Starting out on our first Whole30 adventure, we didn’t realize quite what we were getting ourselves into. To start with, we thought we had a fairly well-stocked kitchen. All the basics were available, but in all the wrong quantities.
Part of equipping our kitchen was discovering what we needed more of and of what we needed way, WAY less. It’s a bit of an investment, but most of what we needed was available for next to nothing at our local grocery outlet or dollar store. Eventually, it all balanced out and we ended up with a Whole30 kitchen for relatively little money.
Black coffee is something I haven’t gotten used to. I know that’s part of the spirit of the program, but I remain an unapologetic, letter-of-the-law literalist when it comes to creamy coffee. Coconut milk saved me during the Whole30, although it nearly drove my husband insane. You see, he wakes me every morning with a hot cup of coffee (bless!) and he’d have to wrangle the cream-on-top, liquid-on-the-bottom coconut milk while I snored away in our cozy bed. Mixing and spooning the milk into a usable consistency was a pain and, when we’re dealing with the myriad changes and minor pains of Whole30, we don’t need another thing to worry about. Enter the humble squeeze bottle.
A pack of six clear plastic squeeze bottles costs next to nothing and it will benefit you immeasurably during the Whole30. Fill a bottle halfway with coconut milk and just give it a lusty shake before using it to emulsify the fat and liquid. Perfection. Keep homemade salad dressing and ketchup in another, or fill one with bulk olive oil to keep next to the stove. The options are endless and the bottles are reusable. Win win.
Pro-Tip: You may need to snip the end off the nozzle when using it for coconut milk.
Flour Sack Towels
Flour sack towels are a godsend for food prep. Wipe your counters down with them, line your colander with one, or use one to squeeze the liquid from potatoes for the crunchiest, crispiest—literally the best—hashed browns you’ve ever eaten.
A pack of 12 good quality flour sack towels costs very little. Plus, they’re machine washable and can be disinfected over and over again to keep them sanitary and bright, kitchen-ready white. Better than rolls of one-use paper towels, eh?
A word of advice: dedicate your towels to specific tasks. Mark some for cleaning, some for meat use and some for veggies to avoid cross-contamination. Although they bleach readily, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For ages, I scoffed at the idea of keeping a zester or microplane on hand, insisting that our crummy little fine-plane box grater would do. I was wrong. There, I said it. From grinding fresh spices such as nutmeg to grating ginger for mocktails, it really is a go-to tool in my arsenal.
The Microplane 40020 Classic is among the best grater/zesters on the market when it comes to quality and value both to skinflints like yours truly and those who can splurge. It stays sharp and is easy to clean, which are two virtues I look for in any cutting tool.
Another cost-effective zester is the DRAGONN brand Zester, which is known for its comfortable handle and comes with a lifetime warranty on Amazon.
Everyone has a box of freezer bags in their kitchen, and we were no different. However, it wasn’t very long (like, by the end of the first day) before we realized just how many we’d need over the next month.
We used them for everything, from defrosting and marinating chicken breasts and meat to storing precooked sausage crumbles for our weekday breakfasts. Keep pint or gallon size on hand, although, based on our experience, gallon size are far more functional.
A word of advice: Don’t be afraid to wash, dry and reuse gallon storage bags—just don’t reuse them if they were used to store raw or cooked meat.
You will be cooking and storing a lot of food during the Whole30, and having sturdy, washable and safe storage containers makes a world of difference.
We absolutely love our Pyrex Glasslock 18-piece Assorted Container set because it’s sturdy, oven-safe and attractive. The containers range in size from a 6-cup rectangular dish suitable for refrigerated casseroles to a small 0.7-cup container suited to dipping sauce or small lunch items.
One of the best values is the Rubbermaid 42-Piece Storage Set, which can be used at home or used to tote lunch to work. The pieces are not breakable and microwavable, but the plastic may hold onto strong odors such as garlic, unlike glass containers.
We purchased our citrus press years before our first Whole30. It was an impulse buy at Ikea and it rarely saw any action until we started eating and cooking mindfully, at which point it became indispensable. In fact, we used it so much the paint wore down from the citric acid and we had to replace it with a sturdier, better quality model.
For the frugal Whole30 kitchen, you can’t find much better than the EcoJeannie Jumbo Size Lemon Squeezer. It promises never to rust or break, and it hasn’t yet! It doesn’t have paint that can peel or tiny little grooves where kitchen sink gunk can creep in and proliferate.
If a more traditional ream-style citrus juicer is your style, try to Zicome Stainless Steel Manual Juicer. Its textured reamer stands above a medium-mesh strainer that will remove pulp from your juice, which is a plus for folks who dislike having to chew their juice.
It Starts With 30 is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by The Whole30. It exists as a compendium of supporting information intended for informational purposes only.