For many people, one of the most difficult parts of transitioning into a healthy eating lifestyle is planning. If you want to be successful you will always know what you will be eating, when you will be eating it, and what ingredients you will need to make it.
Flying by the seat of your pants simply won’t work anymore, especially if you are in the beginning stages of implementing this new lifestyle. Failing to plan leaves you vulnerable to poor food choices and temptations. Remember, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
Start by designating one or two days a week that will be your new shopping day. Spend some time beforehand going through your cookbooks, Pinterest, and paleo food blogs. Another great tip that paleo people love is to make ahead meals. Rather than preparing a huge meal when you walk in the door at night, take one day in the week to prepare and freeze all of your meals. You don’t need to freeze your entire meal, freezing just your main food for each night will save you lots of time in the kitchen after a busy day at work. Think through your week and evaluate how much time you have for food prep. If you have a busy schedule, you will want to consider crockpot recipes as well as freezer meals. If you can, designate some time over the weekend to precook (or grill) some meat. Here are a few quick suggestions:
- Prepare a roast, slice thin and freeze in individual portions
- Buy individually wrapped fish packets from your warehouse club
- Cook bacon in batches
- Lightly steam or roast veggies that can easily be reheated
- Brown some ground beef and grill some chicken breasts or thighs
By varying sauces, spices, and side dishes, this can form the base for a variety of meals that you won’t get tired of.
Developing a meal schedule can also help keep you on track. For example, chicken on Monday, crockpot on Tuesday, fish on Wednesday, leftover on Thursday, etc. Having a streamlined plan will help you to be successful because you won’t have to spend so much time thinking about what you are going to cook. For many people, having to spend too much time wondering what they’re going to be doing leads to procrastination.
But make-ahead meals don’t just have to be for dinner, you can also create make-ahead breakfast dishes. Many people don’t have the time or motivation to prepare complicated breakfasts. Doing simple things like pre-portioning your breakfasts will go a long way. For example, if you are having blueberry pancakes one day, add the amount of pancake mix you will need (paleo of course), into a ziplock bag and place it next to your coconut oil in the pantry. In the fridge, put the number of blueberries you will need front and center. Now your breakfast is ready, all you have to do is put it together – and cook it of course.
Don’t forget to think about the snacks between meals. You need something to hold you over until your next meal and get you through a hectic day. Making a simple paleo trail mix will not only give you a filling snack but will also allow you to eat on the run. If you have a little more time in the kitchen you can also make muffins, granola, or even hard-boiled eggs.
With just a little advance prep you’ll find that maintaining the paleo way of eating is very doable and you will experience long-term success.