Getting Ready
Getting Ready

Prepare for your Whole30 in five easy steps


A little planning goes a long way

You’re excited to do the Whole30, and we’re excited for you! But before you start, spend some time on basic planning and preparation.

It’s tempting to jump from contemplation (should I do the Whole30?) straight into action (I’m starting the Whole30). But habit research shows skipping the preparation phase makes you less likely to see the change through.

Mentally and emotionally, take the time to consider your Whole30 goals, and what success will require. Physically, you’ll want to get your kitchen, food, and support system ready before you begin.

You may need a day or two to prepare, or you may want a few weeks to make plans and set expectations. Many people also find it helpful to ease into their program by cutting back on sugar, alcohol, soda, or processed foods now.

There is no perfect timeline, but give yourself at least a few days before your start date and set yourself up for success.

Step 1: Choose your start date

Many people start their Whole30 on the first of the month, but you can start any day you choose. Before you mark your calendar, though, here are some important items you should consider:

  • Allow yourself at least a few days for planning and preparation before you start. A week is even better, so you don’t feel rushed through meal planning or grocery shopping.
  • Plan around special events. If you’ve got a special vacation, a long business trip, or an important race coming up, start your Whole30 after that event. Navigating the Whole30 under those conditions may prove difficult and stressful.
  • Build in at least 10 days at the end for reintroduction! If Day 31 is the first day of your vacation, your wedding day, or your team’s playoff game, it will be hard (if not impossible) to reintroduce properly.

However, you don’t need to delay your Whole30 because of an upcoming family dinner, business lunch, or kid’s birthday party. In fact, those kinds of events are a great opportunity to take your Whole30 skills out on the town, and practice saying “no, thank you” with confidence.

Step 1: Action items

Let us guide you every step of the way.

Starter Kit

Recipes, resources, tips, and more

Download your Whole30 Starter Kit and drop into our free email series designed to guide you through every phase.

Original Whole30 Starter Kit
Preview your Whole30 journey

Preview your Whole30 journey

Whole30 alumni call our Timeline “eerily accurate.” Take a peek into your future, week-by-week.

Read it here

Step 2: Build your support team

Habit research finds that succeeding with a commitment as big as the Whole30 requires accountability and community support. But in surveys, 50% of people do the Whole30 on their own—not with a family member, friend, work group, or gym group. Here are tips for recruiting support from family and friends, even if they’re not doing the Whole30 with you:

  • Share your personal reasons for taking on the Whole30. Let your loved ones know the challenges you are experiencing with your health, habits, or relationship with food, and the benefits you hope to see.
  • Ask for support! People aren’t mind-readers, so share your needs clearly. “Can I count on you to support me this month?”
  • Be specific. If you need your co-workers not to pressure you to have a drink or slice of pizza, say so. If you want your spouse to share encouraging words once in a while, ask for that. If you’d like your best friend to check in once a week for accountability, choose a day together.

One promise from us: You never have to do the Whole30 alone. While in-person support is helpful, you can also find all the accountability, motivation, advice, and encouragement you need from Whole30 co-founder Melissa Urban and our thriving online community.

Step 2: Action items

The support you need, every single day of your Whole30.

Sign up for daily text messages.

Sign up for Whole30 daily text messages

Choose your start date and Melissa will text you twice a day with encouragement, advice, and accountability.

Sign up for Whole30 texts
Sign up for Plant-Based texts
Join us on social media.

Get community support and resources

Join us on social media.

Follow @whole30 on Instagram
Follow @pbwhole30 on Instagram

Step 3: Get ready to eat

It’s time to get your pantry and fridge Whole30-ready. You may feel confident enough to skip this step and play things by ear—but please don’t. This is where Present You sets Future You up for success, knowing there will be stressful days, busy days, and temptations ahead. There is no such thing as “too prepared” for the Whole30, so at the very least, let’s organize your pantry, plan a few days of meals, and hit the grocery store.

  • Clean out your pantry. Donate the foods you won’t be eating (or box them up for reintroduction). Habit research shows the more distance between yourself and temptation, the easier it is to resist the pull.
  • Doing the Whole30 alone? Dedicate one drawer in your fridge, an out-of-the-way cabinet, or a plastic storage tote in your pantry for your family’s treats.
  • Plan 3-7 days of Whole30 meals. A meal plan sets you up for Whole30 success and reduces stress. Don’t forget to plan on-the-go foods, too!
  • Head to the grocery store. Use your meal plan to restock your pantry and shop for your meals. Sticking to the list saves time and money, and prevents food waste.

You’ll find plenty of recipe inspiration on our website, Original and Plant-Based Instagram feeds, YouTube channel, and Whole30 cookbooks. But you don’t have to use a recipe. Ingredient meals include a protein source, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats—and are quick, easy, and delicious. (Think “steak, veggie and pineapple kabobs, and chimichurri,” on the Original Whole30, or “crispy chickpeas, roasted sweet potatoes, sliced apples, and a creamy tahini sauce” on the Plant-Based Whole30.)

Make your meal plan


Step 3: Action items

Your shortcuts to Whole30 meal planning and grocery shopping.

Plan and prepare

Plan 30 days of Whole30 meals with Real Plans

Get 1,000+ recipes and automated shopping lists for the Original or Plant-Based program.

Original Meal Plan
Plant-Based Meal Plan
Join Thrive Market

One-stop Whole30 shopping at Thrive Market

Join Thrive Market and find thousands of Whole30 Approved and compatible goods, all at a discount.

Join Thrive Market

Step 4: Plan for success

There is a 100% chance you will face unexpected challenges during your Whole30. Peer pressure, social events, business travel, and life stress can easily derail most people’s Whole30 commitment. But not you! Because you’re going to have a plan for these situations, too.

  • Anticipate the obstacles you might face during your Whole30. These may include family dinners, business lunches, birthday parties, travel plans, peer pressure, or long days at work.
  • Use “if/then” statements to create your plan. Behavior-change science has found that the “if/then” framework can help you better recognize challenging situations, and more easily shift into your desired response.
  • Plan for peer pressure. “IF my co-workers pressure me to order a drink, THEN I’ll say, ‘I’m not drinking right now—I’m fine with my sparkling water,’ and change the subject.”
  • Plan for emergency food. “IF I get to the airport and my flight is delayed, THEN I’ll snack on the Chomps snack sticks and pistachios I packed in my carry-on.”
  • Plan for long work days. “IF I don’t have time to meal prep, THEN I’ll order a Whole30 bowl from Chipotle for dinner.”

You can already see how thinking through these “if/then” scenarios helps you better plan for challenges. (Now you know to always have a glass of sparkling water in your hand, pack snacks in your carry-on, and download the Chipotle app.) Record these plans in a journal or app, and add to them as new opportunities present themselves.

Step 4: Action items

Two resources to help you navigate challenges with ease.

Order Whole30 Approved meal delivery

Order Whole30 Approved meal delivery

Order Original and Plant-Based meals delivered straight to your door, and skip the meal prep, grocery shopping, cooking, and dishes.

Made By Whole30 meals
Daily Harvest (Plant-Based)
Read The Whole30 Day by Day

Read The Whole30 Day by Day

Part handbook, part guided journal, this book will help you plan for Whole30 success, track your progress, and stay accountable.

Read it here

Step 5: Shift your mindset

The Whole30 isn’t a weight-loss diet, but we know many of you come to the program hoping to lose weight. We honor that desire. But to fully embrace the Whole30’s potential (and achieve your desired results), you’ll have to shift your mindset away from “dieting” and “weight loss” for the next 30 days.

  • Ditch the scale. Hide it in your garage, toss it in a cabinet, or donate it. That hunk of plastic won’t support your confidence, self-esteem, or results on the Whole30.
  • Reject the diet mindset. Remember that no food is “good” or “bad,” you are not good or bad based on what you eat, and body weight is not a reflection of health or worthiness.
  • Celebrate non-scale victories. Look for NSVs big and small during your Whole30 elimination and reintroduction. They all count! These results can’t be seen on the scale, but can have a positive impact on every area of your life.
  • Focus on food freedom. Remember that after reintroduction, your food freedom can and should include any and all foods you’ve decided are worth it for you. No more food rules! You’ll be confident in your plan, thanks to your Whole30 experience.

Give yourself a well-deserved break from your preoccupation with the scale. Focus on all of the other benefits the Whole30 can bring to your physical health, mental health, emotional well-being, relationships, and self-confidence. Who knows—when your Whole30 is over, maybe you’ll realize life without the scale feels far more free than life attached to it. For more on the Whole30’s perspective on weight loss, read this article from Whole30 co-founder Melissa Urban.

Step 5: Action items

Support your Whole30 mindset with these tools.

Download the Whole30 NSV Checklist

Download the Whole30 NSV Checklist

This comprehensive list will help you plan your goals and track success along the way.

Download it here
Food Freedom Forever

Read Food Freedom Forever

Preview your life after the Whole30, and embrace your own personalized, sustainable dietary plan.

More info