My husband and I are currently in the middle of a Zero Waste Whole 30. We’re trying to complete the challenge without producing very much landfill or food waste.
First check out my tips on how to shop for a Whole 30, zero waste style.
Once you figure out which stores in your area will allow you to bring your own bags and containers, you can figure out what you can make from the ingredients you can buy.
Here is a round up of our go-to recipes for meals and emergency food. “Emergency food” is Whole 30-compliant foods that you keep in your car/bag for those rare occasions when you get really hungry but can’t get to a full meal. Modify to fit what foods – meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits – you can easily get at local stores. Shop in-season, organic produce if you can.
Meal planning and food prep are keys to success, but with a grab-bag of easy recipes that are easily modified based on what I have on hand is how I do things most days. If you like the security of planning, go for it. But if the thought of planning out every detail of every meal scares you, it’s still possible to complete a successful Whole 30!
Add a side of whatever veggies you have on hand from your latest trip to the farmers market or from your CSA. We typically roast veggies (425 degree F oven sprinkled with oil and spices), shred or julienne them raw and add dressing for a light salad, steam them, or just throw them into whatever we’re making. There are no rules except that more vegetables is better. This might be the only time I advocate for MORE IS BETTER. 🙂
There are zillions of Whole 30 compliant casseroles out there. Even if you have a casserole you love but it has a few ingredients that aren’t Whole 30, try modifying it. One of our favorite casseroles calls for cheese but we omit it and it still tastes great. In fact, we make it at least once a week because the enchilada sauce (we use bone broth!) is delicious.
Find a basic recipe that you like and modify it to use up whatever you have on hand. We use our trusty Lodge cast iron pan* (and I just saw this one that has dividers* built in – clever!) and typically add a base of shredded or cubed sweet potatoes, onions, a sh*t ton of beaten eggs, maybe a dash of coconut or nut milk for creaminess, veggies (broccoli, carrots and zucchini are favorites), meat (literally anything works – leftover shredded chicken, ground beef, sausage…) and spices. Salt, pepper, paprika, oregano are current favorites but you can add chili powder for some spiciness, cinnamon and nutmeg, whatever you like. Cook the potato and onions on the stove top then add the eggs and other ingredients. Shove the whole pan in a 350 degree F oven for an hour and you’re good to go. Slice it up for dinner, breakfast or whenever you need a perfect slice of Whole 30 compliant goodness. Add more veggies on the side for good measure.
- Tuna Cakes
This recipe for Spicy Tuna Cakes by Nom Nom Paleo is a staple. We take out the jalapenos because my toddler doesn’t like them but we use this basic recipe all the time. The great thing is that you can sub out the tuna for shredded or cubed chicken or salmon and its still super delicious.
Greens + meat/hard boiled eggs + veggies + olives/capers + dressing (or just some oil and spices) = salad. Boom. Mix it up. Trust yourself. Add blueberries. Add red pepper flakes. You do you. It’ll probably taste delish. Trust me I think I’ve tried every random combination out there and it’s hard to mess up. Spinach and sliced turkey is a favorite of mine. We can get Applegate sugar-free Turkey at our local grocery store and they put it in our glass container so we can avoid the plastic bag. Read more zero waste Whole 30 tips here.
- Stuffed Sweet Potato
We go through so many sweet potatoes on Whole 30 because they are powerhouses of nutrition and deliciousness. Roast (or microwave) your potato, slice it lengthwise and stuff it with whatever you want – buffalo chicken? Sure! Ground taco beef and broccoli? Yum! I think you’re probably noticing a trend here. We like recipes that can be modified easily for whatever protein and vegetables we have on hand. This recipe is a good starting point.
- Shredded Chicken
Chicken breasts or legs go in the slow cooker and come out easily shred-able. It’s easy, delicious and you can add pretty much any set of flavors you want. Coconut milk and lime is yummy. As is salsa. Seriously, just add salsa to the slow cooker bowl with your chicken and you’re set. Add a pile of chicken to your salads, casseroles, frittatas, whatever is on the menu.
- Shredded Pork
Same deal as the chicken – with minimal effort you’ll have a versatile protein for days. Go with the classic Kalua pork recipe by Nom Nom Paleo or try one of the many other Whole 30 shredded pork recipes out there. These recipes are umami overload, so I like to pair the pork with something crunchy and light like fresh greens, jicama or even apple slices.
My favorite recipe is in Against All Grain’s first book. But again, there are lots of recipes out there. Take a chance on meatloaf. Even if you hated it as a kid, you might like it now. I was surprised at how adding new flavors like fish sauce, mustard and a mix of ground meats completely transformed the dish.
Keep these items on hand – in your car, purse, diaper bag, gym bag – for “emergencies” when you’re out and about and without any time or good places to get Whole 30 compliant food. These items are all easy to get in the bulk section of the grocery store and/or make yourself. Store in an airtight container* and you’re good to go.
- Roasted nuts (sub butter for ghee or coconut oil)
- Date and Nut Bars (aka Lara Bars … I usually just throw some pitted dates, cashews and coconut flakes into the food processor but if you realllly need a “real” recipe haha, check out this one)
- Nut butters + cut-up fruit
- Dried fruit (…beware not to eat too much, though! It’s basically candy.)
Questions? Shout ’em out in the comments or let’s chat on Instagram.
*Affiliate links are indicated with an asterisk. Your experience doesn’t change but I may receive a tiny commission.