I will be the first to admit that changing your diet is hard. Cookies, chips, candy, ice cream…they all scream, “Eat Me!” That is a little creepy if you think about it. Typically it takes at least 14 days for a new habit to form. Once the habit is formed, will power is much stronger against anything keeping you from that habit. Once, when Ben and I hit an all time low on money, we decided to go off of Paleo. What we found is that we actually spent more money than we typically did on Paleo. We found that we were hungry more often, and so we ate more often. We “satisfied” our hunger by eating cereal as a snack, eating pasta for almost every meal, and having sandwhiches to satiate us. We never stayed satisfied for long. Beyond the hunger issue, we also found our energy levels were way down. Needless to say, but I will say it anyway, we went back on Paleo. What I am going to share with you are some tips and recipes to at least remain paleo-style.
Always eat breakfast! Have leftover dinner if you have to. Have a piece of fruit. Just make sure you’re eating something, and not a doughnut as you walk out the door.
Snacks are good! Snack on veggie sticks. Snack on fruit. Snack on meat.
I personally enjoy a good salad for my lunches. Not just a few pieces of lettuce, but a substantial salad with a lot of vegetables.
Have someone around you that is on Paleo as well. At the very least, have someone around you that will support you. It is much easier in pairs.
Don’t skip meals. Unless you are fasting, which actually is healthy on occasion, skipping meals “just because” is never a good idea.
For dinner have a meat and a vegetable. Have a salad if you are still hungry. Still hungry after that? Have fruit.
You can have as much meat, vegetables, and fruit as you want! There is no limit on these.
We have found that a package of strawberries costs rougly the same amount as a bag of chips. Do yourself a favor…buy the strawberries and snack on them. Don’t feel guilty about eating all of them at a sitting either.
Drink throughout the day. If you like juice, good! But try to limit it to one glass of juice a day. Water and tea are your friends.
Exercise. You’ll be amazed at how much energy Paleo gives you.
Stock up on meat when it is on sale! In the long run it will save you a bundle. Do the same with frozen vegetables. They are not as good as fresh, but you’ll feel better having eaten them.
There are several meals we do that have become regular meals for us.
Honey Chicken – We like to do this one for camping especially. Just cut up pieces of chicken, pour honey over the chicken, and cook! Add fruit in there if you like. I personally like putting pieces of pineapple in with this dish.
Sausage, Mushroom, and Onions – This is a favorite when we have little time to cook. Grab sausage (I know, it is a fatty meat, but it is paleo-style), cut up onions, cut up mushrooms, and broil.
Spiced Chicken – You may notice that chicken is frequent in our diets. Well, it is cheap and it is paleo. Just grab chicken legs, chicken wings, chicken thighs, or any other kind of chicken and spice them with whatever spices you like! If it is white meat you can pour eggs over top of them before spicing and you will have a very juicy meat. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve with a vegetable or salad (or both!)
Orange Chicken – I typically use chicken legs for this recipe. Spice up the legs with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Pour orange juice over the legs and bake, same as above.
Crab Soup – One day I would like to make my own base for this, but for now I use golden mushroom soup for my base. Add as many kinds of vegetables as I want, typically onions, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Add crab, from a can would probably be cheapest but if you can afford it, by all means go out and buy some crabs! Spice it up, cook, then eat!
Stew – Soups and stews are pretty easy. Whatever kind of vegetables you like and whatever kind of meat you like, just throw it in the pot. Use a tomato sauce or use a soup base. It doesn’t really matter here. Spice to your taste and you have an all inclusive meal! I love having stews and soups for dinner.
Stir Fry – The same as with soups and stews, this is a very “to your own personal taste” kind of thing. Try to avoid the soy sauce though! If you have a wok, that’s great! If you don’t, a large skillet will do just fine. Recently we had a shrimp stir fry with zucchini. That is certainly something we will do again in the future!
We like to vary up our vegetables. Some of the more common vegetables in our diet include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. When we want to be “bad” or want to watch a movie with something snacky, we make artichokes with a mayonnaise dip. Artichokes are quite tasty and very fun and involved to eat.
Fruit happens to be my salvation on Paleo. We typically keep bananas, pears, apples, and oranges in the house. When on sale we buy grapes and strawberries, though we actually do have a strawberry plant that bears fruit. Occasionally we’ll get a pineapple to slice up and eat, which I enjoy immensely. We’ll do the same with watermelon in the summer. Infrequently, though it does happen, we get more exotic fruit, such as the star fruit. On hikes during the spring and summer, we will pick blackberries when we see them.
As long as you have enough willpower, paleo isn’t hard to stick to. You just have to try.
Anyhow, I hope that I’ve helped someone out there at least a little bit. Happy eating!
– Miranda Vivian