Food & Nutrition

The Ultimate Whole30 Shopping List

Your aisle-by-aisle guide to what you can eat while you’re trying out this popular but restrictive diet plan

What is Whole30?

Grocery StoreExtarz/Shutterstock

Even if you’re not completely clear on what Whole30 is, you’ve probably heard someone discuss it. This 30-day detox makes certain food groups off-limits, with the goal of resetting your energy and health and kick-starting your weight loss. The jury is still out on exactly how healthy and sustainable this diet is. Ravoof Khan, MBBS, a general practitioner who treats patients battling obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, told Reader’s Digest that Whole30 may be effective in the short term in achieving modest weight loss. He also likes that dieters don’t have to restrict or count calories, which can be difficult for some people. Read the story of one woman who managed to lose 36 pounds on Whole30.

If you’re gung ho about giving it a try, you’re going to need to know how to navigate the grocery store with the plan’s guidelines in mind. Because the Whole30 restricts not only the usual culprits like alcohol and added sugar but also dairy, grains, and legumes, it can be tricky to piece together three meals a day from the remaining food groups. This Whole30 shopping list will help you figure out what you should eat and what to avoid—no calorie counting required. Check out these 14 pros and cons of Whole30 before you start it.

Protein

Raw chicken fillets close-up / partially out of focus, focus on the center of the image Fixazh/Shutterstock

Protein is a staple of your Whole30 shopping list because of its ability to keep you satiated for long periods of time. Because you’re severely cutting back on carbs, your body’s primary energy source, lean sources of protein are essential to keep your energy up. The plan creators recommend eating organic, pastured, and grass-fed meat like poultry, beef, and pork and wild-caught seafood, and avoiding processed meats. Eggs are also a good option. Read more about what Whole30 is all about.

Produce

FruitJoshua Resnick/Shutterstock

Most diets emphasize fruits and veggies, and the Whole30 is no exception. In fact, it’s easier to list what’s not allowed on the plan than what is. Corn, peas, and lima beans are off-limits, but anything else in the produce aisle—including any kind of fruit—is fine. That includes starches like potatoes and sweet potatoes, although the plan encourages you to eat all produce in its most natural and least processed state (e.g., baked potatoes over fries or chips). Also, while legumes are considered no-nos, green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed. Find out everything you can—and can’t—eat on Whole30.

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