This Whole30 Food List Will Break You Out of a Grocery Shopping Rut

No sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, sweets, or alcohol. After one look at the list of Whole30 rules, you’re probably wondering what exactly you can eat while undertaking the month-long challenge — and how you’re going to survive 30 days without hummus or pasta.

But this deprivation mindset can make it difficult for you to stick with the elimination diet, which is designed to help you see how your body feels when you take away foods that could be negatively affecting your energy, sleep, digestion, and more, according to information on the Whole30 website. Instead, view it as an opportunity to expand your palate, says Jessica Beacom, R.D.N., co-founder of The Real Food Dietitians. “Don’t see it as 30 days of deprivation, but as a chance to do an experiment on yourself,” says Beacom. “Yes, you’re taking things out, but it’s also an opportunity to add things in. I’ve worked with clients who say they now have a new appreciation for new fruits and veggies [since trying Whole30].”

TL;DR: You’ll be taking a produce-heavy Whole30 food list — likely featuring at least a few foods you don’t typically use in your cooking — to the supermarket. By ditching grains, including those found in processed foods, you’ll end up loading your cart with nutrient-dense veggies such as winter squash and sweet potatoes, as well as fresh fruits, says Beacom.

The Ultimate Whole30 Food List

To make the most of the Whole30 diet challenge and add some variety to your meals, bring the Whole30 food list below with you each time you hit the grocery store. (You’ll also want to look to these Whole30-approved recipes for some cooking inspiration for any meal.)

Remember: While following the Whole30 program, it’s important to maintain diversity in your diet and “eat the rainbow,” so incorporate red bell peppers, purple cauliflower, and a variety of other colorful veggies into your Whole30 food list, says Beacom. Make sure to eat leafy greens, sesame seeds, almond milk, or other fortified foods to get the calcium you’re missing by eliminating dairy. And if you’re incorporating prepared foods that sport the “Whole30 approved” label on the package, just make sure to keep an eye on your sodium intake, says Beacom, since processed foods tend to be high in salt.

Whole30 Food List: Protein

It may be tempting to put pre-packaged, fast-cooking meats such as breakfast sausage on your Whole30 food list, but they generally should take a backseat to minimally processed proteins. These pre-prepped food products often have high levels of sodium, says Beacom, and high sodium consumption can raise blood pressure and, in turn, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For a nutritious, quick-cooking protein option, keep pre-cooked shrimp in your freezer, which you can thaw and add to salads, lettuce wraps, or stir-fried dishes with veggies, she suggests. And remember: “You don’t have to eat steak all month,” says Beacom. Add proteins you actually enjoy eating to your Whole30 food list and keep your meals varied.

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Deli meats and sausages (Just remember to avoid those with added sugar, carrageenan [a food additive used as a thickening agent], MSG, or sulfites.)
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Salmon
  • Seafood
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey
  • Whitefish

Whole30 Food List: Vegetables

If you eat veggies only when they’re bite-sized and dipped in ranch, now’s your chance to get out of that habit and test new methods. Instead of serving cauliflower raw on a crudité plate, try roasting it or putting it in a stir fry. If the only squash you’ve tried is an acorn variety covered in butter and maple syrup, opt for a savory version with garlic and rosemary, or try spaghetti squash for an alternative to pasta, suggests Beacom. For a veggie that packs a lot of nutritional bang for a small buck, you could also try cabbage, which has a similar texture to noodles when sliced thin. Remember, all vegetables except corn and lima beans are allowed while on the Whole30 diet, so try adding as many new vegetables to your Whole30 food list as you can fit in your fridge.

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  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Frisée
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Greens: Arugula, Collard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Romaine, Spinach, Swiss Chard
  • Jalapeños
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions and Shallots
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Rhubarb
  • Snow Peas
  • Squash: Acorn, Buttercup, Delicata, Butternut, Pumpkin, Spaghetti, Summer, Zucchini
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips

Whole30 Food List: Fruits

Lucky for you, all fruits are allowed on the diet and can be added to your Whole30 food list. Along with eating grapes by the handful, get creative with your fruit consumption: Try incorporating strawberries, apples, and blueberries into your salads, grilling your salmon with citrus, or topping your burger with diced mango.

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Berries: Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Citrus: Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Nectarines, Oranges, Tangerines
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Jicama
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Watermelon

Whole30 Food List: Fats

Sorry, you won’t find salted butter on this Whole30 food list. Whether you’re sautéing veggies or making a homemade salad dressing, use ghee or clarified butter, which have the milk solids removed, or EVVO to give your dish an added layer of rich flavor. While there are many diet-compliant salad dressings available that can have a spot on your Whole30 food list, it’s just as easy to whip up scratch-made versions yourself (such as Beacom’s Paleo ranch dressing).

Whole30 Cooking Fats

  • Coconut Oil
  • Duck Fat
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Ghee or Clarified Butter
  • Lard
  • Palm Oil
  • Tallow

Whole30 Fats for Dressing and Topping

  • Avocado and Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Butter and Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Flakes and Shredded Coconut
  • Olives
  • Sesame Oil

Whole30 Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds and Almond Butter
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios

Whole30 Food List: Pantry Staples

To keep flavors interesting, add powerful spices and herbs to your Whole30 food list. Beacom recommends drizzling olive oil onto veggies and roasting them with garam masala for a warm, satisfying plant-based dish or sprinkling cinnamon on top of sweet potato for a filling breakfast. If you’re seriously missing your flavored coffee creamer, pour almond milk and a dash of cinnamon into your cup of Joe for a Whole30-approved drink.

  • Almond Flour
  • Arrowroot Powder
  • Botanical Extracts: Vanilla, Lemon, Lavender
  • Broth
  • Capers
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Cocoa (100% Cacao)
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Coconut Flour
  • Condiments: Hot Sauce, Mayonnaise, Mustard
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fish Sauce
  • Iodized Salt
  • Pickles
  • Raisins
  • Salsa
  • Sardines
  • Spices and Herbs
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Vinegar: Apple Cider, Balsamic, Red Wine, White

Whole30 Food List: Drinks

If you can’t take one more sip of plain water, add kombucha to your Whole30 food list. Although kombucha contains sugar, it’s used for fermentation purposes — not as a sweetener — making it A-OK while you’re on the Whole30 diet. Beacom recommends choosing a kombucha that has the least amount of sugar as possible, like GT’s Gingerade or lemonade, and drinking it only occasionally.

  • Almond Milk or Cashew Milk
  • Apple Cider
  • Club Soda
  • Coconut Water
  • Coffee
  • Fruit Juice
  • Kombucha
  • Mineral Water
  • Naturally Flavored Water
  • Seltzer or Sparkling Water
  • Tea or Matcha
  • Vegetable Juice

— Update: 13-02-2023 — found an additional article Whole30 Food List (with Printable Download) from the website for the keyword whole 30 diet food list.

This Whole30 food list is a handy, easy-to-follow guide that eliminates the confusion surrounding what is and isn’t Whole30 compliant. The free downloadable chart can be printed out and hung on the fridge or stuck in your wallet, or save it on your phone for those sudden moments of grocery store panic.

Is It Whole30 Compliant?

I hear this question all the time!

I run a Whole30 support group on Facebook, and this is the number one question that pops up over and over again. I get it! It’s so confusing, and there are so many additives and sneaky sugars in food nowadays that trying to remember it all is overwhelming and kind of frustrating. Even I see ingredients that I’m positive are non-compliant, only to remember that they’re actually okay, though maybe not encouraged.

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So if I have trouble keeping track of all those tiny little ingredients that can hide and throw you off track, then I knew there were others like me out there, frantically Googling “is xanthan gum Whole30 compliant” from the middle of the grocery store. Spoiler: it is!

My Whole30 list was born! But before we dive into what’s compliant on a Whole30 and what’s not, let’s talk a little more about what exactly Whole30 is.

What is Whole30?

Whole30 is exactly that – 30 days of whole foods. It’s an elimination way of eating that overhauls your eating habits by focusing on nutrient dense, unprocessed foods and cutting out hard-on-your-body foods like sugar, grains, and alcohol.

The idea behind the Whole30 diet is that, by avoiding allergenic and nutrient-poor foods long enough for your body to filter their ghosts out of your system, you’ll see just how those foods actually affected you. After the initial 30 days, you reintroduce these triggers one at a time, observing how different (or worse!) each one makes you feel. This highlights any sensitivities so you can avoid them in the future.

There’s no calorie-tracking or points to keep up with on Whole30. This is all about your relationship with food and how food makes your body feel.

If you’re like most of us, after the 30 days you’ll continue eating nutrient-dense foods while avoiding grains, gluten, and dairy, because it just makes you feel so damn good.

If you’re thinking about doing a Whole30, you’ll definitely want to check out How to Prepare for a Whole30.

What Can You Eat on Whole30?

“Elimination” and “cutting out” seem like scary terms. Believe me – it took me years to try a Whole30 because the Whole30 food list seemed so restrictive. It’s really not, though, and it absolutely doesn’t need to feel like a punishment! We do not suffer. We eat incredible flat-iron steak with homemade béarnaise sauce and bacon-wrapped dates.

I’d always been a “healthy” eater. On and off vegetarian and vegan diets for decades. Eating “real food” like whole wheat tortillas and shunning processed junk.

Nothing could have prepared me for how intensely wonderful I felt after day 14 or so on my first Whole30. My chronic jaw pain had absolutely disappeared. I was sleeping better than I had since I was a teenager. My headaches were gone. I lost 7lbs.

If you’re still unsure, just try it. It’s only 30 days, and you have nothing to lose, other than maybe that tired, sluggish, blah feeling. I also tend to believe that you won’t miss those foods after you’ve cut the cord.

What About Treats and Cheat Meals?

Nope! Whole30 is a 30-day reboot, so for it to really work, it requires a strict 30-consecutive-days with no cheats or slip ups. Even paleo-fied or “Whole30 desserts” that are made from completely Whole30 compliant ingredients are off-limits.

Wait, what?

That’s right. Even desserts made from nothing but Whole30 ingredients are off-limits. The whole point is to change your eating habits and relationship with food. When your brain craves sugar, it won’t distinguish between “real cake” and “Whole30 cake” – it just knows you’re eating cake. You can’t change your habits and cravings if you just indulge in them in a slightly different way.

Have the banana. Just don’t turn it into pancakes.

Compliant Whole30 Food List

Get excited – for the next 30 days you’ll get to eat all of these amazing things!

  • Meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs
    • In moderate amounts. The Whole30 is not an excuse to eat a cowboy ribeye for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 30 days.
  • Vegetables
    • Tons of these! Veggies are super nutrient dense and rich in minerals and fiber, so make sure they’re a big part of your diet.
  • Fruits
    • You can eat fruits, but they shouldn’t be a cornerstone of your diet. The high natural sugar content makes it easy to simply keep the “Sugar Dragon” at bay, rather than slaying him altogether. 
  • Natural Fats
    • Make sure you’re eating enough good fats, like ghee, avocados, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, tallow, bone broth, lard, chicken fat, etc. If you’re not eating enough healthy fats, you might complain that you’re feeling hungry the whole time; up your healthy fat intake and I bet you’ll feel much more satisfied.
  • Coffee
    • Coffee is fine in moderation, as long as you use compliant creamer, like coconut cream, Nutpods, Califia Unsweetened Creamer, etc.
  • Ghee
    • The exception to the dairy rule! Ghee is essentially clarified butter and has no potentially allergenic lactose. 
  • Vinegar
    • All vinegars are allowed unless they include sugar (like some rice wine vinegars do). Even vinegars that have non-compliant ingredients in the title, like white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar, are OK.
  • Spices and seasonings
    • So long as your spice blend doesn’t include non-compliant preservatives or sugars, use these plentifully!
  • Fruit juices as a sweetener
    • This is OK on a limited basis.
  • Green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas
    • The exception to the no-legumes rule!

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Whole30-Compliant Additives

Some additives are Whole30-compliant. If they’re on this Whole30 food list, they’re alright.

  • acacia
  • acetic acid
  • agave inulin alpha-tocopherol
  • ascorbic acid
  • beta-carotene
  • calcium carbonate
  • calcium chloride
  • citric acid
  • ferrous gluconate
  • acacia gum
  • gellan gum
  • guar gum
  • locust bean gum
  • xanthan gum
  • inulin
  • lactic acid
  • natural flavors
  • niacin
  • pectin
  • potassium chloride
  • potato starch
  • riboflavin
  • salt
  • sodium citrate
  • sodium nitrite 
  • sodium nitrate
  • sodium pectinate
  • sunflower lecithin
  • zinc gluconate

Non-Compliant Whole30 Food List

“So if I can eat all those amazing foods, what exactly am I supposed to avoid?” Well, I’m glad you asked!

  • Dairy
    • Ghee is the only exception to the no-dairy rule. Even cultured dairy like yogurt is not allowed.
  • Added sugars, in any form.
    • This is, to me, the hardest part. Sugar is in everything. I even used some jarred minced ginger on a Whole30 once, and after cooking, looked at the back on a whim. There It was – fructose in my ginger. Like, why?! Alas, you’ve gotta check your labels on pretty much everything. No added sugar in any form is allowed, all the way from regular “sugar” to honey to maple syrup to dextrose.
  • Grains, like rice or wheat.
  • Pseudo-cereals, like quinoa.
  • Gluten. Thank me later.
  • Alcohol at all, even in cooking.
    • Sorry, no white wine sauce on that chicken! This goes beyond what you’d expect, though: no Dijon mustard or vanilla extract. Intense, but they have to draw the line somewhere, right? There are a couple of Dijons that don’t have alcohol in them, though: Annie’s is a common brand. Otherwise, skip the Grey Poupon for a month my friend!
  • Legumes
    • Lentils, garbanzo beans (AKA no hummus!), black beans, and peanuts are all off-limits on the Whole30 food list.
  • Soy. Nada, not even fermented.
  • Junk food, even technically compliant.
  • Paleo-ified baked treats or recreations of non-compliant foods. NO DAMN PANCAKES, even if they’re made just eggs and pumpkin! 
  • MSG
  • Sulfites
  • Carrageenan

Non-Compliant Whole30 Sugars

Keeping track of all the names for sugar can be difficult, so I’ve written (most of) them down here for you. Read your labels! None of these are compliant.

  • acesulfame-K
  • agave nectar
  • arabitol
  • aspartame
  • beet sugar
  • brown sugar
  • (evaporated) cane juice
  • cane sugar
  • coconut nectar
  • coconut sugar
  • confection’s sugar
  • date sugar
  • date syrup
  • dextrose
  • disaccharide
  • dulcitol
  • Equal
  • erythritol
  • fructose
  • galactose
  • glucose
  • glycerin (glycerol)
  • glycol
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • HSH
  • iditol
  • isomalt
  • lactitol
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltitol
  • maltose
  • mannitol
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • monk fruit extract
  • monosaccharide
  • Nutra-Sweet
  • polyglycitol
  • polysaccharide
  • raw sugar
  • refiner’s syrup
  • ribitol
  • ribose
  • rice malt (extract)
  • rice syrup
  • saccharin
  • saccharose
  • sorbitol
  • Splenda
  • stevia
  • sucralose
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • Sweetleaf
  • Sweet-n-Low
  • (sweet) sorghum
  • threitol
  • treacle
  • Truvia
  • xylitol

Whole30 Non-Compliant Additives

Some additives are Whole30-compliant, and some are not. Here’s the no-no Whole30 food list. If the item in question has one of these? No dice, my friend.

  • carrageenan
  • corn starch
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • potassium metabisulfite
  • sodium bisulfite
  • soy lecithin
  • sulfites
  • sulfur dioxide

There you have it! A handy, easy-to-follow Whole30 food list that lays out exactly what you can eat and what you can’t eat on your Whole30 diet. Below are some additional resources and favorite recipes to help you on your journey. Be sure to join my Whole30 Support Group on Facebook for more tips, tricks, and all-around support.

You got this!

Tools for Whole30 Success

  • The Whole30 Diet: What It Is & Everything You Need to Rock It
  • Printable Whole30 Food List
  • Whole30 Rules
  • How to Prep for Whole30
  • 30-Day Whole30 Meal Plan
  • Whole30 Dinner Recipes
  • 65 Delicious Whole30 Recipes for the New Year


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About the Author: Tung Chi