So you’re going Paleo.
What is “Paleo” short for? Does eating Paleo mean eating restrictively? Is eating Paleo going to make me look like one of those ripped bodybuilders?
Calm down, ThinkFit family.
We’re here to help, explain and prep.
Paleo is an abbreviation of “paleolithic,” which was the time in history known as the “Stone Age.” Hominins - no, not humans just yet - had just started to make tools two million years ago or so.
You can imagine their diet was pretty tasty...right?
Again, don’t worry!
The Paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what we think our ancestors were eating during the Paleo time period.
Food groups primarily include lean meats and fish, fruits and veggies and nuts and seeds. Dairy products, grains and legumes are off the table, as they weren’t around until after the Paleolithic age and farming picked up.
(P.S. - You could probably guess it, but processed foods, soda, sugar, and butter also weren’t around 2.4 million years ago, either.)
Okay, great. So we know what the Paleo diet includes, but…
What’s the point?
Intentions behind eating Paleo (and making Paleo meal prep) are to return to the “original way of eating.” Some scientists believe that our bodies might be “genetically mismatched” with our modern diet and processed foods.
Fancy name for it? “Discordance Hypothesis.”
The hunter-gatherers way back then led really physically active lifestyles and lived without much disease.
Your middle-school history class probably taught you that farming changed what people ate. This rapid change in diet after millenia of eating simple foods might have “outpaced” our bodies’ abilities to adapt to these food groups.
Trials have suggested that the Paleo diet might lead to weight loss, appetite management and better glucose tolerance.
Could this science behind the Paleo diet be why heart disease and diabetes are such problems today?
Maybe. But we’re just here for meal prep.
Whether it’s your first time drastically changing your diet or you don’t feel as though you can handle the limitations of Paleo for your entire life, we recommend trying it out.
Let’s make it a starting point.
How does…. 30 days sound? Let’s work together: it will be your challenge to create new and healthier habits so that you can make consistent and similar choices after these 30 days!
In order to rock Paleo for 30 days, you’d first need to figure out what foods are appropriate for you. Not just re-reading our list of foods we mentioned earlier, but actually deciding which foods you love and are willing to consistently eat in different ways by making them into beautiful meals.
When trying Paleo for the first time, many dietitians recommend to really, really stick to the Paleo foods for 30 days. After the first month, you can then gradually reincorporate some of the foods you had erased from your diet. By following this method, you’ll be able to see what makes your body feel great, and what makes it feel like crap.
What’s the best way to do that?
A general rule is to introduce one new food back into your diet every three days. We’re not talking about a food GROUP, but a new food. For example, try eating some peanuts or a Greek yogurt. Take note of how you feel - you might immediately feel gross, feel it the next day or feel 100% fine!
If you’re still feeling great a few days after eating it, you can then decide if you want to add back that item into your diet or omit it altogether.
The Paleo diet isn’t really just a “diet.” It’s a lifestyle.
Through the Paleo lifestyle, you’ll need to incorporate both healthier food choices and healthy activities.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
- Exercising every day - just some type of movement
- Sleeping 8+ hours per night
- Being outside with sunshine 30+ min a day
- Reducing your outside stress levels
- Hydrate! You should drink as many ounces as ½ of your body weight - daily.
Some of these things might be brand new or very familiar to you as a member of the ThinkFit family. However, the good thing is that anyone can kill this list! Seriously!
“Wait, I’m so confused. Didn’t you JUST tell us about Whole30?!”
Good memory. Both of these diets/lifestyles are great, but they each have its limitations and health benefits.
Let’s quickly go over the differences between Paleo and Whole30.
Both of these diets promote whole or little-processed foods, while avoiding those added extra sugars, fats and salt. Because whole foods are better for your body and avoiding bad things is helpful, both of these diets can help you to lose weight and/or improve your overall health!
While Paleo is a lifestyle, Whole30 is designed to be a month-long program that resets your metabolism and helps to identify which foods hurt your body. Whole30 might be more difficult to follow at first because of its slightly more restrictive diet, but it’s only going to be for a month.
As we’ve discussed so far, the Paleo diet is based on foods of our ancestors and meant to prevent disease and help you lose weight. It lets you drink small amounts of wine and dark chocolate, but the foods you can and can’t eat are consistent.
So, if both are good for you, which are you choosing?
If you’re looking for Whole30 meal prep, you can read all about it here.
Back to Paleo.
Now that you know all of what a Paleo lifestyle and diet entails, let’s go over the fun stuff. You might even be able to turn some of these recipes into paleo meal prep ideas for weight loss.
We’re talking about some of our favorite beginner Paleo meal prep recipes!
This Spinach, Bacon and Mushroom Quiche from Paleo Running Momma intends to fill you up with savory goodness. Thinly sliced Japanese sweet potatoes and yummy, healthy fats pair together to be a straightforward and easy dish for a Paleo meal prep breakfast.
Paleo Newbie’s Ham & Egg Cups are delicious and a true no-brainer! Ham slices, veggies and eggs in muffin tins cook quickly at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes for an on-the-go Paleo meal prep breakfast that easily fits into your new lifestyle.
These Harissa Portobello Mushroom Tacos from Healthy Nibbles are so, so so good. A collard green “tortilla” paired with juicy, marinated portobello mushrooms and avocado can absolutely not be beat. Mmmm. The recipe makes 6 tacos for Paleo meal prep and takes only about 30 minutes to make, prep and devour!
Paleo Grubs’s Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes are fun, saucy and a tasty go-to for a work Paleo meal prep lunch. It’s great to package and to eat for a very savory and filling meal that is sure to turn some eyes.
This Cauliflower Pizza Crust from Nutrition Stripped is low carb, super easy, gluten-free, vegan….. And Paleo! Her recipe will show you how to quickly make a delicious crust that won’t hurt your body, easy for Paleo meal prep. After you make the dough, lists upon lists of toppings are sure to please the pickiest eaters or the most adventurous foodies.
Meatified’s Alfredo Pasta with Leeks and Bacon doesn’t have ANY dairy, gluten or unsatisfying ingredients. It’s a Paleo dream come true! You’ll need a vegetable spiralizer, coconut milk and cauliflower, but you can count us in with the chicken broth, sweet potatoes and bacon. Yum!
This Sea Bass and Roasted Vegetables recipe from Crepes of Wrath is a healthier option to Paleo, if that’s what you’re going for! Crispy fish paired with “escalivada,” or Catalan roasted veggies, is a rich combination that satisfies with salt, pepper and lemon.
How are you going to cook all these amazing recipes meant to fuel your body kindly and intentionally? You’ll need to create a Paleo meal prep grocery list. If you’re confused on how exactly to create a meal prep grocery list, don’t worry.
You can check out our meal prep grocery list blog post to learn how to use and create a list while reaping its benefits.
However, as a refresher, meal prep grocery lists are intended to help you navigate a grocery store. If you go into purchasing foods and doing Paleo meal prep without a plan, you will leave with unsatisfying and foods with no nutritional value.
Let’s kick it into gear.
Just like we said earlier, Paleo meal prep is going to include the basics like meat, fish, eggs, veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthier fats.
Want to see what that looks like broken down so you can easily add them into your Paleo meal prep grocery lists?
Here you go:
-Red meat -Turkey
-Acorn squash -Beets
-Bell peppers -Broccoli
-Brussels sprouts -Cabbage
-Mushrooms -Leafy greens
-Onions -Spaghetti squash
-Sweet potatoes -Zucchini
-Almonds -Brazil nuts
-Pumpkin seeds -Sunflower seeds
-Coffee -Coconut water
-Club soda -Kombucha
-Sparkling water -Tea
Oils, Fats and Condiments
-Almond butter -Coconut milk
-Ghee -Olive oil
-Honey -Maple Syrup
We get it, though.
Sticking with a new diet is HARD, even if you have all the willpower there.
We want to help you out!
Here are our top 5 tips for sticking with a Paleo meal prep plan:
- A Paleo plate should go by the 60:25:15 rule. We’re talking 60% of your calories should come from fat, 25% from protein and 15% carbs. We know, we know - that means a little bit of math or a calculator to keep track of your macros. We promise that this will make eating & sticking with Paleo so much easier, though!
- You don’t need to do any silly cooking things that cavemen didn’t do. Can you imagine a caveman trying to separate an egg’s whites from the yolk? Absolutely not. You should be able to enjoy your food without worrying about it.
- That being said, you need to plan out your food. Using items like meal prep calendars are so important! You know when you’re going to get hungry during the day, so prep snacks and meals accordingly. Don’t just run to the pantry.
- Don’t do it alone. Try to do it with your partner, best friend or co-worker! Community will drive you to commit as they hold you and your choices accountable. Plus, it makes it that much more fun.
- Go outside and get some sunshine. Vitamin D not only gives you energy, but also builds healthy bones and reduces your risk of flu. You might not get much Vitamin D in a Paleo diet, so consider taking supplements on this diet.
Again, you can’t do this Paleo meal prep lifestyle on your own, though. Need 3 additional resources to reference?
We at ThinkFit have you covered.
Our favorite cookbook for Paleo meal prep is Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker. Aside from our review, this book is top-rated across the board. Walker went Paleo after realizing the health benefits of the diet paired with her autoimmune diseases. All the recipes in this book are also gluten and dairy-free! The book is full of dinner ideas for eight weeks paired with shopping lists and leftover ideas. Whether you’re a beginner cook or a pro chef, this book is for you. Try it out and let us know what you think!
The ThinkFit Paleo meal prep website of choice is PaleoOMG! Juli runs her blog to have delicious and bright Paleo recipes as well as beauty, decor, fashion, fitness and travel sections for all to enjoy. Colorful photography, cute and personable commentary, clear-cut recipes and printable grocery lists make her website irresistible to the ThinkFit team.
Are you social-media savvy? Try out the hashtag #paleodiet with over 1.9 million posts on Instagram alone. To follow this hashtag is to create a feed full of beautiful, savory and filling recipes that can be easily translated into Paleo meal prep. And while you’re at it, follow us on the ‘gram!
And hey. You’ve got this, ThinkFit family.
You can rock a Paleo meal prep lifestyle.
Have you ever tried a Paleo diet or lifestyle? Are there additional Paleo tips or Paleo meal prep resources you love?
Connect and share with us below and be sure to bookmark our post so you always have access to our top meal prep resources lists!