Starting the Whole30 was a little overwhelming because the website gives so many details which made my husband and I think we needed to go to the most expensive grocery store in town (Whole Foods & Central Market) to get all the food that we were going to be "allowed" to eat. After the second week, our budget suggested we try our more economical grocery stores, and our recipes were starting to ask for some things that we knew we wanted to eat, but we wanted to figure out how to do it faster! Tyler's schedule at school was picking up and I am in the process of looking for a nanny for when I go back to work + trying to be more social with the babe, so we needed to make some changes. Here's some quick tips to make your Whole30 experience much more economical and quicker from a meal prepping standpoint:
1. Don't DIY on the condiments - you know we are big DIY folks; but egg-less mayo is HARD to make. Just buy the pre-made stuff from Thrive Market on Amazon. You'll save time and money. AND you get delicious dressings to dip your veggies in, put on your salads, and cook all your meats and eggs with.
MEAL PREP RECIPE TIP: Put some of the mayo or 1 tbsp white wine vinegar+1 tbsp oil olive + 1 tbsp dijon mustard in a small tupperware as a delicious, quick dressing for your salads
2. Get a quality meat thermometer - we are big chicken people. We eat eggs and chicken probably everyday; so a big goal for us was to try to make and find recipes we liked using different meats. We tried so many - scallops, ahi tuna, pork chops, different types of steak and roasts, turkey breast, and more. This meat thermometer saved us because the automatic, quick reads of the temperature meant we could spend less time worrying about if the meat was done and more enjoying it and getting other errands complete.
3. Buy fresh veggies - I know you save money by buying frozen veggies. I love me some frozen microwaveable broccoli or brussels sprouts. But they do not taste good when frozen and defrosted, the next day, or even later in the week --the main goal of meal prepping. They get soggy. Try getting fresh veggies like fresh broccoli, onions, carrots, celery and more; you'd be surprised how much longer it lasts and how much cheaper it is. Check out my last blog post re: Whole30 for details on how to store them for optimal freshness
MEAL PREP RECIPE TIP: Don't have time to go to the store? Fill a baking sheet with all of your favorite left-over fresh veggies; sprinkle with some salt + pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Boil 8 eggs. Make the dressing I recommended above. Mix 1/4 of the tray of veggies with 2 hard boiled eggs, and a handful of nuts in a tupperware. Put a smaller tupperware of dressing in the bigger one. BOOM! You have 4 SUPER quick meals for the week!
4. Get boneless meat if you can - this is a game changer. Meat with the bone usually weighs more so when you're at the grocery store and know your recipes call for 6oz of pork chop, you end up paying for the bone AND getting less meat. Save yourself the time of cutting off the fat, bone, and getting more nutrients by getting boneless meat - it's a win win.
5. Don't assume the expensive health stores are the only place to shop - we spent twice our grocery budget the first week at Whole Foods and Central Market. I love these stores, but my grocery bill, with the added fresh produce and new replacements for butter, mayo, pam, etc, did not. We ended up finding almost everything we needed at Target, HEB, and Walmart...and Amazon! And we ended up spending almost half the price at those stores.
6. Target has the bacon - By week 4 we really wanted bacon. We told ourselves we wouldn't eat sausage or bacon to really try to cut down on processed food, but eventually we realized we needed something other than eggs for breakfast. And guess what? TARGET AND HEB HAVE Whole30 APPROVED BACON! You don't have to go to a special store to find it!!! You are welcome.
Have a great meal preppin' week, y'all!