One of the most common questions I am asked is, “Is this 21 Day Fix approved?” There are so, so many questions about if foods are 21 Day Fix approved–I thought I’d put together some thoughts so you can determine this yourself! The 21 Day Fix is a nutrition plan based on eating whole, unprocessed, clean foods. That last part is super important.
If it comes in a package, it’s technically not approved because it’s processed. But, we all aren’t going to make our own bread and pasta, right? So there are some guidelines for staple foods like bread and pasta–things that are commonly bought at the store.
How can I tell if something is 21 Day Fix approved?
The fastest way to see if something is 21 Day Fix approved is to look at the ingredients–not the calories and such, the ingredients. If there are added sugars or artificial sweeteners, highly processed oils like canola or vegetable, or a lot of sodium, it’s not going to be approved.
Ingredients are listed in order from most to least. If the first few ingredients are sweet potatoes, canola oil and salt (like this bag of Terra Chips I’m looking at), it’s not approved. Canola oil is highly processed and even though it appears to be a healthy bag of chips, there actually is no healthy bag of chips. Terra chips, touted as “healthier” than potato chips, might be healthier than regular potato chips, but they are not approved.
What healthy prepackaged foods are allowed on the 21 Day Fix?
Breads, pasta, rice–things like that. Usually pantry staples. Just because a product on the store shelf appears to be healthy, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It could be a better choice, or it could just be that the brand wants in on the new “healthy foods” sales and tells people their product is healthy. A great example of this are the frozen vegetables and pastas available. Many have a ton of added sodium, extra fats and oils, and even sugar! Just because a pasta is made from a vegetable doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
21 Day Fix Approved Sweeteners
A huge difficulty for people on the 21 Day Fix is drinking enough water. People want to find a way around that by adding prepackaged powders and drops into their water, or by drinking alternatives that are labeled healthy. Examples of this are Vitamin Water, Sparkling Ice drinks, and many iced teas. These products usually contain artificial sweeteners, extra sugars, and other artificial ingredients and are not considered healthy at all.
The only approved sweeteners on the 21 Day Fix are raw sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup (real maple syrup, not the kind with a ton of other things added), agave syrup, and Stevia (again, real Stevia–so many brands market their product as Stevia and then when you look at the ingredients they also contain artificial sweetener). I use SweetLeaf Stevia, and have looked at and verified the the ingredients for Trader joe’s Organic Stevia (not the non-organic one–that one has artificial sweeteners), Now Foods Better Stevia, and Body Ecology Liquid Stevia. But ingredients change over time, so triple check these before you buy them!
For example, this is what brands do to “trick” you into buying their products:
This brand adds Maltodextrin, an artificial sweetener, to its Stevia. Even worse, there is more Maltodextrin in this package than there is Stevia. I know this because the FDA requires companies to list ingredients in the order of greatest to least, and Maltodextrin comes first in the list.
Artificial sweeteners can cause your body to hold onto weight and crave sugar. There are ongoing studies about if artificial sweeteners cause cancer, too–I’m not even going to get into that here but research it and you might have different thoughts about what you eat and drink.
Know that most restaurants (like Starbucks) use a Stevia that contains artificial sweeteners. It’s definitely best to bring your own.
Can I drink diet soda on the 21 Day Fix?
There is a huge myth out there that dates back to the 80s that diet soda is better than regular soda, and that diet soda is great to drink while on a diet. It’s not true–not even a little bit. Soda is not approved on the 21 Day Fix. Usually diet soda contains a huge amount of chemicals–including artificial sweeteners. Regular soda contains chemicals and sugar, usually. There is no approved soda on the 21 Day Fix. The closest you could come is Zevia brand, which uses Stevia to sweeten, but still–it’s not even close to drinking water, and since it’s processed it’s technically not approved.
Which Pre-Workout Drinks are 21 Day Fix approved?
I know some of you like to drink pre-workout drinks, so I pulled together a list of preworkout drinks without artificial sweeteners for you.
Which coffee creamer is 21 Day Fix approved?
The best thing you can put in your coffee is a splash of almond milk and some stevia. There are a few “better” creamers that I’ve found for the 21 Day Fix, but none are 100% approved.
Are low fat and non-fat products 21 Day Fix approved?
Typically, products labeled low fat and non-fat are not 21 Day Fix approved. They’re processed, and ingredients are added to reduce the amount of fat in them. Remember, the 21 Day Fix focuses on whole foods–foods in their natural state. On the 21 Day Fix, 2% is usually considered approved because getting a product from whole fat to 2% can be done naturally–anything less than that requires additives.
What kind of breads can I eat on the 21 Day Fix?
Bread labels are a little tricky because all bread contains a little bit of sugar–it’s how it rises. You’re looking for whole wheat to be the first ingredient when you buy a bread. I love Dave’s Killer Bread. Here is an example of the ingredients so you can have an idea of what a good bread is:
With regard to how many slices of bread you can have, the official list says one because it’s assuming that your bread is between 100-130 calories. For example, the Dave’s thin sliced bread is close to 70 calories a slice so many people consider 2 slices close enough to the calorie range for the yellow container. You can learn more about the average nutrient ranges for each 21 Day Fix container here.
What kind of pasta can I eat while on the 21 Day Fix?
Again, you’re looking for the first ingredient to be whole grain/whole wheat. I use Barilla whole grain, and store brands from my local grocery stores like Safeway and Fry’s have great options for whole grain pastas. Veggie pastas should be inspected carefully, as a lot of them contain extra ingredients–not just veggies. Brown rice pasta is approved, as is gluten free pasta.
Any of the “added veggies” pastas or “low carb” pastas are not your best choice–for any Fix approved product. We are looking to eat whole vegetables because of the fiber and nutrient benefits, and buying pasta with veggies added isn’t going to count as a veggie so you might as well get the benefit of whole grains. I am very wary of products that claim to be healthy or fit.
What kind of frozen foods can I eat on the 21 Day Fix?
Frozen fruits and veggies are a great way to save money and time on the 21 Day Fix! Make sure to look at ingredients–you want only vegetables. No added sauces, no added starches or sugars. Cauliflower rice is delicious but some brands hide ingredients to make it last longer. Labels are key on the 21 Day Fix, I hope I’m mentioning that enough.
With regard to frozen meals, even low calorie ones, they’re not approved. The sodium is high on these, and they’re not nearly as healthy as a meal that you prepped yourself and portioned out for the week. Thankfully, there are a ton of delicious 21 Day Fix approved recipes with container counts that can be made on Sunday and eaten throughout the week for lunches (and dinners!).
How much sodium can I have on the 21 Day Fix?
Sodium can kill a diet–it causes bloat, weight gain, and puffiness. Sodium hides in a ton of prepackaged foods, and is hard to steer clear of if you’re eating a lot of them. The recommended daily sodium goal is 1,500mg, and while not eating enough sodium has its own set of issues, eating too much isn’t a good thing at all. Every restaurant meal has increased levels of–even salads. They salt eggs for cobb salads, they add sodium to meats, and salad dressings can be so high in sodium. You can combat the effects of sodium by drinking a ton of water, but know that if you’re regularly eating too much sodium, your results are going to be affected.
What flours are approved on the 21 Day Fix?
My quick list is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free flour, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, Cup4Cup gluten free flour, Brown rice flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill), coconut flour, tapioca flour, and arrowroot flour.
What shakes are approved on the 21 Day Fix?
You do not need to drink a shake on the 21 Day Fix–it’s completely possible to lose weight without drinking any shakes at all. If you want to drink a shake, of course, Shakeology is approved on the 21 Day Fix. There are a lot of protein and meal replacement shakes that have artificial sweeteners in them, and they’re not approved. Another 21 Day Fix blogger and I created a couple of posts about protein and meal replacement shakes that are approved:
Which protein bars are approved on the 21 Day Fix?
Beachbars are the cleanest protein bar I’ve found, and even they have a ton of ingredients. I am not a Beachbody coach, but I do love them because of the ingredients. It’s almost impossible to find bars without a ton of sugar or artificial sweeteners in them.
Kind bars are said to be another approved bar, within reason. The fruit and nut bars are a favorite, and there is a graphic going around that says they’re counted as a blue and a teaspoon. I don’t believe this graphic came straight from Beachbody though, so I would treat them as a treat swap, and I definitely don’t eat them often.
Rx bars are pretty easy to count because all of the ingredients are right on the front of the bar, but most have at least two dates in them, and one date is considered a purple container treat swap–so eat those sparingly as well.
Quest bars are not approved–they contain artificial sweeteners.
How do I calculate containers?
This is the tricky part, and why I always say to use approved recipes with container counts for your first few rounds of the Fix. My friend Nancylynn wrote a post for you all about how to calculate container counts for the 21 Day Fix, though, so head over there and learn how to calculate containers for your favorite recipes.
Make sure you’re not undoing all of your hard work by buying products that will derail your results!