Anytime your body is subjected to massive change, mental and physical issues can arise. Drastically changing one’s nutritional diet, as many people do when committing to eat Paleo, can be a bit difficult. Old habits do die hard, no matter how much you are motivated.
4 Important Steps to Proper Nutrition on the Paleo Diet
The following tips can help you successfully adopt and benefit from eating the Paleo way.
Eat Enough Food
Going Paleo means you will be eating a lot of foods which are full of
healthy dietary fiber. These foods are also nutritionally very rich and
extremely good for you. This combination means that you can quickly feel
full. In fact, this is one diet in which you’ll be permitted to eat a lot…of the right foods, of course.
That may not sound like a problem. However, some people who transition from a predominantly processed food diet to a Paleolithic diet initially do not consume enough calories. This is because many of the fiber-rich vegetables you need to eat don’t have near the calorie load of the
nutritionally nightmarish food you have been eating.
For instance, one cup of broccoli delivers just 55 cal and 6 g of carbohydrates, but delivers more than 2 dozen essential nutrients. A single cup of broccoli fills you with a full 21% of the fiber you need in an entire day. In contrast, a cup of fast food french fries delivers between 200 and 300 cal and a whopping 30 g of carbohydrates.
So when you eat broccoli and other Paleo friendly foods, you may feel full
before you have eaten a healthy number of calories in the day. This filling,
nutritious aspect of the diet is why it’s so great for helping you regulate a healthy body weight.
You should still, however, track your calorie intake daily, and make sure you aren’t starving yourself calorie-wise. You should also have target numbers for daily carbohydrate consumption as well. Paleo nutrition trackers are available as free downloads for most smart phones and computers. They provide a perfect way to ensure you are getting the correct amount of calories, carbohydrates and healthy fats in your daily meal plan.
One of the wonderful benefits of the Paleo plan is not having to track and
count calories. At the beginning, using a Paleo nutrition tracker will help you
figure out how much of which foods you need to be eating each day. After a
while, you’ll instinctively know what you generally need and may not need to refer to a nutrition tracker anymore.
Build a Balanced Paleo Plate
Eating should always include a plan. That plan should account for the right
amounts of fats, carbohydrates and protein for each meal. Aim for the following serving sizes at each meal:
- Eat about a thumb sized amount of fat at each meal. This is roughly 1/4 to 1/2 of a small avocado, or 2 to 3 tablespoons of nuts. If you add oil or fat to your meal, this is the equivalent of 2 or 3 teaspoons.
- You should eat at least, but not much more than, protein equivalent to
the size of 1 or 2 of your palms. Your body can only process so much
protein at a time, so eating more than that is wasteful.
- Include a fistful of carbohydrates at each meal.
- Fill the rest of your plate with vegetables.
- Herbs and spices approved on the Paleo system can be used liberally, since they are extremely healthy and virtually absent of calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Plan for Paleo Away from Home
Sometimes you want to enjoy a meal out. This means dining at the home of
a friend or at a restaurant without wrecking your Paleo nutrition plans. If you’re friends and family are aware that you eat Paleo, most will happily accommodate some simple requests. You can also offer to bring some food or help with preparation, so as not to seem demanding.
Fortunately, there are some restaurants now that have some foods on their menus that are Paleo friendly. You can either call ahead to check, view menus online or try to find substitutions after you arrive. Some restaurants will even cook up a special dish for you if you ask ahead.
Keep in mind that restaurants that specialize in pizzas and sandwiches are less likely to offer many alternatives. As with any specialty diet, you will need plan ahead, be creative and look for alternative options in how you adjust your social life around meals.
Cook in Batches the Paleo Way
Batch cooking makes sense no matter what type of dietary approach you
take. You cook once, making all of your meals for the following week. It’s helpful to keep a weekly meal planner to record information about how many meals you need to cook each week, ingredients you need and other mealtime specifics.
It’s also helpful to cook on the same day every week. Focus on one pot recipes like casseroles, soups and stews. These can be made in large batches and portioned off. You can also use the batch approach to vegetables and meats, cooking in large quantities and then freezing or refrigerating individual serving sizes.