Whole30 Food List: What to Eat and Avoid for Optimal Results
Start your Whole30 right by downloading my Whole30 Food list. It’s a shopping list that you can print out and stick on your fridge or bring to the grocery store. I’ve been around the Whole30 block and I’m here to help you navigate the guidelines and what foods to eat and avoid.
Your Whole30 Food List
If you’re anything like me, the new year often feels like a natural moment to make a healthy shift. I’m not talking about low-calorie crash diets or unrealistic weight loss goals, though. I’m talking about hitting the reset button on my eating habits—because, even though I stick to a relatively clean diet most of the time, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all of the sweet holiday treats and festive cocktails. I’m only human, after all.
That’s why I love the Whole30. This 30-day real-food eating plan is one of my favorite ways to essentially recalibrate my taste buds to crave more whole foods, calm inflammation throughout my body, and boost energy levels—things we could all benefit from come January, or after any period of overindulgence.
For me, Whole30 strikes a nice balance of structure and freedom. Yes, there are strict rules about eliminating certain pro-inflammatory food groups and ingredients, but there are still a huge number of foods available to you—and what you can create with these nourishing foods is often truly amazing (check out my favorite Whole30 breakfast recipes, Whole30 lunch ideas, and Whole30 dinner recipes).
But I’ll admit, the first (and even second) Whole30 can be a bit of a learning curve. Even if you know the basics of what to cut out and what to eat, there are many ingredients and additives that fall into somewhat of a gray area—and unless you’re an expert, keeping track of it all can be the most stressful part!
What Exactly is Whole30?
Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to help you eat healthier and eliminate your personal trigger foods—these could be foods that cause an inflammatory or autoimmune response in your body, or simply foods that cause you to lose all self-control.
For 30 days, you will cut out all grains, legumes, soy, dairy, alcohol, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods containing any of these ingredients; and load up on all sorts of vegetables, fruits, eggs, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.
The idea is that, after a month, you’ll rid yourself of sugar and carb cravings and start to really notice the positive effects of adopting a whole foods-based diet—whether that’s sleeping better, thinking more clearly, feeling less bloated, or having more of a pep in your step.
After the first 30 days are up, you’re encouraged to slowly reintroduce certain foods one at a time to identify specific items that may be causing unwanted side effects—and thus, what foods you probably want to ditch for good.
Why Should You Do a Whole30?
In a nutshell, because it totally revamps your relationship with food. Whole30 isn’t a diet in the traditional sense. You’re not allowed to weigh yourself, and counting calories and measuring out portions aren’t encouraged either.
The true goal is to eliminate foods that are pro-inflammatory and potential allergens, to recalibrate your taste buds so you naturally crave fewer sweets and carbohydrates, and to break the emotional ties you may have with certain “comfort” foods that have derailed your eating habits (and overall vitality) in the past.
What You Can (and Can’t) Eat on Whole30
First, let’s start off with what you can’t eat. Per the official program rules, you must eliminate all of the following for 30 days, no exceptions:
- Added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, monk fruit, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol.
- Alcohol. Any form of alcohol is a no go, even for cooking.
- Grains. All grains are off limits (even gluten-free grains!), including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, quinoa, and buckwheat.
- Legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and peanut butter. This also includes all forms of soy—soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and lecithin.
- Dairy. Milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
- Certain additives. Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites are all a no go.
- Baked goods, junk foods, or even treats with “approved” ingredients
So, what can you eat? Pretty much anything that’s left over, with a few exceptions. Basically, this includes vegetables, fruits, eggs, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. To make your lives easier, download my Whole30 shopping list for loads of specific compliant foods broken down by food group. And always stock up on Whole30 snacks for grab and go, or make your own Whole30 snack recipes.
You can also watch my What I Eat in a Day video for more Whole30 recipes and inspiration.
5 More Ways to Make Your Whole30 Successful
Beyond simply knowing what to eat and what to skip, here are a few more suggestions for making your Whole30 experience way more enjoyable.
- Prep ahead: First, print out my Whole30 grocery list so you know the ins and outs of the program; then, find some Whole30-approved recipes that you’ll look forward to eating; lastly, set aside a few hours on Sunday to meal prep so you’re less likely to cave to mid-week cravings.
- Remove temptation: Toss any non-compliant foods, or at least keep them out of sight, for the entirety of the program. There’s really something to the old “out of sight, out of mind” saying.
- Think big picture: Whole30 is going to feel impossible if you’re fighting yourself the entire way. So before you begin, make sure this is something you’re truly willing to commit to. One strategy that always helps keep me motivated is jotting down my non-weightloss goals for doing Whole30 (e.g. mental clarity, pain reduction, clearer skin) and what these things will help me do.
- Drink lots of tea: Whenever I find myself itching for a snack and I know I’m not actually hungry, I brew up some herbal or green tea. I personally love a good cup of matcha, which is packed with antioxidants and may help boost cognitive function and aid in weight loss.
- Do it with a friend: Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner! There will be moments during your Whole30 that are really tough, so having someone to commiserate with can honestly be pretty helpful. Sharing words of encouragement and tasty recipes is great too.
Hi Lisa, not sure what page to comment with my question about honey, This seems like a good place. :) Honey is listed among the ‘not allowed’ ingredients in Whole30 but Turmeric tea has honey and it’s included in Whole 30 recipes. And if I’m not mistaken, I saw other dishes in the Whole30 list with honey in the ingredients. Would yo please shed some light on how to use honey during Whole30? Thank you so much!
If you notice any recipe that has sugar, just omit it. Especially for salad dressings! Some recipes in my Whole30 list will need a slight tweak to make sure they’re Whole30 compliant.
Are chestnuts allowed in the 30 days Whole30?
Yes, you can use raw chestnuts! But, in moderation.
I’ll be joining you for the 4 week plan. I’ve never done Whole30 before but thank you for simplifying it for us.
Good luck on your Whole30 month!
Hello Lisa! Sending you Love and Gratitude from Montana.
I’m so glad that I accidentally stumbled across your page tonight! Your recipes to help with inflammation look wonderful and I am very excited to give them a try!
I suffer from pretty serious health issues that are getting progressively worse. Mostly autoimmune issues, so I am going to work harder and focus more on my dietary choices. (I watched your smoothie drinks for inflammation and they all look so yummmmm!)
Here it is after midnight and I’m so excited to try those recipes and to learn more about the information you might provide that might help to relieve some of the symptoms of my health situation.
Gonna need to come back tomorrow, or I’ll never get to sleep tonight!
What about rice or almond milk or rice or almond flour?
Do you have a pastry recipe that is compatible with Whole30 eg made with coconut flour and some other butter replacement eg coconut oil?
Rice is not allowed, but almonds and almond milk are okay.
Thanks! And do you have a pastry recipe that is compatible with Whole30 eg made with coconut flour and some other butter replacement eg coconut oil?
I don’t have any Whole30 compliant pastries yet, but will keep in mind for the future!
Hi Lisa, I have done the “Whole-30” already two years ago. And it was a phantastic starter for changing my diet. Unfotunately after 1 3/4 years I came back into old habbits. But today, I’ll start all over again. Looking forward to it. Kind regards, Anne
Hi Lisa, Avocados aren’t listed. Are they not allowed please?
Avocados are allowed :)
I am so grateful that somehow, somewhere I found you :)
I have been following you for a month or two and in the meantime my doctor diagnosed me with
Fibromyalgia, I am fighting this thing and refuse it to take over my life and today I get your Whole30 message.
This has given me the perfect opportunity to rid myself off this Fibromyalgia so that I can run a normal life again, pain free.
You are an amazing lady and thank you for all your effort that you go to, to have stunning meals and helping us with prepping.
I’m thrilled to hear you discovered Downshiftology as well. Wishing you the best of luck on your health journey and let’s work together to live a healthy, happy lifestyle!
Thank you for the shopping list. Also, printed your mayonnaise recipe. This Whole 30 plan was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and then again by my doctor. My husband and I are going to give it a go!
Thank you again, Sandy
Hope you enjoy the plan Sandy!
Hi ! What is the difference beetween whole30 and FODMAP ? They seem really similar.
Is it like a Paleo diet ???
Thank you thank you thank you I just love your website I have started the whole 30 program in February 1st of 2020 and so far to date as of July 13th I’ve lost 37 pounds I am gonna continue to eat this way keep up with the wonderful recipes because are very helpful as well as Melissa’s recipes thank you so much.
Hi Tammie- Wow, that’s amazing! I’m happy to hear I’m able to help and that you’re enjoying all my recipes so far :)
Excellent blog post! What liquid do you use for smoothies when doing Whole30?
Thanks so much! I normally just use water as a liquid!
can you make some recipes on tofu?
Quite a few of my followers don’t eat soy, which is why I haven’t made very many tofu recipes. But I will definitely consider it for future recipes :)
I am confused. Under recipes for whole 30 you have meals that contain rice and tortillas.
Hi Helen – I just took a glance, doesn’t seem to have. Unless you are referring to recipes like my chicken fajitas? If so, the recipe itself (which is the stir fried chicken) is Whole30. But you would need to exclude the additional tortillas.
If you happen to see something that is directly related to rice or tortillas though, please let me know which recipe so I can make adjustments. Thanks!
I’m curious if you are aware of any other pudding recipes besides chia seed?
Hey Peggy! I make “ABC Pudding”
C-Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Whip all together & enjoy!
adjust ingredient quantity to suit your tastes
I know this is “blasphemy” Lisa, but is there any “box” food delivery service you would recommend ?
Hi Jim – unfortunately I haven’t tried any, so don’t have any to recommend.
Thanks anyway… easy to “grind” gears when your trying to downshift ….
If you are in an area that delivers Territory meals, they have Whole30 compliant meal deliveries.
Also, thanks for the guidance on Whole 30 Lisa! This is my second round, and your tips are very much appreciated!
This is really nicely written. Easy to understand and spelled out so that it’s (hopefully) easy to do.
Hi Colette – Thanks so much! Hope this post will give you some new Whole30 ideas :)
Hi Lisa I love spice food,garlic,lemon but I have problems that I start itching,do you have any idea to avoid that thanks
Hi Lida – I’d recommend working with your doctor and nutritionist to see if you might have a food allergy.
YAAASSS LISA I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL TO YOU! All the recipes you make and the lists you make help me so much! Thank you!!!
I’m so happy to hear you love my lists Chandni! And this Whole30 Food List is great to print out and take to the grocery store with you. Enjoy! x