By Melissa Fine, Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor.
Although there are several variations to the paleo diet, the premise of it really is to just eat real food like the cavemen did – Think animal protein (fish, meat, poultry, eggs), vegetables, a little fruit, nuts and seeds. And while we’re far from leading hunter-gatherer lifestyles, here’s how even the busiest of us can get back to basics when we’re eating on the go:
1) Make double: A tip not just for if you’re on a paleo diet, but for anyone who wants to eat healthy; If I’m making a salad for lunch a day I’m at home, I’ll make extra, put it in a container and my lunch for the next day is ready! You can do this when you’re making dinner too.
This only takes an extra minute, will save you money and also means you’re less likely to go for that kebab or plate of nachos from the food court come lunchtime.
2) Think ‘Portable Protein’: To stabilise your blood sugar and sustain you while you’re out and about; Without adequate protein (a portion the size and thickness of your palm with each main meal), you’re more likely to end up craving and overeating not-so-paleo, sugary and refined flour foods later in the day.
Hardboiled eggs – yolk and all - are the perfect portable protein and a perfect food, the yolk being where all the nutrients are, one being ‘lutein’, a natural pigment (a ‘carotenoid’) important for skin and eye health. Have one hardboiled egg for a snack (sprinkle with sea salt, paprika or seaweed flakes for extra flavour), or two to top a colourful salad at lunch.
Canned fish is another good option; I’m a fan of canned sardines and salmon, both rich in the essential fatty acid omega-3; You’ll also get a good dose of calcium if you eat the edible bones, worth noting as they are calcium-rich and dairy is to be avoided on the paleo diet.
3) Pack Your Snacks: So that you’re less tempted to dig into the biscuit tin at work mid-morning. Pack a piece of portable fruit (apples, mandarins and bananas won’t spoil) and a handful of raw nuts in a mini zip-lock bag or container. Keeping a couple good quality nut and fruit bars in your desk draw or handbag is also a good idea; One worth trying is Naked Paleo’s handmade Cacao Almond Bar, made with nothing but almonds, omega-3 packed walnuts, antioxidant-rich cacao, coconut oil and fibre-filled dates. Half a bar is a delicious, wholesome alternative to refined sugar-laden, highly processed milk chocolate for when you need a chocolate fix.
4) Have Healthy Alternatives on Hand: A rich medjool date stuffed with a teaspoon of almond or coconut butter is the perfect paleo snack for for when you’re craving something sweet but want it to be healthy. And a Naked Paleo bar is always handy for when you’re at a work lunch or on the road and there’s no paleo-friendly options in sight; Skip the sandwich and enjoy this instead - A meal in itself!
Missing your pre-paleo muffins and banana bread? Try a grain free One Minute Muffin instead; Variations of this recipe are all over the blog world because it’s awesome! It looks and tastes like sponge cake, but is low in carbs and high in protein and healthy fats. Make the night before work or in the a.m. and you have breakkie-to-go:
In a tall mug, combine 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 egg, ½-1 tsp honey, ¼ C LSA (or ground flaxseed) and ½ tsp each cinnamon and baking powder; Mix well and microwave on high for 1 minute, or until top looks cooked.
Optional add-ins: A handful of berries or 1/2 a medium, very ripe mashed banana (Increase cooking time by 10-20 seconds if adding fruit). Transport in the mug or place upside down on a plate – Muffin should slide right out.
5) Restaurant Rules: Steak, seafood or grilled fish with green salad are all paleo-friendly options when you’re eating out. Feel like a burger? Order it without the bun and cheese - Wrap it in a lettuce leaf if you’d like so you can still eat it with your hands. If Asian food is more your thing, go for sashimi (skip the sushi), san choy bow (with beef/chicken/pork) and vegetable or meat/seafood skewers. And if you’re out for breakkie, order a veggie omelette or scrambled/poached eggs with a side of avo, seared spinach and grilled tomatoes.
Naked Paleo handmade Cacao Almond Bars are made from almonds, walnuts, coconut, cacao, coconut oil and dates. Nothing to hide. Packed with nutrition, no added sugar, dairy or grains and is gluten and preservative free. To find out more visit www.nakedpaleo.com.au