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Meal planning confusion switching to W30 after another program...


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I'm switching over to W30 after years doing another nutritional program where I had great results but just got fed up measuring and weighing every single thing I ate! However, although I've read and reread the W30 templates and book, my brain seems stuck in my former plan so I need a little help I think. My issues:

- I'm not used to eating only 3 meals (it was 6 before) and I think they're too small. I'm doing about 2 cups salad, 1 palm protein, a small handful of nuts, maybe 1/2 apple or some berries. I'm hungry! Am I supposed to add more than one fat source or just choose one?

- Not sure how to time/space the meals if it's only 3 on days I don't workout. 7:30 breakfast, 12:30 lunch, 6pm dinner about right? If so, I need wayyyyy more food I think. 

- My previous plan based the amount of protein/carb/fat on the level of workout. I have 3x week where I do a 2-hour dance class or run 5 miles. On the previous plan, this was considered a non-training day so the food was lower. For W30, would I consider these workouts worthy of a PW/PWO meal? That's a hard mindset for me to switch! I have 3x where I do oly weight lifting, so I definitely feel ok with the PW/PWO meals on those days.

- Lastly (sorry!) I was paleo for years and it's not my favorite so I'm not big into bulletproof coffee and heaps of coconut products, although I know many love them so I'm not knocking it for you. Just personally not my thing any more. Am I ok to skip all the paleo-centered products and use other sources for fats and such?

Thanks all. I really love this forum! Very helpful -


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Hi and welcome to Whole30! I'm currently on Day 38 and happily going strong! This is my second Whole30 and I love what this program has done for me. I hope it does as much for you! 

As for your questions... I'm certainly  not a moderator but here are my two cents: 

  • Eating 3 Meals a Day: I was also skeptical of only eating three meals a day. But it actually works very well for me! I think you're likely not eating enough based on your post, but this is where you'll need to experiment. When I first start a Whole30 round, I error on the side of very large meals so I don't sabotage myself and feel hungry. I eat at the upper end of the meal template so perhaps try that? And don't forget the fats! Those will be key to helping you stay full. Aim for one or two servings per meal (see more information on fats in my last bullet). Also, note that when salad is your vegetable source, you should be eating like a mixing bowl serving of it because it munches down to almost nothing. So perhaps try some more sturdy vegetables? And perhaps consider at least one starchy, fist-sized serving of vegetables a day (i.e., beets, potatoes, carrots)? 
  • Timing of Meals: The timing looks pretty good. The idea is that you should be able to go 4-5 hours between meals. So play around with your portion sizes until that works for you. And don't forget that you get bonus mini meals when you work out. 
  • Eating and Working Out: When working out, you should have a pre- workout and post-workout mini meal. Your pre-workout should be protein and fat and your post-workout should be protein and carb-dense vegetables. I like a hard boiled egg or two and a handful of olives or coconut flakes for pre-workout. I like a couple of cubes of chicken breast and a couple of cubes of sweet potato for post-workout. You can see more information on the timing on the meal template: https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf. Oh, and I would definitely consider a two-hour dance class or a five-mile run worthy of these extra bonus meals. The only time I won't do it is when I do like a mellow swim or a mellow yoga class. But sometimes, I will even then just because it pushes me so far between meals as I work out in the evenings. 
  • Paleo Products: Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by Paleo products... The recommended fat sources for Whole 30 purposes are: oil and cooking fats (e.g., olive or avocado oil, animal fats), butters (e.g., ghee, coconut butter, nut butters), coconut, olives, nuts and seeds, avocado, and coconut milk. You should have one or two servings of fats for each and every meal, not counting the fat you cook with since most of that stays in the pan. You can see the specific serving sizes for each on the meal template here: https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf. So you can make your fats whatever you want them to be! Sometimes that's a simple olive oil, lemon, and pepper salad dressing for me! Other times it's a large handful of olives....

I hope this helps! I truly do wish you the very best. Remember, this is an experiment so make it playful and don't be afraid to try different things to see what works for you! 

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Thank you so much! This is very helpful, especially your last comment about having fun. I think I’m so worried about doing it 100% correctly that I’m unrealistically expecting to hit the right amounts/balance/timing immediately so your post was technically and mentally helpful! Thanks and good luck to you as well.

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