How to Start the Paleo Diet: A Beginner's Guide to Quick Meals, Recipes & Snacks
Eat Like a Caveman at the Pace of Modern Man (Woman)
One of the latest trends is eating like our ancestors. This article will tell you how to fuel your body with the Paleo diet. In short: No wheat, grains, sugar, soy, milk, cheese, cream, peanuts, corn, or lentils of any kind.
I've included a list of recipes, meals and snacks so you can get started immediately.
It can take some preparation and accommodation. While eating oil and grass-fed red meat is acceptable and healthy on paleo, consuming fat is a hurdle many low-fat dieters fight to overcome. There are a number of oils that are not friendly to the paleo diet. When beginning, try to stick to coconut oil, olive oil, ghee (clarified butter), tallow, and lard.
Where to Start?
Beginning a new eating plan can seem daunting. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I've given you a sample meal plan for your first week!
On a time crunch? Use one day to prepare all the food for the entire week. This will ensure a week worth of clean eating.
Below is a collection of fast snack and meal ideas. If the item is bold, see below for the recipe. Here's how to create meals and snacks that are quick.
Delicious Fast Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, and Snacks
Delicious snacks include:
- Guacamole stuffed deviled eggs (cut hard boiled eggs in half, remove egg yolks, mix egg yolks and guacamole in a bowl, fill egg whites until stuffed and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning!)
- Fat bombs
- Macadamia nuts (1 oz)
- Olives and cherry tomatoes
- Diced veggies with guacamole
- Celery and almond butter
- Deli turkey and thinly sliced cucumber wrapped with Paleo Mayonnaise
- Paleo Scotch Eggs (Hard boiled eggs, wrapped in sausage)
- Quick breads
- Breakfast muffins (Paleo pumpkin muffins)
- Bake ahead a pound of nitrite-free bacon.
- Hard-boil a dozen eggs, put 2-3 in a container and you're set for the week.
Smoothie: Almond butter, coconut milk, fruit (veggies), lots of ice.
- Last night's leftovers
- Use a large leaf of lettuce to fill with the contents of a sandwich.
- A big salad with meat, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, nuts or seeds, and olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice. Keep nuts or seeds separate so they stay crunchy!
- Raw veggies with a can of tuna.
- Grilled protein and Red Cabbage Apple Slaw
Dinners (that make huge portions so one has leftovers for next week, or are fast):
- Stew of leftovers (oil or fat of choice, browned or leftover meat and onions, a broth or stock, vegetables that you need to use up, spices, and simmer)
- Bacon and eggs (Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?) You can always sauté some turnips (or sweet potatoes) and onions as a healthy substitute for hash browns.
- Brown meat and veggies with chili powder, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper; toss on greens for "taco salad" with some salsa.
- Turn on the grill. Veggies and any cut or type of meat are the ultimate in paleo, and delicious after being grilled!!! Add as much paleo-friendly oil as necessary.
- Chicken Zoodle-cine Alfredo- Use grilled chicken breast, zoodles (or noodles made using zucchini and a mandolin/vegetable slicer or spiralizer, and Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Quick Paleo Recipes
1.5 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (or butter, if you are eating dairy)
1/2 cup of coconut butter or cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (check label to make sure there's no added sugar)
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup almond butter, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbs honey, warmed (for lower carbs, use Stevia; if interested in a decadent treat, add more honey)
(optional) 1/4 cup walnuts
Mix top layer in the food processor until well mixed and pureed. Using a spoon, place a ball in the muffin tin, and stick it in the refrigerator.
Melt coconut oil, almond butter and honey. Mix well. Add cocoa powder, and mix until mixture is liquid throughout and well-mixed. Top coconut mixture in a muffin pan with this mixture. If interested in using nuts, place a few walnuts on top of each fat bomb. Stick in the freezer.
These should be kept cold. The coconut oil will begin to liquify if it becomes to warm.
Eat one with a cup of coffee to make a filling breakfast!
3 medium avocados, green fruit scooped out (pit, skin discarded)
1/2 diced onion
1 diced tomato
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbs lime juice
1 tsp sea salt
Mash the avocados with a fork. Stir in other ingredients. If you want to store this delicious dip, put plastic wrap directly touching the top of the guacamole, with the pit in the thick of it so that it doesn't turn brown.
Quick Paleo Bread
Makes 8 slices
1 cup of creamy almond butter
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp stevia, or honey (Optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Blend almond butter and eggs until smooth. Mix in remaining ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spray, or rub melted coconut oil, on bread pan. Pour into pan. Bake 30-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
1.5 cups almond flour
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs, large (cage-free)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbs almond butter
1 tbs sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat muffin tins with coconut oil, or use muffin cups. Mix all ingredients and pour into muffin tins. Bake 25 minutes on middle rack. Sprinkle nuts or seeds on top of muffins immediately after removing them from the oven.
Enjoy your new Paleo diet
The ultimate goal in pure Paleo eating is eating humanely raised meat, organic produce, and cage-free eggs. Eating Paleo means eating gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, and legume-free
Eating like a cave dweller has many health benefits and can result in weight loss. If your ultimate goal is fat loss or dropping weight while eating Paleo, it's best to cut starchy or sugary carbohydrates (sweet potatoes and fruit) and increase your fat intake. Foods like coconut, avocado, and olives (and their respective oils) are the perfect types of healthy fats to include in your everyday diet.
If you're interested in taking it to the next level, check out how to eat the Whole30.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2013 Caitlin Goodwin