If you enjoy a good challenge, completing a Whole30 might be on your health and fitness bucket list.
But sticking to the diet itself isn’t the only challenge Whole30 presents. It can be a challenge deciphering exactly what you can and can’t eat on the program, too.
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive Whole30 food list, with everything you’ll need to stock a Whole30-ready pantry.
What is Whole30?
Whole30 is a 30-day elimination-style diet program. It’s strict — eliminating all highly processed food, grains, wheat, soy, alcohol, sugar, soda, dairy, and legumes. As such, it’s very similar to the Paleo diet — although it is a bit more restrictive.
Melissa Urban developed Whole30 in 2009 as a personal diet challenge, but it has since exploded in popularity. There are now Whole30 books, cookbooks, salad dressings, and Whole30 Approved foods and meal delivery services.
As a 30-day program, W30 is meant to be followed temporarily. But many people find aspects of the program highly beneficial for them, and continue to incorporate these elements in their daily life beyond the program ending.
So, why would anyone follow such a strict program? It’s easy — the potential benefits. Although there hasn’t been any official research conducted on Whole30, people who have completed it report that it completely changed their health for the better. The Paleo diet, which is similar, also may offer some heart health, blood sugar, and weight management benefits.[*][*][*]
There are reports of weight loss, cleared skin, decreased inflammation, better mood, more focus, improvements in autoimmune conditions, better digestion, and more.[*]
Many people have used the Whole30 program to help them identify foods that they are sensitive to, as well.
Who Should Try It
Whole30 may be a good fit for anyone looking to improve their health, particularly those dealing with inflammation, autoimmune disorders, or persistent digestive problems that may be diet related.
There are many different variations of the program that can be adopted to accommodate varying lifestyles, like plant-based Whole30, low-carb Whole30, or even Keto Whole30.
And since it’s only 30 days, you can go back to your regular way of eating after the program if you feel it didn’t provide any benefits.
However, many people online suggest that the diet helped them to improve their health or their relationship with food.
Whole30 may also be a great option if you want to transition away from strict Keto and reintroduce some healthy, whole food carbs into your diet.
What to Avoid on Whole30
Although we normally list what you can eat first, it’s easier with the Whole30 program to start with what you can’t eat.
Here’s what you should avoid on Whole30:[*]
- All added sugars and sweeteners: including zero-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and natural options like honey and maple syrup
- Alcohol: all alcoholic drinks and alcohol in cooking
- Grains: wheat, rye, barley, rice, bread, pasta, cornstarch, cereals, oats, etc.
- Legumes: beans, soy beans, peanuts, including products made from these (like soy sauce and peanut butter)
- Dairy: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, sour cream, ice cream, etc.
- Processed additives: carrageenan, sulfites
- Junk food made with Whole30 ingredients: grain-free pancakes, mug cakes, cookies, chips, pizzas, bagels, etc.
You should also avoid oils derived from anything on the avoid list, like soybean oil, corn oil, and peanut oil.
What to Eat On Whole30
But what does that leave for you to eat? Plenty! Here is everything that you can eat on Whole30:
- Meats: beef, pork, chicken, lamb, fish, seafood, eggs (note: meat should preferably be unprocessed and not include any non-compliant ingredients)
- Fats and oils: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee, bacon fat, lard, tallow
- Fruits: all fruits
- Vegetables: all vegetables
- Nuts and seeds: all tree nuts, nut butters, all seeds (note: no peanuts or peanut butter)
- Other: herbs, spices, vinegar, 100% cocoa, coffee, tea, unsweetened plant-based dairy products
As you can tell, most of your meals on Whole30 will be lower in carbs and fairly simple. For example, salmon and asparagus or steak and broccoli. However, fruit and potatoes are included in the Whole30, so it can be higher in carbs depending on which foods you choose to eat.
Whole30 Food List
Here is a complete Whole30 shopping list. This comprehensive guide will be useful for stocking your fridge, freezer, and pantry before you start Whole30 — so that you are prepared for success.
Note: To make your life even easier, we have created this handy printable shopping guide.
All meat should be minimally processed, so things like chicken nuggets, glazed meatballs, and fish sticks (which contain added ingredients such as breading and sugary sauces) are out.
- Beef, all cuts
- Chicken, all cuts
- Pork, all cuts
- Fish and shellfish, all types and cuts
- Lamb, all cuts
- Veal, all cuts
- Turkey, all cuts
Fats and Oils
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Cocoa butter
- Coconut cream
- Bacon fat
- Duck fat
- Dragon fruit
- Dried fruit (with no added sugar)
- Fruit juice (only as a sweetener in other Whole30-compliant foods)
Note that corn, while technically a vegetable, is not included in the Whole30 plan.
- Bell pepper
- Bean sprouts
- Hot pepper
- Sweet potato
- Green onion
- Brussels sprouts
- Acorn squash
- Butternut squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Green beans
- Bok choy
- Yellow squash
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Nuts and Seeds
All tree nuts and seeds are fine on Whole30, but the guidelines caution that you should eliminate them from your personal Whole30 program if you’re prone to overeating them.
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
- All nut butters except peanut butter
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- All seed butters
These items don’t fall into any other category. And while certain unsweetened plant-based milks are OK, be sure to check the ingredient label. Carrageenan is a commonly used thickener for plant milks and is banned on Whole30.
- Vinegar, all types (vinegar reductions may contain added sugar, so check the label)
- Herbs and spices: allspice, clove, nutmeg, sage, rosemary, peppermint, parsley, bay leaf, ginger, basil, dill, cumin, curry, pepper, fennel, tarragon, thyme, lavender, mustard, lemon grass, celery seed, cardamom, marjoram, red pepper flake, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, paprika, anise, spearmint, turmeric
- Flavor extracts, like vanilla (even if they contain trace amounts of alcohol)
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Herbal tea
- 100% cocoa (powder or bar OK)
- Unsweetened plant milks and dairy replacements (except soy, oat, or rice)
Now that you have your approved foods list, the fun begins. Why not kick start your Whole30 journey with our delicious healthy, whole food recipes, perfect for meal planning and prepping.
- Healthy Whole Food Zucchini and Artichoke Hummus
- Healthy Whole Food Bang Bang Shrimp
- Healthy Whole Food Sweet Potato Hash Breakfast Plate
- Healthy Whole Food Carrot Salad
- Healthy Whole Food Minced Beef Hotpot
Whole30 is a strict diet challenge that eliminates many commonly-eaten foods, including alcohol, grains, beans, and sugar.
With all of its rules, figuring out what you can eat on the diet may seem challenging.
This Whole30 shopping list can help you plan and prepare for Whole30 success. Don’t forget to check out our healthy whole food recipes available for Carb Manager Premium members, too!