It’s Derek Here again looking at your paleo diet meal planner.
Where To Start
A good place to start is looking at the food you have available in your fridge/freezer and store cupboard. If this is going to be a shopping day then of course you need to plan what you are going to be eating over the coming days.
For many new starters on the paleo diet it is more a case of checking on the substitutes for what you have been eating as staples in the past. Especially potatoes, bread, rice and pasta. These 4 items lead to a lot of downfalls if they are not handled sensibly.
It will depend on how strict a paleo stance you are taking whether you are going to be eating sweet potatoes and so whether you can use them in place of potato. Rice is quite easily substituted with cauliflower rice. Pastas can be substituted with things like spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini (courgette). For bread, you can use lettuce leaves or thin slices of eggplant (aubergine). It all comes down to a matter of taste. My personal favorite for mashed potato is carrot, parsnip and rutabaga (swede) all mashed together. All three are better for you than potatoes. You may prefer just rutabaga (swede) on its own.
There are of course thousands of recipes available on the internet for the paleo follower, but you may well be able to eat some of your favorite foods just by carrying out some substitutions, and who knows you may like the new flavor even better than you liked the original.
The Meal Plans
There are many meal plans available on the internet, but again they may include foods you don’t like or for some reasons don’t want to try. By making your own meal plans you can have foods you know you and your family like. Don’t forget when you make your paleo diet meal planner to include proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
There have been many arguments within the medical profession whether our bodies need fat and the harm fats may do. Over the past couple of years it would appear that the original information of not eating fat because it made you fat was completely wrong. Now doctors are beginning to agree that a small amount of fat does you good. It is important that you don’t forget this.
As I have said before I have a protein metabolic body type so I can make the meals that my body finds easiest to work with. While I may have a meal that is heavy on protein you may need one that is heavy on carbohydrates.
All these things need to be taken into consideration when you are planning your meals whether they are paleo or not. You may be unfortunate in that you have a family member that will not eat paleo and so planning your meals may be slightly more difficult.
The Three Main Meals
Let’s start with breakfast as for many people this is the first meal of the day. As we are no longer eating grains most if not all of our cereals are off limits. I do not wish to get caught up in the great dairy debate but just lets say if you are not lactose intolerant you should be OK, but only with full fat products. It is up to you to decide if you want to have dairy or not. I have a little in so much as I have a yogurt based probiotic drink every morning. It is only a very small bottle but it does contain lactose.
I find breakfast one of the easiest meals to provide. I love bacon and eggs and so I eat variations on that theme every day. Let’s face it many people have the same thing for breakfast day after day. So I will have 2 slices of back bacon 2 fried eggs and some mushrooms. Sometimes I will have scrambled eggs and other times I will make a bacon and mushroom omelet. Perhaps some would prefer Steak and eggs for breakfast! You have a vast variety of foods to choose from even for breakfast.
So my day starts with almost all protein. If you want to start with carbohydrates then some fruit is another good start to the day. It is just a case of thinking outside the box and doing something different. Face new challenges and taste new foods. Oh I forgot to mention drinks. Tea or coffee are fine to drink I drink coffee and use almond milk as a whitener, but I am not sure how it would go with tea.
Our next meal is lunch. Some people just have a sandwich, while others have something more substantial.
Let’s start with the sandwiches. There are paleo breads on the market and there are recipes for paleo bread on the internet. The one I usually make uses coconut flour and so if I were to make a sandwich I would want a filling that would go with the coconut tang that I get from my bread. There are other recipes which use nut flours but I haven’t tried making them yet. I quite like the one I am already making. If you do not want a lot then a piece of bread with some almond butter is quite nice.
You could of course opt for a salad for your lunch. All I will say is if you want a dressing on your salad make your own mayonnaise. You have plenty of meats and fish you can use to compliment your salad. You also have a range of seeds and nuts that you can have with your salad.
When it comes to dinner, which for many is the main meal of the day, There are plenty of meat of fish dishes to choose from. You could have a simple meatballs in sauce, (home made of course), accompanied by some cauliflower rice, to a gourmet dinner prepared with vegetables in place of the potatoes. Mashed cauliflower can be substituted for the potato, or if you are roasting the meat then some roast vegetables would be good. Almost any vegetable can be roasted, boiled or broiled, (fried).
When it comes to flavors there are herbs and spices on the allowed food list that can make the taste buds tingle. The only thing that will hold you back is the depth of your imagination.
When it comes to snacks there are a surprisingly large number available. All nuts except peanuts or groundnuts are acceptable. Peanuts are not a nut they are a legume and by definition are not allowed on the paleo diet. A small handful of nuts is all protein. A portion of fruit can act as a snack as can things like carrots and celery. If the celery is too bland try it with almond butter for some added flavor. You can always make up a savory dip and keep in the fridge to have with some crudities.
There are some paleo snack bars on the market or you can make some granola or make yourself some paleo bread. You can also make chips, (crisps), from vegetables and fruits. It works well with carrots, parsnips, beet, (beetroot), apples, pears and oranges.
And now we come to the naughty one and my favorite. Chocolate! There are some conditions to this. The chocolate must be at least 70% cocoa and preferably more. The higher the cocoa percentage the lower the sugar found. I limit myself to 2 squares a day or 20 grammes
When you look at the list of foods that you are allowed to eat instead of thinking of what you are missing you will see what a great choice you actually do have. Yes this diet does mean doing some work to get it right, but then I know my health will benefit from the changes I have made.