The paleo diet boils down to eating like a caveman. That means no processed, pre-packaged foods—only those you could hunt, fish, or gather, explains Kristen Smith, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You’ll eat mostly meat, fish, poultry, eggs, veggies, and fruits; and you’ll skip grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, and salt. With so many restrictions, meal prep on the paleo diet can make it much easier to follow.
The pros of going paleo include getting ample fruits and veggies in your diet while cutting out sodium and sugar, says Smith. “A protein-rich diet has also been associated with weight-loss and maintaining a healthier weight,” she says.
On the other hand, you’re eliminating major food groups (grains and dairy). This can become difficult to maintain over a long period of time. Plus, these foods do carry their own nutritional advantages. For example, whole grains have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, Smith says. So, if you’re going to go paleo, just make sure that you’re eating lots of the green veggies that protect your health, as well—not all meat, all the time.
Tips to Meal Prep On The Paleo Diet
If you want to go full-on paleo, it can get difficult to eat out, especially with lots of grains offered as side dishes, or sugar snuck into recipes. However, if you meal prep your dishes at home, you know exactly what you’re getting so you can make sure that you stick to it.
- Before you start slicing, dicing, and sautéing, Smith suggests looking at your week ahead. Plan out what you need to prepare. “It’s always important to consider your schedule for the week and prepare your meals accordingly,” she says. “On nights in which your schedule is busier, plan to have leftovers or a meal that can be easily prepared.”
- Cut down on the prep work you need to do by cooking one to two protein sources at the start of the week. That way, you can use them for meals throughout the rest of the seven days, Smith suggests. For example, roast chicken breasts or boil eggs, so that they can go on top of a salad, in a lettuce wrap, or simply paired with your go-to veggie.
- Another trick from Smith: Prepare those veggies in advance. Roast a big batch of squash, green beans, carrots (whatever you like!) at the beginning of the week. Then, they’re readily available as side dishes, snacks, or even main events. You should also wash and cut your fruit so that you can grab and go when you want to.
- Finally, if you typically drink cow’s milk, stock your fridge with nut-based milks, like almond or cashew instead, Smiths says.
Now, for some inspiration on what to prep and pack for the week, while sticking to paleo, here are four recipes to get you started.
4 Paleo-Approved Recipes
Muffins are one of the best, easiest breakfasts to make to last for the next few days. And this recipe is super easy (and yummy!).
Made with an almond butter sauce, this dish feels indulgent yet light, thanks to the lettuce (instead of tortilla) wraps.
Butternut squash, broccoli, and bacon—that’s all you need to create a tasty dinner (or lunch) dish. Make a big batch to last all week.
We all need to cure our chocolate craving somehow—so you might as well make it healthy with this decadent recipe.