This Whole30 Food List Will Break You Out of a Grocery Shopping Rut
With this Whole30 food list, you'll be able to navigate the grocery store effortlessly and without "accidentally" throwing a pint of ice cream in your cart.
No sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, sweets, or alcohol. After one look at the list of Whole30 rules, you’re probably wondering what exactly you can eat while undertaking the month-long challenge—and how you’re going to survive 30 days without hummus or pasta.
But this mindset that you're depriving yourself of some of your favorite foods can make it difficult to stick with the elimination diet, which is designed to help you see how your body feels when you take away foods that could be problematic for your cravings, metabolism, digestion, and immune system. Instead, view it as an opportunity to expand your palette, says Jessica Beacom, R.D.N., co-founder of The Real Food Dietitians. “Don’t see it as 30 days of deprivation, but as a chance to do an experiment on yourself,” says Beacom. “Yes, you’re taking things out, but it’s also an opportunity to add things in. I’ve worked with clients who say they now have a new appreciation for new fruits and veggies [since trying Whole30].”
TL;DR: You’ll be taking a produce-heavy Whole30 food list—likely featuring at least a few foods you don't typically use in your cooking—to the supermarket. By ditching grains, including those found in processed foods, you’ll end up loading your cart with nutrient-dense veggies like winter squash and sweet potatoes, as well as fresh fruits, says Beacom.
While you’re following the Whole30 program, Beacom recommends maintaining diversity in your diet and eating a variety of colors—noshing on red bell peppers, purple cauliflower, and every colorful veggie in between. Make sure to eat leafy greens, sesame seeds, almond milk, or other fortified foods to get the calcium you’re missing by eliminating dairy. And if you’re incorporating prepared foods that sport the “Whole30 approved” label on the package, just make sure to keep an eye on your sodium intake, says Beacom, since processed foods tend to be high in salt.
To make the most of the Whole30 diet challenge and add some welcomed change to your meals, bring this Whole30 food list with you every time you hit the grocery store. (You’ll want to look to these Whole30-approved recipes for some cooking inspiration for any meal.)
The Ultimate Whole30 Food List
While it might be tempting to put pre-packaged, fast-cooking meats like breakfast sausage on your Whole30 food list, they should really take a backseat to whole foods, due to the high levels of sodium in the food products, says Beacom. For a different quick-cooking protein option, she recommends keeping pre-cooked shrimp in your freezer, which you can thaw and add to salads, lettuce wraps, or stir fry with veggies. And remember: “You don’t have to eat steak all month,” says Beacom. Choose proteins you actually enjoy eating and keep your meals varied.
- Deli meats and sausages (Just remember to avoid those with added sugar, carrageenan [a food additive used as a thickening agent], MSG, or sulfites.)
If you only eat veggies when they’re bite-sized and dipped in ranch, now’s your chance to get out of that habit and test new methods. Instead of serving cauliflower raw on a crudité plate, try roasting it or putting it in a stir fry. If the only squash you’ve tried is an acorn variety covered in butter and maple syrup, opt for a savory version with garlic and rosemary, or try spaghetti squash for an alternative to pasta, suggests Beacom. For a veggie that packs a lot of nutritional bang for a small buck, you could also try cabbage, which has a similar texture to noodles when sliced thin. Remember, all vegetables except corn, peas, and lima beans are allowed throughout your Whole30 diet, so try adding as many new vegetables to your Whole30 food list as you can fit in your fridge.
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Greens: Arugula, Collard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Romaine, Spinach, Swiss Chard
- Onions and Shallots
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes/Yams
- Snow Peas
- Squash: Acorn, Buttercup, Delicata, Butternut, Pumpkin, Spaghetti, Summer, Zucchini
- Sugar Snap Peas
Lucky for you, all fruits are allowed on the diet and can be added to your Whole30 food list. Along with eating grapes by the handful, get creative with your fruit consumption: Try incorporating strawberries, apples, and blueberries to your salads, grilling your salmon with citrus, or topping your burger with diced mango. (Use this guide to determine if a fruit is ripe before you buy.)
- Berries: Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries
- Citrus: Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Nectarines, Oranges, Tangerines
Sorry, you won’t find salted butter on this Whole30 food list. Whether you’re sauteing veggies or making a homemade salad dressing, use ghee or clarified butter, which have the milk solids removed, or EVVO to give your dish an added layer of rich flavor. While there are many Whole30-compliant salad dressings on the market, it’s just as easy to make from-scratch versions yourself (like Beacom’s Paleo ranch dressing).
Whole30 Cooking Fats
- Ghee or Clarified Butter
- Duck Fat
- Coconut Oil
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Palm Oil
Whole30 Fats for Dressing and Topping
- Avocado and Avocado Oil
- Coconut Butter and Coconut Milk
- Coconut Flakes and Shredded Coconut
- Sesame Oil
Whole30 Nuts and Seeds
- Almonds and Almond Butter
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
Whole30 Pantry Staples
To keep flavors interesting, add powerful spices and herbs to your Whole30 food list. Beacom recommends drizzling olive oil onto veggies and roast them with garam masala for a warm, satisfying plant-based dish, or sprinkling cinnamon on top of sweet potato for a filling breakfast. If you’re seriously missing your flavored coffee creamer, pour almond milk and a dash of cinnamon into your cup of Joe for a Whole30-approved drink.
- Almond Flour
- Arrowroot Powder
- Botanical Extracts: Vanilla, Lemon, Lavender
- Cauliflower rice
- Cocoa (100% Cacao)
- Coconut Aminos
- Coconut Flour
- Condiments: Hot Sauce, Mayonnaise, Mustard
- Dried Fruit
- Fish Sauce
- Iodized Salt
- Spices and Herbs
- Tapioca Starch
- Vinegar: Apple Cider, Balsamic, Red Wine, White
If you can’t take one more sip of plain water, add kombucha down on your Whole30 food list. Although kombucha contains sugar, it’s used for fermentation purposes—not as a sweetener—making it A-OK while you’re on the Whole30 diet. Beacom recommends choosing a kombucha that has the least amount of sugar as possible, like GT’s Gingerade or lemonade, and drinking it only occasionally.
- Almond Milk or Cashew Milk
- Apple Cider
- Club Soda
- Coconut Water
- Fruit Juice
- Mineral Water
- Naturally Flavored Water
- Seltzer or Sparkling Water
- Tea or Matcha
- Vegetable Juice