Category Archives: Home

How to Make Shower Jellies

Homemade white and blue shower Jellies in a soap box

Before we get into how to make shower jellies, let me ask if you even know what shower jellies are?

I might have been living under a rock, because I only recently discovered them – both the purchased and DIY shower jellies.

Your kids will think these are the coolest, if they are anything like mine! It makes bath time a little more exciting.

Shower jellies are exactly what they sound like: a gelatin like soap! Think jello jigglers that you don’t eat.

You take one of these and lather up your body to get clean instead of using a bar of soap or body wash. How fun is that?!

These would make a great DIY project for your kids (or their birthday party) and would also be a great homemade gift idea. They are affordable and easy as well.

One word of caution.

The temperature of your house does matter! If your house is warm (like mine is during the summer months), don’t leave these on the counter – they will melt. Store in the fridge for a longer shelf life and to keep the shape. Just grab one out before you head to the shower. Another option would be to increase the gelatin content slightly to help them stay firm longer.

Be sure your kids know these are not edible! They look like food so it’s going to be tempting for them to pop them into their mouths. Yuck!

Affiliate links are used in the posts. See the disclosure page for more information.

Supplies for homemade shower jellies on the counter

How to Make Shower Jellies:


  • Water
  • Gelatin
  • Honey
  • Liquid castile soap or body wash
  • Essential oils, optional
  • Colorant, optional
  • Spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and water, optional
  • Molds. Plastic or silicone. Silicone molds will be easier to remove.

All simple ingredients you probably already have around your house.

Castile Soap: Dr. Bronner’s is a popular liquid castile soap brand – I prefer the unscented. My other favorite place to purchase the soap is from Vitacost. I buy their GloBaby Liquid Castile Soap. (It’s also great for making your own foaming hand soap!)

Essential Oils: My go to place for essential oils is Plant Therapy. (Using my referral link will get your $10 off of your $25 purchase!) They have fabulous customer service, are affordable, have free shipping, and promote safe usage! I love that they make it easy to find essential oils that are safe for kids. Of course you can also find them on Amazon, but I prefer ordering directly from the site.

Gelatin: You can buy Knox unscented gelatin from your local grocery store or from Amazon. My bag I ordered from Azure Standard (a great resource for all your bulk, healthy food needs). Use my referral link and receive a $25 credit after placing a $100 order.

Molds: There are countless molds you can choose from. Select based on gender and age of who you are making them for. Green dinosaur jellies would be fun for a boy. Hearts or flowers for a girl. Amazon has a ton of silicone molds to choose from. Another options would be to use silicone muffin liners and make flat disks to use.

Shower jelly ingredients in a pot on the stove.

This is after the gelatin as been dissolved in the hot water and the liquid soap has been added. Notice all the bubbles. Scrape off what you can and just set aside in the measuring cup. I put the bubbles in a mold for our own use at the end, since I didn’t want to waste.


Here we will start getting into how to make shower jellies! The fun part.

  1. Heat your water to almost boiling.
  2. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Add in the liquid castile soap or body wash and stir.
  4. Add and stir the honey and essential oils and colorant, if you are using.
  5. Scrape off what bubbles you can and remove from the pan.
  6. Pour into molds.
  7. They bubbles will remain on the shower jellies. If that bothers you, spray the rubbing alcohol over the top of the jellies.
  8. Refrigerate several hours (or longer) until set completely.
  9. Remove from molds. I gently pull the gelatin away from around the entire edge of the mold and then gently pull it up and it will release without any problems. If you jelly is stuck to the mold, briefly set it in hot water to loosen the gelatin. Be sure not to heat too long or the shower jelly will melt.
  10. Store in the refrigerator.
  11. Use as soap in the shower or bath.

Shower jelly mixture in molds

Here’s the mixture in molds. I also used silicone muffin liners to make larger flat ones. Notice the bubbles, I sprayed the tops of these with rubbing alcohol after they set a couple minutes.

You can make these whatever size you want, but my preference is to make them in “single use” sizes – you don’t have to worry about the excess melting in the shower or being dropped and washed away. For single use, you will want your mold to hold between 1 and 2 tablespoons of the mixture.

The finished shower jellies in a soap dish.

How to Make Shower Jellies
Recipe type: Personal Care
Cuisine: Bath
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
This will show you how to make shower jellies! Perfect for a homemade gift or to use in your shower. They are easy an easy and affordable project.
  • ¾ cup water
  • 4½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin (2 7g packages) See notes for amount
  • ½ liquid castile soap or bath gel
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 10-15 drops of a safe essential oil, optional
  • colorant, optional
  • spray bottle of rubbing alcohol/water mixture, optional
  • molds
  1. Heat water to boiling. Turn off heat and whisk in the gelatin until dissolved.
  2. Add the liquid soap and stir.
  3. Add the honey and essential oil and colorant, if using. Stir.
  4. Scrape off as much of the foam/bubbles as you can and set to the side.
  5. Pour (or using a tablespoon measuring spoon) mixture into the molds.
  6. If the small bubbles on the top of the molds bother you, spray with the alcohol mixture.
  7. Put in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (or overnight), until set completely.
  8. Carefully remove from molds and store in the refrigerator.
  9. Use in the shower as you would soap or body gel.
If it is summer and your house is warm, increase the gelatin to 3 packages (5¾ teaspoons). This will help it not "melt" as quickly.

See post for extra details on products and tips.


How to Be Hospitable (Even as an Introvert)

People eating at a table

Hospitality. It can be intimidating, even scary. You might think your life is too crazy and your house is too messy. Besides, you are an introvert and you wonder just how to be hospitable as an introvert. Isn’t it too stressful?

Hospitality can be hard mentally for an introvert – it takes work to put yourself out there and you feel vulnerable.

And for introverts and extroverts alike it’s easy to want perfect – food, house, entertainment. We want to impress our guests. Less than 100% isn’t good enough. It becomes work.

That puts a lot of pressure on us and on our families. A lot of unnecessary pressure.

(If finances are your bigger concern, be sure to check out this post on how to be hospitable on a budget!)

Sometimes one of the best ways to learn, is just by doing something.

The same goes for this. When you decide you want to learn how to be hospitable, decide to start letting people in!

A few years ago, we decided to make it a year of focusing on opening our home and just inviting in those in our lives. Even when we otherwise might have considered it too inconvenient, even when it might seem scary.

It was a good year and a lot of fun. We got to know people, made memories, and had conversations we wouldn’t have otherwise. Coming from an introvert, don’t let stepping outside of your comfort zone or your personality hold you back. You will miss out on so much!

Here are a few tips for you fellow introverts when it comes to learning how to be hospitable and opening up your home and life.

How to be Hospitable as an Introvert

Do Simple.

Stop trying to do so much.

An elaborate 4 course meal isn’t necessary. You don’t even have to do a meal. Try inviting a new friend over for tea and muffins or having a family over for popcorn and a game.

Decorate if it’s your thing, but if not, don’t worry about it.

We all have our own lives, our own strengths, our own likes and dislikes, our own way of doing things. You don’t have to try and copy what someone else is doing.

Instead just start right where you are at. I love this quote from Jen Schmidt’s new book, Just Open the Door:

Quote on starting to be hospitable. Just start - you can be hospitable as an introvert.


Cleaning Routine.

This one right here is probably my biggest stressor. 3 kids, working, homeschooling, projects. Sometimes it’s hard to keep on top of things.

A perk to our focus on hospitality has been keeping the house a little tidier than it typically was. Sure, some days are chaos, but generally we aren’t too far off from a house that’s clean enough for guests.

That relieves so much stress and makes it much easier to say yes to having people over.

If this is a struggle for you, try implementing a cleaning schedule to make sure you stay on top of things. Involve your kids, they are a part of the family and can learn to help clean and keep things tidy.

Go for Good Enough.

If everything had to be perfect before I went for it, let me tell you, it wouldn’t happen!

House projects take longer than expected. (We’ve lived in the midst of these for many seasons of our life.) Kids keep on playing. Cooking has to happen.

Embrace the imperfection. Now, I know there are some basic cleanliness things that need to happen. (Who wants to use a filthy bathroom or eat food from a grimy table?)

But at the same time, remember that everyone else has the same sorts of things happening in their lives. You opening up your home, especially with real life happening, might encourage others to do the same.

Move Outside your Home.

Okay, so maybe your home is undergoing an extensive remodeling project. Or maybe right now, trying to clean in order to host people really stresses you out. Maybe being in your own home makes you feel more vulnerable.

Don’t let that stop you. Instead, be hospitable elsewhere. Bring cookies and water and meet up with a new friend at the park. Use the coffee shop or a restaurant to visit. Invite a mom to go on a walk pushing strollers. There are so many options.

Look for ordinary moments that you’d normally spend by yourself and invite someone to join you.

Quote on finding hospitality in the ordinary. Ways to be hospitable as an introvert.

Start with Your Friends.

As you begin to get into the habit of opening the door of your home and opening the door of your heart and life, start with someone who is already a friend.

You’ll will have a great time and won’t be as stressed. That will help you be brave and motivated enough to reach out to someone you might not know as well the next time.

Have More Than One Person Over.

Maybe your biggest stressor is fearing an awkward silence. Will you be able to carry on a conversation? Or maybe you worry that you won’t click with someone you don’t know well.

Try inviting over two friends/couples/families so there will be multiple people to keep the conversation moving.

Have over a good friend and also someone you don’t know as well.

Dining room table talking about hospitality and introverts.

Think of Questions.

Most of the time, conversation really does flow easily. As you start talking, subjects naturally come up as you are asking questions and sharing with each other naturally.

If you are still worried about conversations, though, think of 10 questions you can ask if you feel the dialogue has stalled.

Even questions like: “How long have you lived here?” “How many siblings do you have?” “Do you have any trips planned for this summer?” “How did you meet?”

Ask about their kids, interests, hobbies, favorite books or movies, jobs, family life.

If you are a good listener, you will most likely have follow up questions that can be asked and the conversations will go deeper and you can really begin to get to know your guests. Often times your guests will ask you the same questions in return and dialogue just happens.

Relax, and simply enjoy getting to know people!

There are my 7 biggest tips on how to be hospitable as an introvert!

Just decide hospitality is something you are going to do!

Don’t stress or over think it, just do it. It is good. It really is enjoyable, even as an introvert. Take that step and simply invite someone in.

People and the relationships you form really can change your life.

Just open the door!

What tips do you have for being hospitable as an introvert?

Money is another big obstacle to hospitality. Be sure to read this post for ideas on ways you can show hospitality on a budget.

Jen Schmidt has new book out called (affiliate links used) Just Open the Door. She’s the queen of hospitality and loving those around her. To hear her story and glean from her years of experience you’ll want to read her book!

two ladies drinking coffee on a picnic table

Originally published April 3, 2018. Updated August 17, 2020.

Dining Room table, hospitality as an introvert.

Coffee mug talking about hospitality and introverts. coffee mug on table. Hospitality and introverts.


How to Stock a Pantry for the First Time on a Budget

glass jars filled with food on a pantry shelf

Whether you are moving across country and starting from scratch or branching out into your own place and needing to fill the cabinets, you might be wondering just how to stock a pantry for the first time from scratch on a budget!

Obviously, if money wasn’t an issue it wouldn’t be bad to go out and just buy everything you might need.

Moving typically costs money, though, and spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars purchasing all those little things that make up a full pantry might not be top priority.

So let’s share ideas on how to stock a pantry for the first time and not go broke doing it.

When stocking a kitchen you typically have baking supplies, cooking supplies, packaged foods, and condiments of various types. Some go in the pantry and others need to be stored in the fridge. That’s a lot of different supplies that can quickly add up when stocking a pantry from scratch.

How to Stock a Pantry for the First Time on a Budget:

  1. Don’t Buy Everything at Once
    Buy just what you actually need for the next couple weeks. Then each of the following weeks purchase a couple of extra items to work towards getting your pantry fully stocked. It won’t be as overwhelming or as expensive.
  2. Buy in Bulk
    Buying in bulk costs more upfront, put the per ounce/unit price is often times way less. Check with local friends or family and see if anyone is interested in splitting the bulk package of pasta, meat, salt, grains etc with you.
  3. Buy on Sale
    Wait to purchase  certain items until they go on sale. Salt and spices don’t go on sale, so buy those at any time. Things like pasta, butter, meat etc wait for the prices to drop before you stock your pantry for the first time.
  4. Store Brands
    Utilize store brands to buy things on a budget. Especially the items that don’t go on sale. You probably already know which items you much prefer to have have from name brands, but other than those branch out and go for same quality but cheaper as you stock up. Many store brands are just repackaged name brands anyway!
  5. Shop at Cheaper Stores
    Look at Aldi, check Dollar Tree’s food aisle (pound bags of brown basmati for $1), look around for discount grocery stores in your area. You might be surprised at what you can find.
  6. Accept Food From Others
    Keep your ears open. If someone offers up extra staples from their pantry or garden, take them up on it!
  7. Keep Food Simple
    As you get situated and start cooking, make simple recipes. You want things that will use common ingredients and not require you to go buy 10 new items for your pantry. You can do a lot with a basic list of ingredients like I have below. As your pantry grows and you have more wiggle room in your budget, start adding in recipes with other ingredients.
  8. Use Substitutes
    Baking is a little harder to make substitutes in, unless you are a seasoned baker. So use caution. Cooking tends to be a lot simpler to make changes. Switch the seasonings around to use what you have, use rice instead of pasta, swap the veggies, use a different kind of meat or bean. Try to use what you already have instead of having to buy more ingredients.
  9. Make a List
    Sit down and take time to make a list of the pantry staples you absolutely have to have. Make a list of items that would be good to have. Make a third list of things you want but can wait a while before buying. If you go to the grocery store without a list, it will be very easy to put everything in your cart and quickly go over your budget.

As you consider how to stock a pantry for the first time and do it on a budget, remember to take baby steps! The longer you live in one location the pantry staples you have on hand will continue to grow.

To help you make your list of pantry essentials, below is a list of supplies to start your planning.

pantry shelves filled with food in jars.

Pantry & Kitchen Essentials to Stock Your Pantry

Ignore the items you don’t use and add the ingredients you always use. Everyone’s cooking and families are different, so use this list to inspire you and help you to not forget anything. You can have a stocked kitchen without having all of these supplies.

Beyond pasta, chips, and canned tomatoes I don’t buy many boxed/packaged foods. If those are a part of what you cook and feed your family, add them to the list!

    • flour (which ever type you use)
    • sugar (granulated, brown, powder, or the less refined alternatives)
    • salt
    • baking powder
    • baking soda
    • yeast
    • cocoa powder
    • cinnamon
    • vanilla extract
    • syrup (we like maple syrup)
    • honey
    • coffee or tea
    • rolled oats
    • rice
    • pasta
    • dry beans and/or canned beans
    • canned tomatoes (diced, sauce, puree, paste etc)
    • dried spices: basil, oregano, parsley are the most used
    • cumin powder
    • chili powder
    • onion powder
    • garlic powder
    • paprika
    • beef and chicken broth/base
    • pepper
    • oil (coconut, olive, or whatever you use)
    • vinegar
    • soy sauce
    • peanut butter
    • popcorn
    • other snacks
    • salad dressing (or make your own using the oil and vinegar!)
    • onions
    • garlic
    • condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, pickles
    • bread/tortillas (or make your own – homemade tortillas, english muffin bread, french bread)
    • butter
    • milk
    • eggs
    • meats
    • cheese (start with one kind)
    • fresh produce
    • frozen veggies

Those 40+ items will get your pantry stocked and you’ll be able to feed your family a variety of recipes for breakfasts and suppers! Soups, pasta, stirfry, pancakes, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, etc.

You don’t even have to buy all of those ingredients at once. Make a menu, and just buy what you’ll need for the next week. Over a month you will have ended up purchasing most of them.

What tips do you have for someone asking how to stock a pantry for the first time? What are the essentials pantry items I missed and need to add to the list?

27+ Family Friendly Frugal Meals Under $5

plate of spaghetti and graphic with kid friendly meals under $5

Looking for family friendly suppers on a budget? Here is a great list of over 27 frugal meals for under $5! These ideas will make meal planning easier and cheaper.

When I was calculating these meal prices, I made sure they’d feed a family of 4 for a total cost of $5 or less. None of that 5 dollars per serving business, that isn’t a frugal meal on my budget so I know it’s likely not in your either.

One of the tricks to making meals on a budget is to be sure to use ingredients more than once. If you need lettuce for one recipe, plan on using it for a second one. The same goes for the bag of carrots, salsa, or rice that you buy.

Let’s also think about seasonings. If you have to buy garlic powder, salt, dried oregano every time a recipe calls for it, it’s hard to make any frugal meals. Replacing a container of a seasoning or herb just here and there makes it a lot friendlier on your budget.

Tips: If you are starting with an empty pantry, select a few seasonings to purchase each week until you are fully stocked with the variety you need.

Want more tips? Read  10 Ways to Drastically Lower Your Grocery Budget

bread, potato, orange, pasta and a jar of change on counter with graphic of meals under $5

Affiliate links are used in my posts. See the disclosure page for more information.

Tricks to turn some of your favorite recipes into frugal meals under $5:

As you think about your kids’ favorite meals, there are several ways to cut costs. Please note that meals that do not use meat as the primary ingredient are easiest to do this on.

  • Use less cheese
  • Use less meat (possibly stretch with beans or vegetables)
  • Use a different meat that you found marked down
  • Replace the meat with beans or lentils
  • Sub the veggies for ones you already have
  • Omit an ingredient
  • Use dried herbs instead of fresh

Once you have your main dish figured out, you might still need a side to finish off the meal and make sure your family is full and has eaten a veggie. 😉

Side dishes can get complicated and expensive, but they don’t need to be. Keep things simple. Use what you already have or what is in the grocery ads that week to make sure you keep to your grocery budget.

Cheap Side Dish Ideas:

See this post for the cheapest, healthy groceries to buy!

bread, pasta, potato, orange, and jar of change on counter partially covered by a graphic that says meals under $5

27+ Frugal Meals Under $5

Now we get to what you can actually feed your family for supper! Several of these frugal meals are ones my kids request weekly. Don’t think things have to be complicated, when you find cheap recipes your family enjoys, keep a list and put them on rotation!

Homemade Pizza
The amounts below make 2 large pizzas

  • Pizza dough ($.75)
  • Pizza Sauce – make half of the recipe ($.40)
  • Cheese ($1.69-$2.50 depending on amount of cheese you use)
  • Toppings, price varies

Homemade Pizza Pockets

  • Same price as homemade pizza


  • Tortillas ($1 or homemade)
  • 8 ounces cheese ($1.69)
  • 1 Chicken breast ($2)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This recipes serves 8. Cut the amounts in half for one meal or make is as for two easy, cheap suppers.

  • 4 cups stock, homemade is free ($2)
  • Beans – cook dried beans to be even cheaper ($1.50)
  • Corn ($.50)
  • Fire roasted tomatoes ($.75)
  • Green Chilis ($.50)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • Rice ($.50)


  • Hot Dogs or Bratwursts ($2-$2.50)
  • Chicken Legs ($2)

Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast Burritos

  • Tortillas ($1)
  • Eggs ($1)
  • Breakfast sausage ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheese ($.85)
  • additional ingredients, optional

Baked Omelette 

  • Eggs, 8 ($.75)
  • Meat, 1/4-1/2 pound ($1)
  • Onion and Bell Pepper, or other veggies ($1)
  • Homemade Biscuits or toast ($1)


  • Pasta ($1)
  • Jar of sauce or homemade ($1-2)
  • Ground turkey, optional ($2)


  • 8 slices bread, homemade or purchased, ($.50)
  • 1 large tomato ($1)
  • 4 lettuce leaves ($.50)
  • 12 slices bacon ($2.50)

Baked Potatoes

  • 4 Potatoes ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese ($.85)
  • Sour cream ($1)
  • 4 slices bacon ($.75)


  • Flour tortillas ($1)
  • Cheese, 6 ounces ($1.27)
  • Chicken ($2)
  • Seasonings ($.25)
  • Salsa and sour cream ($.50)

Vegetarian Chili

  • Vegetables ($2)
  • Beans ($1 if you use dried, $2.10 for canned)
  • Seasonings ($1)
  • Toppings, optional – use what you have

Meatless Lentil Chili

  • Lentils ($.50)
  • Diced Tomatoes ($.75)
  • Veggies ($.75)
  • Broth, free if homemade ($2)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Tomato Soup

  • one onion ($.40)
  • fresh garlic ($.50)
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes ($1.60)
  • Chicken stock, free if homemade from scraps ($2)
  • Seasoning – use dried basil if you don’t have fresh growing ($.25)

Beans and Rice

  • 1 pound dried beans ($1)
  • 1 cup rice ($.50)
  • 1 onion ($.50)
  • Seasonings

Chicken Noodle Soup

Make half of the above recipe: Broth, onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, celery, green beans, chicken, and egg noodles.


  • Use ground turkey to save money – 1 pound ($2)
  • Rice or mashed potatoes ($1)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Fried Rice

  • Rice ($1)
  • Ginger and garlic ($.50)
  • Veggies ($1.50)
  • Seasonings ($.50)
  • Meat and eggs, optional

Vegetarian Taco Salad

  • Lettuce ($1.50)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • Beans ($.50 for dried)
  • Chips ($1)
  • Cheese, 4 ounces ($.85)
  • Additional toppings you have, free

Chicken Tacos

  • Tortillas ($1)
  • Chicken breast ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheese ($.85)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • 2 lettuce leaves

Macaroni and Cheese
Check out these three super easy recipes!

  • Pasta ($1)
  • Cheese ($1.69)
  • Milk ($.50)

Chicken Baked Thighs

  • 4 chicken thighs or drumsticks ($2)
  • Seasoning from recipe ($.50)

Turkey Sloppy Joes

  • Buns – homemade or bought ($1)
  • 1 pound ground turkey ($2)
  • Tomato Sauce ($.25)
  • 1/2 onion ($.25)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Lentil Soup

  • Lentils ($1)
  • Veggies ($1)
  • Diced tomatoes ($.50)
  • Broth, free if homemade
  • Seasonings
  • You can always add meat if you have extra

Bean and Cheese Burritos
This recipe will give you extra for the freezer!

French Bread Pizza

  • Loaf of french bread ($1)
  • Pizza sauce ($.40 for half this recipe)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese ($1.69)
  • Pepperoni or another topping ($1-2)

Grilled Cheese

  • 8 large slices of bread, homemade or bought ($1)
  • 8 ounces cheese ($1.69)
  • 2 tablespoons butter ($.20)

Eggroll in a Bowl

  • Ground meat ($2)
  • Cabbage ($1.50)
  • Veggies ($1)
  • Seasonings ($.50)
  • Rice or cauliflower rice, optional


  • You’ve already seen several soups on this list, but soup is something that’s so easy to throw together. See what’s in your fridge and freezer needing to be used and cook it up with broth and seasonings and you have supper for almost nothing!

One last suggestion. Don’t forget about leftovers! Leftovers are my favorite. They cost nothing and I don’t have to spend time cooking or cleaning the kitchen.

Cookbooks are also a great place to draw inspiration from! Below are some of my favorite to look at for cheap meals that are also easy! You can see if your library has them to look at before you purchase.

There is my long list of ideas for frugal meals to feed your family! What Are are your favorite cheap meals?

plate of spaghetti with fork and graphic for meals under $5

random ingredients and a jar of change on a counter with graphics about kid friendly meals under $5

ingredients and jar of change on counter. Green overlay saying meals under $5

Whole30 Tips To Make it a Success

fresh produce and raw meat for whole30

Changing how we eat can be so difficult. A month of drastic diet changes is no small feat. Way to go for thinking about giving it a try. Here are some great Whole30 tips to help make your journey a success!

A Whole30 is a good jump start no matter your long term eating plan and will help you notice food sensitivities you otherwise might have missed.

It took  months of thinking about it before we completed our first Whole30.

What exactly is a Whole30? It’s a 30 day nutritional program designed to change your cravings, habits, help heal your body, and give you a good restart. They have a great post of the many benefits here.

The rules (foods you can and can’t eat) can seem a little daunting. Knowing I was going to have to avoid so many foods that were a standard part of our mostly real food diet stopped me from committing for a long time. There are no sweeteners allowed of any kind (not even honey), no grains (quinoa, oats, rice etc), no legumes or peanut butter, no dairy, no carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites, and you also aren’t allowed to create plan ingredient approved “baked goods”. (It’s sort-of like a paleo plan but more strict.)

That’s a lot of nos! So to help you start, and ensure that you’ll finish out the 30 days strong, here are 12 tips for a successful Whole30.

fresh produce and raw meat with white graphichs

Affiliate links are used in the post. See disclosure page for more info.

Whole30 Tips

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Menu plan for all three meals and snacks. In fact, plan for at least a week at a time or even for the whole 30 days.

Food on Whole30 can take more time to prepare than you are used to so don’t leave it to the last minute or you’ll find yourself stressed or grabbing foods that aren’t on plan. I promise a written menu really helps keep that from happening.

Use Pinterest to keep track of recipes you’d like to try and find some great resources. I have a list of Whole30 Soup Recipes and Whole30 Breakfast Recipes to get you started.

I also liked using these cookbooks for recipe inspiration! I was able to find them at my library, but here are the Amazon links for them:

2. Mentally Prepare for a Hard Start

Don’t expect it to be a bed of roses! You will struggle and possible feel miserable the early days. I found myself thinking about food (I couldn’t eat) continuously! Be prepared for this and be prepared to stick it out. You can do it.

Because of this, if possible, you might want to plan your Whole30 to start when life won’t be too crazy or stressful.

3. Mentally Prepare to be Over it at the End

By the time 30 days are over you’ll probably be ready to just quit and think, “surely 27 days is good enough” – especially as events and functions come up and it would just be more fun to be able to eat “regular” food again. Knowing this will happen will allow yourself to combat it.

Possibly, set a reward for yourself if you stick out the 30 days! A little extra motivation never hurts.

4. Have the Entire Family Do It

Let me tell you, it would have been torture if everyone else in my house was eating cheese, grains, and chocolate and I had to watch. The temptation to take a bite would be huge and I don’t think my attitude would have been as great. I didn’t cheat, but it was a family project. I’m not sure the results would have been the same otherwise.

So turn it into a family challenge and celebrate with a special outing when you are done!

5. Do it With a Friend

My sister and her husband did a Whole30 the same time we did. It was amazing! Having another person responsible for the majority of the cooking to talk to was so helpful. We could brainstorm together and take meals from each other’s menus, and, of course, keep each other accountable.

6. Repeat Meals

Please, don’t feel like you need to come up with 30 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you find a meal you love – especially one the kids love – make it every week. Or even more often. It simplifies everything and it’s nice to have solid meals everyone will eat to fall back on.

20 Whole30 breakfast ideas and recipes! Great resource for healthy breakfasts - the hardest for me to come up with recipes for. (My FAVORTIE breakfast casserole is on this list)

7. Do Lots of Kitchen Prep at One Time

You’ll be using many fruits, vegetables, and meats during this month. That means a lot of prepping those fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Instead of spending hours in the kitchen each day preparing these items, take some time on the weekends to wash, peel, chop all the food you can for the next several days. Bonus, you only have to do those dishes once.

8. Plan for Leftovers to Save Time in the Kitchen

One of the big deterrents of the Whole30 is the amount of time you have to spend in the kitchen.

Make extra each night (at least on the recipes your family loves) so you can have leftovers on a busy day or use them for lunches!

9. Try New Things

If you don’t venture beyond scrambled eggs for breakfast and carrots and broccoli for your veggies, it will be a long 30 days. Get out of your rut. Be creative with seasonings and spices!

Try cooking some veggies you don’t love in a new way and pick out some new produce you’ve never tried.

10. Save Up to Increase Your Grocery Budget

Set aside a extra money before your Whole30 begins! We keep our grocery budget low and we definitely spent more during this challenge. Probably double what we normally spend. Only buying produce, meats, dried fruit, and nuts can get a little pricey. Watch for meats to get marked down and start stocking up in the months prior as well.

You’ll find great tips for cutting costs on your normal grocery budget in this post. Then set the money saved aside for your Whole30:

10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

11. Get Rid of Temptation

Had there been a bag of my favorite candy staring me in the face every time I opened up the cabinet or cheese in the refrigerator it would have been a really long month and I’d have been much more incline to just cheat a bite of something here or there.

Bury them in the deepest part of your pantry, pass ingredients on to a friend, or toss them – do what it takes so they won’t be taunting you!!!

12. There’s NO Perfect Time

Our lives are busy. There’s always things going on. If you try to wait for the perfect 30 days where you have nothing going on that will take you out of your home, you’ll never do it. That’s a big part of the reason it took me soooo long to commit.

Find a time that works best – probably avoiding major holidays and birthdays of your family members – and put it on the calendar.

Lastly, don’t let fear keep you from getting started! Take the plunge and set aside 30 days for recharging your body, breaking cravings, and possibly losing a few inches and pounds and becoming a healthier you. You’ve got this, especially with these Whole30 tips that will help you succeed!

Have you done a Whole30? What tips do you have?

If you haven’t done a Whole30, are you thinking about it?

fresh produce and raw meat with pink text box

fresh produce and raw meat with green graphics

A Whole30 is a great way to help heal your body and ditch cravings. It's not easy, but it's worth it! Here are some tips for a successful Whole30!

Originally published January 2015. Updated May 2020.