The other day I received an email from a reader. She was new to Paleo and struggling to make it fit her family. She asked if I had tips on succeeding with Paleo. Greens were rotting in her vegetable drawer and she was finding herself at 6 PM with no idea what was for dinner. I could completely relate with that struggle! When I first went Paleo, and then transitioned my family to Paleo, I struggled as well. Because Paleo is focused on real foods and whole foods it can definitely feel a bit overwhelming at first. Not being able to just throw a frozen pizza in the oven on a crazy Wednesday night can be an adjustment for anyone.
The number one tip I have for succeeding with Paleo is: meal planning!
There are many methods for meal planning and I suggest you try a few out and see what works best for you. Three that I’ve tried are:
The Index Card Method
This method was a bit more time consuming to set up, but I found it kept me very organized.
You will need:
- A binder and photo page protectors OR an index card box
- 28 index cards
For this method you are planning out 4 weeks of meals. It may seem like this would get repetitive, but it actually had the opposite effect for my family. We tend to get in a rut and have the same 5 or 6 meals over and over. This helped me step outside of that.
- Gather your recipes. Pinterest, blogs, and Paleo cookbooks are great resources. You can aim for 28 different recipes, or if you have some favorites you can make duplicate cards of those.
- Write the recipes and any side dishes you would have with that meal on your index cards.
- Order the index cards in the page protectors or the card box in the order that you want to have them.
- To make your grocery list each week simply take out the next seven cards, check your pantry for what you already have in stock (I always stock up on essentials like coconut oil and spices and have them on hand), and add the items needed.
The Dry Erase Board Method
I currently use this method and find it very simple. Plus, my family loves being able to look at the board and see what’s for dinner!
You will need:
- A dry erase board
- Dry erase markers
- Gather your recipes and plan the order you’d like to have them for the week.
- Write out your weekly menu plan on your dry erase board.
- Check your pantry and make your grocery list.
The App Method
I’ve been playing around with this method and like it. It may replace my current method soon.
You will need:
- A smartphone
- A meal-planning app. (I like Food Planner from MiniMobile. You can access recipes directly from sites such as PaleOMG and Elana’s Pantry and add them to your menu plan and grocery list.)
This will vary based on the app you choose. Some, like the app I mentioned above, let you add your own recipes or access those from your favorite blogs and recipe sites. Others (such as Meal Planning and Grocery List from Food on the Table) are more budget focused and allow you to start with what’s and sale and work from there. Still, you will gather recipes, make your menu plan, and then check your pantry and make your grocery list from there.
Now, I only plan my dinner menus, but you can do all meals with any of these methods if that helps you out.
Whether you eat Paleo or not, meal planning can save you time, money, and frustration!