Whole30 Greek-Style Meatballs

Food boredom is pretty uncommon for me, but last night I was stumped. It was only day two of our Whole30 but nothing sounded good to me. I paged through the Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook over and over, hoping I would be struck by inspiration (or anything, really). I was about to give up when the greek-style meatballs caught my eye.

I used the recipe as a loose template, but I am also trying to balance my nutritional needs with my husband’s – and they are very different! I’m 5’6″ and about 135 pounds, and he’s 6’2″ and probably 180? (He can eat whatever and he never gains weight, it’s amazing!) So I modified the recipe to increase the number of servings and allow me to make one meal that achieved both of our goals.

The recipe below makes 20 meatballs, and I myself ate 4 and I gave my husband 6. I also sliced up some avocado for him, but I found the olive oil dressing to be a large enough serving of fat.

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For the meatballs:

  • 2 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp paprika (sweet or smoked)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • romaine lettuce
  • cucumbers, quartered then diced
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Optional additions:

  • diced avocado
  • kalamata olives
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • bell peppers, diced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. (Feel free to lightly coat the sheet with your choice of cooking fat – I didn’t find that these stuck!)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs. Stir until just incorporated – don’t over mix!
  3. Form the mixture into 20 meatballs, spacing them evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, chop your veggies and assemble your salads.
  6. Enjoy!
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My Favorite Whole30 Breakfast – Salad?

Egg dishes hold a special place in my heart. I know that sounds strange, considering that eggs tend to be the primary source of protein for many folks out there, especially for breakfast. But in my family, both my mom and sister grew up hating eggs. Rarely did we eat omelets, scrambled eggs, quiches, frittatas, or casseroles. And I grew up before brunch was the hottest thing around and I was unaware of the glory of eggs benedict. But among the many things my dad and I had in common, one thing that stands out is eating eggs. Weird, right?

If my dad and I were home alone for dinner, he’d make us an omelet to share. If he was feeling fancy on the weekend, he’d cook us up some eggs. In my high school years, I discovered that my mom’s ramekins were the perfect size and shape to microwave eggs and use them in homemade egg sandwiches — and you guessed it, my dad and I loved to make them together.

When my dad passed away unexpectedly in 2012, not only did I lose my dad, mentor, and friend, I lost some of those “just for us” traditions.

As you can imagine, times change, and my sister now eats eggs with the rest (and best) of us. I’m still working on building her up to a runny yolk, but for now, as long as there’s enough hot sauce, she’ll eat it. My mom, on the other hand, will only eat eggs if they’re in a casserole with equal parts potatoes and cheese. We’re a work in progress.

 

One of my favorite things about eggs – sentimental value aside – is how versatile they are. You can fry up an egg to top a hamburger, scramble some eggs with a load of veggies, or blend up an egg with oil to make mayo. The incredible, edible egg! (No, I’m not sponsored by eggs.) And because eggs can be used in so many applications, I find it hard to get bored of them!

During my first round of Whole30, I loved getting veggies in first thing in the morning. It started with some seriously loaded omelets, but wanted something that could be prepped ahead of time and was relatively high volume. Thus the breakfast salad was born!

Here is my “recipe” aka “How to build your own Whole30 breakfast salad“:

  • Base of greens: spinach, arugula, spring mix, kale, etc.
  • Chopped veggies (raw or cooked, depending): bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes,  beets, green beans, asparagus, etc.
    • Pro-tip: use leftover veggies from last night’s dinner!
  • Dressing: ranch, caesar, oil & vinegar, etc.
  • EGGS! Fried, sunny side up, over easy, scrambled – however you like ’em!
  • Extras (optional): nutritional yeast, chia seeds, pepitas, added protein (sausage, salmon, turkey, etc.)

Your tupperware is your canvas! Anything you have chilling in the fridge can be added to your salad, as long as it tastes good to you! And there are few things more satisfying than knowing you started your day on a healthy and wholesome foot.

Whole30 Snacking

One of the biggest objections I hear against starting a Whole30 is “There are too many rules.” That makes total sense — listing off the ingredients someone following Whole30 can have (meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, some seeds, some nuts) is easier than listing what they can’t have (added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, soy).

But when you look at the program overall, there are only three rules:

  1. No added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, or soy.
  2. No recreation of baked goods, junk foods, or treats.
  3. No weighing or measuring yourself for the full 30 days.

While these rules may be hard, they’re also pretty clear. Where things get tough is when you start diving deeper and reading about the meal template, only using bars as “emergency food,” eating everything organic and local, no smoothies, etc. That’s where rules vs. recommendations comes in.

This post on the Whole30 website has been really helpful for me while navigating all the steadfast rules of a true Whole30, while not getting too tangled in having the “perfect” Whole30. Let’s be honest: there’s no such thing as a perfect Whole30. Should I say that again for everyone in the back? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT WHOLE30. Follow the three big rules, and tackle the rest as best you can.

This whole long preamble was just to say — if you’re snacking on Whole30, that’s okay. It might be worth exploring increasing the size of your meals if you’re always on the verge of a hungry breakdown and gnawing on an RXbar, but for day-to-day life, snack away. You might run into folks on the interwebz that think you’re wrong, or that you aren’t practicing “the spirit” of Whole30. I have some choice words for those folks, and they aren’t fit to print. Live your life. Live your best life, but live your life.

So, what the heck do you snack on during Whole30 if you can’t have chips?! There are lots of fun, creative ideas out there — here are some of my favorite (easy) snacks!

So tell me — what have you been munching on? How is your Whole30 going?