I am doing this more for me, but I want to detail what I have learned and am still learning about meal planning for the paleo and AIP diet/lifestyle for us right now. (Please comment if you have any tips.) I have gleaned a great deal from websites, podcasts (I listen while cooking, folding clothes, driving, etc.), friends, and books.
- I subscribed to emeals.com Paleo menu plan. It’s very inexpensive and provides a dinner meal plan, recipe, and shopping list for each night of the week. They even have an iPhone app now which makes it super handy when shopping.
- I also carefully plan each component of breakfast, lunch, and multiple snacks for the day. The kids need at least two snacks during the day (and they usually inhale more – good grief, would they STOP growing already!), and I am eating at least every two hours (per my plan.)
- I have a framed board in the kitchen where I write this all out with a dry erase marker so that everyone can see what the plan is for the next few days.
- (I still have not figured out lunch planning for Chris. Poor guy gets left out so much.)
- Planning includes these considerations: when do we need to pack a lunch, when do we have evening activities and dinner has to be fast, when do we have morning activities and breakfast has to be fast, the servings of fruit per day that G requires right now differs greatly from my plan so I need to make sure we both get what we need, Chris cannot have certain foods (highly acidic, obviously), and to complicate all of it, the AIP diet for me is extra special so that requires extra thinking.
- I try to cook more than we need because leftovers are necessary. We don’t just open our pantry anymore and grab goldfish and nacho cheese chips for a quick snack. It’s fresh fruit, fresh veggies, or leftovers for a snack (particularly if you need protein). In fact, if we need a quick meal during the week, I plan to cook double and freeze/refrigerate it for later. (My goal is to do this more often so I have a stockpile…just not there yet.)
- Traveling is a whole ‘nother story…and a separate post.
- I now have a notebook for planning and while I’m writing out the plan on one side, I’m simultaneously writing out my shopping list. Once the list is complete, I then divide the list into the (usually three) different stores (or farmer’s market) I need to visit to purchase everything I need.
- I check my pantry to make sure I am stocked up on essentials: olive oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, sweet potatoes (a must), and whatever else comes to mind. Some of this I order online anyhow.
- I also make a list of “condiments”, nut milk, sorbet, etc. and ingredients I might need to buy for them (if not already on hand) and what I need to make. This might include salad dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, cashew milk, cashew cream, coconut milk, sorbets, chocolate mousse (made from avocados – Chris and the kids LOVE it!), or other special treats I decide on for the week.
- You’re picturing an enormous grocery bill, right? Right.
- I make sure the list is complete and ready to go. I put a cooler in the back of the car, visit the ATM for cash for the farmer’s market, charge the kids’ games and grab some books for them (including some memory work for school) and the marathon afternoon of shopping begins.
Next up: Paleo and AIP: ShoppingComing soon: Paleo and AIP: Home from Shopping, Now What? Paleo and AIP: Traveling, Paleo and AIP: Dining Out