There's no one "right way" to do paleo. If you're just starting out, it may take some time to figure out what feels best. Maybe you just eat paleo after 2 p.m. on weekdays; maybe you are so hardcore, you get uneasy just looking at a slice of bread. Most of us fall somewhere in between. We're advocates of a more generally "paleo-based" system, following paleo principles most of the time, but making reasonable exceptions for important events or your mom's famous chocolate chip cookies.
The paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, is one based off ancient eating practices. The diet avoids foods that our early, early ancestors wouldn’t have been able to cook, like beans and grains, or foods that might have been unavailable, like milk or sugar. These easy dinners follow those guidelines, and feature hearty cuts of meat along with a focus on fresh vegetables and fruit. Everything from salads to soups to skillet dinners are made paleo diet friendly in this collection of weeknight dinners.
This Crock Pot roast has everything you’d want from a traditional Sunday roast, all in one pot. The beauty of it is that everything comes out perfectly cooked so the meat is very tender and juicy and the carrots, celery, onions, and cauliflower all come out soft and ready to eat. A major bonus to this is just how easy it is to get everything prepared and put into the slow cooker. Most roasts will have you checking in on it from time to time, but this one let’s you relax for about 8 hours before you have to do anything else to it.
Dinner. The one meal everyone in my family has to agree on. The one meal that I need to prepare for all 5 of us at the same time. The meal that I think about the most when grocery shopping, meal planning, and in my everyday life. Coming up with new, “fun”, tasty, and, above all else easy Paleo dinners for weeknights is very often a challenge in my life!
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Spiralized sweet potatoes make for a hearty pasta replacement in this fresh feeling paleo meal. Puttanesca is an ultra-savory Italian pasta dish that typically consists of capers, anchovies, olives, tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. In this iteration, fresh tomatoes meet their salty match for a hearty, dairy-free pasta dish that's light on calories and heavy on flavor. For a vegetarian option, leave out the anchovies and use vegetable broth instead of chicken.
If you’re trying this eating approach, you’ll have to say goodbye not only to foods well known to be unhealthy — such as ice cream, potato chips, and soda — but also all grains (including whole grains), most dairy, legumes (beans), and starchy veggies, among other foods. The thinking goes that foods in these elimination groups are toxic to our bodies because of modern farming practices.
A very hot oven quickly roasts the potatoes and finishes the chicken without overcooking. The simple oil mixture, using solely extra-virgin olive oil to keep it paleo-friendly, packs a ton of flavor without adding excessive calories or fat to an already flavorful dinner. To serve a family, double the recipe and use an additional sheet pan for added space. You can substitute fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, for the small Yukon gold potatoes.
This meatloaf is billed as being packed with plenty of pork flavor, and that’s because they’re using bacon to top things off. What most people don’t understand is that Paleo is equal parts meat and vegetables, even though this meatloaf has a bacon topping, it is also packed with a pound of spinach. The 50/50 ratio of meat to vegetables is important to help your digestive system process all the meat, and to stick to a hunter-gatherer ratio. If it was a meat-centric diet it wouldn’t be very healthy, and it wouldn’t be in line with what our ancestors were eating in the Stone Age.
Here’s another complete paleo meal in one “container.” The red bell peppers get cooked to mellow sweetness, but still hold their shape enough to keep other delicious ingredients inside. This recipe, with its peppers and tomatoes, is a great source of vitamins A and C, even after the vitamin loss that cooking causes. It’s also a good source of protein (4 ounces of lean turkey has over 20 grams).
A chicken salad sandwich sounds great for lunch, but the sandwich part is out of the question if you’re eating paleo. This recipe for a healthy alternative adds a fiber boost in the form of diced vegetables, like radishes and cabbage. If you pack along four or five large butter lettuce leaves, you can leave your fork at home and scoop up the chicken with them.
We get it. Being a mom is full-on and full-time. Equal parts FUN and WTF. Our kids don’t come with instructions, and it’s ok if we don’t have all the answers. We’ll figure it out together. The best advice comes from our favorite experts and doctors, trusted mom friends, and learning on the job. Get your coffee — or wine! — and tune in to hear us spill it all. We got this. This is MOM BRAIN with Hilaria Baldwin and Daphne Oz.
This Japanese beef dish uses bamboo as one of the vegetables. Trying new things is part of the Paleo process, and if you’ve never had bamboo shoots now is a good time to start. They are full of potassium and vitamins and taste good, especially with beef. There are also other vegetables like green beans and spinach to balance out the beef, and his preparation is easy to follow so you can make this just like he did. You can usually find bamboo shoots in the International section of a grocery store, of you may need to visit an Asian food mart.
The paleo diet encourages you to skip weighing and measuring yourself and if at all encourages you to count nutrients as opposed to calories. So the only thing you should take into consideration when meal planning is making sure you’ll approximately cover your macronutrient needs and then simply eat as much as you feel like when it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner time.
These mini cheesecakes might take some time to make, but it’s totally worth it. You start by making a batch of chocolate cookies for the base, then create a cheesecake-like middle without using any dairy, and then top it off with coconut cream and cacao nibs for the finale. This is the type of dessert that will make you feel like you’re not on a diet at all, and that goes in line with the Paleo mentality. Even though it’s referred to as the Paleo Diet, it’s more like a lifestyle and a way of being than something that you have to force yourself to do.