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Keto Paleo meal prep: tips and ideas

Cooking

Meal prep is a lifesaver for busy people who want to eat home-cooked meals without spending all day in the kitchen. The basic concept is simple: whatever needs cooking, cook it all in one big batch at the beginning of the week, pack it out into individual serving containers, and then just grab and go Monday-Friday.

Making your food in batches saves you time and energy on hectic weeknights. But here’s the real draw: you’ll only have to wash one single set of cooking dishes. Any Paleo cook can attest that reducing the pile of dirty dishes in the sink is huge for overall chef satisfaction!

When it comes to a keto-style Paleo diet, meal prep can be a bit different, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not bad. Here’s a look at the basics: how to get enough fat in without drowning every salad in oil, how to add variety without adding a lot of prep time, and how to make delicious keto meals that travel and reheat well (or go down well cold).

Getting the macros right

Traditional non-keto meal prep focuses on protein + starch (Chicken + brown rice. Salmon + sweet potatoes. You get the idea). Of course, this isn’t going to work for keto – way too many carbs, not nearly enough fat.

One way to make all these plans keto is to just swap the starch for low-carb vegetables and call it a day (Chicken + spinach! Salmon + cauliflower!). But depending on your protein, you might not actually get enough fat – or enough food – that way. Skinless chicken breast with steamed vegetables and no fat just isn’t enough food for a grown adult for lunch; you’ll be hungry again by 3 and that’s no way to live.

The obvious answer is to swap out the carbs for vegetables…and then add fat. Lots of fat!

How-Tos and logistical variations

A few quick logistical tips for newbies:

Get high-quality containers – nobody likes opening their bag and finding their lunch all over their laptop! There is a time to spring for the name brand; this is that time.

Slow-cooker

“I will save you so much time.

Consider a Dutch oven or slow cooker for making big batches of protein conveniently.

You might not need breakfast at all on keto – one less meal to pack! Intermittent fasting is a common keto tweak that solves at least one of your meal-prep problems: just don’t eat breakfast at all and compress your eating time into a short window between lunch and dinner. Some people don’t have any calories before noon; other folks prefer coffee with cream or coconut oil. (You could also skip dinner and have your eating window between breakfast and mid-afternoon, but this is less popular).

Keep a few keto-friendly snacks at your desk. In case you encounter a lunch disaster, you won’t be totally up the creek. Try macadamia nuts, fat bombs, or squeeze packs of nut butter.

Sample keto cook-ups: breakfast

For the menu-impaired, a few simple meal prep ideas, with macros:

With eggs

The simplest way to batch-cook eggs for breakfast: beat a dozen eggs together and pour them into a greased pan. Add some roasted vegetables, spices, cheese, bacon bits, and/or other fixings as desired and cook until it’s almost done in the middle (the recipe takes a while to cool down, so it will keep “cooking” itself for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven). This is good cold or reheated.

Variations:

No eggs

For the egg haters, a few other ideas:

Sample keto cook-ups: lunch and/or dinner

For the office workers or the just plain run-off-their-feet-busy people, some batch cooking menus for lunch or dinner:

Protein option 1: pork shoulder

Roast up a nice piece of pork shoulder (use this recipe or any other low-carb pork shoulder recipe)

Dead simple option: also roast up a tray or three of low-carb vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower…) with lots of olive oil or butter. Divide the pork and vegetables into containers. Assuming 1 cup of broccoli + 1 tbsp. fat per serving, on top of 3-4 ounces of cooked pork shoulder with all the fat left on, that gives you about 6 grams of net carbs per serving.

Variety options for the same protein: cook the pork shoulder in one fell swoop, and then give yourself some variation in your meals with…

Protein option 2: meatballs

Use the fattiest beef or lamb you can find – try this recipe without the honey or any other meatball recipe you like.

Dead simple option: meatball kebabs (also spelled kabobs): skewer the meatballs with your favorite low-carb vegetables and go nuts! You can add variety to this very easily just by putting different vegetables on each skewer. Carbs will vary depending on the vegetables but typically they’ll be low.

Variety options for the same protein: make all your meatballs and then…

What’s your favorite keto meal prep idea?

Got a great recipe? Tips and tricks? Share with the crowd on Facebook or Twitter!