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January 4, 2024

Your Plant-Based Whole30 Guide To Shopping

Plant-Based Whole30 Shopping Guide

Grocery shopping is a task that brings out varied emotions from people. Some love it, while others are indifferent—or actively dislike it. The abundance of options in the grocery store can be one of the main reasons people have negative emotions toward the activity. Finding specific items or knowing where to start can be challenging with so much variety.

If this is your first Plant-Based Whole30 or you’re new{er} to eating more whole foods, welcome! We are excited you’re here. And we’re ready to teach you how to have a fantastic, stress-free shopping experience.

Bookmark or save this article to reference when you need assistance or want a refresher on making your shopping trips easier. You can also view our Plant-Based Whole30 shopping series on Instagram as an additional resource.

How to meal prep

Know what you’re shopping for before you get to the grocery store. This undoubtedly is the most important part to have in place before even leaving for the store. Knowing what to buy makes the experience fast and saves you money.

Meal prep can look different for everyone, but if you’re just starting, you might find the Plant-Based Whole30 Meal Template useful for planning your week.

Other tools that make meal planning easier are:

  • Cookbooks: Having a go-to cookbook can make picking meals faster. And if you’ve made them before, you know if you like them or what to change for the next time.  
  • Scheduling time: Set aside specific time for cooking and preparing. 
  • Having reliable containers: If you make all the delicious meals and have nowhere to put them, make it difficult to enjoy for the week.

Sticking to your budget

Spending a ton of money at the grocery store isn’t appealing to many people. The good news is that eating on the Plant-Based Whole30 doesn’t have to be more expensive.

To help save money at the grocery store, here are some ways to avoid spending an extra $20–$50 on your trip:

  • Don’t buy off your list: You made a list, so stick with it. One of the only exceptions I make is with fresh produce. For example, if you have strawberries on your list, but you notice raspberries are on sale, swap them out because they are similar and can work the same for snacking, smoothies, and many recipes. This minor modification can save you money.  
  • Shop multiple stores if needed: Some stores have better and different deals than others. If you have multiple stores nearby, shop the sales at each to save money. 
  • Order online and pick up: Instead of going into the store, order online and then pick up your groceries. Not only does this save you time, but it leaves no room for extras.

Impulse purchases and shopping while hungry are two of the biggest culprits for spending money you didn’t mean to, as well. Read our article, Simple Tips For Eating Plant-Based Whole30 on a Budget, for more in-depth details on how to save money.

Consider the store layout

Every grocery store has a similar layout. When you can see the produce toward the front or in clear view, start here to load up on all the fresh items. Next, head over to the refrigerated section. This is strategic if you want to spend less time in the store. We know food can’t be left out of the fridge for long periods. Shopping here second creates urgency to speed up the time spent in the aisles.

After the fridge and frozen section, you can head to the rest of the cold items, like non-dairy milk and tofu. Lastly, take a quick trip down the aisles. This is where you can find useful ingredients, like canned goods, spices, and condiments for your Plant-Based Whole30.

Reading labels

While looking at products on the store shelves, start by looking for the Whole30 Approved logo. After that, check the ingredients for non-plant-based items, like dairy, meat, or eggs. Finding pre-approved products can speed up the process and introduce you to new items you might have never tried. 

Some items are compatible but don’t have the Whole30 marking. For example, some salsas, fresh fruit, and frozen vegetables. To know which are compatible, read the ingredients and ensure no excluded ingredients are listed. One ingredient you may frequently encounter is added sugar. It hides in frozen vegetables with sauces, salsa, and canned vegetables. Be sure to check those ingredient lists. 

For a refresher, here are the Plant-Based Whole30 Program Rules.

Choose your convenience foods wisely

Convenience isn’t always unhealthy. We often think of convenience as something to avoid, but it can occasionally save the day. Plenty of convenience foods fit into the Plant-Based Whole30, like:

  • Pre-chopped veggies 
  • Pre-chopped fruit
  • Frozen veggies 
  • Premade hummus
  • Premade guacamole
  • Premade salsa 

These all would be classified as convenient, yet they are great options to make your meal prep go faster and save you time.

What to buy on your next trip

Here is a list of ideas to add to your grocery list. Most of these options can be found at your local grocery outlet, unless otherwise noted.

Fridge Section

  • Guacamole 
  • Salsa
  • Grillo’s Pickles 
  • Abbot’s Butcher (You can find it at Target!)
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh 
  • Veggie noodle spirals 

Frozen 

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables (check for sauces)
  • Avocado chunks 
  • Riced Veggies (check for sauces)
  • Stir fry veggies (check for sauces)

Condiments 

  • Frank’s Red Hot 
  • Texas Heat hot sauce
  • Primal Kitchen ketchup 
  • Mustard
  • Coconut aminos

Snacks

  • Fresh fruit
  • Nut butter 
  • Raw nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios with no added sugar) 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Olives

Pantry Staples

  • Canned beans (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.)
  • Canned lentils 
  • Rao’s tomato sauce
  • Canned vegetables 
  • Vegetable broth 
  • Coconut milk 
  • Almond flour
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Spices (no added sugar)

Produce

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Greens

Drinks

  • Nutpods creamer (check for Whole30 Approved logo)
  • Waterloo sparkling water
  • La Croix sparkling water

More tools to use

Use these additional resources to help better navigate your Plant-Based Whole30:

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