I learned a long time ago that grains and my body did not work well together. My digestive issues got better when I went Paleo and gave up the grains and when I slip — oh man, I feel like crap.
I have learned to keep it simple and have paleo snacks in my house or grab kale chips, a smoothie or just grab a bag if almonds from a gas station (yes, that is reality).
Yep, it is the truth.
If you’re like the majority of the American population, you’re always out and about running errands, commuting to work, taking the kids to practice, getting groceries, etc. Such a hectic schedule lends itself to crappy eating, and crappy eating lends itself to sabotaging your new lifestyle completely.
I don’t want this to happen to you. It’s happened to me before, and it took me a few days to get back on track. Some people never get back on track. Therefore, I want to provide you with the tips and tricks I learned for keeping up with a Paleo lifestyle in the midst of a busy life.
- Always, always, always keep Paleo friendly snacks in the car or in your purse (you may need a cooler). I recommend things like a bag of nuts or a bag of seeds, granola bars (Paleo-approved, not the sweet, half-chocolate kind), a bag of vegetables or a bag of fruit. You can take fresh fruit or even dried fruit.
- If you don’t have anything on you at the time the hunger hits, you can visit a grocery store with a fresh foods section (Hello, Whole Foods), and grab a healthy salad, a cup of fruit, a bag of trail mix, etc.
- If you failed to bring any snacks with you and you cannot make it to a grocery store, you can visit a fast-food restaurant if you need to. If you must do this, order a salad with just veggies, protein and a healthy fat (if they have it). For example, you could order a side salad from Wendy’s and a grilled chicken sandwich without the bun or sauce. At Subway, you can order a salad with protein and a side of avocado (when it’s in season). You should also probably skip the dressing at fast-food restaurants unless you can get just fresh olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.
- For sit-down restaurants, what you order will depend on what type of restaurant you’re visiting. Here are some examples of meals:
- Bar & Grille: a turkey burger without the bun or sauce and a side salad with boiled eggs and no premade dressing; a chicken sandwich without the bun or sauce with a baked sweet potato on the side (I find coconut oil is a great sub for butter on the potato); or, just a healthy salad loaded with veggies is great too (if they have avocado, that would be even better to add to your salad)
- Breakfast joints: Eggs, eggs and more eggs with some veggies and avocado would be a great option; a large fruit cup would be a nice snack
- Chinese: Grilled veggies and seafood/veggie combos; sushi (if you don’t go crazy on the rice)
- Mexican: Beef or chicken fajitas sans the fajita and loaded with veggies and a side of guacamole
- Italian: Stick with a bare salad with a protein on top
- Steakhouses: Fill up on the steak and veggies and a sweet potato; if you’re feeling dessert, opt for a fruit cup
- Deli: Any type of salad with protein; a protein-filled lettuce wrap; other wraps not made of grains (spinach or tomato, for example)
- If you’re searching for snacks for your busy life, I recommend these brands: [Insert your favorite brands]
Finally, I just want to mention – it’s so important not to over-complicate this lifestyle. If you do this, you will stress yourself out and not enjoy the process of becoming healthier.
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to eat Paleo-approved, so do your best with it and remember – every little step in the right direction, no matter how small, is still a step towards optimal health and your best self.
Before I go, here is my favorite Kale Chip Recipe:
1 bunch kale (Lacinato or curly variety)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon smoked OR sweet paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
optional – 5-6 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
PREHEAT THE OVEN. Preheat to 300 degrees.
PREPARE THE KALE. Wash and dry the kale. Rip the kale into bite-sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with oil and seasoning.
BAKE THE KALE. Arrange kale on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Top with extra nutritional yeast if desired.