Paleo Diet Meal Planning Tips
Aside from all the raw veggies, nuts, berries and greens you consume in a Paleo diet, there is a great deal of cooking to be done since the majority of your energy and proteins will come from meat, fish and eggs. Now you could go totally caveman and eat them raw (gag!) but most of us prefer our foods at least lightly cooked.
I enjoy cooking but I do not always have the time during the busy work week. Therefore I do most of my cooking on the weekends. For me, this is the difference between staying on track or falling off the wagon of my Paleo diet.
I plan out my week as I am doing my weekly shopping so I can take advantage of items on sale. Others may rely on lists and that is okay if it works for you.
What works for me is having a wide variety of meals prepared ahead and stored in the freezer. I use the foil baking dishes with lids for storage. They are not very eco-friendly but they are recyclable. I just find they stack really well in the freezer compartment of my fridge and I can write the contents on the lid making it easy at a glance to choose my meal for the evening.
I am also a huge fan of homemade soups which is very often what I eat for lunch. These I store in the freezer in partially filled Mason jars. (allowing enough head room for the soup to expand when frozen)
On the weekend, usually Saturday morning I will start cooking. First thing I do is to start my soup. I put my beef bones or chicken carcass in a big pot, cover with water and turn it on to simmer and create a nutritious broth. As I prepare vegetables for other dishes I usually throw the cuttings into the pot. Most people just throw them out but there is a lot of nutrients and flavor in the trimmings so why waste them when you have a soup pot already simmering? This includes the stems of any herbs too since they are packed with flavor.
Next I turn my attention to any complicated recipes I may have planned or anything that takes a long time to cook. This may include popping a roast or whole chicken into the oven. I usually cook both a roast and a chicken so I have a variety of cooked meat on hand during the week. Next I prep my veggies for the week and make snacks. If your veggies are already washed and cut up in advance you always have a raw veggie snack available and if you plan to make a stir-fry during the week, your prep work is already done and dinner can be made in 5 minutes.
I always make a low carb breakfast casserole because I find breakfast to sometimes be the most challenging meal for me because of time constraints.
Once my cooking an veggie prep is done for the week I just line up my containers on the counter and fill them up. Put the lids on and label them. Now aside from the occasional stir fry, my cooking is all done for the week, there is no danger I will be tempted to cheat because my meals are ready and waiting for me. When I come home from work I just pull something out of the freezer and pop it in the oven then head for the showe, catch up on some email or watch the tv until my meal is heated up.
Do you have any Paleo diet meal planning tips to share? Leave a comment below because other Paleo buddies are always looking for handy tips.