Holidays can be tough if you’re trying to eat healthy and avoid desserts and junk food, and even tougher if you’re following The Whole30 Program rules. I’ve mentioned before that we delayed beginning our first Whole30 so we didn’t have to worry about it at a couple business events we were attending in March. That meant we didn’t begin until April 1, and that our very first Whole30 would include spring break, Easter, and my son’s eleventh birthday parties. Crap.
But that’s real life. We’re never going to suddenly have 30 days with no plans, no holidays or celebrations, and no special events. It’s never going to happen, so we figured it would be best to just bite the bullet, get started, and take it one day at a time.
Here are the basic guidelines of The Whole30:
- YES: Eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables,fruit, and natural fats.
- NO: Do not eat sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. Do not eat baked goods or treats. Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or added sulfites. Do not weigh or measure yourself.
I was nervous about going on a road trip during Whole30, but road tripping has become a spring break tradition for our family — and it really wasn’t too big of a deal because we did a lot of food prep up front and picnicked for most of our meals. There were only a few moments of major hanger that reared its ugly head while my kids ate delicious chocolate treats in front of me or opened the Ziplock full of fresh baked blueberry muffins in the car and made the whole car smell like baked treats.
I was also curious to see how the Easter holiday would shake down because my family loves to bake and make dairy-laden dips and appetizers… and while there were a few tough moments as I gazed at my Dad’s delicious artichoke dip, donuts, and baked treats, we got through it just fine.
The Food: Eating Whole30 During The Holidays
I think the most frustrating thing about going through The Whole30 has been doing it with my husband Brian. Any time I mention a craving, or wishing I could eat a donut, or some Pringles, all he says is, “I don’t have any cravings. I’ve never had food cravings, ever. I could care less about junk foods,” — and all I want to do is punch him in the face.
Whole 30 Day 11
A huge storm was rolling into Fort Bragg and it had already started raining by breakfast, so we just grabbed a Larabar and hit the road. A Larabar was in no way good enough. Larabars do not hold you over like RxBars do. They are not suitable for a meal, but instead meant to be a tide-me-over snack. We had been having RxBars, hard boiled eggs, and nuts for breakfast, and I regretted not taking the time to do the same today, because by mid-morning, I was hungry again. Really hungry, like feeling famished and faint from hunger.
We spent the morning exploring the historic town of Mendocino, in between ducking into the little shops to avoid the rain, I peeked in every food location we passed, looking for something that was Whole30 friendly. No luck — mostly. There was a natural foods store, but most of the things we could buy we already had packed in the back of Brian’s truck… it was just raining like crazy and we couldn’t get to it.
I was frustrated and slightly irritated, especially since the kids got chocolate at the Mendocino Chocolate Company and just had to eat it in front of me and tell me how amazingly delicious it was.
After visiting historic Mendocino, we headed back to Fort Bragg for lunch at Cafe 1, an organic restaurant serving breakfast as lunch that had Whole30 friendly options. Brian and I both ordered omelets with tons of veggies, avocado, and roasted potatoes — and they had Tapatio. Yay! It was so, so, so delicious.
We then went to Glass Beach one last time to hunt for treasures, before visiting the Pygmy Forest in Van Damme State Park, the Sea Glass Museum, and Big River Beach. At this point, the skies were turning dark grey and the storm was coming in, so we decided to cut our road trip short by one day and head home this evening instead of tomorrow morning — hooray for sleeping in my own bed!
I munched on baby carrots while we packed up, ate a Larabar because we were out of RxBars, and snacked on roasted pistachios, macadamia nuts, and iced tea in the car.
Whole30 Day 12
Today was the first day back after our road trip, and we all slept in late, so late we skipped breakfast and made brunch instead. I made Brian and I a giant Broccoli And Potato Breakfast Scramble with red potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and broccoli.
When I was contemplating The Whole30, I had received feedback from several friends who had completed The Whole30 already about food boredom and lack of variety in flavors because none of their favorite marinades and dressings are Whole30 compliant. I didn’t want to deal with that, and I wanted to find solutions that would work long-term for our family, so when we were first getting started with The Whole30 Program, I found out about Tessemae’s All Natural, which was a huge blessing!
I ordered the Tessemae’s Whole30 Starter Kit and every Whole30 compliant sauce, marinade, and dressing from Tessemae’s, including:
- Hot Buffalo Sauce
- Organic Cracked Pepper Dressing & Marinade
- Organic Creamy Caesar Dressing
- Organic Zesty Ranch Dressing & Marinade
- Organic Yellow Mustard
- Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing & Marinade
- Organic Creamy Ranch Dressing
- Organic Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade
- Organic Lemonette Dressing & Marinade
- Organic Slow Roasted Garlic Spread
- Organic Ketchup
- Matty’s Organic BBQ Sauce
Here’s a special link to get 20% off your order. You’ll save 20% and I’ll save 20% on my next order too!
SIDE NOTE: The Tessemae’s website is sort of funky. Things just disappear. Sometimes I visit it and see lots of Whole30 options and sometimes there are only a few. When grabbing the links for this post, the Whole30 Starter Pack wasn’t even available. So if you can’t find what you’re looking for, check back. I’ve heard they just remove items from their site when things are out of stock and put them back when available.
For dinner, I was dying to try one of my new Tessemae’s dressings, so I made Lemon Zucchini And Carrot Noodles With Artichoke Garlic Chicken Sausage, and I used the Tessamae’s Lemon Garlic Sauce. The zucchini and carrot noodles were amazing and just crunchy enough, the chicken sausage was super tasty, and the Lemon Garlic Sauce pulled it all together perfectly.
Whole30 Day 13
Today all of us were feeling lazy and exhausted. We spent the day watching Netflix and playing board games, and our Fitbits were frowning on us and judging us all day.
For breakfast, I decided to try another Tessemae’s sauce, the Matty’s BBQ Sauce, and make a Western Egg and Potato Scramble. OMG. This barbecue sauce is the best, most flavorful barbecue sauce I have tasted in a very long time, even better than my favorite regular store brand!
For lunch, I had apple slices and almond butter while playing games with the kids, but to be honest, all I could think about was eating more of that delicious barbecue sauce. So for dinner, I made Oven Roasted Sweet Barbecue Cauliflower, Oven Roasted Sweet Barbecue Broccoli, and we sauteed up more of the chicken apple sausage in a little bit of the barbecue sauce.
Mmmmmmm, absolutely fantastic!
Whole30 Day 14
I have to say, we’re really enjoying Spring Break and we’re all loving the fact that we got home from our road trip with so many days left to relax at home. We slept in again, woke up late, and watched some Netflix, before making lunch.
For lunch I made a Vegetable Ranch Salad and I could hardly believe I was eating ranch dressing… it was amazing! I used the lettuce mixture from a bagged Asian Salad Mix, added green onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots, and toasted almond pieces, and then drizzled it with the Tessemae’s Creamy Ranch.
OMG the ranch. Until now, we always referred to ranch dressing as Death Sauce because it had such adverse affects on me, but this ranch dressing is dairy-free! WooHoo!
After lunch, I took the kids grocery shopping and was hungry again already. Our lunch salad, while delicious, didn’t have any protein — Rookie mistake. So I grabbed one of the RxBars I bought at Whole Foods and ate it before heading into the grocery store.
For dinner, we cooked up some ground turkey, making our own taco seasoning from scratch, for Ground Turkey taco Salad. I used a bag of salad mix to get a variety of lettuce types, added onions, peppers, tomatoes, and green onions, and then topped it with the turkey taco meat and avocado.
It was so tasty!
Now, if it were just Brian and I, I would have thrown all the veggies into the meat and mixed it together. But Natalie loves tacos and she likes the taco meat plain.
Whole30 Day 15
Today was our Easter celebration with my family at my sister’s house and food was being done potluck-style. A few days before I checked in with my mom to see what we could bring and what everyone else was bringing, and none of the food others were bringing were Whole30 compliant — which meant we couldn’t eat anything. To make it easy, we simply opted out of the potluck-style lunch and said we’d bring our own food.
My family is used to this with us already, so it wasn’t a big deal.
With my lactose allergy and our choosing to eliminate red meat and pork after Brian’s cancer scare (he hasn’t had any red meat or pork for 5 years now), we can’t eat a lot of what my family likes to eat and chooses to make for holiday meals and snacks. And to be clear, we don’t ever expect them to stop making their favorite foods or alter their favorite or traditional holidays recipes because of us. What do we do ask, is that we know what the menu will be in advance, so we can be prepared and either bring whatever we need with us or eat in advance.
For today, we opted to eat a really big breakfast at home before heading to my sister’s house, and a big lunch at home afterward. I will say… just looking at all of the baked goodies and artichoke dip they made was a little tough! It all looked so good!
For breakfast, I made scrambled eggs with red and yellow potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and green onions, topped with avocado. For lunch we munched on baby carrots, celery, and apple slices with a homemade cayenne pepper cashew paste, and had a bowl of fresh berries and some almonds.
We enjoyed our Whole30 road trip food so much that I grabbed another big value pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the grocery store, and planned to make barbecue chicken for dinner. This time, we marinated the chicken in Tessemae’s Roasted Garlic Spread, cut with water 1:1. While Brian made the Roasted Garlic Barbecue Chicken, I made cauliflower mash and Almond And Garlic Balsamic Green Beans.
Whole30 Day 16
For Easter Day, we invited my in-laws over for brunch. We debated making reservations for an Easter Brunch somewhere, but all Brian and I could think of was spending $50+/person for a giant Easter Brunch buffet full of foods that neither of us can eat eat. Making our own Easter Bunch at home not only helps us stay on track with The Whole30, but it’s way cheaper.
For Brunch I made a Tomato Basil Breakfast Bake with Italian Turkey Sausage, spicy breakfast potatoes with Tessemae’s Ketchup, and a spinach and fresh fruit salad with Tessemae’s Lemonette dressing. For those not doing The Whole30, I also made chocolate chip waffles and my mother-in-law brought chocolate chip muffins.
Our brunch was fabulous, and that Tomato Basil Breakfast Bake with Italian Turkey Sausage was so delicious and easy, that I’m going to start switching up our breakfast scrambles with bakes!
The only downside to the day was that when we were playing Apples to Apples with my in-laws, someone played the “donuts” card, and then I thought about donuts… and I couldn’t stop thinking about donuts. I still wish I was eating a donut. And I sort of despise my kids right now for eating all of their Easter chocolates and treats (from family) right in front of me.
The Whole30 During A Holiday
This is our first Whole30, so I wasn’t sure how it would affect our holiday celebrations — or if it even would. Really, it didn’t end up being that big of a deal at all for a few reasons:
- Our whole family knows that we’re doing the Whole30 and are supportive. I’ve been sharing our Whole30 experience through social media, including why we’re trying the program and what we hope to get out of it, so they can follow along. This meant that none of this is a surprise.
- We don’t ask anyone else to modify their recipes, change their menus, or make extra food or special food to accommodate our diet. We ask what the menu will be in advance and then let our host know if we’ll be eating, if we’ll be bringing our own food, or if we’ll be bringing specific things. Sometimes this means we just bring our own salad dressing.
- We volunteer to host! Rather than eating out, we volunteer to cook and host the meal at our house. This way we make all of the food, which means it’s Whole30 compliant, and we’ve had no complaints yet!
- We accommodate those who aren’t doing The Whole30, including our kids. That means we still bake muffins, pancakes, and waffles like we did for Easter, we just don’t eat them.
Follow Along With Our Whole30 Experience
If The Whole30 is new for you, you’re not alone. It’s all new for me too! I knew next to nothing about The Whole30 when we decided to do it, except that it was supposed to help with my digestive issues and you have to cut out a lot of foods. I’m in no way affiliated with a nutrition or fitness profession, I love chips and junk food and eating out, and I rarely ever work out — so in my posts, you’ll get the real story from a normal everyday person about what The Whole30 is really like:
- Getting Started With Whole30 In The Real World: Day 1
- Getting Used To The Whole30 Rules: Day 2-5
- Whole30 (Spring Break) Road Trip Food: Day 6-10
- Staying On Track With Whole30 On A Holiday: Day 11-16
- Whole30 While You’re Sick, Parties, And Date Night at A Brewery: Day 17-22
- Date Nights And Eating Out During Whole30: Day 23-28