The Whole30 Starter Guide from Co-Founder Melissa Hartwig

Melissa Hartwig helps you navigate the Whole30 including guidelines, a shopping guide, her favorite grocery picks and more.


Melissa Hartwig is a certified sports nutritionist who specializes in helping people change their relationship with food and create life-long, healthy habits. She is the co-creator of the original Whole30 program, and a four-time New York Times bestselling author. She is a prominent keynote speaker on social media and branding, health trends, and entrepreneurship; and ranked #27 on Greatists Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness in 2017.

I’m partnering with Whole Foods Market in January to showcase the Whole30 reset. Follow along here and on social media, and share your month of Whole30 at Whole Foods Market with the #FeedYourResolution and #Whole30WholeFoods hashtags. 
By now, you’ve probably heard of the Whole30 opens in a new tab. Maybe you’ve had a friend follow the program, or heard coworkers talking about it, or even considered doing it yourself. But what IS the Whole30, anyway?

Whole30: A Reset, Not a Diet

Think of the Whole30 as pushing the reset button with your health, habits and relationship with food. You’ll use the information you learn from the Whole30 program to build the perfect, sustainable diet for you — grounded in new healthy habits to help you live your best. 

The Rules

For 30 days, you’ll eat moderate portions of meat, seafood and eggs; tons of vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices and seasonings. Here’s what you won’t eat as part of the program:

  • Added sugar in any form (real or artificial)

  • Alcohol

  • Grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, rice, corn and pseudo-cereals like quinoa)

  • Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts and soy in any form)

  • Dairy (with the exception of clarified butter or ghee)

  • Baked goods or “treats,” even if made with technically “approved” ingredients such as coconut flour (no cookies or muffins, bread or tortillas)

The “no” list may look intimidating, but there’s a huge variety of Whole30 foods to be found in produce, the meat counter and throughout the aisles, and a number of convenience foods that will make your Whole30 both easier and more delicious. And you’re in luck — Whole Foods Market carries dozens of Whole30 Approved and compliant products, so your Whole30 preparation is literally one-stop shopping. 

Whole30 Shopping Guide

Your first step is to plan a few meals, using Real Plans opens in a new tab, the seven-day meal plan in The Whole30 book or your favorite recipes from any of the Whole30 cookbooks or @Whole30Recipes opens in a new tab Instagram feed. Then, it’s time to go shopping! Start in produce, loading up on veggies, fruit and fresh herbs for meals, snacks and emergency food. Then, find your protein in the meat and seafood section — you’ll pick up some on-the-go protein and eggs later. Now, it’s time for the fun stuff — our favorite Whole30 approved picks at Whole Foods Market, designed to add flavor and convenience to your Whole30 meals.
My Top 6 Whole30 Approved Picks

  • The New Primal Marinades: These easy marinades and dressings turn plain meat and veggies into exciting flavors in one simple step — just add an extra hour to let chicken or steak marinate.

  • EPIC Bars, Bites and Strips: These snack-size protein options are the perfect Whole30 emergency food to stash in your gym bag, office desk or purse, and with more than a dozen Whole30 Approved flavors, you’ll never get bored. (Please note, not all of the EPIC bars are Whole30 compliant. The Venison, Beef Apple, Beef Habanero, Chicken Sesame, Chicken Sriracha, Turkey Almond Cranberry and Lamb Current Mint are compliant).

  • Kettle & Fire Bone Broth: Broth is the perfect base for soups and stews, and makes your mashed root vegetables creamy and savory. It’s also great for sipping on a cold winter morning. 

  • Primal Kitchen Mayo and Dressings: These condiments are staples on the Whole30. Use their mayo as a base for creamy dressings or to bind your chicken or salmon salad, and drizzle their dressings over salads, veggies or protein for quick and easy flavor.

  • Applegate Hot Dogs and Dinner Sausage: Sometimes, you need a hearty Whole30 meal in a hurry, and these easy-to-cook protein options are a perfect family-friendly option for breakfast or dinner.

  • Tessemae’s Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Salad Dressings and Buffalo Sauce: Notice a theme here? We’re all about easy ways to flavor your whole-food ingredients, and these twists on classic condiments contain no added sugar and all the zing you need to make scrambled eggs, grass-fed burgers or roasted sweet potatoes feel fresh again.

Other Whole30 Picks at Whole Foods Market

  • Protein: Wild Planet canned tuna, salmon and chicken, Applegate Prosciutto

  • Veggies: Veggie Noodle Co. noodles (zucchini, sweet potato, beet, butternut squash), Farmhouse Culture Kraut (most flavors)

  • Fats: Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil, EPIC Animal Oils (duck fat, beef tallow, pork fat), 4th and Heart Ghee Butter, 365 Everyday Value® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Justin’s Almond Butter, Let’s Do Organic Coconut Flakes (unsweetened), bulk bin nuts and seeds (dry roasted or raw)

  • Emergency Food: RxBars (most flavors), Grandcestors (frozen meals)

  • Pantry: Yai’s Thai Coconut Curry Sauces and Almond Sauce, Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos, Red Boat Fish Sauce, Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour, 365 Everyday Value® Organic Tomato Paste, Annie’s Organic Dijon Mustard

  • Beverages: Waterloo Sparkling Water, New Barn Unsweetened Almondmilk, Crio Bru Roasted Cocoa Beans

Whole30 meal planning

My Best Whole30 Kitchen Tip…

Now that you’ve got the basics of the Whole30 down, here is my one secret weapon pro tip for meal planning during the program: batch-cook and prep. 
One hour in the kitchen can provide a few days’ worth of Whole30 meals, and after a long or stressful day, having protein and veggies ready to go right there in your fridge can make the difference between sticking to the program and abandoning your commitment. 
Suggestions: Hard-boil a dozen eggs, roast two trays of mixed vegetables, make a Protein Salad (page 161 in The Whole30 book if you have it), cook a pound of ground meat and make a few dressings or sauces. BONUS: Stock up on Primal Kitchen or Tessemae’s Whole30 Approved dressings and skip the last prep step!

For More…

For a step-by-step guide to the Whole30 rules, what to expect during the program, and how to prepare, plus more than 100 totally compliant recipes featuring ingredients found at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide, pick up a copy of The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. opens in a new tab

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