Much of the Whole30 lifestyle revolves around eating fresh, whole foods. However, having a well-stocked pantry (and freezer) gives you some fast, easy options for when your produce is looking a little less than fresh. Plus, it allows you to customize old standbys such as chicken breast and eggs, which will help keep you from getting bored and bummed out.
Condiments will save your sanity during Whole30, but most store-bought options are loaded with hidden sugar. Throw together some homemade condiments, or stock-up on prepared sugar-free options. We’ve done the footwork for you.
Homemade mayonnaise is easy to make and tasty, but it’s not for everyone. Tessamae’s mayo is a highly sought-after and recommended splurge, but it’s often sold out on their website and it’s pricey, y’all! Opt instead for Trader Joe’s Sugar-Free mayonnaise, which IS compliant (it contains canola oil, which is allowed on the Whole30) and tastes just like the real thing.
Most yellow mustards contain no sweeteners, so they’re safe to use. However, Dijon mustards sometimes contain sweeteners and a splash of booze for flavor, so read your labels! We haven’t yet discovered a satisfactory recipe for homemade mustard, but we’ll let you know when we do.
We have yet to find a sugar-free ketchup on the market. Homemade is the way to go. Honestly, my ketchup-loving husband went mad for our homemade ketchup and insists that he’ll never go back to the bottled stuff. Along with mayonnaise, homemade ketchup is also extremely customizable.
Hot sauce reigns supreme in our household. Valentina’s, Tapatio, Cholula, Tabasco… I could go on. All are naturally compliant and add a huge amount of flavor to food with varying degrees of heat. The only hot sauce on our pre-Whole30 rotation that wasn’t compliant was Sriracha—that’s okay. For spicy Asian food, we opted for Sambal Oelek, which is sugar-free and delicious (although somewhat less garlicky that Sriracha).
Tangy, acidic vinegar makes my soul sing. Bragg’s cider vinegar (with the mother) is a personal favorite because it’s so versatile. From marinades and salad dressings, it’s a great all around choice. I even like a few tablespoons mixed with seltzer as a tonic.
The only vinegar we found that wasn’t compliant was malt vinegar, which contains sugar.
Fats & Oils
Jars & Cans
Having jars and cans of food in your pantry will help you survive the Whole30 with your sanity intact. Green and black olives, coconut milk, tomatoes, sardines and cashew butterare all must-haves, as are jars of compliant spaghetti sauce.
Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices can transform your food. At a minimum, always keep sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder on hand. Include dried herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, oregano, basil and sage, as well as spices such as curry power, smoked paprika, turmeric, ginger and garam masala (your list depends on what flavors you like best).
Cooking agents such as tapioca flour, potato starch, coconut flour and almond meal all add a little something extra to cooking, whether by thickening otherwise thin sauces or coating pan-friend chicken. Keep a few on hand to experiment with and decide which you like best. We ended up LOVING potato starch for sauces and tapioca flour for coating chicken, but your mileage may vary.
Stock & Broth
I’m willing to bet that soups will play a huge role in your diet once you start the Whole30. Pureed soups and clear broth soups are filling, soothing and warm, like a hug from the inside (that was cheesy, I know). Keeping some boxes of organic (or regular) chicken, veggie and beef stock on hand means you’re always just a few minutes away from having a pot of soup bubbling on the stove.
Frozen veggies get a bad rap, but they’re among the most cost effective, versatile and reliable frozen pantry staples available. They are just as nutritious (if not more so) than grocery store fresh veggies, and they stay good for much, much longer, too. Puree frozen broccoli into soup or frozen cauliflower into a creamy mashed potato substitute, or make our Comfy, Clean-Eating Casserole (recipe to come). Easy peasy.
Whole30 frowns on ready foods, but sometimes they’re necessary. Especially at the beginning of the program when your bod is still adjusting. A few notable (and necessary) read-eat pantry staples are beef jerky, Larabars and Trader Joe’s plantain chips. Keep them on hand for an emergency, just remember to combine plantain chips with cashew butter and cinnamon to balance out the sugars/carbs. Remember: there are no snacks, only mini-meals.
Odds & Ends
One of my absolute favorite pantry staples is frozen basil cubes. We buy ours at Trader Joe’s, but they’re readily available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Thaw in a pan and add eggs for a pesto scramble, or thaw them in the microwave and mix the paste into mayonnaise for basil-mayo. So good. So easy.