Whole30: Week 1 Meal Plan

I really don’t understand meal plans. I mean, conceptually, I get it. When you’re starting a new eating plan, an expert tells you exactly what to eat and when to make it a little easier. But practically speaking, it makes no sense to me.

What if I don’t want to eat salmon on Monday?

However, I understand the desire to have a more concrete plan than “eat clean food,” especially for someone new to paleo or tackling a Whole30® for the first time. So this post is a description of what I’d do if I was going to do a Whole30 right now.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. This is a Whole30 Meal Plan… and it’s not. It’s more of a food and cooking plan. I’m not going to tell you what to eat when, but I have made recommendations for foods you’ll want to make sure you have in your kitchen and recipes I think make the Whole30 easy and delicious.

2. I haven’t specified things like breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. As I explained in Well Fed  and Well Fed 2, I eat the same kinds of foods at all of my meals. If I want breakfast food at dinner time, I break out the eggs. And my breakfast is usually chicken, sautéed with sweet potatoes and collard greens, with a side of zucchini soup. I’m not suggesting that the Whole30 means you have to eat zucchini soup for breakfast. I’m just saying you’ll probably have more fun if you stop thinking of foods as appropriate for a particular meal. Eat what you want when you want it. (As long as it’s from the Whole30-approved list, of course.)

3. I created a complete shopping list. I went through the recipes and made a list of everything you’ll need to make the food below, and it’s in a PDF so you can print it out, cross out the things you don’t need, and add whatever else you think you might want to nosh. You’ll definitely want some stuff in your kitchen that’s not included in this blog post or shopping list. I’m talking about lovely nibbles like coconut chips or black olives, or luscious in-season citrus fruit, or a vegetable that catches your eye at the farmer’s market. Download the Week 1 Shopping List.

4. You’ll probably need more food than you think. The Whole30 may limit how often you eat in restaurants, not because you can’t, but because eating at home is usually less stressful and more delicious. Below are some rough guidelines for how much protein and veggies you need to feed yourself each day; for more on this food math, you might want to check out my cookbook Well Fed or this post called “Stocking Up.”

Per person, per day, you need approximately:
3/4 pound to 1 1/2 pounds of protein
6-8 cups of vegetables

Think about the people you need to feed and adjust your shopping and cooking accordingly. I guarantee you that you’d rather have more food than you need (you can always pop it in the freezer until you’re ready for it) than to run out mid-week when you’re tired and hungry. If you’re cooking for ripped-to-the-max CrossFitters, they eat more of everything than a “regular” person. If you’re cooking for just yourself, you might want to cut quantities in half, or freeze half of the larger recipes below.

This might seem complicated and overwhelming now, but after a week or two, you’ll be a pro. Relax! You really can’t do it wrong. I promise.

5. Keep it simple. You don’t need to follow a bunch of complicated recipes to eat well, and I recommend that during your first week, especially, you make it as easy on yourself as possible. That’s why I encourage you to make Hot Plates (see details below) and a few simple recipes that yield large quantities so you have lots of useful, yummy leftovers. (Want more ideas for keeping it simple? This post has tons of meal ideas that don’t require a recipe.)

This Food Plan is based on two components: (1) Hot Plates, which are essentially meat+veg sautés you can make on-the-fly, and (2) Bulk Recipes that make scrumptious dishes in larger quantities so you have leftovers throughout the week. The combination of both means you can fight boredom and have your own personal menu of choices to choose from every day. Your fridge is about to become your favorite restaurant.

The info below lists the recipes I recommend you make for a week’s worth of meals, plus a step-by-step plan for getting it all done in about two hours. 3-2-1… GO!

Hot Plates

The basis of cooking in our house is Hot Plates. Basically, I cook a pile of protein and bushels of vegetables to store in the fridge until it’s time to eat. Then I quickly sauté whatever I’m in the mood for and top it with spices and sauces to jazz it up. Easy! It’s like this:

Protein + Veggies + Fat + Spices + Sauce = Meal

Here’s my recommendation for what you’ll cook for Hot Plates during Week 1. The detailed instructions are below, but this gives you an idea of the quantity and ingredients.


Ground Beef: 2-3 pounds, browned in a skillet with lots of salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs : 2-3 pounds, roasted with lots of salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.

Tuna, Sardines, Shrimp: Stock up on cans of tuna (my favorite is Genova Tonno, packed olive oil, no extra ingredients), sardines (my fave are Crown Prince, skinless and boneless), and shrimp (I defrost frozen, wild-caught in the fridge for last-minute meals).


Cooked Vegetables: Cook a bunch of veggies and store in the fridge. All of these (except the spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes), get a basic Steam-Sauté treatment:
Spaghetti Squash (how-to video for cutting spaghetti squash)
Green beans
Bell Peppers
Brussels sprouts
Greens: kale, collards, spinach, or chard

Raw Vegetables: These are great for salad plates, snacks, and as add-ons alongside a Hot Plate:
Bell Peppers
Snap Peas



A drizzle of something luscious turns meat and vegetables into something you really want to eat. These three are very versatile and quick to make:

Sunshine Sauce: like Asian peanut sauce, without the annoying (anti-nutritious) peanuts

Olive Oil Mayo: so much better than store-bought, and perfect for salad dressings, tuna/chicken salad, or dolloping on top of grilled meat

Moroccan Dipping Sauce: fresh, a little spicy, and fast to make; excellent drizzled over Hot Plates and doubles as salad dressing

Alert! If you make roasted chicken thighs and roasted spaghetti squash and Sunshine Sauce and stock up on snap peas, you have everything you need for Pad Thai.


More Ideas for “No Recipe Required” Meals

You can find lots more detail and tons of ideas for Hot Plates in my cookbook Well Fed. The links below provide ideas, inspiration, and how-to advice:

Stocking Up: some advice on how much food you need to buy
The Method Behind My Madness: more details on how to cook meal components in advance
How to Steam-Sauté Veggies: the never-run-out method

10 Burger Toppers
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Broccoli
Stuff to Put on Eggs
10 Paleo Flavor Boosters

Recommended Recipes

In addition to Hot Plates, I think it nourishes the soul to have some home-cooked, comfort foods in the fridge. The great thing about all the recipes I’ve listed below is that they taste better the longer they sit, so you’re guaranteed delicious meals all week long.

Chocolate Chili
This is one of my most popular recipes, and if you double it, you can freeze half to have chili on-demand.

Italian Pork Roast: This recipe yields tender, flavorful pork that’s great on its own and works well in Hot Plates or salads, too.

Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup: Soups are one of my favorite ways to get extra vegetables without even really thinking about it. This is a favorite of mine for breakfast, but if that’s too weird for you, just eat a small bowl before lunch or dinner, or as a snack.


I made a shopping list that includes all the ingredients for these recipes. Be sure to give it a once over to add additional stuff — like veggies and fruit to supplement these recipes — and to remove stuff you already have in your pantry. Download the Week 1 Shopping List.

Cookup: The Plan

If you want to cook all of the stuff listed above and want to spend the minimum amount of time in the kitchen, there’s a plan below for how you can do it. This should serve 2-4 people for the better part of a week, give or take a meal or two. The recommendations included here are the way I cook for my husband (6′ 5″) and myself (5′ 4″) to keep us going through work days, strength training, walks, and yoga.

NOTE: This is pro-level cooking organization. It requires you to fire up the stove, the oven, and the slow cooker all at the same time. Put on some favorite tunes, get yourself a big glass of water, take a deep breath, and start chopping and stirring. You can do it!


On The Menu

Here’s the comprehensive list of what you’re making in this Cookup:
Roasted Chicken Thighs
Olive Oil Mayo
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Italian Pork Roast
Chocolate Chili
Sunshine Sauce
Browned Ground Beef
Green Beans
Moroccan Dipping Sauce
Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup

Get Prepped

1. Sharpen your knife. Get out your cutting board, some baking sheets, and a non-stick skillet. Drag your slow cooker out of the cabinet. Dust off your blender. Fill your water bottle. Turn on your tunes.

2. Take an egg out of the fridge to come to room temperature for the Olive Oil Mayo.

3. Preheat the oven to 400F for the chicken thighs, roasted spaghetti squash, and sweet potatoes.

4. Wash and cut the broccoli and green beans you are going to steam-sauté.

5. Collect an array of storage containers and jars for the finished food.

Let’s Get Cookin’

Here are the step-by-step instructions you need to make all of this food. Have fun!

1. Get the Italian Pork Roast going. We’re easing into it with a simple one. This takes almost no hands-on time and will yield massive amounts of protein. Season the pork roast and plunk it in the slow cooker. [Italian Pork Roast Recipe]

2. Start the Chocolate Chili. Make the chili all the way through to the end of the recipe so it can simmer on the back of the stove while you do the rest of the kitchen work. [Chocolate Chili Recipe]

3. Get the chicken and veggies in the oven. Place the chicken thighs on a large baking sheet, sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. On another baking sheet, place the cut spaghetti squash and a few whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water around the squash. Slide both baking sheets into the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.

4. Make some sauces. Homemade mayo takes about 5 minutes to make. How amazingly great is that?! Ditto for the Sunshine Sauce. [Olive Oil Mayo Recipe | Sunshine Sauce Recipe]

5. Brown the ground beef. Crumble the ground beef into a very large skillet — I like non-stick; you do what makes you feel comfortable. Season it generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon, until it’s no longer pink. Remove the meat to a storage container, but keep the pan where it is. Time to steam-sauté those veggies.

Did your 30-minute timer go off yet? Check the chicken and veggies in the oven. The chicken should be golden brown and sizzling. The squash should be tender to the touch. If yes, remove the chicken and squash from the oven, but slide the potatoes back in for another 20 minutes. If no, set the timer for 5-10 minutes and keep the chicken and squash in the oven.

6. Steam-sauté your veggies. Put 1/2 cup water in the hot pan, bring it to a boil, and add the broccoli. Let it steam-sauté for 5-7 minutes, then remove. (While it’s cooking, you can take a quick meditation break. Close your eyes, and do 10 rounds of slow breathing: in for 4 beats, out for 4 beats, completely filling and emptying your lungs. Comfort and joy, right here.) When the broccoli is tender, remove it to a storage container, add another 1/2 cup water to the pan, and cook the green beans. Repeat as necessary. While the veggies are cooking, make the Moroccan Dipping Sauce. [Complete Steam-Sauté Instructions]

Time to check the chicken, squash, and sweet potatoes again. How are they doing?

7. Make the Moroccan Dipping Sauce. While the green beans are steaming, whip up a batch of this sauce that doubles as salad dressing. Moroccan Dipping Sauce Recipe

8. Make the Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup. This is last because by now you might be sick of cooking. If you are, give yourself permission to skip the soup. But if you’ve still got gas in the tank, make the soup and let it simmer while you get ready for your cooldown. [Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup]

Are your sweet potatoes out of the oven? They should be finished by now.

Pack It Up

As your simmered and roasted dishes finish up, place them in BPA-free storage containers (like these) and pop them into the fridge. Remember: Despite what your grandma might have told you, it’s better to put freshly-cooked food in the fridge while it’s warm; let it cool slightly on the countertop then get it into the fridge. Your homemade food is safe to eat for about a week; for more on food storage safety, visit TheKitchn and TheDailyMeal.

I also recommend you make a list of all the food you just cooked and make a list to hang on your refrigerator door. It’s an excellent reminder of how completely badass you are — and it makes it easy to review your home menu of deliciousness.


So there you have it: Week 1. Here’s Week 2Week 3, and Week 4.

More Resources

Just in case you need additional ideas, support, and motivation, here are a few more tidbits to help make your Whole30 as tasty and stress free as possible.

Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less
Bursting with vibrant flavors and foolproof recipes, the third installment in the best-selling Well Fed cookbook series puts 128 complete paleo meals on your table in 45 minutes or less. The recipes were inspired by takeout classics, food trucks, and cuisines from around the world. Basically, it’s stuff I’ve eaten—or read about—and wanted to recreate at home. All of the recipes are free of grains, dairy, legumes, and soy.

Every complete meal—a healthy serving of protein with plenty of veggies and luscious fats—is thoroughly tested and easy to make, with affordable ingredients you’ll find at your regular grocery store. And all of the recipes include the popular “You Know How You Could Do That?” variations, as well as Cookup Tips to help shorten meal prep time.

I’ve included instructions for a Mini Cookup with step-by-step instructions for cooking six paleo kitchen staples in under an hour. Cook once, and fancy-up your meals all week long with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, homemade mayo, and more.

Debuting in Well Fed Weeknights are fun and flexible Food Court Recipes: blueprints of your favorite dinner themes, like Meat & Potatoes, Burger Night, Velvet Stir-Fry, The Ultimate Salad Bar, and more, all offering basic techniques and creative variations to satisfy your personal cravings.

Help yourself to a free 70-page preview of Well Fed Weeknights—or just go ahead and buy it now!

Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat
My cookbook Well Fed is packed with recipes to make you want to smash in your face with joy and all but one of the recipes are Whole30 approved for use during your Whole30. In addition to recipes for dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Scotch Eggs, Chocolate Chili, and Bora Bora Fireballs, Well Fed also includes lots of information for how to cook without a recipe — lots of ideas for ways to combine basic protein, veggies, and fats into something special that ensures you won’t get bored and you won’t spend all of your free time in the kitchen. (If you’re curious, the “offender” recipe is a fruit crisp that uses Whole30-friendly ingredients, but is too dessert-y to comply with the spirit of the Whole30. That recipe, however, is just fine for when your Whole30 is complete, and you want a sweet treat.) Help yourself to a free 30-page preview of Well Fed—or just go ahead and buy it now!

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat
Well Fed 2
is packed with even more recipes and ideas to keep your taste buds happy and all but two of the recipes are Whole30 approved for use during your Whole30. In addition to recipes for dishes like Deconstructed Gyro, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Old School Italian Meat Sauce, and West African Chicken Stew, Well Fed 2 also includes tons more “no recipe required” meal ideas, 15 meatball recipes, 8 dressings and dips based on my homemade mayo recipe (the most popular recipe on my site!), and adaptations to make more than 100 of the recipes compliant with the autoimmune protocol (AIP) of paleo. Help yourself to a free 35-page preview of Well Fed 2—or just go ahead and buy it now!

Real Plans: A 100% kickass, totally customizable meal plan service that includes more than 200 of my Well Fed recipes. It’s an incredibly powerful, flexible meal planning tool that offers real food recipes served up with shopping lists and helpful how-to tips to make getting meals on the table faster and easier than you thought was possible. You can change every aspect of the system, including number of meals each week, specific ingredients, serving sizes, and more. It’s easy to swap recipes in and out of the plans, and the system provides a foolproof, step-by-step timeline for prepping ingredients and cooking throughout the week. Real Plans also provides nutrition information for all of the recipes.

 Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week: I post this collection of five paleo and Whole30 approved dinner recipes every week. It includes main dish recipes, a condiment to add zing to basic ingredients, a special snack, recommendations for complimentary side dishes, and advice for how to work the recipe into a Weekly Cookup. It’s not really a meal plan—it’s more like ideas for dishes you might like to cook.

Great Ingredients: No Recipe Required: a roundup of delicious meals you can make pretty quickly and without following a recipe

30 Reasons to Whole30: In case all this talk of cooking has stressed you out, here are 30 reminders why the Whole30 is worth it.

Whole30 Meal Plan: Week Two

If you’re beginning Week 2 of your Whole30®, congratulations to you! I hope you’re feeling awesome and eating lots of great food. If you missed...

Read More
Whole30 Meal Plan: Week Three

If you're heading into Week 3 of your Whole30®, congratulations to you! I hope you're feeling awesome and eating lots of great food. (And if...

Read More


    • Elizabeth says:

      THank you for keeping this series posted and not taking it down! I just finished my meal prep for my first week of whole 30 and I truly feel prepared for whole 30. I do not feel lost and overwhelmed by all the recipes out there. THank you so so much and the Moroccan dipping sauc is seriously THE BOMB

    • Kate says:

      Oh! My! Goodness! My boyfriend and I finished our Whole30 about 2 weeks ago. I really don’t think that we could have done it without your meal plans! You’re right, what if I don’t want to eat salmon on Monday??? It really kept us on track by giving us many options. We have (together) lost 50 pounds and we are feeling great! Thank you for keeping this up for so long! 🙂 UMMM also, LOVED meatball madness was tons of fun!

      • Mel says:

        Congratulations on successfully Whole30-ing! YAY! I’m glad these recipes helped — and doubly happy you enjoyed Meatball Madness!

        • LadyL51 says:

          Your the best! Thank you for making this simple and keeping the site up for us late comers. Looking forward to the new me on the whole30 program. One question I work out in the evenings the whole30 says you should eat 15-30 minutes after sometimes I don’t get home within that time frame any suggestions

          • I recommend you take a snack with you that you can eat on the way home after your workout. Doesn’t need to be fancy — you just want to get some calories in while your body is receptive. I usually take a few ounces of cooked chicken breast or a hard-boiled egg and half a sweet potato for my post-workout snack. I just eat it at room temp in the car on the way home, then eat a real meal after I get home.

    • Lindsey says:

      I’m so excited to start my first whole 30 and get in tune with my body! I love your method and how easy everything is laid out thank you thank you!!

    • NIkki says:

      Hi! I’m doing the Whole 30 diet starting in February, just cooking for one (myself). Is the shopping list you put up here too much food for one person? In other words, should I just pick up half of what you suggested? Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      What is the ground beef in step 5 for?

      • It can be mixed-and-matched with vegetables to make dinner on the fly. For example, you can make a stir-fry with veggies, coconut aminos, and ginger… or you can make an Italian sauté with broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Or turn it into breakfast with spinach and scrambled eggs. Or put it in lettuce cups, top with salsa and have taco night. I like to keep ground beef in the fridge so I can make a quick dinner without a specific recipe.

  • Becky says:

    This is just what I needed heading into the new year, thank you! I spent the first part of 2013 on the ball with the cooking on Sundays (mostly from Well Fed) but I “fell off the wagon” as the year went on. We’ve got a paleo challenge starting at our box on the 6th and my husband and I are psyched to get back into clean eating after the debauchery of the holidays.

  • TDC says:

    Wow this is brilliant!I usually do some sort of cookup but always overstretch myself so this is going to be a great way to ease into week one,which starts on 8 Jan for me!

  • Michele Johnson says:

    I love you Mel. You need to come back to Estes Park! I see another seminar in the works!

  • Brian says:

    YES! This is EXACTLY what the Paleo community needs more of. A solid gameplan of how to tackle a week’s worth of cooking in one day. Brilliant!

  • Liz B. says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes! Something which had seemed very daunting now seems very doable. Thank You!

  • Martine says:

    Thanks so much… great info that helps me think and plan… I am starting my Whole 30 on Jan 3rd and really excited to create another level of discipline for myself…

  • Chris says:

    This is really amazing! Seeing more specifically how to lay out a bunch of food prep quickly is super helpful. I love that it provides a framework without being a strict meal plan. I’m about to start my first Whole 30, so I appreciate the timely inspiration.

  • Kerry says:

    Very very helpful! Thank you for taking the time to write up this plan and share it with us. Well Fed is my favorite Paleo cookbook. Heading over to Amazon to get 2 now!

  • Tracy says:

    This is wonderful. I’m getting geared up for the January Whole30.

    Is there a print-friendly version of your blog?

  • Morgan says:

    Does this plan feed you and your husband for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or is this just dinner?

  • Stacy says:

    I’m gearing up for my second Whole 30, which starts on Jan. 1, and I knew to go straight to Well Fed and Well Fed 2. And now I find this, a handy meal plan with suggestions on how to organize cook up over the weekend? Mel, you’re wonderful. I love your food and I’m looking forward to eating lots of it over the next month.

  • Mel says:

    I’m so glad you guys are finding this plan helpful. I have another one coming next week — and two posts of 30 Whole30 approved recipes. You should be eating some really good food this month. Happy 2014!

  • Joan says:

    I’ve done a couple of Whole30s and seen some great benefits, but since I’ve got Hashimoto’s thyroiditus, I’m going to do the autoimmune protocol this next time around. If I leave out eggs and mayo, is this cook up AIP compliant?

    • Mel says:

      AIP guidelines exclude eggs, nightshades, nuts, and seed spices. For the complete list, read this link: http://www.thepaleomom.com/autoimmunity/the-autoimmune-protocol

      Unfortunately, that means several of hte recipes above are out: Chocolate Chili (nutshades), Sunshine Sauce (seeds), mayo (egg). The Slow Cooker Pork Roast is good to go in the version on my site but NOT in Well Fed 2, unless you follow the AIP modifications I included in the cookbook — and the Zucchini Soup on my site is approved (but the Well Fed 2 version is not unless you follow the AIP modifications).

      Well Fed 2 has 100 recipes that are both Whole30 and AIP approved, if you’re looking for more AIP recipes. Also, you might look into http://autoimmune-paleo.com/ and her cookbook.

  • Ginie says:

    I just bought the Well Fed 2 on Kindle and I love it. Well Fed got me through my first Whole30 so I figured this would be perfect for my second go at it. I am curious though as to the two NON Whole30 recipes. All ingredients are approved, but the recipe is not. Something about how it comes together. Can you explain that a little more? I am wondering what else I might have messed up by using the right ingredients the wrong way. I dont paleo-ify anything into dessert or a snack, so I am probably ok, but an explanation will help. Thanks

    • Mel says:

      So glad you like the Well Fed cookbooks! Thank you for buying!

      Melissa and Dallas of Whole9/Whole30 reviewed all the recipes and felt like the Banana Pecan Ice Cream and the Sweet Potato “Waffle” — while made of approved ingredients — violate the spirit of the Whole30 and could interfere with the psychological part of the program. They’re just very, very strict with their interpretation of their guidelines.

  • Jennifer says:

    Fantastic! Exactly the kind of thing I need to keep me on track. You are awesome!

  • Emily says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for putting this handy guide together.

  • Stacey says:

    Oh wow, the pad thai has just got me so excited, I am trying to transition my kids to paleo, and I can’t wait to try this, off to harass my neighbour for a spaghetti squash. Thanks for the inspiration

  • JoAnn Jordan says:

    I love the idea of preparing ahead! My daughter is a vegetarian. Do you have a similar plan?

  • Michael says:

    Your a Rockstar, I hate cook books but love both of the well fed books, they promote creative thinking and inspire me to cook vs telling me what to do…….we’ll fed is well started; keep going/don’t stop.

  • Denise says:

    First off Thanks for such a well planned week. My husband and I are new to the Whole30 and needed a list like this. In Step 6 you have us make a batch of ground beef…what is this used for/in?

    • Mel says:

      That’s to saute with vegetables to make “hot plates” or you can mix it with eggs for breakfast… or put in a bowl with broth and veggies to make quick soups. See the “Hot Plates” section above. Basically, it’s cooked protein to supplement with veggies so you can have a meal in about 10 minutes.

  • Sarah Joy says:

    Are you kidding me?! You should be nominated for the most helpful thing I’ve found on Pinterest ever. Starting my first Whole 30 tomorrow I’m really excited but this post just made it that much better! Thanks!!

  • Elyse Smith says:

    What can I sub spaghetti squash for? I am in Australia and it is IMPOSSIBLE to find here! I am buying the seeds and growing them as I am quite fascinated by it but that won’t help this week 😛 Thank you x

    • Carly R says:

      I have seen spaghetti squash at the farmers market but not regularly. We (fellow Aussies)are going to use zoodles (zucchini noodles) in place of the spaghetti squash. Hope that helps.

  • Carly R says:

    Hi Mel!
    Me and my husband have decided to do the Whole30 for the month of January and your blog has been absolutely awesome. We spent a good chunk of today doing this cook-up in preparation for Week 1. Thank you so much for such a helpful post!

  • Nicole says:

    Just made a bunch of food to start it off right! Thank you so much for posting this, I’ve made about half of it so far and my fridge is already full!

  • JennyB says:

    I feel so encouraged by this, thanks! Dumb question: is there a difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot? Do you recommend one brand/style in particular?
    Happy New Year!

  • JennyB says:

    Great – thanks!

  • Kati says:

    How long will the Moroccan Dipping Sauce keep? It says serve at room temperature but should it be stored at room temperature also?

    • Mel says:

      Moroccan dipping sauce should be stored in the refrigerator and should taste fresh for a week or so. It doesn’t go ‘bad,’ but it just starts to lose its freshness after a while.

      I think it tastes most zingy at room temperature, but honestly, it’s delicious cold, too.

  • Jennifer K says:

    THANK YOU a hundred times over! Having something like this spelled out for me is tremendously helpful. Once I get the hang of these new eating habits I’m sure I’ll be able to figure stuff out on my own but this at least gives me somewhere to start.

  • Lorena says:

    Bless you, bless you, bless you! And recipes! (Very important because I gave my copy of Well Fed to my mom last week, so until I can afford to replace it…)

  • Margot says:

    Not to be cheesy but literally for the first time ever reading a meal plan and grocery list I just said (out loud) “hm, I can actually do this”. Hats off in a big way.

  • Hannah says:

    Hi! My husband and I just started our first Whole30, I bought Well Fed and then found your fb book and blog! Excited for your weekly shopping lists! Thanks!

  • Jody says:

    Very useful post and love your book, but I have a question about doing weekly cook ups. Do your meat and veggies that you have cooked up start to go bad after about 4 or 5 days?

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful menu and shopping list and cook up. This is exactly what I needed to start out our second whole30! My three boys are doing it with us this time and this is all food they will eat and love! Muchas Gracias!

  • Deirdra says:

    Thanks for this! I have been doing a Whole90 and my husband, business partner and 2 close friends are all starting their own Whole30. This post just inspired a shop, prep and cook party. Thanks!
    Oh and I ordered both your cookbooks for my birthday! Thanks for all the awesome!xoxo

  • Wow! This is amazing, and exactly what I needed to get ready to start my Whole 30 on Monday! Thank you so very much!

  • Dawn Parrish says:

    Wow! I just finished cooking and prepping all but the soup which I will make for dinner tonight. My husband was tortured by yummy smells and my garage fridge is ground zero for all the prepped containers. This is fabulous!!!
    Than you thank you thank you!!!!!

  • Megan says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is going to make my second week of whole30 SOOOOO much easier. You are the best.

  • loriborealis says:


    Thank you so much for this weekly list! It is the hardest thing in the world for me to plan my meals and this does 3/4 of the work and leaves the rest up to my personal taste.

    Also, if I had known 20 years ago how freaking easy it is to plop a pork roast in the crockpot and have delicious soft tasty meat all week long…Gamechanger. I swear.


  • Ladonna says:

    This definitely has made the transition easier. I was struggling with trying to figure out how to make whole 30 meal plans. My favorite way to eat the pork: heating a baked sweat potato up in olive oil and then topping it with the pulled pork and covering with an runny egg! Perfect breakfast! 🙂

  • Shalee says:

    First of all, you are amazing! I have been addicted to your website ever since your Well Fed 2 book caught my eye while casually strolling through Book People last month with my huge triple Caramel Brûlée Latte and extra whip.

    I flipped through, fell in love, immediately bought it and threw away my dessert in a cup. I knew that I just found what I was waiting for to use as mine and my husband’s inspiration to make an overdue change this year. Since then, I discovered you actually lived here in Austin, SO cool! And have read other resources you have recommended.

    I did all my reading and spent many hours on your site to prepare for our first week of the Whole30 starting last week. Thanks again for your organized shopping list and weekly meal plan. You’re a genius.

    My only issue is that I’m noticing an upset stomach after every single meal. I thought it might go away but it has been consistent for a week now. I didn’t have digestive issues before. The uneasy feeling starts immediately after my meal, or towards the end, and can last for 20 minutes up to 4-5 hours when I need to eat my next meal. Your food I’ve been making is delicious and I make sure to get a good mix of protein, fat, veg, fruit but I’m now finding that I’m not looking forward to my next meal or even eating in general.

    I don’t want anything to get in the way of our new healthy lifestyle that we are both excited about and committed to. I thought briefly that it could be a mental thing since I now know how unhealthy and damaging some foods can be, foods that I used to eat, and I’m also wanting to lose weight after making this change, so maybe my body’s unconsciously taking the focus off of food. But it has caused me to miss out on workouts and not eat as much as I probably should.

    If it’s not just in my head, and there is something going on in my gut with this new style of eating, I want to know what you would recommend and if you’ve had any others go through the same thing. I started looking online and saw talk about some people that don’t benefit from Paleo for whatever reason, hopefully that’s not me, but I honestly didn’t know what to believe.

    I knew I trusted you and if you didn’t know the answer, you could point me in the right direction. So that’s why I’m posting here. 🙂

    Any suggestions would be fantastic!

    Thanks for everything!


    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for buying Well Fed 2 and stopping by to say hi!

      I’m sorry your stomach is bothering you! I haven’t heard this before, but a quick Google search told me that it’s not super uncommon. There is some really helpful info in this post:

      Basically, any change in diet can affect digstion. It might be more protein, more fat, more veggies, or more all of it that you’re used to. I recommend you read that post, then maybe start experimenting on yourself to see if you can track down the culprit.

      I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful and specific, but there are just too many variables.

  • Katie says:

    Is this food plan for one or should I double it to feed two?

  • Patricia says:

    This looks really helpful. Which of these recipes can/cannot be frozen? Anything to adjust if I am freezing these foods? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Generally speaking, soups and stews freeze/defrost really well, while “plain” cooked meats and veggies usually do not. They get dry and/or mushy when defrosted. The one exception is meatballs; they hold up well under freezing and defrosting.

      From the list above, the Chocolate Chili and Zucchini Soup can be frozen and defrosted. Everything else is better fresh.

      In a pinch, you can freeze the partially-cooked vegetables, but their texture isn’t quite as good after defrosting.

  • Casey says:

    Reeeally dumb question… I’ve never seen, much less cooked a spaghetti squash before. Once it’s cut in half (thanks for the awesome video by the way), do I just stick each half on the cookie sheet? Once it’s roasted how do you eat it? Thanks for your help, this is Whole30 #2 for my roommate and I and we’re trying to be more adventurous than green beans and asparagus this go around 🙂

  • Tasha says:

    I am on day 19 of the whole 30. My husband and 3 kids did not do it with me. In the beginning I craved the cookies, cakes and ice cream that they ate in front of me. Here I am 19 days later and feeling great, and still going strong. I am making this chili on Super Bowl Sunday, which is my last day of the whole 30. My 13 year daughter wants me to make it tomorrow, but she will just have to wait. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on 19 days of awesome! I imagine it must be challenging in a household where others are eating whatever, but it sounds like you’re a champ! YAY FOR YOU!

      The Chocolate Chili is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday! Do you have Well Fed 2? The plantain chips (from the Plantain Nachos recipe) taste awesome with the chili.

      Happy happy to you!

  • Robbin says:

    Silly question? Approx. how much money do you spend each week in shopping?

  • Rachel says:

    Quick question for you– you list “Sweet potatoes” as one of the items on the menu, and at the end of the instructions you say “Are your sweet potatoes out of the oven? They should be finished by now”… but I can’t find the instructions for them (do I cut ’em, put them on a pan, in a pot?)- It is entirely possible I am missing something obvious, but I would appreciate the guidance anyway 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi, there! Instructions for sweet potatoes are in step 4.

      “4. Get the chicken and veggies in the oven. Place the chicken thighs on a large baking sheet, sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. On another baking sheet, place the cut spaghetti squash and a few whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water around the squash. Slide both baking sheets into the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.”

      • Rachel says:

        Thank you!! Sweet potatoes are now out of the oven (as are almost all the recipes you listed! Yay! …only the soup is left to do, because I feel a little anti-kitchen now, haha. I am looking forward to cooking it later though!)

        Is it your suggestion to just cut them in half and store them in the fridge, to be reheated later?

        Thanks again for all your help, and quick responses!

  • Morgan says:

    Hi there! Just wanted to thank you for your whole 30 plans. I wish I would have found your website when I was doing all my planning and shopping last week! I’m on day 4 now and I absolutely agree with you about the meal planning. One sure fire way for me not to want to eat something is tell me I have to. So for the next week I’m going to follow your advice. Also, made your pork carnitas. And they were fabulous. My husband and I were scraping the pan of all the crusted pork. Yum!

  • Lori says:

    This is somewhat off topic, but I am stressed/overwhelmed/upset by basic recipes failing for reasons I can’t explain. It also is doing the same for my pocketbook! We are doing our first Whole30…ate ok before – not worst of the worst, but definitely not great either. We are 5 days from the end of our 30 days, and I’d like to stick to this way of eating, but it seems like it’ll be difficult to enjoy sticking with it with FAILS on things like a freakin mayo recipe! First mayo attempt failed on a consistency level…this time followed the video posted here ROCKED the consistency part (thanks!), but it tastes AWFUL! Like bitter wood! Used light olive oil. Sitting here racking brain about what I did wrong…thought I used a higher quality oil…I did accidentally let egg sit out for 3 hours…may have used old mustard powder…but I’ve also read about blending issues making oil bitter…or lastly I also wonder if it is just my tastes that are screwed up from years of commercial junk? But I don’t know cause I mean this. stuff. tastes. BAD! I just don’t know where to start, but I feel like its too risky/expensive to try 10 more times to get it right! (Especially when every comment about the recipe I’m trying is a raving review about how awesome it tastes! My coconut butter didn’t turn out so hot either!) Anyone else having these issues? I’d just like something to go right for once considering how much time (I know my kids are missing me as at times I feel I live in a grocery store or kitchen!), MONEY, and effort is going into this great way of eating! I’ve cut out the bread, pasta, sugar, oils, dairy, but dammit I NEED mayo and other such basics to make this transition easier! 🙂 It also makes me scared to try other recipes like these out of fear they will taste awful and be a waste of time and money – hence the 20 days in between my first mayo attempt and my second!

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure how to advise you on your mayo… The first thing that comes to mind is that if you like the taste of commercial mayo, you might prefer homemade with cider vinegar instead of lemon juice. You might also try reducing the amount of mustard powder to 1/4 teaspoon.

  • Love your recipes! However, I’m not able to print out the shopping list after downloading this. Any suggestions?

  • Alexas says:

    This is SOOOOOOO helpful. I need “hold my hand” instructions like this. But one problem….what if I don’t eat meat? I eat seafood but no beef, pork or chicken. Recommended substitutes?

    • Mel says:

      Obviously, you can’t make the chili or pork roast without meat 🙂

      You can sub shrimp or white fish in the pad thai. Seafood doesn’t allow for pre-cooking very well, except for steamed shrimp, so for you, I’d recommend the vegetable recipes above, then just cook fish/seafood separately each day. You might also like something like a big omelet made in advance, cut into wedges and eaten either hot or at room temp, if you want to do some pre-cooking.

      • Alexas says:

        Thanks so much. I think I’ll try the chili with veggie crumbs. You just saved me from giving up. I have NO TIME to plan and end up eating crap. This makes my desire to eat healthier totally doable!!!

  • BeckyF says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! This post has me making my first Paleo jump! As a working mom of 2 young ones, the idea of a completely flexible heat-n-eat after a long day rocks. I’m looking forward to freezing leftovers (hello, lunches!). A thousand times, thank you!! I’m doing a happy dance as my sweet potatoes are finishing up.

  • Linda says:

    This is so inspiring…I have a few questions:
    1. I make a smoothie almost every day (spinach banana celery chia seeds) how do i incorporate this in the diet
    2. I eat VAST amounts of fruit. I mean it. I’m almost addicted to apples and carrots. Are they ok? do i eat them after my meal as i see snacks aren’t really common?

    • Mel says:

      Smoothies are not technically forbidden on the Whole30, but they’re not recommended. You can read all about the details and rationale of the program here http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/, then you can make your decision about if you want to keep your smoothies. It’s totally up to you.

      As for fruit, if you have a “sugar demon” issue, a ton of fruit isn’t a great idea — it will just keep firing up your sugar cravings. A general rule of thumb is 1-2 servings of fruit per day. Again, the program guidelines can give you more on that. You might also want to visit the Whole30 forum where experts on the program can answer your questions. http://forum.whole9life.com/

  • Eileen says:

    Just wanted to double check something isn’t missing. In the cooking steps it goes from step 1 to step 3.

    Thank you SO much for this.

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve just stumbled on your blog and site. Love, love, love everything! I’m rushing out to the store to get everything for the upcoming weeks you’ve posted. I been “primal” for about 4 months, lost 18# and going, but I find myself a little bored with our meals. I feel inspired again. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I’m glad you found me! I hope these new recipes make you excited about eating paleo/primal again. Happy cooking!

      • Michelle says:

        So in 7 hours, I’ve made everything for week one, and we, of course, had some for dinner. My partner is thrilled with the new flavors (cumin, allspice, etc.) I even managed to brine and grill “the best chicken.” Party for my taste buds! Thanks again. We’re set for the next week. Looking forward to week 2.

  • Elyse Smith says:

    Mel, don’t mean to sound silly :/ when you bake the sweet potatoes do you peel them/chop them before you put them away or leave them whole? how long do they last cooked in the fridge? thanks xx

  • Carrie says:

    My husband and I just started our first whole 30. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with what to buy before we started. This grocery list and hot plates have been a life saver. I haven’t gotten bored with food options and we have an abundance of great food ready to go! Thanks for posting! This has helped make our first week of whole 30 a breeze. I love how easy this is 🙂

    • Congratulations on Whole30-ing! I’m really happy the info in this post was helpful. I like to cook but man! I don’t want to spend ALL my time in the kitchen. Hot Plates totally save us all the time, too. Happy cooking to you!

  • Ellen says:

    Just wanted to say thanks so much for the blog and your cookbooks. I decided to do my first whole30 about 25 days ago (woot!) in an attempt to healthily lose weight after my second pregnancy. I’ve found your recipes to be so delicious and I’ve felt so great that I’m planning to continue eating “dino chow” for the foreseeable future. Even my husband, who hates diets and diet food, has loved the food and requests some of the recipes regularly now. Thank you thank you thank you!

    • Congratulations on 25 days of Whole30-ing! That’s awesome, and I’m so glad you that you’re feeling good. Very happy that you and your husband like the recipes, too. Happy cooking!

  • Wendy says:

    Is the shopping list provided just for 1 person?

  • Kara says:

    I don’t know why it took me so long to finally do a cook up! I mostly followed this plan, but did zucchini noodles as it is impossible to find spaghetti squash in New Zealand. I also prepped a few extra things for breakfasts. Less than two hours work on a Sunday evening and I could sit down with a glass of red (not whole 30 at the mo!) and wait for the chilli to finish cooking. I let the pork cook overnight and shredded it in the morning. I probably saved at least an hour of food prep on Monday alone! You rock!!!!

  • I just wanted to say a big, BIG thank you for this amazing cook-up! I started the Whole 30 yesterday, and spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen following your cooking plan and recipes. Chocolate chili for dinner last night, Pad Thai tonight…and a whole fridge full of goodness to get me through the week. I’m already gearing up for week 2’s cook-up next Saturday, and I’ll be posting a link to your plan on my blog on Wednesday. Here’s to making the whole world a healthier place! 🙂

  • Sherri says:

    I’m new to this, so excuse my questions. Do you just pack all this stuff up and eat throughout the week? How do you determine portion size? Thank you!

  • Sherri says:

    Thank you, Melissa. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. If I may ask, what does your food budget run for a week? And, how much time do you spend in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon getting ready for the week? Thanks again.

    • For my husband (6’5″) and me (5’4″), we spend between $600-800/month on groceries. We usually eat out only once a week, so that’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks at home.

      This cookup would take me about 2-3 hours.

  • Whitney says:

    I have just been diagnosed with PCOS. The only real way to control it is with diet and exercise. I have been feeling so overwhelmed with clean eating. I have been searching and searching for something to make this whole thing easier and I have! Thank you so much for putting this together. Now, I actually feel excited to get started!!! Thank you thank you!!!!!!

  • Thanks for the post I love cooking and after reading your article I love cooking more then I thought but only on weekends. I am constantly looking for ways to streamline life.

  • Lauren Krum says:

    Just wanted to say thank you!! I just followed this plan, for the most part, and prepped for week one. I’m one day in but making this food and feeling like I GET IT, and have such great resources is immensely helpful!
    I was wondering about substituting grape seed oil for olive oil for the mayo recipe/ or in general. I whipped up a batch of the olive oil mayo and like it but was just curious because i’m poor and have a giant bottle of grape seed oil. thnx!!

    • Oh, good! I’m glad this was helpful for you. Hope you enjoy the food!

      Re: grape seed oil. It’s neither Paleo nor Whole30 approved. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The good news is that for mayo, you want inexpensive, LIGHT TASTING olive oil, not extra virgin.

  • Roni says:

    Hey Mel.. I’m out of town by myself and reaaaaally feeling the need for this! So grateful to have an “I don’t have my book with me and I don’t even have to think about it” list! Thank you!! Know what would be super cool? A “Well Fed Retreat” in Vermont next fall. Just sayin… 🙂

  • I’ve thought about doing some kind of Well Fed weekend thing: fun workouts, meditation, Well Fed menus, hikes… maybe I can make it happen!

  • Markéta says:

    Oh noes! I couldn’t get all of those things, so I will have to improvise!
    But your guide kicked me and I am finaly determined to spend Sunday by cooking (with wine! My whole30 starts at Monday!) and I have like 10kg of meat in my fridge (I think it is bit too much.. for 2… :D)

  • Bambi Bittner says:

    Just came upon this doing a web search. Thank you so much for the break down and great recipes. I’ve hit a point where a change Has to be made in order for me to feel healthy. Please keep the plans coming.

  • Angela says:

    Thank you sincerely for doing all of this on top of your regular jobs and such. The fact that you’ve taken the time to create and make public these awesome recipes and wonderful, comprehensive meal plans has helped so many people and I truly appreciate it. I have done a couple Whole 30’s using your recipes and they are now family favourites! This time around, my husband really wants to get involved in helping in the kitchen so I will be using these tools to guide us through our first big day (in 5 years of marriage) of meal prep together! Im pumped..and beyond appreciative!

  • Lynne says:

    My boyfriend bought me well fed and we’ll fed 2 for chanukah and I’m so excited!!! I did a whole 30 for a month in August and I want to start eating like that all the time!!!

  • Shayne S says:

    Thank you for the lovely suggestions. I am completing my first Whole30 and feel wonderful.

  • Ramona says:

    Oh thank you so much. I bought the book and ingredients from the Whole 30 list but had no clue what to do with Coconut milk and some of the other stuff. And special thanks for the “sauces”. I thought all mayo was off the list and got real tired of tuna salad made with just mustard!

  • Hi Mel!! The holiday treats are hanging on every inch of my pale white behind so it’s time to get ready for Whole 30. I have your books and I love this meal guide. I love hot plates. They are perfect for the nights when I stand in front of the fridge with a blank stare.
    It was so cool to meet you in Austin and I’m hoping a magic carpet can bring you back down in 2015. Thanks again!

    • I hear you, sister. I had such a bad tummy ache on December 26 from eating ALL THE GRAIN-FREE COOKIES! I just cannot handle the sugar any more. But man! They were tasty.

      Happy 2015 to you! Hugs!

  • Liz Powell says:

    Quick question. Your plan calls for thighs but I already have breasts and breast tenders. How would you adjust the cooking time?

  • Jen says:

    Can I just say you’re like an angel from heaven spreading nutritious cheer! 😉 I have been contemplating the Whole 30 for months now. Of course New Year’s Day is the appropriate time to take the plunge, but I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with the do’s & don’t’s, while making something that I can stick with and that tastes good! So thank you Melissa! This is everything I need to get started and stick with it! 🙂

  • Joy says:

    My husband and I just started a Whole30 on Jan 1. So far not bad-I love the cook ahead concept. So far we’ve had sweet potato hash with the Italian Pork roast shredded into it, and I made a beef vegetable soup with the leftovers from the box of beef broth (chili recipe) and the crumbled ground beef! I can’t wait for lunch. I don’t feel deprived yet, but it’s only the 3rd. A little afraid for upcoming Robert Burns B-day party and husband’s work holiday party later this month. Working on the strategies now, though. Thank you for your recipes and cooking ideas.

  • Christy says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. I got well fed 1&2 for Christmas. I shopped and then cooked yesterday according to week one. My kitchen smelled amazing. So now that I have all this food I am starting to panic. Now what? How do I fit it in? I am seriously feeling overwhelmed…maybe just nervous to start but I am also someone who needs structure. So with all that is cooked what would be a typical meal 1, meal 2, and meal 3 for you? I work outside the home and so does my husband. I am trying to get him on board with this too. I am apologizing right now for these questions:). Thanks in advance.

    • Every meal should be built around protein, veggies, and fat. Try not to overthink it! Here’s a typical day for me:

      Breakfast: steamed kale and browned ground beef (or chicken) sauteed with ghee or coconut oil and spices, zucchini soup on the side.

      Lunch: tuna salad with homemade mayo, a piece of fruit, a bunch of raw veggies

      Dinner: Chocolate Chili, roasted sweet potato, tossed salad or green veggie (or both) on the side

      Just mix and match the food you made in reasonable quantities and make sure every meal has a protein dish and vegetables. Done!

  • Sarah says:

    This is really helpful! Thanks! One question, though: what is the coconut milk for?

  • Cynthia Gilbert says:

    I have never made spaghetti Squash before. I’m not sure I cooked it long enough. Is it suppose to be so stringy. What do I do with it and how do I use it with the rest of the food that I cooked. It is very bland can I salt and pepper it or use one of the sauces.

  • Marisa Zimmerman says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love how you tell me what to do first, then next. I need step by step directions for how to cook for the week in one day. Would you be willing to do this again with a couple of additional weeks worth of step by step meal planning? Love, love, love.

  • Andreeea Ionescu says:

    Can I substitute the chicken thighs with chicken breast?

  • melc says:

    I thought rice vinegar was not allowed on Whole30 because of the sugar content?

  • Kirsten says:

    I just finished my premier Food Prep Weekend! Thank you for such wonderful resources and humor. I’m super excited to have almost 2 weeks of meals ready to go in my refrigerator. How awesome is my Whole30 going to go with a beginning like that?!?

    Peace, love, and joy to you and yours!

  • angela says:


    So, what I’m understanding, this is basically Paleo eating? and NO fruit?


  • susan in st louis says:

    Thanks so much for your work on this! I just spent time in the kitchen prepping for our first week, and your plan made it all so much easier and doable! I’m actually looking forward to starting tomorrow, with all this yummy food. 🙂

  • Erin says:

    My husband and I are BRAND NEW to this whole experience. Do you happen to have a day by day eating list? Like, for breakfast eat this, for snack eat this, for lunch, etc? I know what foods we can and cannot eat, but I am wanting someone to tell me exactly what to eat for the first couple of weeks, so we can stick to it! Thanks in advance for any advice!!

  • Janey Gentile says:

    Why am I so confused? What do I now do with my cooked 5lbs of slow roasted pork?

    • That meat can be used in “diner dinners’ with veggies on the side, or put into other things like…
      lettuce tacos
      hash with sweet or white potatoes
      Asian stir-fry
      Paleo Pad Thai
      etc., etc.

  • Judy Fink says:

    My daughter and I are trying to follow the plan…..there have been mess ups a few times but all in all I think we’re doing good.
    This is my 8th day and her 5th or 6th.
    It was discouraging to know ONE taste of anything could make you start all over but we’re learning and just press on.
    For one thing, it’s good to know we are not quitting and the goal still is to see what the 30 day result will be.

    • Congratulations! Sounds like you’re doing great. The point of the Whole30, really, is to increase your awareness about eating habits while you heal your body, so that “one taste” thing is super helpful. You can do it!

  • Nan says:

    Just started the Whole30 plan and don’t have their new book yet. I wasn’t sure how to start. Your Day 1 prep was just what I needed. I have your first book and love it. I am on Day 2 and just finished all my prep..phew!!! But it will be worth it because lack of prepared food has been my downfall in the past. The only thing I’m not sure of is how much fruit is a healthy amount on this plan. Thanks for your great blog! Nan

  • Sandi Albelli says:

    What do you drink? Besides water is there anything else?

  • Kim says:

    Is the chocolate chili whole30 compliant with the unsweetened cocoa? just curious. Thank you! Starting whole 30 next week and trying to prep!

    • Yes, ma’am! That recipe was officially approved by Melissa Hartwig for my cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. She reviewed both of my cookbooks and gave them official approval.

      The cocoa OK is online here:

      “Cacao (or 100% cocoa) is great when used as a savory spice (our Mocha Steak Rub, found in It Starts With Food, is a great example), but you can also feel free to add it to your coffee or tea, or brew it Crio Bru-style. But per the rules of the program, it’s not okay to add cocoa to dates and other fruits to make chocolate-y confections.”

  • Stephanie says:

    I’m so excited to be starting my first Whole30 today! Your posts on preparing for the program make so much sense. Thank you for the ideas, especially the fridge list 🙂

  • Rosalind says:

    Thank you so much for all of this helpful information!! I was stressing trying to make a meal plan & then I stumbled upon your page! Love how simple you make it for getting started! This will be our first Whole30! Thanks again!

  • Lori says:

    This is exactly what I needed to make starting a Whole30 doable for myself while the rest of the family continued to eat their regular meals! While that first day of cooking took longer than I’d expected due to new recipes and it being a long time since I’d really cooked, it has been well worth it!!!! THANK YOU!!

  • Wynifred says:

    This is wonderful! I just recently decided to switch myself and my family to a primal diet due to some health issues I’ve been struggling with for years. A friend of mine showed me your blog and it’s been helpful beyond words! I don’t think I could have been this organized without reading all of the great information you have here. I just accomplished this week 1 cook-up yesterday and it feels SO good to have all of those meals chilling in my fridge. Thank you Melissa!

  • Andibeth says:

    I have both Well Fed books. They saved me from sabotaging my 1st Whole30! I am planning a Whole100 for 2016, and I can’t wait! You and the Hartwigs have taken the stress out of Whole30! I am going to be 60 in April, and I have never felt better. My Crohn’s is in remission, I am being weaned off my Fibromyalgia, arthritis, and neuropathy meds. I stopped PPI (Dexilant) 2 weeks after I started Paleo 2 years ago. Who knew grains could have such an adverse affect on people?! I knew about sugar and dairy, but grains?! I am a Whole30 believer! Mel, thanks for making this so easy to maintain! 🙂

    • Congratulations to you on your Whole30 success! I did a Whole90 once, and it was the coolest. You’re going to love your 100. Have a fantastic year, and keep me posted on how you’re doing!

  • Bethany says:

    Hi! I live in Prague (which I’ve heard you’re a fan of) and am planning on starting the Whole30. I’ve always struggled with trying to adapt American recipes to what I have available here in Prague. I was just wondering if you have ever tried making the Sunshine Sauce with tahini instead of sunflower seed butter. Thanks!

  • Shanon Gonzales says:

    I am in my 2nd week of the Whole30, and I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying your meal plans. The meal plans have been so helpful as I’m trying to tackle this new way of cooking and eating. The chocolate chili is THE best chili I have ever had! Thank you so much for providing these wonderful recipes!

  • Tara Johnston says:

    Thank you so much for this plan!! I just finished cooking everything. I’m actually on week 2 of my first whole30 but found your plans and figured I’d start from the beginning. I’m excited to see how this week goes without having to really cook and just pull something out of the fridge!

  • Bethany says:

    Question: What’s the difference between your normal diet (you personally, not Paleo diets in general – that would be too broad) and a Whole30. I saw that you said that you once did a Whole90, so I’m just wandering what that looked like when you went off it. I’m on day 10 of my Whole30 and already I’m just wandering what life post-Whole30 will look like. Very tired of living with the same food issues my whole life and ready to make permanent changes (this is turning into a long post!). I have in the past gone a whole year without dairy and gluten and definitely felt big benefits from it.

    • My normal diet is very close to Whole30. The only non-compliant foods I have in the house, usually, are Maple Almond Butter, organic ketchup with some sugar in it, and white rice, plus condiments like pickles that might have a weird ingredient or two. On holidays, I make grain-free treats, so there’s lots of sugar, but usually no dairy (except ghee) and no gluten grains. When we travel, I eat everything (so i can try local cuisine), but I try not to go crazy, and I only eat something if it AWESOME. My “treats” tend to be eating more than usual, or eating things that I know won’t hurt me, like french fries, gluten-free blueberry muffin, that kind of thing. But I usually only have one treat a week. Hope that helps!

  • Sheila says:

    So glad I found this old post of yours! I followed your instructions and spent the morning doing the cook-up. We had the chili for dinner, the whole family LOVED it. My pork roast was smaller than yours so it only took about 9 hours. Amazing taste! So delicious, I think I ate a whole pound while I was transferring it to a container for the fridge! Thank you for creating the shopping list and the step-by-step instructions. Having the plan outlined for me gave me to push I needed to get started. Making the Pad Thai recipe tomorrow 🙂 Thank you for all the information and recipes you share.

  • Sam W says:

    I have made the chocolate chili and the curry – both are absolutely delicious! I want to make the Pad Thai next but spaghetti squash is no longer in season – any suggestions for substitutes?

  • Quinn says:

    I’m about to start my first Whole30 and having this post is making it so much less intimidating for me to start. I had a question regarding halving the recipes since I am cooking for only me. If I halve the amount of pork that I am putting in the slow cooker, does the cook time vary? Does that get cut in half too?

  • brittany says:

    Thank you so much for these posts! I am doing Whole30 for the first time and meal prep was my biggest worry. This makes it very simple for me. Much appreciated!!!

  • Karen says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am not handy in the kitchen AT ALL, yet, with your wonderful instructions I have followed to the T, I have a full fridge that both myself and my non-Whole 30 family can eat! Tomorrow I will finish by cooking the pork and soup. The slow cooker was occupied by tonight’s dinner. I may make it through this process! Day 3.

  • Starbuck WindRyder says:

    You are incredible! Thank you so much for this resource. I am most definitely picking up your cookbooks. I just finished the day of cooking this weeks meal plan and my roommate just kept laughing at me because I was so overtly enjoying the whole process! I’m glad I kept the energy up and did the Zucchini soup, I had never had Zucchini before and gosh darn it, are they ever TASTY!! This makes my first day of the Whole30 (first go ever!) a little less intimidating and I’m looking forward to the week because of this!
    You rock!!

  • Carol says:

    Hi, dumb question – I am not sure if I understand well – with this shopping list which may I cook from these ingredients? Only Chilli, Pork roast and zuchinni soup? I probably overlooked it…? Thanks very very much!! Carol

    • If you follow the shopping list and instructions, this is what you’ll have at the end of your cooking session:
      Roasted Chicken Thighs
      Olive Oil Mayo
      Roasted Spaghetti Squash
      Roasted Sweet Potatoes
      Italian Pork Roast
      Chocolate Chili
      Sunshine Sauce
      Browned Ground Beef
      Green Beans
      Moroccan Dipping Sauce
      Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup

      (That’s listed under the heading “On The Menu” about halfway through the post.)

      Happy cooking!

  • Carol says:

    Hi Melissa, I have a question regarding your Hot Plates – I have your book (and really love it!!) but when you recomend to combine for example in Greek kitchen – zucchini and tomatoes (and chicken and some spices) – the right way is to fry zucchini and tomatoes too? Or Ieave tomatoes “raw”. Hope you understand wht I mean 😉 Thank you!! Karolina

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying Well Fed!

      For a Greek Hot Plate, you could really do either. You could sauté the zucchini and tomatoes together with the chicken and spices—or you could cook the zucchini, chicken, and spices, then sprinkle very finely chopped raw tomatoes over the top. It depends on which suits your mood that day 🙂

  • Michele says:

    I just finished the Whole30 and did not cheat at all and dropped a total of 21 pounds. Two weeks in I started exercising and I feel great. I even made it through Thanksgiving, which was not difficult. I’m glad I started when I did. This has really opened my eyes and has helped me to realize the things I need to do to change my diet.

  • Thanks for putting SO much information together in your blog post! I am on day 17 of the #JanuaryWhole30Challenge and have found your site uber helpful. I eve referred back to it in my recent blog post – http://www.roadleadinghome.com/2017/01/18/2017-whole-30-launch-first-two-weeks-check-in/