Heard about the Whole30 diet and thinking of giving it a whirl? It’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about this eating plan before you dive in.

According to data from Cleveland Clinic, Whole30 is an elimination diet — for 30 days, you completely cut out dairy, grains, beans, sugar, alcohol and many other foods. You increase your intake of certain nutritionally-dense whole foods instead. The point of Whole30 is to reset your system — you get rid of foods that you might be sensitive or allergic to (like lactose or gluten), then slowly reintroduce them into your diet and see how your body reacts. It’s not intended for weight loss, although you may drop some pounds on it.

Before to you try Whole30

Like many diets, it’s controversial. “While it may be helpful to eliminate alcohol, artificial sweeteners, added sugar and food additives, there are cons to this diet,” says Sue-Ellen Anderson-Haynes, MS, RDN, founder of 360Girls&Women and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “There’s no scientific evidence to back up its claims. It’s restrictive, cutting out several food groups and foods such as whole grains and legumes. This is a concern, since research supports that these high fiber and nutrient dense foods reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.”

Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on this diet, we invite you gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.

That said, an elimination diet like Whole30 is only meant to be done for a short period of time. “I don’t recommend the Whole30 diet to my clients to improve health,” says Cate Ward, PhD, RD, a scientist and dietitian in San Francisco, CA. “Focusing on incorporating more whole foods, such as vegetables, fruit, intact grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, without necessarily eliminating all processed foods, can make this type of dietary change much more sustainable in the long run.”

There are some people who should avoid Whole30, too. According to data from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, those with a history of disordered eating shouldn’t try the diet, since it’s so limited in scope. And for anyone, “After following a restrictive plan, you can often end up feeling all-or-nothing with food,” says Laura Silver, MS, RD, founder of Silver Street Nutrition in Brooklyn, NY. “You oscillate between being ‘really good,’ by following food rules, and ‘really bad’ for breaking them. Neither of these extremes feels great physically or mentally.”

An elimination diet is meant to be short term. And it’s smart to talk to your healthcare provider to get the go-ahead before starting. “If you want to undergo an elimination diet to find triggers or other digestive issues, follow up with your doctor or a registered dietitian,” says Anderson-Haynes.

What makes a good Whole30 snack?

If you’re insistent on giving it a try, you need to keep refueling, as elimination diets can sap your energy quickly. You can’t snack on processed stuff like popcorn or potato chips, but there are healthy alternatives.

“If you’re trying to avoid certain food groups similar to those in the Whole30 diet because of established health or medical reasons, an example of a filling snack would be whipped savory avocado spread with roasted vegetables or a handful of unsalted nuts, dried fruit or a homemade seed and fruit bar,” says Anderson-Haynes.

Lots and lots. You can’t have: Sugar of any kind, and no real or artificial sweeteners. You need to skip dairy, Grains, gluten legumes, except for peas and green beans, as well as any food containing carrageenan (an additive in some dairy and non-dairy products) and sulfites. Plus, there’s no alcohol. 

Trying to plan out healthy snacks on a strict eating plan like Whole 30 is tricky–but we did the work for you. Read on for different snacks you can have if you’re cleared to try Whole30.

Whole30 Snack Ideas

We’ve got simple grab-and-go options as well as links to healthy recipe-based choices. And you don’t have to be following the Whole30 eating plan to enjoy these.

Guacamole

    Perfect guacamole starts with perfectly ripe avocados. If they aren’t quite ripe yet, placing them in a paper bag with an apple does the trick. Make sure to roll the top of the paper bag closed and keep it at room temperature. The avocados should be noticeably softer in 12 hours.

    When it comes to texture:If you mash everything together by hand you can maintain some chunks, but if you prefer smooth guac, the food processor is the right option. If you’d like to have just a little texture, try pulsing the mixture and check frequently to make sure it’s not getting too smooth.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Granola

    Granola can be a healthy, yummy way to fuel up for the day. This recipe from our friends at Delish uses almonds, pecans, dried cranberries, unsweetened coconut and lots of seeds: pumpkin, flax, sunflower, and sesame — plus some spices. To make it Whole30, eliminate the honey.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Air-fried burger

    Pop a pre-made beef burger stuffed with onion into your fryer and get a quick protein boost. Top it with pickles and tomatoes.


    Collagen smoothie

    Actress Jennifer Garner reportedly swears by her “Be Well Smoothie,” which is full of berries. To keep it Whole30, make sure the almond milk doesn’t contain carrageenan and that the almond butter is unsweetened.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Prosciutto with melon

    It’s a classic dish, suitable for snacking. Slice a cantaloupe, and wrap the slices in prosciutto.

    prosciutto  melon salad

    ingwervanille//Getty Images


    California sushi bites

    This quick and easy snack from Delish, where cucumber and crab meat take center stage, is just as delicious as your fave takeout version. Sub in a Whole30-compliant mayo, like one made with avocado oil.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Hard-boiled eggs

    You’ll see so many methods online, but ours will help you get them right, every time.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Air-fryer squash soup

    Soup is a wonderful, filling, cozy snack. Our version is particularly satisfying, plus it’s easy to make in your air-fryer!

    air fryer squash soup with pepita seeds

    mike garten


    Olives and almonds

    A winning combination you may have never tried! Check to make sure the olives you choose are gluten-free.


    Bruschetta-stuffed avocados

    Stuff an avocado and voilà! You have a snack. (This also makes a filling meal.) Balsamic glazes sometimes contain sweetener, so skip that to keep it Whole30 compliant.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Apples and avocado

    Smash up one-quarter of an avocado and add one-eighth teaspoon wasabi powder plus a pinch of salt and spread onto one sliced apple. The apple adds freshness and satisfying crunch; the avocado serves up filling, healthy fats; the wasabi adds a punch of heat and flavor; and the pinch of salt boosts the ingredients’ natural flavors.


    Green bean salad

    If you have some leftover cooked green beans, try making this crunchy snack: Combine 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries with two tablespoons toasted pepitas, one cup of the leftover beans and drizzle with olive oil.


    Chia pudding

    Use your choice of Whole30-compliant plant-based milk (like cashew or almond milk), chia seeds, a Medjool date and spices like cinnamon. Blend the milk and the date until it’s smooth, and then pour the milk, chia seeds, and spices into a jar. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The chia seeds will expand, soak up the milk, and thicken the mixture. Top off with your favorite fruit.

    healthy dessert with chia seeds, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and granola horizontal

    Anastasia Dobrusina//Getty Images


    Cashew butter and banana slices

    Spread or dip away to your heart’s content. For an extra burst of taste, try stirring in a teaspoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder.


    Snack board

    Fill a cutting board with sliced apples, grapes, berries, sliced bell peppers, carrots and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. Dips you can use include Whole30-compliant hummus (made with something other than chickpeas — try making your own with cauliflower instead), ranch or green goddess dressing.


    Baked sweet potato

    Top your potato with salsa for a new taste adventure. This is a particularly quick snack if you microwave the sweet potato. With our recipe, you’ll just skip the feta and black beans to make it Whole30-approved.

    GET THE RECIPE


    Pistachio, dried apricot and raisin trail mix

    Bag up a mix of these nuts and dried fruit for an energy boost! The trail mix is a convenient snack to keep around in a large jar, and then portion out into an on-the-go container for car rides or hikes.


    Green apple with almond butter

    Since peanuts/peanut butter aren’t allowed on Whole 30, switching up your nut butter can give apples a flavorful new twist. Try sprinkling with cinnamon, too.


    Lettuce and pickle wraps

    A simple, tart and tasty snack: Just wrap your pickles in lettuce, and crunch away!


    Frozen grapes

    Wash a bunch of grapes and stash in the freezer for a cold, refreshing treat that can satisfy your sweet tooth naturally.


    Banana and berries cup

    Mix banana slices with raspberries, strawberries and blackberries – this makes a delicious breakfast, too.


    Veggie stir-fry with coconut oil

    Try a hunger-busting healthy mix of red bliss potato, red, green and yellow pepper, scallions, tomato and squash and sauté in coconut oil – the peppers give a hint of sweetness that will really complement the dish.

    stir frying and sauteing a variety of fresh colorful market vegetables in a hot steaming wok with vegetables on on a turquoise colored wood table background below the wok

    enviromantic//Getty Images


    Seafood sampler

    Fresh broiled cod and shrimp, and steamers with clarified butter (which has no milk solids) – total heaven. Yes, this is a meal — but the leftovers can be a snack!


    Deliciously decadent fries

    For a real treat (and you deserve one): Cut russet potatoes into thick wedges, and air fry them until they’re golden brown.

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    Contributing Writer

    Lisa is an internationally established health writer whose credits include Good Housekeeping, Prevention, Men’s Health, Oprah Daily, Woman’s Day, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Glamour, The Washington Post, WebMD, Medscape, The Los Angeles Times, Parade, Health, Self, Family Circle and Seventeen. She is the author of eight best-selling books, including The Essentials of Theater.

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    Nutrition Lab Director

    Stefani (she/her) is a registered dietitian, a NASM-certified personal trainer and the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, where she handles all nutrition-related content, testing and evaluation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from NYU. She is also Good Housekeeping’s on-staff fitness and exercise expert. Stefani is dedicated to providing readers with evidence-based content to encourage informed food choices and healthy living. She is an avid CrossFitter and a passionate home cook who loves spending time with her big fit Greek family.