In case saying goodbye to a bunch of food groups all at once sounds sad and unsustainable.
It also bans MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan, additives commonly found in processed foods. Participants are also discouraged from trying to recreate baked foods using Whole 30-approved ingredients (so, like, no paleo muffins, for example). And they're also told not to weigh themselves for the duration of the diet. The idea is to "focus on making good food choices" for a month.
The thing is, eliminating several food groups from your diet can be pretty daunting, even for just a month. And as BuzzFeed Health has reported, following restrictive diets can actually lead to bingeing down the road. (Not to mention that it can take a toll on your social life and enjoyment of food.)
So we reached out to health and nutrition experts to ask them how to make impactful changes to your diet in a sustainable way, so you can practice a healthier, non-elimination-based approach to eating. Here's what they said!
For one meal a day, make your plate 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 whole grains.
"Choose one meal per day that you want to improve and do that consistently for a month. Then add on a second meal, then a third, etc. As dietitians we know that simple, small steps are much more effective when it comes to eating healthier, not complete diet overhauls.
If you need a visual, here you go. This sounds simple, but we promise our patients who follow this eating pattern have the most success when it comes to achieving their health goals. Ideally, you'd want to do this for at least lunch and dinner. But there's no shame in starting small."
@thewholehappylife / Via instagram.com
Instead of subtracting from your diet, add to it.
"For example, add an afternoon snack so you don't get overly hungry and eat the entire kitchen when you get home. Or, if you love pizza, enjoy it, but add in some veggies (like a side salad) to get in extra nutrients and filling volume. Or if you're a huge pasta fan, add protein (beans or meat/fish/tofu) and lots of veggies to the dish — you'll be much more satisfied than you would be by a huge bowl of just pasta and sauce.
Try my Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole for an example of this in action!"
@ashandnug / Via instagram.com
Swap out some processed grains for some whole grains.
"Rather than giving up grains completely as Whole 30 requires, swap out some of the processed grains (things like bread, pasta, traditional cold cereals, crackers, etc.) in your diet for intact grains. Intact grains are grains in their purest form, like quinoa, bulgur, farro, millet, freekah, amaranth, oats, and so on — grains you have to cook yourself.
These are high in naturally-occurring nutrients, and take more energy to digest — which means the net calories from a serving of intact grains may be lower than calories obtained from a similar portion of processed grains. Making this substitution is one more step toward a real, whole foods diet."
—Amelia Winslow, MS, MPH, nutritionist and founder of Eating Made Easy
@blueberry_vegan / Via instagram.com