10 Tricks To Make Paleo Undeniably Easy
At PrimalPaleo we want to help you make the switch to a healthier paleo orientated lifestyle as easy to follow as possible. Switching to a new diet is hard at first and Paleo is no exception, especially as it makes use of a lot of hard to find ingredients and has hundreds of difficult recipes.
BUT it doesn’t have to be hard! With just a few guiding principles you can make the switch to Paleo quicker, easier and fun. See below and let us know how you get on:
Meals should be made simple!
1) Don’t try and learn lots of new meals at once…
One of the biggest failure points when starting a new diet is learning so many new recipes. We highly suggest that you choose a few staple meals and have them or slight variants throughout the week, especially at the beginning.
Realistically this is probably what you do anyway, think about how many different meals you cook in a given month, the average persons’ list ususally comes out at around 10 meals.
Changing diet is already difficult and stressful, make things easier by reducing the number of new recipes you learn! For your first week it’s much easier to pick 3 – 5 new meals and utilise leftovers several times throughout the week.
2) Keep it stupid simple to begin with.
This is similar to point one, but first let me give you an analogy. Say for example you were trying to learn karate. In your first training session would the instructor have you learn a black belt move? Probably not.
Disregard other paleo guides out there tell you to make several different weird and wonderful meals every day. This is borderline insanity. Meals should be made as simple as possible to avoid cheating!
This is particularly important at breakfast, not only is it the most important meal of the day, but also it’s at the time when most people are least awake and as such have little willpower. Apply the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle and have things that are simple and better yet, that can be prepared in advance. See point 3!
In general for lunch and dinner you want to try and choose meals at first that have a 30-minute or less preparation time. We try and make most of our meals on PrimalPaleo.com have a combined preparation and cooking time of less than 30 minutes. We know you live busy lifestyles but still want to be healthy whilst eating nice food. We’re here to tell you, those things are NOT mutually exclusive!
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3) Keep the ingredients list as short as possible.
No one wants to be in the grocery store with a shopping list of 50+ items, it’s boring and it’s stressful.
We try to make sure all the meals on our weekly meal plans use similar ingredients so the shopping list is shorter. That way we minimise shopping time, no one wants to be in the grocery store for hours.
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Make it easy to avoid cheating!
4) Get your shit together in advance.
The first rule here is to invest in a good set of storage containers (we recommend these ones at the moment they’re cheap but still good). You want a set that you can put straight in the microwave (yes cavemen didn’t have microwaves but then again they also probably didn’t have the screen you are reading this on.)
Next, there’s two important points to note here that will massively help you avoid cheating. Firstly create batch meals where possible. Are you cooking a paleo bolognese with zucchini or squash spaghetti? Then why not go ahead and make enough for 3 or 4 portions and then freeze the leftovers and eat them at a later date. Sometimes after a long day at work you just can’t be bothered to cook and this is the perfect way to avoid eating junk food.
Secondly… Prep prep prep. Spend one day per week (Sunday is good) to prepare your food for the coming week. This is especially important to do for your breakfasts and lunches if you work full time. For example; create one large batch of salad at the beginning of the week and add different toppings for easy to prepare lunches. In our 7-day meal plan we have a recipe for fritattas and roasted squash that makes a great nutrient dense breakfast for most of the week in less than 5 minutes.
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5) Have a quick backup meal.
You’re starving but running late for something and the supermarket is shut. What do you do?
This is when it’s super important to have a backup meal that you can make really quickly to avoid cheating. Ideally you’ll have something in the freezer but again this isn’t always possible. Remember, nutritious meals don’t have to be difficult and time consuming. Here are two of our favourite less than 15-minute nutritient packed meals:
– Microwaved sweet potato with Paleo tuna mayonnaise with chopped onions and bell pepppers.
– Mixed vegetable omelette with bacon.
Both of these are going to be way healthier than take out or store bought convenience food.
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6) Stock up on paleo friendly snacks.
Being hungry will (obviously) make you more likely to cheat. Try and stock up on (or make) a range of paleo friendly snacks. Some good examples are:
– Bananas (perfect on the go)
– Apples with almond butter
– Mixed nuts (avoid peanuts which aren’t paleo)
– Dried fruit (this is high in sugar so avoid)
– Protein shakes (see below)
– Tinned tuna (great for pre workout)
– Use baking cups to make paleo egg muffins (mini fritattas)
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Be ok with compromise:
7) Have a cheat day if you want!
This will be a little controversial… We’re 100% behind having a cheat day if you want it. Studies have shown that cheat days do not have any noticeable negative effect on sticking rates of diets. Not to mention, life is for living and if you want to eat a donut, eat a donut. The funny thing is, once you start eating Paleo you’ll find that your body will naturally start craving grains and sugars less.
The point here is that this is about trying to lead an overall healthy lifestyle. If cheating once per week means you are more likely to stick to a diet long term then we’re all for it.
8) Don’t quit if you have one stumble!
Paleo is a fairly demanding diet and it can be overwhelming to stick to all the rules. We believe that it’s far better to compromise and stick to the diet long term that follow it rigidly and end up quitting. Let me give you some examples:
A lot of paleo sites will say only eat grass fed meat. This is great but what if you can’t afford it? Well, corn fed meat is an ok alternative and certainly better than convenience food or not getting enough proteins into your diet whatsoever.
Alcohol is also generally thought of as being not Paleo friendly. But let’s be honest, sometimes you can’t avoid it and heck it’s great fun. To limit the negative effect, use high quality filtered alcohols where possible and use club soda (infused with fruit if necessary) as a healthy mixer. Some Paleo enthusiasts say wine is also an acceptable choice on the paleo diet, something we definitely agree with.
Use hacks and shortcuts where possible to make life easier!
9) Have protein powder on hand.
This is a bit of a controversial one also.We believe that having a good quality protein powder to hand is an important tool for making power meal replacement shakes. Whilst protein powder is essentially a processed food we believe in moderation; the benefits outweigh the negatives. Try to buy an unflavoured version to avoid any nasty e numbers.
The benefits of being able to whip up a protein shake that has a full spectrum of nutrients far outweigh the negatives. It’s a much better alternative than eating junk food.
10) Use gadgets for ultra productivity.
Call us geeky but we love a good kitchen gadget to speed up processing and cooking food! Gadgets can make the difference between cheating and eating a healthy paleo meal.
Some of our favourites are:
– Our julienne peeler (it lets you turn vegetables into “veggie pasta”)
– The instant pot (cook a wide variety of meals with virtually no prep!)
– Our vegetable spiralizer (this is quicker and easier than the julienne peeler so good for bigger meals)
– A nutribullet (perfect for making quick and easy meal replacements)
– Good food containers (vital for making sure there’s always leftovers)
– A good non-stick skillet (perfect for single pan dishes)
About The Author:
Eddy Barrett is a Paleo enthusiast and the founder of PrimalPaleo.com. He loves sharing hacks, tips and tricks that make the Paleo lifestyle easier!