The Whole30 process is wild, to put it mild. Throw in another adult and two children who are NOT doing the program and meal time can get tricky… if you let it Here are my thoughts and tips on successfully completing Whole30 while your family eats normally.
1. Join in. If your family is willing to jump on the journey, let them! I have a friend who did the Whole30 with his entire family… wife and 3 children ages 5-9. What they experienced together was incredible. They were also at a point with some health issues for their kids. It was in the children’s best interest to address their diet and see if that helped before going down a deeper more invasive medical road. By the end of Whole30, he told me their kids wanted to continue eating the Whole30 way and most of the medical concerns were healing. Inspiring!
2. Explain. If your family is not joining you, explain what you are doing and why, mostly to your significant other. They can’t support you if they don’t understand you. Although Justin wasn’t doing Whole30, he was incredibly supportive. He ate Whole30 along with me at dinner and make “Whole30 approved” smoothies for me in the morning. Take a deep breath if anyone gets defensive along the way or criticizes these 30 days. Until you go through the process, you can’t fully grasp the range of feelings and emotions (and sometimes hanger!) that accompanies you.
3. Prepare. If you are going to be making something different for your children, keep it very similar. Perhaps add brown rice or whole wheat pasta to their dinner, but don’t make a completely different meal, if possible. There is no sense in adding that much work to your plate. For example, I made meatballs several times. I ate the sauce and meatballs with my vegetables, but I made whole wheat pasta for the kids. They had the same meatballs, the same sauce and the same veggies.
4. Breakfast. Our kids ate their usual for breakfast (oatmeal is a crowd favorite). I made their oatmeal with the standard Wise fixin’s (coconut flakes, chia seeds, honey, almond butter) and then made my breakfast. It wasn’t ideal, but you just make it work, especially due to Finn’s food allergies, he can’t eat a breakfast of just scrambled eggs. My breakfast usually consisted of eggs and/or sausage and veggies or a smoothie. (Favorite Whole30 recipes coming in a future post.)
5. Lunch. Our kids ate their usual lunches; however, I found myself making less and less “super butter” (almond butter) and jelly sandwiches. In fact, it took us 3 weeks to get through a loaf of bread where between the 4 of us, it was usually gone in 5 days. I was amazed by this! Like breakfast, I found myself eating after the kids were fed and cleaned up which I will change next time. It will plan better for lunches in the future because it’s an easy meal (for me) to snack and eat the kids left overs as opposed to focusing on quality protein and veggies.
6. Dinner. Dinner was Whole30. There was meat and a vegetable and sometimes fruit for the kids. Occasionally I made some noodles for the kids (see #3) and just ate the meat, but they never asked for noodles or rice. Not once. I was really intrigued by this.
7. Variety. Variety is going to be key for keeping your family engaged and not wanting to tear your eyes out! I think doing Whole30 in May was ideal as it’s prime grilling weather and there aren’t too many potluck/BBQs yet to tempt you. I was surprised that since I’ve completed Whole30, my kids have been far more open to different foods. Even if they don’t eat everything, they will try new things they wouldn’t have prior. Finn now asks for sausage in the morning which I’m thrilled with since it gives us some variety. He’s pretty limited on breakfast foods with his allergies. Both of the kids have ended their kale chip boycott and are back to shoveling them in. They also were very open to trying Larabars. Evie loved them and Finn was so-so. We are making homemade ones this weekend. This hands-on work always seems to draw Finn into eating something
8. Grace. No question, give yourself grace when it’s overwhelming. It’s hard enough to go about this process of creating meals for yourself, but throw others into the mix, and it can be a lot. Do what you can and take a deep breath when necessary!
What else are you curious about when it comes to Whole30?