As we round out the holiday season, we tend to turn our attention to the New Year. And if you are like most Americans, one of your goals for 2022 is not only to eat healthier but to lose a bit of weight. 

But “eating healthier” means different things for different people. The only way to truly know what specifically works for your body and your situation is to do a bit of investigation. That’s why, each year, we host the Whole30 challenge. We spend this time whipping up meals specifically designed to help you identify which foods positively impact you and which ones don’t.

The Pickled Beet’s 1-month eating plan helps you figure out better food choices for you. This could include anything from figuring out which foods you might have an allergy to, food sensitivities, or ingredients that may be causing inflammation. Since we do all the cooking for you, you don’t have to spend hours meal planning or searching the internet for templates, cheat sheets and so-called “easy” Whole30 recipes to get you through the gauntlet. We take care of all that for you. 

But even if you’ve got a personal chef doing all the cooking for you, gearing up for a Whole30 diet can feel a bit daunting. That’s why we always advise people to start making tiny changes well in advance.

Whole30 diet concept image with notebook, coffee, and plates of food.

These Whole30 tips and tricks will make your life much easier–and the transition much smoother–without disrupting your holidays too much.

Prepping for Whole30 The Easy Way

Array of seafood displayed on ice.

1. Pay more attention to portion sizes. 

You don’t need measuring cups or fancy meal prep containers to work towards your Whole30 diet. You can diagnose a well-balanced meal just by looking at your plate. Here’s one of our favorite Whole30 tips that you can use to visualize your plate: 25% of what you see should be proteins, and the rest of it should be healthy, fresh veggies such as cauliflower rice, broccoli florets, and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes. If you include starch in your meal, keep it to less than 25% of your plate.

2. Begin each morning with warm lemon water. 

This is one of those easy Whole30 tips that can be done while getting your breakfast ready. It does a lot of heavy lifting for detoxifying your system and cleansing your liver. But there are other potential benefits to drinking lemon water; not only does it contain lots of antioxidant vitamin C, but some swear that it helps reduce joint pain. 

Simply squeeze the juice from an organic lemon into a glass, add warm water, and drink up! Be sure to give your teeth a good rinse after. Lemon juice can erode your enamel if you drink it every day.

Glass of lemon water sits next to ginger and sliced oranges.

3. Eat some asparagus before you reach for that next cocktail…

Holiday festivities tend to be filled with a lot of drinking, leading to a less-than-pleasant hangover the Holiday festivities tend to be filled with a lot of drinking, leading to a less-than-pleasant hangover the morning after. While it isn’t a cure-all, there is some evidence that eating asparagus before you start drinking can help stave off those unwanted side effects. So, that TikTok trend might be a bit overblown, but there is at least a bit of truth to it.

4. Set down your fork between bites.

Setting down your fork between bites isn’t just something out of an Emily Post guide to etiquette-–it is one of our favorite, simple Whole30 tips that is also good for you! Not only does it force you to be more mindful of your eating (stop eating in front of the TV, folks, it’s death to your dinner plate!), but it also slows you down. If you have your utensil in your hand, you are more likely to reach for that next bite even if you aren’t feeling hungry.

Plate of pesto with a fork.

5. Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which people cycle periods of fasting and non-fasting throughout the day. Research indicates that meal plans incorporating intermittent fasting will facilitate weight loss efforts when done correctly.

There are several different types of intermittent fasts, which vary in the number of hours an individual spends eating in relation to their total time spent not eating. I find that the easiest option for beginners is simple: choose an 8-hour time span to eat within any day, and try to fill those hours with healthy foods. Fast for the other 16 hours. 

6. Make your doctor’s appointments. 

Haven’t had a checkup in a while? Commit to a bit of self-care, and be sure to check in with your doctor as we dive into the new year. Discuss your plans to try the Whole30 challenge and see if there are any specific dietary or nutritional needs you need to be mindful of. Remember, it is always wise to have the specific advice of your physician. 

7. Limit red meat to once a week. 

Small changes make a big impact. Start by reducing the amount of red meat you eat. Do you need to eliminate red meat entirely right now? No. But try to limit it to one meal per week. And for that meal, organic, grass-fed beef is your best bet. For the other meals, good swaps include leaner proteins such as chicken breast, turkey, pork, and lamb. 

Grilled chicken in a meal prep container.

8. Eat seafood once a week. 

Seafood is an excellent source of protein with healthy fats, amino acids, and B vitamins. It is also rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, making it the perfect choice for a Whole30 regimen.

It is generally recommended that Americans eat at least 8 ounces of seafood each week. Try incorporating this advice into your preparation for doing a Whole30 diet. As you gear up for the new year choose seafood for at least one weekend or weeknight meal.

Happy family eating dinner.

With 2021 behind us, get ready for a food reset. Whether you are STILL trying to shed that “quarantine fifteen” or you simply want to live a healthier lifestyle, we can help! Our Whole30 challenge is chock full of tasty meals and comfort foods that will forever change your relationship with food. You’ll find that “common” ingredients become something magical in the hands of our chefs. Whole30 isn’t just about eating your one boring salad every day. 

Missed our Whole30 challenge for this year? Don’t stress! Our personal chef services can still be a huge help to your fitness and dietary goals!

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