sugar or additives)

Sunflower seeds

Black coffee

Eggs (organic and pasture-raised)

Carrots

Pineapple

Coconut milk (full-fat and no additives)

Pumpkin seeds


EXTRA TIP! 

Sauces and condiments are an often-overlooked area that you should pay extra attention to. The benefits of your Whole30 experience can be significantly reduced if you’re unknowingly consuming condiments and sauces full of sugar, preservatives, and other processed ingredients.

To keep your sauce and condiment situation on track, make sure you add the following to your Whole30 shopping list:

  • Herbs and spices (such as basil, oregano, cinnamon, and turmeric)
  • Vinegar (including apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar)
  • Coconut aminos (an alternative to soy sauce)
  • Mustard (watch out for added sugars)
  • Whole30-approved condiments (like salsa, hot sauce, and compliant mayonnaise)

Whole30 recipes

As a collection of regenerative farmers who provide 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, as well as pasture-raised chicken and pork, all Grass Roots meat is Whole30 compliant. 

Here are three Whole30-approved recipes we love, and hope you will, too.

Carne Asada Bowl — Whole30, AIP-friendly

Carne Asada Bowl

This all-in-one bowl delivers vibrant Latin flavors with the health-conscious principles of the Whole30 and AIP diets. Creamy avocado and the perfect mix of citruses make this a mouthwatering dish you’ll want to enjoy again and again.

P.S. If you’re not yet familiar with bavette steak, you’re in for a treat! This recipe is a perfect introduction to this juicy and tender cut of grass-fed and grass-finished beef.

    Orange Chicken with Broccoli Rice

    This recipe does it all. Paleo-friendly. Keto-friendly. AIP-friendly. And of course, it’s also a Whole30 meal. Perfectly crisped pasture-raised chicken is generously coated in our healthy orange sauce and served over a fluffy bed of broccoli rice. 

    If Chinese takeout is a habit you’re wanting to break, this recipe will absolutely help you accomplish that.

    Lemon Garlic Chicken Liver and Onions

    Chicken liver is a rich source of heme iron, making it a wise choice for the millions of Americans who are deficient in iron. 

    Not your grandma’s liver and onions, this recipe marries crisp white wine, bright lemons, and an ample sprinkling of garlic and oregano to deliver a flavor profile that matches the nutrient density that only organ meats can deliver. Give it a try!

     

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