Besides “I love eating bread too much”, “lack of time” is probably the #1 excuse I hear, about why people are apprehensive to start a paleo diet. A big part of me just wants to shake these people and tell them that they need to prioritize their life, and spend more time on their most basic human need of the food they put into their body. But a more reasonable part of me knows that we all have varying degrees of work, family, and life commitments, and are all opting for convenience in one way or another. I mean none of us are truly living like a caveman and hunting and gathering all of our food (except for maybe Mark Zuckerberg).
Whether you are apprehensive about taking the leap to a paleo diet, or you are currently taking on our Superhuman 40 challenge, here are a few simple strategies for saving you time while living a superhuman life.
The All-In-One Solution: Meal Delivery Service
Want to take care of grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning in one shot? Try a meal delivery service that will deliver pre-cooked, individually packaged meals straight to your front door. You can have all your meals delivered a couple times a week, or you can just have a few meals on hand for when you don’t have time to cook.
A few companies I have used locally are Fresh Meal Plan and Fuel Foods. They offer paleo meal plans, but the quality isn’t quite as good as what you could make at home. Pre-Made Paleo and Paleo-on-the-Go specialize in paleo food and appear to have better quality (I have yet to try them), but they do cost a little more.
Grocery Shopping From Your Couch
You can get a good amount of your grocery shopping done without ever leaving your house. We have mentioned before how US Wellness is great for buying grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork. Amazon Prime is another great way to stock up on coconut oil, almond butter, cacao powder, supplements, and almost anything else you can think of. Steve’s Paleo is most known for their beef jerky paleo kits, but they have recently started selling sauces and dressings. This is a great way to add variety to your salads or those 5 LBs of chicken you grilled on Sunday.
Eating On the Go
My favorite option for eating on the go is to swing by a local grocery store or market and pick up pre-made food. I will usually do this whenever I am traveling in a new city so I am not at the mercy of restaurants for all of my meals. Whole Foods has the widest selection of any store that I have been to, but Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s are decent as well. At a place like Whole Foods, you can hit up the prepared foods and salad bars, grab a rotisserie chicken or sushi/sashimi, or find raw veggies for snacking from the produce section.
Very few restaurants will be perfectly paleo which is why we encourage so many people to cook at home. Even if you think that something is paleo, there is a good chance that there are some refined sugars or flours mixed in, or more likely that your food was cooked in a highly processed vegetable oil. With the realization that almost no food at a restaurant will be perfect, there are still better and worse choices that can be made. Mexican restaurants like Chipotle or Moe’s are the go-to choices for most paleo followers, just skip the burritos, cheese, and beans, and order a big salad with everything else on it. Seafood and sushi restaurants are another solid choice. You can typically get a lettuce wrapped burger at most burger joints. And most places that serve breakfast should be able to get you eggs cooked in butter with some fruit and avocado.
Convenient Snacks and Meals
Smoothies are a great way to get comparable nutrition to a meal with far less time than it would take to prepare a normal meal. You can have them as a replacement for breakfast, as a post-workout refuel, or take them on the go for a time you are hungry later. Hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, raw veggies for dipping in guacamole or salsa, canned tuna/salmon, and some deli meats, make for other good portable options. I have even seen some people that buy baby food like carrots and sweet potatoes to have as a snack, or for after workouts.
Cooking and Cleaning Tips
Cooking in bulk is the best way to save time when it comes to cooking and cleaning. If you are going to spend the time preparing for one meal, why not just double or triple the recipe, and set yourself up for success with leftovers for the next couple days. If you do opt to cook in bulk, I recommend having sauces and dressings on hand to add variety to your meals, such as mustard, tomato sauce, salsa, guacamole, and hot sauce. Using a crockpot is another tool that I love for cooking a lot of really good food with little effort, it just requires a little planning ahead of time. I also love having frozen vegetables for their ability to be cooked quickly in a microwave or as a way of avoiding another trip to the grocery store when the fresh vegetables run out sooner than expected. My final tip is to just eat off paper plates instead of adding more dishes into the mix. I find this to be a necessity for those who are new to cooking on a regular basis.
Eat Less Often or Try Intermittent Fasting
You will spend a lot less time cooking, cleaning, and eating if you eat 2 big meals in a day then if you eat 5-6 smaller meals. By eating less often, you can keep yourself from getting distracted from the constant thought of your next meal, and focus on getting stuff done. Many people will save time by replacing their breakfast with bulletproof coffee (coffee with butter and coconut oil) in addition to 2 larger meals later in the day. Similarly, intermittent fasting is a technique where you can spend less time thinking about food by condensing your eating window to a very short period of the day, like 6-8 hours. An example would be to eat only between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm, so you can take advantage of the benefits of fasting, as well as freeing yourself from the thought of food the rest of the day. If this sounds interesting to you, head over to this article to learn more about intermittent fasting and why eating 6 times a day to keep your metabolism high is a myth.
That’s all I got, but I want to hear from you. Where do you eat paleo when you are out or short on time? What strategies or tools have you implemented that have resulted in huge time savings? Leave a comment below or contact me at email@example.com with your solutions so I can add them to the list.