Last week’s blog post was all about planning for Whole30, from doing research to creating Google Doc shopping lists. But how did I prepare my actual kitchen for this challenge? I wasn’t much of a cook before, so I didn’t utilize this space as much as the majority of my clients. While doing Whole30, my kitchen has gone through a transformation from seldom-used coffee & wine bar to full-fledged daily use. Here’s how to get your kitchen ready for Whole30…
Separate compliant and non-compliant foods.
After reading It Starts With Food, this was the first thing I did. Since my brother/roommate was not doing Whole30, I obviously couldn’t empty the house of ALL non-compliant food, but we agreed to put those items on two shelves in the pantry. Compliant food occupies the main part of the fridge and the non-compliant stuff was banished to the fridge doors, deli drawer, and pull-out freezer drawer (see you in a month, Vodka!). Toss out any non-compliant food that will expire in the next month. Even if your entire household is doing Whole30, you’ll likely add back in some items during the reintroduction phase so it’s better to separate less perishable non-compliant food than throw it out. I even separated my non-compliant spices and moved them onto another shelf. It took me about an hour to read the labels on everything in my kitchen and separate it out. It’s truly amazing what they add sugar and soy to (chicken? bacon? almond butter? olive oil spray? really?!?)!
Clean your fridge.
To get your fridge ready, take everything out and clean your fridge from top to bottom. Starting with a clean slate makes a huge difference in your mental state. Once you’ve made your first shopping trip, take some time to load the fridge and move shelves around. My pre-Whole30 fridge had contained very different items, so it required some shifting and re-organizing. I started making large batches of cold brew, so I needed to a shelf to accommodate a glass dispenser. My fridge doesn’t require any organizing products because I keep it very lean, but you may want to add Fridge Binz if you need some additional separation between categories. I’ll have more options in my fridge after Whole30, but I do love having fewer, more quality foods in my fridge right now. #qualityoverquantity
Organize the pantry.
Most of my Whole30 food is in the fridge, but Larabars and RX bars, nuts, and seeds are all kept in the pantry. I purchase nuts and seeds from HEB’s bulk dispensers, so I use Ziploc twist containers to keep them in. I always buy the same type and brand of containers. I already had some of these, but I definitely needed to add to my collection when I stopped eating processed foods! The wire baskets in my pantry are from the Target dollar section! It’s a cute, cheery way to keep categories separate.
Create a curated display of your most used items.
This is not advice I give easily because it often leads to an incredibly messy, cluttered countertop. When I say your MOST used items, I really mean it! That’s IT, nothing more. If I need oregano or herbs de Provence, I can take a few extra steps to the pantry and get them. A few extra steps never hurt anyone and it keeps countertops nice and clear. I keep a pretty wood cutting board on my counter with my favorite olive oils, pepper, and two types of salt. I use a small tray for my coffee station on the other side of the kitchen to keep it looking neat. Don’t keep these immediately by the stove. This goes for utensil carousels, appliances, and anything else. Clean up is much easier if you don’t have to wipe down small items every time you splatter oil.
Take inventory of your kitchen tools and shop for what you need.
Make sure you have all the basics you need. I’m not anti kitchen appliances, but keep a lean household and am picky about what gadgets I purchase. After reading other people’s tips, I picked up a handheld spiralizer to make zucchini noodles. As time went on and I became more adventurous, I treated myself to a KitchenAid mini food processor. I am obsessed with it and have used it a lot so far to make cauliflower mash and chop hazelnuts for my favorite hazelnut-crusted salmon recipe. It was a nice (non-food) reward for getting halfway through Whole30!
Get nice dishwashing supplies.
I really HATE doing dishes. Before Whole30, I mostly used dishes I could put in the dishwasher. Now that I cook every day, I use a lot more hand wash items. My Calphalon cookware is dishwasher safe, but I hand wash all of it to keep it looking nicer. A few weeks in, I realized my poor nails were getting wrecked. My job is hard on my manicure already, but all the dish washing was ruining it faster than usual. I picked up some nice lined rubber gloves, and that has made all the difference! For handwashing, I’m partial to J.R. Watkins dish soap since it comes in such a pretty package. In addition to my normal dishwashing brush, I bought a good scrub brush that holds dishwashing liquid.
Find a good podcast to listen to while cooking or doing dishes. I love the hilarious relationship podcast The Paper Year. It makes that time go by much quicker. Buy yourself flowers each week to reward yourself! I find it much more cheery to do dishes around fresh flowers!