Following a Paleo eating plan means cutting out specific foods such as highly processed and refined carbs, dairy, legumes and grains. By eating certain carefully-chosen foods and cutting out others, Paleo eating often leads to weight loss because followers are not only consuming fewer calories but are also consuming more nutrient-dense foods that lead to feeling more full and more satisfied for longer periods of time. This long-lasting hunger satisfaction is accomplished through the consumption of thoughtfully-sourced, high-quality lean proteins, nutrient-dense vegetables and smaller amounts of fruits and nuts.
All specialized eating plans have lists of things that you can and cannot eat. And many eating plans promise a wealth of positive results, most notably improved health and weight loss. But when you get down to it, after you have read all of the research, studied all of the food lists, considered the many plan-compliant recipes and evaluated the plan specifics, you simply need to know what’s for dinner. How will you turn food lists, guidelines, recipes and meal plans into a tasty and delicious meal at the end of a long, busy day?
In truth, Paleo eating is simple. Paleo eating means that followers get their nutrition and their energy – the fuel for their body - from fresh, whole, nutrient dense foods such as meats, fresh fruits, seasonal vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and eggs. So when you are creating a meal that features these items, remember to stick to the basics. A thoroughly-seasoned, well-prepared, grass-fed or pastured meat or wild-caught seafood partnered with a fresh salad of vegetables and some in-season fresh fruit makes for a delicious, filling and colorful Paleo compliant lunch or dinner. Fresh eggs from pastured chickens accompanied by organic turkey bacon and fruits of your choice can create a delicious breakfast solution.
The careful and creative combination of Paleo plan foods makes for simple yet delicious eating. And the foods are not only tasty[A1] , they are very satisfying, as well. There are a wide variety of free Paleo meal plans available on the Internet, and Paleo focused cookbooks available from your local library or bookstore offer a wealth of precise recipes, specific shopping lists, detailed food suggestions and other helpful resources.
Meal planning inspiration: sample Paleo meal ideas
There are a lot of ways to put together amazing and satisfying Paleo meals. Although you may have a good grasp of what foods are and are not allowed, it can sometimes be hard to think about how all of those plan-approved components can come together to make a breakfast, lunch or dinner that looks and tastes appealing.
Let’s take a closer look at some specific Paleo meal ideas:
- Garden vegetable frittata: filled with mushrooms, spinach, cage-free eggs and onion, a delicious frittata is sure to satisfy. Accompany this dish with sliced tomato, juicy grapes and roasted sweet potato chunks for a delicious, colorful and satisfying meal.
- Margherita breakfast pizza: load a plan-compliant pizza flat with cage-free scrambled eggs, fresh basil and juicy red tomatoes. Add some fresh fruit on the side, and you have a beautiful meal that is perfect for any time of day and will keep you full for hours.
- Grilled pineapple BBQ pork: top carefully-sourced and thoughtfully seasoned pork with a pile of grilled pineapple, roasted sweet potato, charred beets and plan-compliant BBQ sauce and serve on a bed of wilted kale. This meal is so satisfying, you’ll never miss the gluten, sugar, dairy, grains or additives.
- Turkey artichoke Bolognese: you’ll never miss the pasta in this delicious dish filled with a tasty blend of spaghetti squash, ground turkey, plan-compliant marinara sauce, zucchini, spinach, garlic and artichokes. Full of color and flavor, this Paleo dinner is sure to satisfy.
- New England Cod with Red Cabbage Slaw: top a bed of cabbage, squash, broccoli, carrots with carefully-sourced cod bathed in a lemon and olive oil glaze. Top with cubed, fresh avocado and chopped parsley for color and freshness. No need for fish and chips when you can have this delicious and unique dish!
- Argentine steak: thoughtfully-sourced and fully-seasoned grilled sirloin steak accompanied by mashed plantains, sliced juicy red tomato and fresh green steamed asparagus, this eye-pleasing meal is loaded with flavor.
- Southwestern ranch chili: picture a serving of flavorful, steaming chili full of flavorful brisket and ground bison accompanied by fresh, green, steamed green beans and tender riced cauliflower. This meal is a winner in terms of both color and flavor.
- Chicken stir fry: stir frys are great for Paleo eating, because they incorporate meats and veggies with fresh, bold flavors. This dish features free-range chicken grilled and seasoned with a tamari, ginger, sesame oil glaze and partnered with crisp green beans, red pepper, bok choy, snow peas, carrots and pineapple. Add slivered almonds for a beautiful finishing garnish.
- Citrus herb chicken: carefully prepare free-range chicken with seasonings and lemon juice and partner with bright green steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato and garnish with colorful red pepper and additional lemon juice to taste. A zesty, stunning and tasty lunch or dinner solution.
- Greek turkey burger: partner a carefully-seasoned turkey burger with sliced fresh tomato, cucumbers, olives, spinach with roasted sweet potato fries and top your plate with a zesty lemon aioli for a lunch or dinner that is unique and filling.
- Chicken pepper jack cheese kale omelet: featuring plan-compliant chicken sausage, fresh green kale, red potatoes, pastured eggs and organic pepper jack cheese, this colorful and zesty omelet dish is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add some in-season fresh fruit on the side and you’re good to go!
- BLT egg wrap: fill a plan-compliant whole wheat wrap with scrambled pastured eggs, carefully-sourced pork bacon and potatoes roasted in plan compliant oil. Add a fresh vegetable garnish such as organic lettuce and ripe tomato and consider adding some fresh fruit – such as orange slices – on the side for a fast, complete meal that is perfect for a speedy meal at dinner or any other time of day.
- Wild mango salmon: partner thoroughly seasoned and carefully-sourced salmon with brown rice and fresh green broccoli. Top your plate with flavorful diced cilantro, colorful chopped tomato and juicy sliced mango for a delicious, unique Paleo dinner idea.
- Seared mandarin hoisin chicken: pair delicate cooked rice noodles with seasoned chicken prepared in sesame oil and soy sauce. Add fresh broccoli, green snow peas and top with juicy mandarin oranges and zesty scallions for a tasty treat.
- Arizona grilled chicken melt: fill a plan approved deli flat bread with seasoned organic chicken, fresh mozzarella cheese, unique watercress, zesty onions, spicy peppers and juicy tomatoes and complete the unique meal with a side of tasty roasted plantains.
Sometimes you do not need a full meal, but want a plan-compliant quick snack. Some Paleo-friendly snacks include:
- Bananas with plan-compliant almond butter, coconut butter, walnut butter or other plan-compliant nut butter spread are sweet, creamy and nourishing!
- A handful of plan-compliant almonds or macadamia nuts is crispy, crunchy and tasty! (be sure to check labels regarding seasonings and other ingredients)
- Whole fruit: apples, pears, bananas, oranges and other whole fruits make delicious portable snacks.
- Whole vegetables: carrots, peppers and other approved vegetables are quick pack and go treats, as well.
- Avocadoes: delicious sliced or eaten right out of the peel with a sprinkle of plan-compliant seasoning.
- Hard boiled eggs: make sure they are carefully-sourced and cage free.
- Grain free crackers with cashew cheese: check for these via your local market or grocery delivery service.
- Gluten-free, plan-compliant beef jerky or turkey sticks are meaty and satisfying.
- Carefully-sourced canned sardines, wild-caught salmon or tuna are a unique and tasty snack.
- Pork rinds: read labels to make sure there is no “bad” oil included.
- Kale chips: again read labels to check for oils used and other items that may not be plan-compliant.
- Smoothies made with ripe, fresh fruit and coconut milk or almond milk are cold, smooth and delicious!
- Roasted sweet potatoes: these nutrient-dense, fiber rich powerhouse foods can be topped a variety of different ways to either accompany a full meal or provide a tasty and filling snack.
Search at your local grocery store or within your online grocery delivery service. You may be surprised at the number of items labeled Paleo friendly. There are also a number of Paleo approved convenience foods accessible including items like pancake and waffle mixes, pre-packaged snack foods like granola, crackers and chips and items such as muffin, brownie and cupcake mixes.
Levels of Paleo eating: strict, normal and primal
In some circles, you will hear references to three different levels of Paleo eating: strict, normal and primal. The latter two allow for less stringent food guidelines than the strict level. The differences in the three levels of Paleo eating come down to their acceptance or rejected of several specific food groups including legumes, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and related foods) and sugars (such as honey and maple syrup). Each of the different levels of Paleo eating allows for different amounts of these foods to be included in the diet…or chooses to eliminate them completely.
Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient which reduced micronutrient absorption in the body. Phytates bind up minerals in food preventing your body from using them. This means that foods are not digested, and this can also cause inflammation, bloating, indigestion, gas and other unpleasant side effects.
Strict Paleo followers do not allow consumption of legumes, and they are widely considered non-paleo because they contain phytic acid. However, less strict Paleo followers do allow consumption of related foods such as alfalfa, field peas and green beans, because these foods may have been gathered by our Paleolithic ancestors. It is up to you to decide which level of Paleo eating you wish to follow. In addition to personal preferences, you overall health may help you determine which style of eating is right for you. You may find that certain foods cause unpleasant side effects, weight gain or other disagreeable symptoms. Do what works best for you.
Food sources: where does your food come from?
In addition to focusing on categories of food that you will and will not eat when following the Paleo eating plan, it is important to determine the source of all ingredients you are consuming, as well. The quality of proteins in the diet is of utmost important to Paleo plan followers. If you have beef, be sure it is grass-fed beef. If you have seafood, be sure it is coming from a wild-caught fish, not a farm-raised fish. Be sure chicken and eggs are coming from free-range chickens, not from a mass production poultry farm setting. And double check to ensure that your animal proteins do not feature any additional salt, hormones or other additives that would not naturally occur in nature.
The importance of protein
Exercise fanatics and body builders talk a lot about protein, seeking protein rich diets to help them build muscle and gain strength. But protein is an important component of all diets, and it is an important nutrient vital for growth and development. Protein is a component of every cell in the human body. Protein rich foods often found in the Paleo diet – like seafood, nuts, seeds, carefully-sourced meats and poultry – are also rich in other important vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, iron, vitamin D and zinc. Protein is also crucial for the body’s blood clotting function, fluid balance, the immune system, vision, hormone production, enzyme balance and much more.
Health benefits: what Paleo eating does for your body
There is no perfect diet that fits everyone. And the Paleo diet is not for everyone. But there are several reasons you should consider the Paleo diet, explore the eating plan and understand its intricacies. There are many benefits to following such a clean, nutrient rich eating plan. The paleo diet replaces heavily-processed foods loaded with sugars and unhealthy fats with healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables loaded with naturally-derived vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Paleo is the healthiest and freshest eating plan available today: Eating paleo is a journey to the past. The diet promotes eating the foods that the first humans ate; in fact, it’s where it gets its name and is also known as the caveman diet. Paleo diets consist of real, whole foods which automatically eliminates a long list of preservatives, bad sugars, high levels of sodium, artificial flavoring and so much more. The food not only tastes better, but you protect your body from unnecessary toxins.
Paleo helps your body heal: It is estimated that 50 million Americans are affected with autoimmune diseases. These diseases have been directly linked with our food choices. Many believe paleo is a powerful strategy that uses diet and lifestyle to regulate the immune system, putting an end to autoimmune diseases and giving the body the opportunity to heal.
Paleo eating eliminates toxins in the body: People on a paleo diet are aware of food toxins such as gluten, lectins, and phytic acid. They all are harmful components of the modern diet and you should prevent consumption of them whenever possible. Although eating toxins is not the only way to ingest them, a paleo diet is a great line of defense for preventing exposure.
Paleo eating increases your nutrient intake: Paleo eliminates nutrient-void processed carbs. By adding tons of vegetables, nuts, fruits and healthy fats, you increase your intake of minerals and vitamins. Your diet becomes even more balanced when you combine that with the improved gut health and increased nutrient absorption, which occurs when you remove irritating grains and legumes.
Paleo eating sustains weight loss and leaves you feeling satisfied: Paleo is well-known for helping people experience significant weight loss. It’s high in proteins and low in carbs; plus, it totally eliminates processed foods and added sugars, which aid in improved metabolic processes and gut health. The amazing variety of nutrient-dense food you will eat on a paleo diet is the driving force behind weight loss.
Paleo eating is good for overall gut health: When you follow the Paleo diet, you eat foods that are not only clean – no preservatives, dyes, refined sugars, additives, etc. – but you are likely eating a lot more fibrous vegetables, which are great for digestion and keeping your gut health in line. Fibrous fruits and vegetables can be digested in less than 24 hours, which helps to regulate your digestive track. But highly processed foods digest even faster than fibrous fruits and vegetables, which leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. By incorporating fibrous fruits and veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates by eating Paleo, your body feels fuller, longer because it has a more balance nutritional intake.
Different people try the paleo eating plan for different reasons, resulting in experiences that vary. But overall, most report positive changes in their bodies, mood and energy levels.
Putting it all together: Paleo eating doesn’t have to be complicated
You scan scour the internet for free Paleo meal plans, search for suggestions for Paleo food lists or hunt for recipes and ingredients lists, but the main thing to remember is to keep it simple. Paleo eating is not complicated. Partner carefully-sourced meats with seasonal vegetables and fresh fruits. Prepare food items with clean oils and use approved herbs and spices to pump up the flavor of your meals. Don’t rely on highly-processed, packaged foods from a factory to fill your pantry or your stomach. Learn to identify your favorite fresh, nutrient dense foods and use those to create your meals. Develop a Paleo eating plan that works for your preferences, your family and your lifestyle.
Some grocery services offer pre-made Paleo grocery lists. And meal delivery services offer Paleo plan compliant meals too. Whether you are looking for a few meals to supplement your Paleo journey or you would like complete, three-meals-a-day delivery of Paleo meal plan compliant foods, Fresh Meal Plan offers a wide variety of chef-created Paleo meals to suit all tastes. Enjoying Paleo meals from Fresh Meal Plan is simple: just log on, select the number of meals you’d like to receive and set up your delivery schedule. Fresh Meal Plan will deliver Paleo meals straight to your door.
Consider a Paleo food delivery service
Fresh Meal Plan is a meal plan delivery service that delivers fresh, fully-prepared meals straight from our kitchen right to your door. Yes, diet food delivery really is an option! The meals are fresh, never frozen and contain balanced proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates that are catered to your specific needs. Co-founded by a body-building fitness enthusiast and a CIA-trained chef, Fresh Meal Plan offers fully cooked meals that simply need to be reheated and are ready to serve. Fresh Meal Plan’s meal delivery service takes the time for planning, shopping, and prep out of your week. Already, you’ve got more time to spend time with family and friends, work, work out or just keep up with your active lifestyle.
Unlike our primitive ancestors, who roamed the land hunting and gathering, Fresh Meal Plan offers a more practical, delicious and time-saving approach to Paleo eating. The Fresh Meal Plan menu of Paleo meals features meals for strict, normal and primal plan followers and includes lean proteins like salmon and buffalo, fibrous vegetables, nutrient dense nuts and seeds for essential fatty acids. The plan is low in complex carbohydrates, sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat and does not include gluten, grains, dairy, artificial additives, sugar or preservatives. Most Fresh Meal Plan Paleo meals are about 300 to 400 calories each, with a healthy balance of 30 to 40 grams of lean protein, carbohydrates and fats. And for those who need a little something extra, Fresh Meal Plan also offers a Paleo XL plan, which features the same delicious food in our Paleo meal offerings, but with the double the portions of protein to support muscle growth.
Following a Paleo meal plan may make it a little harder for you to answer the question “what’s for dinner?” But with Fresh Meal Plan Paleo meals, you’ll always have a quick, easy, delicious answer to that question.
Want to know more? Check out our Paleo Meal Plan today!