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Paleo Meal PrepIt is no surprise that a busy schedule tends to lead to poor eating habits. According to Time Magazine, research has found that more than 50% of people resort to unhealthy eating habits when their schedule becomes hectic. Picking up a pizza or ordering takeout Chinese food might seem like an easy way to get a nightly meal on the table, but doing so can too often lead to weight gain, poor nutrition, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. While the Paleo Diet® life might seem time-consuming, your health should come above everything. Thankfully there are a few easy ways to fit Paleo into even the busiest of schedules.

Prep your veggies in advance

Slicing, dicing and cutting up vegetables might seem like a simple enough task, but when you’ve walked in the door at 7 pm, and you just want to eat, the process of getting the prep work out of the way can be a massive roadblock. To make mealtimes more manageable, consider prepping all of your vegetables ahead of time.

When you bring home your produce from the grocery store or farmer’s market, immediately clean, peel and cut what you’ll need for the week, store everything in separate containers. You don’t have to cook the vegetables ahead of time if you don’t want, but steaming kale and spinach in advance can make your weeknight meals even more accessible. Once everything is cut up, it is super easy to grab what you need for whatever meal you are putting together.

Plan your meals and freeze the extras

Meal planning is essential if you have a tight weekly schedule. Take one day out of your weekend and find recipes that interest you. Plan a week’s worth of dinners and lunches based on what each day of the week looks like in terms of your schedule. If you know your Monday evening is busy, but you have Sunday free, consider cooking up a big batch of a Paleo-approved meal for Sunday and freeze the extras for later in the week.

By freezing individual portions and planning your meals in advance, you take the guesswork out of dinner time. You can do the same for lunches and even breakfasts. The further you get into the lifestyle, the easier it will be to portion, prep, and plan.

Keep a running grocery list

Many people fall into poor eating habits when they run out of food in their fridge. Instead of running to the grocery store, it might seem easier to just stop for some quick takeout. To avoid this pitfall, because, let’s be honest, eating out on a Paleo Diet is a challenge, keep a running grocery list on your phone.

By keeping tabs of what is in your fridge, you can make smart decisions about what you will be eating when you finally arrive home at the end of the day. It will also make grocery shopping and meal planning for the week easier. If a running list isn’t for you, consider taking a photo of your refrigerator each day. When you are zapped for ideas, take a peek inside, so you know exactly what is ready to eat.

Avoid stale eating habits by changing things up

It is annoying to eat the same thing every day, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend time each day prepping a new meal. You can meal prep while keeping things fresh by using different spices on individual meals. If you have a huge package of chicken, section it out and prepare it in different ways ahead of time. If you want to enjoy a stir fry one day and a Greek-inspired dinner another, you can simply season individual portions separately and cook.

Once everything is cooked, place your meals into individual storage containers. Not only will it ensure you are eating something different each day, it will make getting dinner into your body almost effortless. To excel at this, it is best to purchase proper storage containers.

Finally, if the same six or seven meals are feeling stale, check out our recipe section for more great Paleo ideas!


Paleo One-Two-Three | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain:

Thanks for getting back to me.

My assignment is to compare 10 diets, with total cost being a component.

I have just three basic questions, though No. 3 (cost) gets complicated. I have read a bit about the diet and could answer some of the questions from the website, but I hope to get it in your words.

1. What is the basic tenet of the Paleo Diet, the underlying principle?

2. How does the diet work? For some, food is provided by the plan. For others, the diet offers guidelines. Some go through several phases, while others don’t.

3. What does it cost to be on the diet? For the ones that provide packaged food, this is fairly simple to answer. My understanding is that the Paleo Diet doesn’t, so what I’m hoping to get from you is an idea of what a day, week or month on this diet costs. If you don’t have those figures, I hope you can provide guidelines so the shopper I’m working with and I can come up with a menu, go to a grocery store and see what following the diet would cost.

That’s it. Please me ask if anything here is confusing.




Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Mike,

The answers to these basic questions can be gleaned from any of the major websites (mine, Robb Wolf’s and Mark Sisson’s) in more detail than you probably need. My brief answers are as follows:

1. The basic tenet is to try to eat contemporary foods from the food groups our pre-agricultural ancestors ate (i.e. fresh meats, poultry, eggs, preferably grass produced, fresh fish, fresh seafood, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and healthful fats (olive oil, coconut oil). Avoid processed foods, cereal grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, refined oils and salt. The evolutionary concept is that our basic genome (including our nutritional requirements) was shaped over millions of years of evolutionary experience and has changed little in the 10,000 years since the advent of agriculture. Hence our bodies are well adapted to the ancient hunter gatherer environment, including foods that produced our current day genome. Recently introduced foods are discordant with our genome and this discordance elicts the diseases of cilvization which run rampant in western societies. Hence, for the first time since all humans were hunter gatherers, the most powerful concept in all of biology (evolution through natural selection) has finally been applied to the study of optimal human nutrition.

2. The diet works as explained above. It really is not a diet per se, but rather a lifetime plan of eating to optimize health and well being. The idea behind this way of life is quite simple as explained above, and the consumer is free to buy and eat healthful foods ad libitum. So food really is not provided, but rather the consumer makes the decision on which healthful foods to eat that are consistent with the basic guidelines.

I really don’t know what you mean by stages? People are encouraged to be compliant, but the plan doesnt require 100 % compliance. Most people experience significant health benefits with 85-95 % compliance.

3. I haven’t analyzed the specific cost, but this information is available from a number of blogs and websites which provide tips of how to make this lifelong health plan affordable (buy in bulk, go to farmers markets, buy poultry, eggs and grass fed beef directly from the farmer and eliminate the middleman, etc..). Further, the cost would vary around the country and by which foods are chosen. Humanity’s cheap foods are cereals (wheat, corn, rice), sugars, vegetable oils, margarine, refined sugars, largely because they are subsidized by the US government. In the long run health care costs are dramatically reduced by eating Paleo. Additionally, many processed foods are considerably more costly than real foods (a pound of M&Ms is more costly than a pound of carrots, celery or broccoli — the same can be said for most packaged breakfast cereals. A dozen free ranging eggs bought directly from the farmer typically cost less than a box of sugar frosted flakes. A pound of grass produced beef bought in bulk (1/4 or 1/2 side) from the producer is only frequently less costly than fancy cuts of fed lot produced beef.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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