The process of meal planning poses challenges for almost everyone. It seems to especially derail people as they transition to a Paleo-style of eating. I always joke that if you take away grains, people have no idea what to eat. Luckily, there are numerous Paleo cookbooks and websites devoted to creating hearty recipes from all sorts of cuisines and even cooking levels.
Meal planning is really a skill — it is something that gets easier and more efficient with practice. Here’s Meal Planning Simplified with 26 Tips to get you going. You can easily make this work with your Paleo lifestyle by focusing on the following:
A. Make a master list of your favorite Paleo dishes — focus on the easiest ones for you to put on the table and use these as core dishes on your menu plan.
B. Rotate your meats to create 4-5 different versions of the same meal, as I suggested with Hamburger Theme in the above link.
C. Use your comprehensive grocery list to keep your fridge, freezer, and pantry stocked.
D. Have a backup plan for when time and planning fail. We rely on tuna pouches, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, and raw crackers from our pantry, or a prepared chicken and bagged salad from the local market, or Paleo friendly take-out we can pick up in a hurry.
E. A meal doesn’t have to “look like a meal”. Sometimes all I have is leftover lunch meat, a few spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter, and a piece of fruit which can fuel me until I can pull together a more traditional “meal” later. I guarantee you have something Paleo around you can eat.
F. Cook once and eat more than once. You’ve heard this one from me before, but honestly you don’t have to live in the kitchen to eat well.
I stand by the idea that planning is more important than actually cooking. So if you’re not a cook, hate being in the kitchen, or just plain old don’t have time — there’s still really no excuse for not eating well. It’s all about getting into a rhythm you can follow especially when times gets busy or you just choose to do other things.
What’s your biggest obstacle to meal planning?