Just like with any diet, when you’ve chosen to do the Paleo diet, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is staying on track. As life takes over, gets busier and your to-do lists grow, it can be difficult to make time to make meals that are within the Paleo diet guidelines.
However, being on this type of diet doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen as there are a number of simple ways you can eat meals on-the-go.
Plan Your Meal Ideas
Planning is an integral part of any mealtime, regardless of whether you’re on a diet or not. And if you can plan ahead with your meals, knowing what you’re going to cook and when, you’ll find cooking and preparing food is much, much easier. Even though this does mean that you have to add to your to-do list a little bit, taking a few minutes to think about your meals for the week ahead will save you hours in the long run.
During this planning stage, you can put together three different types of meal ideas for when you’re out and about:
Paleo Salad Batches
Firstly, you’ll need to create your salad base which can be full of things like romaine lettuce, kale and radicchio. After you’ve washed and drained these leaves, place them in a large bowl before adding some of your other favorite ingredients. Think green onions, celery, dried fruits and walnuts…the possibilities are endless!
Once you’ve mixed all of the ingredients together you can then divide this up into a number of different containers, ready for your meals for the next few days. This means that when you’re ready to run out of the door to work, you can grab one of these salads along with some Paleo dressing or olive oil and you’re good to go!
Paleo Dinners for Lunch the Next Day
When you’re cooking your dinner at night, try to think of things that you can take with you the next day. Side dishes are great for this, especially when they’re packed full of protein because you can take them to work or the kids can take them to school and you’ve got one yummy lunch that’s still within the Paleo diet. Ideal things include turkey/chicken sliders, tuna bites and chicken fingers.
Stock Up on Snacks
To make sure you don’t fall off the bandwagon when you’re out and those vending machines look tempting, make sure you’ve got plenty of snacks with you. You can have dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruit, and veggies. There are even Paleo specific protein bars that will help to keep your hunger at bay (for more information you can read it at blog.paleohacks.com/paleo-protein-bars/).
Preparing and Packing Your Meals
With all of these meals in mind, you’ll have a good idea of what you need to put on your shopping list for the week. And by just adding an extra 10 minutes to your shopping trip for when you get home, you can get all of these meals prepared and packed ready for the busy week ahead.
As you unpack your groceries, wash all of your veggies and chop some of them into bite-size snacks or stir-fry ready pieces. You can do the same with fruits like pears and apples whilst oranges, mandarins and bananas are easy to peel as and when you have a hunger pang.
Place everything into your fridge in airtight containers so they’re ready to go when you are. And, if you’ve got the time, prepare half a dozen hard boiled eggs to place in your fridge too as these are great for adding to your salad or they’re a great snack on their own.
If you do have a lunch date and you are going to be eating in a restaurant, you can still do this on the Paleo diet, so long as you remember a few simple things. Try to opt for a dairy-, grain- or gluten-free option; get rid of the bun for green leafs; choose a salad over a sandwich and go for a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.
Finally, if you are tempted to go through a drive-thru, try to turn your car in the direction of a grocery store instead. There you’ll find a bag of nuts, some coconut water, fruit and vegetables and grilled chicken breasts, which are far healthier for you and are Paleo-approved. If you opt for a carb-loaded, sugar-filled snack, it may keep your hunger at bay for a few hours but it won’t make you feel any better later on!
Leah Warren is a nutritionist who is intent on getting people to change their poor eating habits one bite at a time. Look out for her articles around the net.