The Paleolithic Diet is based on the way that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate and has been touted as one of the healthiest ways of eating due to its emphasis on nutrient dense foods and its elimination of foods that may cause the body harm.
The paleo diet plan has been shown to be extremely effective in managing autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, and has been shown to promote weight loss. Further benefits of the Paleo diet are improved energy levels, clearer skin, and better sleep.
One of the greatest features of the Paleo diet is the step away from stressful obsessing over measuring cups, food scales, calorie counting, and other monotonous forms of portion control and instead brings the focus to better food choices and reliance on listening to your body to gauge fullness.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
There are many ways to reap the benefits of the Paleo diet. No need to stress when it comes to eating Paleo; after all, our ancestors ate what was available to them at the time. Bring the Paleo menu to your kitchen table by following the easy-to-use guide below.
Paleo Meal Planning Basics
The first step to bringing the Paleo menu to your kitchen is knowing which foods you should include in your meals as well as which foods you should avoid.
What You Should Eat:
Herbs and spices
What You Should Avoid:
Grains (wheat, corn, oatmeal, quinoa, rice)
High fructose corn syrup
Refined vegetable oils
The recipe to creating a perfect Paleo menu is simply
Protein (meat, eggs, poultry)+non-starchy vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens etc) + fat (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil)+ optional starchy vegetable/fruit (sweet potato, squash, apples, bananas etc.).
Choose your source of protein first and cook with whatever method you choose. You should be consuming enough protein with each meal that you are full after eating, usually one to two palm sizes depending on your activity level (eg. If you are very active and still hungry after eating one palm size of protein, try increasing your protein to one and a half or two palm sizes). Then load your plate up with veggies.
The majority of your meals should be any non-starchy vegetable of your choice. Use fat to cook with or complement your dish with avocado, nuts, melted coconut oil in place of butter etc. 1-2 tablespoons of fat should be sufficient. Remember, not to stress over portion sizes but to pay attention to how you feel.
Everyone is different when it comes to how much food they need to stay full. You might need to try a few different portion combinations out before you find what works the best for you.
Three Day Paleo Menu Example
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach
Lunch: Field greens, cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, avocado, grilled chicken
Dinner: Hamburger (no bun), baked sweet potato w/ 1 tsp coconut oil, steamed broccoli and cauliflower
Breakfast: Baked frittata with spinach, kale, and onion
Lunch: Ground beef and vegetables wrapped in a collard green leaf
Dinner: Braised lamb, yellow squash, sautéed spinach with crushed garlic
Breakfast: Fried egg with chicken sausage, vegetable of choice
Lunch: Left over lamb, field greens, tomato, cucumbers and avocado
Dinner: Chicken and vegetable stir fry with zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and onion
Tips and Tricks for Maximum Results
1. Don’t skimp on the fat. Fat is an essential part of your diet that not only helps you feel fuller longer but is also crucial to your optimal health. Fat does not make you fat but can actually help you lose weight.
2. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit fruit to 1-2 pieces per day. Fruit contains natural sugars that if over consumed, could hinder your weight loss efforts. Eating a variety of vegetables will provide you with all of the vitamins and minerals you need and make fruit an optional food choice.
3. Be a food detective—read labels. Food manufacturers “sneak” a ton of chemicals into food as preservatives, emulsifiers and flavor enhancers. Avoid these as much as possible.
4. Choose local, wild, grass-fed, and organic as much as possible
5. Only choose lean meats when you are not buying organic. Conventional meat contains many toxins which are primarily stored in the fat.
6. Avoid dried fruit and fruit juices. These two products contain concentrated fruit sugar.
7. If your goal is weight loss take caution with nuts, nut butters and fruit consumption. These foods are very high in calories and easy to over consume.
8. Ideally, eat three meals a day. If you are hungry between meals, eat slightly bigger meals.
9. Treat all meals equally. Meaning, just because its your first meal of the day doesn’t mean you need to eat breakfast foods. Each meal should have a protein, vegetable and fat component.
10. Spice up your meals with any spices and/or herbs
11. Pay attention to how your body feels before, during and after eating. If you are still hungry after eating, eat more protein or a little more fat. If you get full before you complete your portion, stop eating and next time make yourself a smaller portion. Trial and error is the best way to find your happy medium.