The Paleo diet has been increasing in popularity over recent years, as people learn that its back-to-basics approach to eating can be both healthy and extremely useful for losing weight. The principle is that if your human ancestors didn't eat something thousands of years ago, you shouldn't eat it now.
That's the theory, but how can you make the Paleo diet work for you in modern daily life?
1) Know Your Food Types, Ratios, and Calories
Following a Paleo diet means getting around half of your daily calories from lean meat and seafood, and the rest from nuts, vegetables, fruits, and seeds. It also means avoiding grains and ingredients with any added sugars and salts.
2) Avoid Processed Foods
It's hard to stick to Paleo rules when you are buying prepackaged, processed foods whose misleading labels could confuse a professional nutritionist. You will come closest to eating like our ancestors if you buy only real, raw, whole foods and prepare your meals from scratch.
3) Prepare and Store Meals Ahead of Time
People often "fall off" the Paleo diet because food preparation is time-consuming, and they find themselves in a situation where they need a quick and easy meal. That's why it's essential to prepare and store Paleo-friendly meals ahead of time so that when you need to eat all you have to do is grab one and warm it through.
You can plan your meals and prepare them on your day off, and then freeze or refrigerate them for eating later. That also has the benefit of allowing you to save money and avoid waste by carefully planning your shopping, buying only what you need, and saving money by purchasing often-used ingredients in bulk.
4) Keep Healthy, Paleo-Compatible Snacks Handy
When you get hungry, it's good to have an easily accessible Paleo-friendly snack, so you don't end up turning to a processed, sugary treat instead. To make this easy, you could put together a healthy trail mix of nuts, dried fruits, and seeds, which you can store in airtight plastic bags.
You could also purchase healthy snacks that are specifically designed for people on a Paleo diet, which are convenient but may work out to be more expensive. Fresh fruit is a good thing to have on hand as well, although always remember that fruit is deceptively high in calories, so don't rely on it too much.
5) Make Sure You're Eating Enough
If you're finding it hard to stick to a Paleo diet, and are continually craving forbidden treats, it may be because you aren't eating enough to cover your daily energy needs. As a consequence, you get hungry and give in to the nearest temptation. However, if you follow steps three and four above, you should always have a good food choice available whenever you get hungry. Don't deny yourself - use these snacks and meals to curb your hunger before it drives you to eat the wrong foods.
The Paleo diet is attractive because it combines healthy, natural eating with a more accessible path to weight loss than many other diet plans. However, like any restrictive diet, it can quickly fail if you don't plan it carefully. Follow these tips, and you can make Paleo work for you without much of the frustration that losing weight can involve.