This is a guest post by Healthy Heroics.
A paleo diet is one based on foods that were eaten by early humans. You include a lot of fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish in your diet while excluding items such as processed food, dairy, or grains.
Needless to say, this can be difficult if you are still learning what you can and can’t eat and how to make what you can eat into full and appetising meals. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little help, you can learn everything you need to know to make your transition into eating a paleo diet easy. That’s why this guide is here to offer you insight on making eating a paleo diet easy.
Research What You Can and Can’t Have on a Paleo Diet
Whether you are trying a paleo diet for a specific reason such as to coincide with your workouts for abdominal toning or you just want to try something new and good for your body, the first thing you should do is learn what you can and can’t eat.
For most people, the diet goes by a simple mantra – if a caveman didn’t have access to the food you are about to put in your mouth, you shouldn’t eat it either. This cuts out some obvious foods; anything processed is out, for one. This means no pastas or boxed food. You should also note that this includes items such as refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and legumes/pulses.
Some people on a paleo diet take things a step further and cut out foods that can be hard to digest. For instance, you shouldn’t eat dairy on a paleo diet because of lactose and you should avoid soy because of phytic acid. For the most basic paleo diet, though, you shouldn’t eat these simply because a caveman wouldn’t. Remember, that’s your rule of thumb.
The easiest way to approach a new paleo diet – or any new diet for that matter – is to focus on what you can have instead of what you can’t. So, what types of foods can you eat on a paleo diet? Well, as we already said, you can have anything a paleolithic human would eat. This includes the following:
- Meat (grass-fed and organic)
- Fish and Seafood
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
- Nuts and Seeds
- Herbs and Spices
Stop Counting Calories
This may sound like an unnecessary point but when it comes to a paleo diet, you need to remember how your meal planning works.
It isn’t exactly like most diets. For instance, you aren’t as worried about counting calories of the foods you eat or trying to find the perfect, healthy portion size. Instead, you want to focus on eating the right foods. From that point, you can eat whatever you want from the foods within the diet without worrying about eating a gram too many or going over your calorie count.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
When you are on a paleo diet, this cuts out a lot of the meals that you would think of as “easy” off the top of your head right away. For instance, throwing on a pot of spaghetti or stopping by your local fast food joint don’t have a place in your diet anymore. So, what do you do?
First, you should sit down and plan out your meals. Especially when you are first starting a paleo diet, planning your meals out can be a little difficult. After all, until you’re in the swing of things, you might need to look at the ingredients you use a little closer.
At the beginning of the week, for instance, sit down and plan out all the meals you will want for the week. This will give you a chance to think them through and look over recipes to see if the foods you thought of with a paleo diet really fit the bill or not. In addition, this will help you make one big grocery trip for everything you need instead of being forced to make a trip to the store every time you’re hungry.
If you have all your meals planned out and prepped, your biggest temptation to go outside of your diet is those times in between meals when you get hungry. After all, it’s so easy to grab a bag of crisps or pick up a chocolate bar instead of coming up with something paleo.
The best way to attack this is the same way you attack hunger when it comes to meal time – plan ahead. You know you’re going to be hungry in between meals so plan for these moments. There are actually a surprising number of easy paleo snacks such as fruit salad or nuts & seeds. If you want something a little different, why not try coconut popcorn or kale crisps?