By Gray Hayes, Paleo Practitioner & Blogger
In a fast-paced world, it seems almost impossible to find ways to become—and stay—healthy. Yet, a lifestyle that is good for you does not have to be bothersome. Even the busiest of mothers can stick to their Paleo lifestyle plans with no sacrificing required. All that is needed is a bit of planning, a dash of creativity, and just remembering the focus of this way of life: Giving our bodies the best, sustainable nutrition for optimal, overall performance in every aspect of our life.
Paleo For Busy Moms
A Paleo mom has two basic issues to deal with: Time and resources. If one fails, so will the other. Therefore, preparation is key and creativity is golden.
Here are six tips to keep your nutrient level as high up as your energy level:
1. Meal Plan and Cook Ahead
Create a weekly menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (start with the one you find easiest, first) and give your family options. To save on time and money, give your family three options per meal using interchangeable food items. For example, eggs, veggies, fruits, and anti-inflammatory coconut or almond-based creams and breads can be the key ingredient to make a weeks’ worth of breakfast dishes to keep ready in the refrigerator.
2. Don’t Forget the Snacks
According to the American Diabetes Association, on the topic of glycemic index and diabetes, researchers explain that carbohydrate-rich foods raise blood glucose. This is the primary reason behind the mindless eating that takes place when the body experiences abnormal cravings caused by disparaging eating times, or excess consumption of simple carbohydrates and empty calories.
Paleo snacks are naturally devoid of simple carbs, and every calorie is a good calorie. This is because grains, starches, and sugars are not part of the Paleo eating plan. Therefore, typical Paleo snacks are protein-packed and made with nothing but natural and fresh ingredients, paired with fruits and vegetables.
Just take out one day of your schedule, look up a Paleo food list, and use your tasty creativity to make snacks that are good for you and your family.
3. Keep Snacks and Homemade Drinks With You
Thermal pouches and bags are popular and easy to get these days. Small bags that keep foods cold or hot are found everywhere. You do not have to keep big, clunky ice chest in your car. Just one thermal bag can fit drinks and food together so that you can take healthy snacks to games, after school events, and family outings.
4. Cook Easy Stuff
Paleo recipes include many items that are portable, easy to store, and pantry-friendly. It is not only about meat and vegetables. A lot of other creative meals can come out of our Paleo list. For example, our savory egg and bacon muffins are awesome for breakfast, or as snacks. This is an example of a savory meal that can save you time and money, using very basic ingredients.
5. Have a Backup Plan
Unexpected things happen in life. As such, maybe you couldn’t pack lunches or snacks due to some unforeseen circumstance. In these instances, it’s important to have an easy and quick backup plan for feeding your little ones real food. Knowing nearby places where you can pick up healthy foods is great or keep some very basic ingredients on hand that will allow you to whip up something in a pinch.
6. Consider These Apps to Preserve Your Paleo Sanity
Smartphones (and apps) are ubiquitous in our modern society, so use them to your advantage. Apps are not only fun; they can also enhance your productivity. Nowadays there is an app for everything and managing your paleo life is no different. Consider checking out one or more of the six apps (some paid, some free) listed below to keep things on track.
Chorma (iOS only) – This productivity app is for busy families. It motivates each family member to select (and complete) chores and responsibilities in the household while earning points in the process. This incentive-based application is great to share tasks and keep kids motivated. No more bossing around! Let the kids pick what they do, and enjoy seeing them actually doing it! Get Chorma free in the iTunes store.
Out of Milk– Check out this grocery list maker…on steroids! Keep your pantry updated, save recipes, scan items, add ingredients, get shopping alerts, and keep old and new shopping lists available with this amazing app. You have read correctly: There is no way you will forget anything, or miss any items from a recipe, with this alert and storage app. The best part? It is available for Out of Milk for Android and Out of Milk for iPhones. Get it free, too.
Mint -Keep your paleo budget in check with this budget app, which keeps you alert and on track with your expenditures. No more asking “Where’s my money going?” Mint will keep you informed consistently. Enter your bills, track your card usage, and get your budget straight with a cool interface that is easy to use. There’s Mint for iPhones and Mint for Android phones, there is no excuse now for wasting your hard-earned cash.
HealthyOut (iOS only)– For busy moms who have no choice but to get takeout on occasion, your healthy alternative is at your fingertips. Literally! HealthyOut is another awesome application that helps you find healthy restaurants and food options to feed your hungry Paleo charges. It is for all diets, too, from Paleo to Atkins and even Weight Watchers and Mediterranean. So you’ll be able to meet everyone’s dietary needs. Get HeathyOut free from the iTunes store.
There are also apps that are exclusively Paleo!
Fast Paleo – A paid app ($2.99) made for iPhones, it features over 1200 recipes that are primal, gluten-free and Paleo. All that you could ever need for a successful Paleo meal will be at your fingertips with Fast Paleo for iPhones and Fast Paleo for Android.
Paleo Diet- Another Paleo food recipe app for weight loss and to keep track of macronutrients consumed throughout the day. It covers breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You can find Paleo Diet on iTunes or Paleo Diet for Android for 99 cents.
Benefits of Paleo for moms
A diet free from preservatives means that your body will use up every ounce of energy you put in it for energy and macronutrients. It also means fewer chances to succumb to food allergies, or much less develop them.
A combined journal article authored by both Dr. Loren Cordain and S. Boyd Eaton titled Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century, published in the American Journal of Clinical nutrition, talks about the human genome and the harsh shock that the modern diet has caused in the way the human body has been forced to re-utilize the (lack of) nutrients contained in modern foods.
The consequences that arise from food allergies, particularly in children, have caused a range of new, exponentially dangerous diseases never seen in decades. Moreover, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and digestive disorders continue to go on the rise.
If the highly processed modern diet is the problem, the solution is to counteract it by eating a clean, gluten-free and anti-inflammatory meal plan. Paleo can be a solution to this. Multiple studies have been conducted, which evidence that a Paleo type diet can have a beneficial effect on weight and diseases, such as diabetes.
How to get started
New to Paleo? No problem! As long as you become familiar with the food list, and come up with your own creative ways to pair foods, you can conduct a simple online research and find multiple ways to make your Paleo transition easier. I recently conducted interviews with 13 Paleo bloggers who shared ways to start your Paleo journey and navigate the transition process.
Here are some brief tips: Start slow. Learn the list. Get used to the idea of zero preservatives, and zero junk. Think “food swaps.” Most importantly, think of the huge favor that you are doing your body by feeding it the nutrition that it needs to work optimally.
Benefits for children
Always consult with your primary health provider about any changes you plan to make to your child’s nutrition. Nevertheless, one benefit of Paleo, is the focus on eliminating sugar. Additionally, a paleo type diet may be beneficial among children who suffer from common peanut and dairy allergies, as these two food groups are not consumed as part of the Paleo plan.
Even if you induct your children partially to a Paleo nutritional plan, they will still get snacks and lunches that are allergen-free and great for digestive health. This means more time to focus on what is really important, such as burning that high energy level at the playground. This also means fewer trips to the doctor and less tummy aches in the middle of the night. Paleo is not only nutritious, but also delicious, money savvy, and simply smart.
Being a Paleo mom can be challenging at times. However, with the right preparation you can manage your family’s activities and assure that each member is getting the proper nutrition. Once you get into the routine of preparing meals and snacks ahead of time, you will notice that you and your family are able to eat well while keeping a full schedule.
About the Author
Sam Milner & Gray Hayes are passionate paleo practitioners, bloggers and busy parents. Initially, they started the Caveman Diet Blog to share their weight loss journey. Now they focus on the tips, recipes and topics that arise while living Paleo in the modern world.
For more tips, simple recipes, articles and food lists to help with your paleo transition and ongoing paleo life visit Sam & Gray at the cavemandietblog.com.