If you're new to Paleo and recently started cooking all of your own Paleo meals, you might have noticed that Paleo cooking takes a little longer than most! You're skipping over a lot of unhealthy convenience ingredients to cook the real, wholesome food that Paleo meals include. With these tips, you'll find that your meal prep time and cooking time can be greatly reduced, and ultimately your recipes will be even more delicious!
I love eating a Paleo diet. My energy level goes up. I sleep better. My bloodwork shows it's best for me. My kids seem to behave better (or I'm just more patient). I love experimenting with new dishes, flavor combinations I would never have thought of before, and knowing exactly what I'm eating. I'm not too fond of how expensive it can be (although I've learned how to eat Paleo on a budget!) and how much time I spend in the kitchen. Cooking three meals a day and snacks from scratch is a lot more time consuming than running through a driveway or cooking something semi-homemade. Here are some of the tips that help me save a lot of time in the kitchen so I'm not tempted to cheat!
Tips For Cooking Paleo Meals
1. Cooking in bulk: Cooking in bulk is a great way to get yourself on track for paleo. Paleo cooking takes quite a bit of time, and if you do it all at once for the week, you'll have a lot more free time and a lot less stress! Cooking paleo meals can be super overwhelming at first, and buying and cooking in bulk can eliminate a lot of the hassle, making it easier to stick to a Paleo diet. Cook a large batch of bacon in the oven one night while you are working on dinner. Instead of cooking a butternut squash for tonight, cook all of them for the week. Grill twice the number of chicken breasts you need for easy meals later in the week. Although it isn't strictly Paleo, I highly recommend Prep-Ahead Meals from Scratch. Alea shares some great tips and recipes in there!
2. Get some oils to have on hand: A lot of healthy fats you get in Paleo cooking are provided by the oils you use. Coconut oil, olive oil, and even almond oil are all great options for oils to use in cooking your paleo meals. A lot of time, bacon fat, ghee, and butter are used as a replacement for oils so you'll also want to make sure you have some of that on hand! Remembering that fat is not the enemy on a Paleo diet is key!
3. Start stocking your kitchen with the basics: Things like almond flour and coconut flour are used quite a bit in Paleo cooking. I'm also playing around with Cassava Flour in some of my recipes with good results. It's a good idea to keep them on hand in case you ever decide to make something on a whim, like this Paleo Friendly Banana Bread! Coconut milk is also a great replacement for dairy, and you can even make ice cream with it! Eggs are a pretty big staple in Paleo cooking too, so it's a good idea to keep at least a dozen eggs on hand!
4. Set aside some time to cook: As mentioned before, Paleo cooking takes a little extra time. There's a lot of meal preparation, vegetable cutting, mixing, etc. that goes into creating a Paleo meal. If you don't set aside the time to cook your paleo meals, cooking will be very difficult and time-consuming. A good way to do this is by doing a little bit at a time. If you have some free time, cut up the carrots you plan to use in tonight's dinner. Then, after lunch, start peeling sweet potatoes. It's all about making the time to do things so that you're able to execute your Paleo cooking successfully.
Ultimately, the most important thing when it comes to Paleo cooking is finding a balance and making sure you have plenty of ingredients to keep your meals Paleo. What tips would you offer to people wanting to learn about Paleo cooking?