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Paleo Basics: Tips and Resources Masterpost

Paleo Checklist

Are you working on a Paleo challenge but struggling to fit in all that cooking and meal prep – and maybe looking longingly at the prepackaged “Paleo” bars and cookies at the checkout counter? Or maybe you’re craving snack food more than you thought you would, or you’re not sure what to even eat for snacks without dried fruit and nut butter.

Trying to fit Paleo into a modern lifestyle isn’t easy. If you’re already doing it, or even if you’re trying your best, pat yourself on the back, because you’re swimming upstream against a very strong current of takeout culture and convenience foods at every turn. To help you along the way, here’s a masterpost of tips, advice, simple recipes, and resources for making your challenge a success.

Finding Time to Cook Without Prepackaged “Paleo” Foods

A lot of people struggle with Paleo because they’re “too busy to cook.” So they end up eating a lot of convenience foods that they didn’t want to eat, just because they think they don’t have time to make something at home. Alternately, they end up way too reliant on processed “Paleo-labeled” treats like bars and trail mix – which is exactly what the Paleo Basics challenge asks you to eliminate.

Here’s how to squeeze Paleo into your daily schedule without relying on the prepackaged convenience foods, sugary smoothies, or a handful of trail mix masquerading as a “meal.” Pick your problem below to get solutions and resources for tackling it.

I don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning.

Egg muffins

Mini frittatas or egg muffins are a great make-ahead breakfast.

I don’t have time to pack and prep lunches.

I don’t have time to make dinner after work.

What can I eat for quick snacks?

Tip: if you batch-cook one or more of the following at the beginning of the week, you’ll have a much easier time finding snacks later:

Keeping the Basics Interesting

“Basics” is not a synonym for “boring!” You don’t have to give up flavor or pleasure just because you’re giving up stuff that’s designed to imitate junk food. In fact when you let go of the “Paleo treats,” you might be surprised to discover exactly how enjoyable your “regular food” can be.

Some tips and resources for keeping your interest going:

But Why Can’t I Have Paleo Treats on the Paleo Basics Challenge?

You “can” have anything you like: you’re an adult and you get to decide what goes into your mouth. If you want to, you “can” have Paleo treats – in fact, if you want to, you “can” have regular, non-Paleo treats full of high-fructose corn syrup and refined flour; it’s not like they’re illegal. Nobody will stop you at the door and set a dog to sniffing your bags for hidden sugar.

But for the Paleo Basics challenge, you’re choosing to abstain (and yes, the way you say it matters!) from those treats even though you technically “can” have them. Treats aren’t part of the Paleo Basics challenge because it’s about your emotional relationship with food as much as your physical diet. It’s fine to enjoy occasional treats; it’s not healthy to be dependent on food for comfort or entertainment. If you really are eating those treats occasionally, within the spirit of Paleo, then abstaining for one week shouldn’t be a big deal at all.

If you’re finding it impossibly difficult to even think about not eating Paleo treats for a week, it might be a sign that you’re depending on them for emotional reasons – to feel good after a long day, to handle work boredom or stress, to reward yourself for a job well done. In that case, it might be worthwhile to take a hard look at your relationship with food, and maybe some ways to reward yourself without food.

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Photo of Ashley Noël

Hi I’m Ashley, I’m an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach

Get coaching around:

  • transitioning to a Paleo diet
  • reaching your fitness goals
  • getting through those hurdles
    • limiting sugar, gluten, carbs
    • eating out
  • overall life satisfaction

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