Meal Habits

With just 1 week left of the Whole30 Program, I have come to some conclusions and have learned a great deal about myself in the process. Being more intentional about anything takes practice, and I know I am harder on myself than anyone else, but let me tell you, this program is not for the birds. It is HARD WORK and takes devoted time to discover both new ways of doing things as well as inner strength to complete. You truly have to be ready to commit to yourself and to an ENTIRE 30 days in order to change habits and see true health benefits that could offer a lasting effect. According to habit research it takes 66 days on average for a habit to stick, although this is longer than the program, 30 days seems to be sufficient in changing the routine of what you and your body is used to. Then doing these things more often than not in your everyday life will ultimately shift the way you look at food and the processes that go along with it forever.


Meal Planning

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not really great about meal planning far in advance and have gone through phases in my life of doing really well with this and others where it’s nice to have a husband who takes this responsibility on. But over the past 3 weeks, I have been compelled to do better at this, and who knows, maybe even have created some new habits and routines for meal planning at our house. I’ve decided that if I can have a couple days a week that I know the type/style of food we are going to have, it takes some of the work off of me. For instance, Tuesday evenings will (at least during these winter months) now be Crock Pot Tuesdays since that is my busy day and evening; Thursdays or Fridays (I haven’t narrowed this one down yet) will be a soup day so that we can potentially have easy leftovers for the weekend. And I can often toss these in the crock pot as well. Hopefully my husband will also be on board with this plan so that when he takes on some of the meal planning again we can continue to implement this strategy.


Ingredient Prep

Meal prep always takes me a while for some reason (longer than what typical recipes say it will take at least, I feel), and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m just not fast at peeling and cutting up veggies.  Or perhaps it’s because I am always checking back at the recipe to see what I need to do next. So, I’ve tried to incorporate a more systematic plan for meal prep. Doing as much as I can on Sunday or Monday for the upcoming few days, then planning ahead and prepping ingredients for the end of week meals mid-week has been what I’m aiming for. I often still find myself doing more work than I’d like right before the meal, but the intent is there, and if I can continue to practice it, perhaps I will get better at it. No matter what, it still takes dedicated time away from other household tasks, playing with my son, spending time with my husband and work.  Part of this is because I feel as though I’m making meals every day that utilize ingredients that require the additional work. It’s fun to try new recipes, but often meal prep takes so much time & planning that leaving some room in our weekly menu for meals that require little additional work and are made from things that we already have in our freezer is probably what I need to think about adding into our regular rotation 1 or 2 days a week.



Changing the way I snack has also been a challenge. I typically have a protein and a carbohydrate at snacks, for example: fruit & nut butter, cheese & fruit, almonds & carrots, etc. With this program if you you’re incorporating snacks, for instance if you are pregnant or simply allowing your body to adapt to the change in meal plans over the first week or so, it is more encouraged to limit fruit throughout the day and instead consume more nutrient-dense veggies and less protein at snacks so it stays with you longer. I say less protein with the idea in mind that I ate a pretty protein-heavy diet prior to Whole30 and I didn’t necessarily pay close attention to how much protein I was consuming, just that I was always balancing my protein & carb intake to regulate blood sugar a bit better. I have since learned that eating a higher protein diet while being pregnant is not necessarily recommended because it’s not the healthiest for baby, and that protein consumption should be limited, according to Whole30, to no more than 20% of total calories. This realization has caused me to be much more aware of my protein portion sizes and consumption throughout the day. Also trying to eat more nutrient-dense veggies, like kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, spinach, red peppers, carrot, cauliflower, etc. at snacks has contributed to the need for better meal {& snack} planning ahead of time.


A Greater Awareness

As I said, and as I’m sure anyone who completes this program or even attempts to complete it will tell you: this is NOT EASY. It may be even harder as a pregnant woman trying to avoid temptations when your body is coursing with so many hormones and changing on a daily basis. (I’ll say that during the first 2 weeks, the temptations were REAL and hard to resist, but they did lessen. They haven’t completely gone away, but are significantly less.) It has certainly awaken me to a new way of eating & planning for meals, and given me better insights on how being more attentive to meals in general can greatly impact how you feel and who you are as a person.

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