When people hear the words “paleo diet,” misinformation abounds. Chief among the critiques is that those living a paleo lifestyle cannot enjoy fruits and vegetables because they contain too many carbohydrates. Of course, those who eat paleo know this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Not only can followers of the paleo diet enjoy summer’s bounty, but because their diet isn’t laden with processed foods and heavy starches, they have more opportunities to fill their plates with it. And it couldn’t be easier! Here are a few tips to making use of the season’s produce while adhering to the paleo diet.
Go for Green
Leafy greens are an easy and excellent addition to any diet and the paleo diet is no exception. Besides being full of potassium, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, leafy greens such as chard, collards and spinach are alkaline-yielding and low in sodium. Rounding out a satisfying paleo meal is as easy as grabbing a bunch of greens–any greens– at the farmers market.
- Saute hardier varieties like kale and mustard in a bit of coconut oil.
- Drizzle delicate greens including arugula and cress with your favorite unrefined oil to create a healthful and delicious side salad.
- When you’ve got some beautiful grass-fed meat that would make the perfect “sandwich,” try using a collard leaf as a wrap.
The Rainbow Connection
Now that you’ve gotten your greens in, what about the rest of the rainbow? With so many fruits and vegetables to choose from, the possibilities are endless.
- Making a tasting platter with your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables is virtually effortless. Tri-colored bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and carrots make for an easy antioxidant-filled and hydrating snack.
- Some vegetables are more palatable when cooked. By simply steaming or roasting vegetables including Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, you have a fool-proof accompaniment to any protein.
- Combine your finds in a refreshing gazpacho. Enjoying your veggies is as simple as pressing blend!
- Try topping your protein selections with an inventive salsa or relish. We like to combine (to taste) mango, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice for a fresh mango salsa. High in flavonoids and vitamins A and C, it’s a decidedly versatile way to top your favorite protein.
- When in doubt, make pasta! Whether you have a hand-cranked spiralizer, a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, most vegetables can be turned into noodles. Raw or heated, these make eating vegetables novel.
With an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, fruit is a delicious and simple complement to your paleo lifestyle. Many of the season’s fruits are easily eaten out of hand, including berries, cherries, peaches and plums. But why stop there?
- Toss roughly chopped cantaloupe, strawberries, mint and fresh squeezed lime juice in the blender or food processor to create a delectable chilled soup.
- Who says salads have to be green? Experiment using your favorite fruits in savory salads like we did in this spicy watermelon salad.
- Halve your favorite stone fruits (peaches, plums, apricots) and gently warm them flesh-side down on the grill to enhance their sweetness and make a stunningly simple dessert.
- Why should dinner get all the fun? Packed with antioxidants, fruit makes a colorful and satisfying breakfast bowl.
Feeling inspired? Try this simple recipe to increase your daily vegetable quota with ease.
Summer Squash Pasta Toss (serves 2)
- 2 medium summer squash, spiralized (zucchini, crookneck or a combination of both)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored and diced
- 2 small shallots, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp walnuts, ground into coarse crumbs
Warm your olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When it is shimmering, add the shallot and saute until the golden brown, about 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute 1 to 2 minutes.
Add your tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until they are warmed through and have given up some of their juices, 3-5 minutes.
On a serving platter, toss the tomato mixture with your spiralized squash. Top with walnut crumbs and serve immediately.
Eating fruits and vegetables on the paleo diet can be both easy and enjoyable. This season, get out there and experiment with summer’s bounty. You have nothing to lose, but years of health and wellness to gain.