Eating Paleo: Food Options That Will Take You From Breakfast To Dinner
After learning the basics of eating paleo, many people find themselves ready to dive head first into this new healthy lifestyle. However, when the time comes to actually implement their lifestyle changes, it is quite common for these individuals to struggle with the task of putting together delicious meals that actually meet the paleo guidelines. If you have found yourself in this same position, you will be glad to know that eating a delicious paleo menu can be much easier than you think. In fact, by the time you finish this article, you will have learned all you need to know to prepare delicious paleo meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You will even be prepared to whip up something extra tempting for a special occasion.
Paleo Diet Breakfast Ideas
The saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, is much more than just a common cliche. This meal occurs after a full night of fasting which results in naturally low blood sugar levels. Consequently, breakfast is your opportunity to load your body up with the energy it needs to get through the day. The good news is, the long list of paleo diet breakfast recipes provides you with a virtually endless number of options that will ensure your body gets the fuel it needs, while you get the taste you desire.
Adding Carbohydrates To Your Paleo Breakfast
Since your muscles experience a daily low of glycogen first thing in the morning due to your nightly fast, breakfast is the perfect time to consume carbohydrates to ensure your body has enough energy for the day. A great way to do this is by adding fruit to your diet.
Berries are a great source of carbohydrates and offer a wide variety of nutrients that your body needs. Best of all, there are a ton of ways that you can choose to add berries or other fruit options to your paleo diet breakfast. For instance, if you typically take your breakfast to go in the morning, you can choose to either take a piece of fruit with you on your morning commute or you can use this fruit to make a tasty smoothie.
To make a paleo friendly smoothie, you will want to start with an ice base and several pieces of fresh fruit. Simply place both the ice and fruit into your blender or smoothie maker and blend until the ice is crushed and the fruit is evenly distributed. Looking for something a little richer in flavor? You can choose to replace the ice base with a base of coconut milk to make a creamier smoothie that is packed with flavor.
Packing In The Protein
While carbohydrates will give you the short term energy boost your body needs to get the day started, it is also important to include protein in your paleo breakfast to ensure your body has the long lasting fuel it needs to starve off mid-morning hunger.
One of the easiest and most popular ways to add protein to your breakfast is with eggs. These traditional breakfast staples are perfect for people who are eating paleo since they offer an all-natural supply of protein, nutrients, and antioxidants. Just remember to always choose free range eggs when shopping and avoid the use of margarine when preparing your eggs.
In addition to your eggs, breakfast meats can be a great source of protein and flavor. Bacon is often the easiest meat to add to your paleo breakfast as not all butchers and grocery stores will offer sausage or ham options that are free from synthetic flavors and fillers. When selecting your bacon, be sure to select a variety that is both nitrate and sugar free.
While the traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs is quite delicious, eating this same meal day after day can grow tiresome. This is why it is important to use your imagination when creating your paleo breakfast menu. For instance, rather than simply preparing scrambled eggs and bacon, you may wish to consider loading up an omelet with some bacon and whatever veggies you have on hand. You can also make potato skins using sliced sweet potatoes that are stuffed to the brim with scrambled eggs and crumbled bacon or paleo friendly sausage.
If you find yourself craving other traditional breakfast foods such as pancakes or waffles, there is no reason to let your paleo diet prevent you from eating these foods. Instead, you will simply need to use recipes for paleo diet when substituting traditional ingredients. For instance, rather than using a grain based flour, you can use almond or coconut flour to make a pancake batter. Then simply swap out traditional syrup for a fruit topping and you have a decadent paleo breakfast that is actually good for you.
Don’t Get Stuck On Labels
Just because a food get labeled as a breakfast food or a dinner food does not mean that you can only consume it during that particular meal. If you have some leftovers sitting in the fridge from last night’s dinner, there is absolutely no reason you can’t eat them for breakfast. In fact, these high protein meals are often a great way to start the day.
Another great variation from the traditional breakfast is make a salad to start your day. Add a few almonds, hard boiled eggs, and grilled chicken and you will have a meal that is both good for your weight loss goals and your taste buds. Just don’t forget to skip those store bought dressings that are not paleo friendly. Instead, stick with a light drizzling of olive or coconut oil and some lemon juice.
It Is Okay To Skip Breakfast
While there is no doubt that breakfast is an important meal, it is even more important for you to learn to listen to your body. If you wake up and don’t feel like eating, it is okay to continue your nightly fast beyond the breakfast hour. In fact, this desire not to eat breakfast is an evolutionary tool that your body has developed to help prevent you from overeating. If your body has all of the fuel and nutrients it needs, you may find yourself desiring to fast for longer and longer periods. It is okay to give into this desire as long as you are doing so in response to your body’s needs rather than the needs of your schedule.
Paleo Lunch Ideas: Avoiding The Midday Madness.
If you are like many people, you are probably quite used to grabbing a burger or club sandwich for lunch each day. However, since a paleo diet frowns on the consumption of gains such as those found in your favorite sandwich bread of hamburger bun, these lunch options that you have relied on for years may suddenly be struck from your daily routine. This can leave you scrambling to try and find a suitable lunch option while away from home each day.While many restaurants and diners do offer paleo friendly options, it can still be difficult to find a truly healthy option while on the go. This is why it is always better to plan ahead and pack your own lunch. In this section you will learn more about creating the perfect paleo lunch both for at home and on the go.
A Lunch Packed With Protein
By the time you reach the midday meal any carbohydrates that you consumed with breakfast will have been used or stored by the body. In order to ensure that your body has the fuel it needs to starve off hunger until dinner, you will need to make sure that your lunch is packed with healthy protein. This is especially important for individuals who are using the paleo diet to help them lose weight since eating a lunch that is low in protein will often increase the chances of them giving in and eating an unhealthy afternoon snack in order to boost their energy levels.
Meat and nuts are both great options for adding protein to your use recipes for paleo diet. When selecting meats for your to-go lunch, it is often easiest to choose meats which can be served cold. This will eliminate the need to find somewhere to heat up your lunch. For instance, a cold chicken salad or egg salad made with paleo mayonnaise can be a great option when eating away from home.
If you are not familiar with the process of making paleo mayonnaise, you may be surprised to learn just how simple it is.
Begin by mixing two egg yolks, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and one teaspoon of yellow mustard in a medium sized bowl. In a separate container mix one half cup of coconut oil and one half cup of olive oil.
Begin very slowly adding the oil to the egg mixture being sure to whisk the mixture continuously. Do not add all of the oil at once or your mayonnaise will not thicken. Instead, begin by adding just a few drops of oil and increasing the amount of oil as the mixture thickens.
Just like that you will have a delicious paleo mayonnaise that can be used in all of your lunch recipes without any of the added fillers that commercial mayo uses.
Shaking Up Your Salad
Salads are among the most popular paleo lunch ideas because they are easy and affordable to make. However, the best part about eating a salad for lunch is that there really is no limit to how many flavor combinations you can create.
Begin by choosing a base for your salad. If you typically eat iceberg lettuce, consider using romaine lettuce or even spinach as a base to help change up the flavor from day to day.
Now it is time to select your toppings. Hard boiled eggs, shredded meat, nuts, and berries all make excellent additions to a salad. You can also choose to add a wide variety of vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, or radishes. Many people also find that adding fruits, such as apple or orange slices, to their salad can help it take on a whole new flavor.
You can also be equally creative when mixing a dressing for your salad. For instance, you can use that paleo mayonnaise you made for your chicken salad to make a creamy ceaser dressing that will make your taste buds jump for joy. Simply blend together a couple tablespoons of mayo with a half cup of olive oil, a tablespoon each of lemon juice and Dijon mustard, six cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some anchovies to the mix for added protein and flavor if you wish.
Learning To Think Outside The Bun
While many of your lunch favorites may traditionally be served on some type of bread, giving up grains as part of your paleo diet does not need to mean giving up these favorite foods. Instead, you simply need to learn to think outside of the bun. For example, rather than surrounding your favorite hamburger with bread, consider using large grilled mushrooms as the outer layer for your burger. Not only will this eliminate the harmful grains from your meal, but it will also add a ton of flavor to you burger.
In the mood for a BLT? No need to pass up this lunchtime favorite just because you have sworn off traditional sandwich bread. Instead, you can use lettuce leaves to create a BLT wrap that is truly exploding with the taste of bacon. Just remember to use paleo mayonnaise and choose nitrate free bacon to ensure the healthiest meal possible.
If you just can’t give up on the idea of surrounding your favorite sandwich with a few slices of bread, you can also choose to make your own bread which is paleo friendly. In order to accomplish this goal simply take the same approach you took to make pancakes and waffles for breakfast. Instead of using white or wheat flour in your recipes, use coconut or almond flour. You will also need the replace the need for any butter or vegetable shortening with olive or coconut oils.
There are also many easy paleo diet recipes available that allow you to make bread substitutes, such as a bagel that is made using ground meat and eggs rather than bread dough.
Dining At Dinner Time
So you have successfully made it through your day and it is time to eat dinner. At this meal you should be focusing on loading up with protein to prevent the need for a midnight snack and ensure your body ha the fuel it needs to repair any muscle damage that occurred throughout your daily activities. This means eating a meal that centers around a lean cut of meat.
Choosing The Meat For Your Meal
You have several choices when selecting meat for your final meal of the day.
When choosing beef for your dinner, be sure to select only grass-fed varieties. This will ensure a naturally lower fat content and higher nutritional value. If your local grocery store or butcher does not sell grass-fed beef or if the cost of this beef is just too high for your budget, you may wish to seek out a cow share in your area to secure high quality beef at a much lower price.
Poultry is another very popular option due to the virtually endless number of ways it can be prepared. However, it is important to pay close attention when selecting packaged poultry at the store since many food producers are now injecting chicken and other poultry with corn syrup to improve its volume and color. Do not be fooled by product labels that say “all natural” or “free range”. Take the time to read the list of ingredients to ensure no artificial flavors or colors have been added.
When selecting fish from your local seafood counter, always choose wild caught fish over farm raised fish. This will ensure that no steroids or other food additives were used which could impact your health.
Don’t Forget The Vegetables
Once you have selected a high quality cut of meat to center your paleo dinner around, you will need to round out this meal with a generous serving of vegetables. There really is no wrong choice here since vegetables are low in calories and fat while still offering significant nutritional value.
If you are looking for a way to spice up your vegetables just a bit, you may wish to consider sauteed or grilled vegetables. You can also make a delicious vegetable dip using your paleo mayonnaise as a base if you prefer the crunch of raw vegetables.
No matter how you choose to eat them, vegetables should make up approximately half of your dinner volume.
Keep Your Carbs To A Minimum
Unless you plan on going out dancing after dinner, you are not likely to use up a lot of energy at this point in the day. Since any carbohydrates that are not used for energy in a short period of time are stored as fat, it is important to keep your carb intake to a minimum when eating a paleo dinner. This means avoiding the use of fruits and potatoes in your paleo dinner recipes.
Quick Weeknight Meals
One of the biggest problems that many people run into when starting the paleo diet is finding the time to cook fresh meals everyday of the week. If you are worried about your ability to cook a real dinner every night, you will be glad to know that going paleo does not have to mean giving up the convenience of quick meals. There are many paleo dinner recipes that can either be prepared ahead of time or in a very short period of time.
Using a slow cooker or crock-pot is a great way to eliminate the stress of cooking dinner after a long day at work. Simply place a roast or other meat of your choice in the slow cooker on low heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil, add some vegetables, and season to taste. Now all that is left to do is enjoy a deliciously cooked meal that is all ready for you as soon as you walk through the door after work. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.
If you are not comfortable with the idea of leaving your slow cooker on while you are away from home or you simply prefer a lighter meal at the end of the day, there are also many quick paleo meals you can choose from. Frittatas are a perfect example of a quick, yet delicious dinner idea.
To make your frittata simply scramble a few free-range eggs and pour them into a baking dish. Top the eggs with any vegetables or meat of your choice and bake approximately 20 minutes or until the edges of the egg are slightly browned. The more toppings you add, the heavier this meal will be. This makes it easy to adjust your recipe to truly reflect how hungry you are. Best of all, by switching up what toppings you choose to use, you can avoid having the same flavor every night even if you choose to eat frittatas on a regular basis.
What To Do When Dining Out
Just because you have chosen to start eating paleo does not mean that your family and friends will stop asking you to join them for a meal at your favorite restaurant. If you plan on eating dinner out, it is best to have a plan for what you will eat before arriving at the restaurant.
If you have never visited the restaurant before, it is a good idea to call ahead and ask if they have any paleo options on their menu. However, even if the restaurant has not labeled any of their menu options as paleo friendly, there is a good chance that you can find something that fits the bill. For instance, steak and eggs or a salad with vinaigrette dressing will often be safe options when eating dinner out.
Eating Paleo Even On Special Occasions
While the trick to eating paleo throughout the week is often to keep your meals as simple as possible, This approach will not work when the time comes to serve up a special holiday or celebratory meal. Thankfully, there are many paleo recipes that will allow you to eat delicious gourmet food without straying for your diet. In this section you will learn a few paleo recipes that can help you celebrate all of your special occasions while still using all paleo ingredients.
A Little Sweetness For Breakfast
There is nothing that screams luxury quite like a hot banana nut muffin on a cold morning. These pastries are also great for entertaining guests and the aroma they produce is sure to let everyone know they are in for a treat. Unfortunately, traditional muffin recipes call for grain based ingredients that are not paleo. The good news is, the paleo diet dessert recipes below will allow you to once again begin enjoying the amazing taste of banana nut muffins while sticking to your paleo diet.
What You Will Need
– Half cup of coconut flour
– One third cup of honey
– Two ripened bananas
– Six eggs
– One third cup of grapeseed oil
– One tablespoon vanilla extra (make sure its not imitation)
-Two thirds cup of crushed walnuts
Begin by preheating you oven to 350 degrees.
Dice your ripe bananas and gently add them to the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a muffin pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Now all that’s left to do is enjoy your warm breakfast treat.
Nothing Screams Special Lunch Like A Plate Of Damn Fine Chicken
After giving up grains and traditional cooking fats, you may have thought that your days of enjoying delicious, crispy chicken were over. This is not the case with the paleo recipe for damn fine chicken. In fact, if you are like many people, you may find that you enjoy this gourmet chicken far more than any traditional chicken recipes you tried in the past.
What You Will Need
– Two large shollots minced
– Three scallions sliced thin
– One tablespoon each fish sauce and coconut aminos
– Three tablespoons each sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
– Two large pinches of kosher salt
– Fresh ground pepper to taste
– Approximately ten chicken drumsticks
Begin by mixing together all the ingredients except for the drumsticks in a large bowl. After mixing well, place the drumsticks in the bowl and coat them well.
Cover the bowl leaving the drumsticks inside to marinate. The bowl should then be placed in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
Once you are ready to cook your chicken, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour the marinade mixture over it. Bake for 45 minutes flipping the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
After removing the chicken from the oven, place drumsticks in a deep serving plate and pour the marinade mixture over it. Serve with a side salad or grilled vegetables for a perfect midday meal.
Enjoying A Gourmet Stew For Dinner
Just because it is a special occasion does not mean that you will have extra time on your hands. Thankfully, this gourmet stew makes use of your slow cooker, allowing you to make an amazing paleo dinner without spending hours slaving over the stove.
What You Will Need
– Approximately three and half pounds of grass-fed beef brisket cut into cubes
– Two sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
– Two chopped onions
– A bag of baby carrots
– One and half cups coconut milk
– Two tablespoons each apple juice, coconut aminos, and yellow curry paste
– One tablespoon each coconut oil and fish sauce
– Large bag of mixed frozen vegetables
– Kosher salt
– Fresh ground pepper
– Mixed herbs to taste
If you are waiting for a long list of complex instructions to make this paleo meal, you will be disappointed. Simply place all ingredients with the exception of your frozen vegetables into the slow cooker and turn on low heat. Cook for approximately 9 hours and then add frozen vegetables. Cook for an additional 30 minutes and you are ready to serve your delicious gourmet paleo dinner.
Don’t Forget To Leave Room For Dessert
When creating a paleo meal for a special occasion, it is important to treat both you and your guests by following the meal with a decadent dessert. This delicious apple and cherry pie will definitely get the job done.
What You Will Need
– One cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
– Two thirds cup pitted dates
– Pinch of powdered vanilla
– Four peeled and thinly sliced apples (you will want to choose sweet varieties)
– Half cup dried cherries
– One quarter cup maple syrup
– Three tablespoons of cinnamon
– One half teaspoon of vanilla paste
You will need to begin by making your crust. This is done by using a food processor to grind together your nuts, dates, and vanilla powder. If the mixture is too crumbly to press out, you can add a few drops of water to moisten it. Once the crust dough is ready, simply press it into your pie pan and bake on 350 degrees for ten minutes or until crispy.
Reduce the temperature of your oven to 325 degrees and allow the crust to cool.
In a large mixing bowl gently combine your apples, syrup, cinnamon and vanilla paste. Fill the pie crust with the apple mixture and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and top pie with cherries. Bake for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
Serve your pie warm with a scoop of paleo ice cream for an extra special treat.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
While the recipes above will certainly help you create a delicious gourmet meal, creating your own recipes can be even more fun. So as you go forward with the paleo diet, don’t be afraid to get a little creative and see what you can make using nothing but the ingredients you already have in your home.