For kicks, I thought I would share with you guys the foods we seem to rely on from week to week. Since we all have different needs (medical, allergies, preferences, tolerances, activity levels, etc.), I’m betting this list looks different from household to household, but in general there are some centerpieces that seem to get the job done for most people.
Here’s what the food situation at my house looks like on any given week.
A BIG BATCH OF PROTEIN (or two)
Taco meat loaded with veggies, pulled pork or carnitas, and a hearty slow cooker meal like Balsamic Chicken & Sausage happens at least twice a week. With four mouths to feed, having pre-made, full-flavor protein at your finger tips is how fast food is done in Paleo. For us, a big batch of taco meat always hits the spot. I cook up two pounds of grass-fed ground beef with a handful of vegetables and keep it ready to go in storage containers. It’s right there when I need to make:
- fast taco salad or lettuce wraps for lunch
- layered over a baked potato and topped with guacamole or diced avocado
- a frittata
- spooned over fresh plantain chips (like in Well Fed!) for awesome nachos!
Plus, I can toss any leftovers into the slow cooker with more tomatoes, bone broth and veggies and you’ve got no-brainer taco soup!
My family inhales these! I literally go into a kale-chip-baking-session for an hour because before the next batch comes out of the oven the previous one is gone. I buy large bags of organic kale from my wholesale retailer, slather them in quality grass-fed butter or avocado oil, lay them out on my silicone baking sheet and go to town on these nutritious, crunchy snacks!
BAKED SWEET POTATOES
No matter which protocol you follow, sweet potatoes usually get a green light. I tend to bake 4 to 6 sweet potatoes with my weekly bulk prep and use them a couple different ways:
- reheated with chopped apples, grass-fed butter and cinnamon for a warm breakfast
- served alongside leftover meat for an easy lunch
- warmed at dinner for a quick baked potato side dish
- peel the skin off and mash (Spicy Lime Sweet Potato Mash is pretty delicious!)
- smashed and rebaked at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes for crispy smashed taters (great to pile meat on!)
- you can even make sweet potato pancakes with it!
They are seriously a staple in our home. And by the way, did you know that sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash cook for the same amount of time at the same temperature? 400°F for about 40 to 45 minutes. Two birds with one stone!
Store bought kombucha can run from $2.50 a bottle to even $7.00 a bottle! Yikes! I make mine at home using a homebrew system, which after you make the initial investment costs pennies per batch to brew. It’s absolutely one thing you need to get yourself set up with. Kombucha contains critical probiotics, acids and enzymes that regulate your gut and restore it to a healthy state. Partnering the benefits of this fermented tea with the standard principles of Paleo eating and you’ve got an iron-proof gut.
I add it to my morning smoothie to get some probiotics to start the day. Smoothies are also a great way to help your kids adjust to the sour taste. Mine have grown accustomed to it now, but in the beginning adding it to smoothies or cutting it with juice worked to get it into their daily diet.
HARD-COOKED & SCOTCH EGGS
I bake about 12 to 24 eggs (yes, BAKE them) every week. Then I take about 6 and make Scotch Eggs. I usually just do a basic breakfast sausage, but sometimes I get creative with recipes like Spicy Chorizo or Maple Walnut. If you’ve never had one, these sausage-wrapped hard-cooked eggs might just blow you away with flavor and convenience.
For the plain hard-cooked eggs, they are critical for quick lunch plates and afternoon snacks. Grab a couple eggs along with some sliced veggies, an avocado and some berries and you’ve got a fast meal or snack (depending on how much you’ve loaded your plate) with minimal effort.
And if we don’t manage to cruise the whole lot of them? Egg salad and a variety of deviled eggs are always there to make sure nothing goes to waste.
LOTS OF GREENS
From spinach in smoothies to a runny fried egg over arugula, leafy greens are always there when you need them. We all know how nutrient dense these are, so I make it a goal to have at least have one handful of them for at least two meals daily. In fact, one of my favorite things to eat right now is salad for breakfast. Trust me, a couple handfuls of arugula with two runny fried eggs on top (and maybe some bacon on the side) is heaven.
When I’m busy making everyone else’s breakfasts and lunches and running out the door for morning drop offs, I tend to make this smoothie to take along in my single serve blender:
– 1/2 avocado
– big handful of organic baby spinach
– frozen organic berries
– some coconut milk
– some probiotic juice or kombucha
– collagen hydrolysate
This gets me fueled up and through the morning push before I can get back to my kitchen and make a warm meal.
Otherwise for lunch and dinner, I find sneaky ways to get collards, chard, kale, etc into our family’s main meals, like with Italian Mushroom Bake for a fast meal or Spinach Guacamole on taco night. This Rainbow Chard with Hazelnuts goes over pretty well too.
Kind of a weird thing to eat weekly if you’re not already on the fermented foods bandwagon, but if you are then you totally get it. We eat sauerkraut like a side dish and especially love it with grilled sausages or grass-fed hot dogs (yes, those exist). It makes an easy lunch or dinner, and I’ve been known to have a little on the side with breakfast too. It helps keep a healthy gut and that’s one of the main things Paleo is all about.
Here’s a fun way to eat your kraut for breakfast: use crispy bacon as a scoop!
Find raw kraut in your health food store or be brave and make it yourself. Here’s a resource to get you started.
GARBAGE HASH OR FRITTATA
Ok, we’re not really eating trash–but we are clearing out the fridge! Frittatas are the perfect way to use leftover meats and veggies at the end of the week. I’ve used up smoked salmon, pulled pork, sausage and peppers, kale and bacon, pesto — you name it, making these delicious things. They cook quick, are good at room temp or warmed up, make great to-go lunch material and are loaded with the stuff we Paleo folks thrive on: protein, fat and vegetables.
Just keeping things real… we eat a fair amount of apples. They are perfect any time of day. Chopped and cooked with cinnamon and coconut oil for breakfast, sliced with some nut butter with lunch or snack and it makes a great dessert, like this Superfood Apple Crisp. Since they are regularly on Environmental Working Group’s list of produce’s Dirty Dozen, this is one fruit I recommending buying organic.