Fancy giving it a go? Here's what you need to know

Instagram is swamped with pictures of #whole30. And the good news? It's relatively straightforward. Hurrah! 


What is it?

First things first: the Whole 30 doesn’t aim to be a weight-loss plan. For 30 days it advocates eating selected food groups and avoiding others all together. such as dairy, grains and legumes. Cutting out food groups sounds extreme, but there’s loads of stuff you can still eat. And there's no calorie counting OR weighing yourself either, which can only be a good thing.

However, it's important to re-introduce these foods after the 30 days as they provide important nutrients that are essential for good health – dairy products are a good source of calcium, important for bone health, and legumes are a good source of fibre.


Why do it?

Whole30 is designed to encourage you to eat more fruits and veggies that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It's meant to help draw attention to those not-so-good-for-you food habits you may have (10am packet of biscuits, anyone?).


Those behind the Whole30 claim it can help you regain a healthy metabolism and alleviate some symptoms of IBS. We can't vouch for any of that, so tread carefully.

Steak and kale salad: part of the Whole 30 meal plan


What can I eat?

Meat, seafood, eggs, tons of veggies and some fruit (though sugar in any form is discouraged). Fats from oils, nuts and seeds are also on the menu. 


What can’t I eat?

Alcohol is completely out, even for cooking. As is dairy (with the exception of clarified butter or ghee), grains in any form and legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts – and yes, that most definitely includes peanut butter. Sigh). 


Sugar, either real or artificial, is out, too. And that includes trendy sugars such as agave nectar and xylitol. Watch out for additives such as carrageenan (often found in coconut milk), MSG and sulphites – they’re all off limits.


Get more info on the programme guidelines

Jerk salmon cauliflower 'grain' bowl: eating Whole 30 looks pretty good from where we're sitting


What if I accidentally eat a non-approved food?

There’s no forgiving and forgetting. Break the Whole 30 plan and you have to start again from the beginning. Imagine doing that on Day 29. Nightmare.


Is it hard?

Yes – and no. It's only hard if you forget to prep your food the night before.


But is it worth it?

Many people would say 'YES!' and return to the programme again and again. Since the Whole 30 diet is meant to change unhealthy eating habits, it may also change the way you eat forever. No small claims there, then.


Where can I start?

Give our Whole30 meal plan a go for a week to get you started, then head to for recipe inspiration and a free shopping list to help you stock up on the foods you can eat.


Please note this article is for information purposes only and Sainsbury's do not actively advocate the Whole30 programme.