A paleo diet meal plan for weight loss: Here’s how you do it right
October 8. 2022
Although we’ve been presented with countless new trendy diets in the last couple of decades, we seem to be slowly returning to the basics. We’re now encouraged to engage in balanced diets that are highly based on whole foods. One of the most popular diets that rely on these principles is the paleo diet meal plan.
And while it’s difficult to precisely determine the exact diet our ancestors had, it’s safe to say they’ve heavily relied on whole foods and thrived on a variety of diets. That means there was no single right diet all of them followed; their diet depended on several factors, including the part of the world where they lived. With that in mind, there’s also a lot of space for you to personalize your paleo diet meal plan. In today’s article, our weight loss clinic in Chicago presents the essence of a paleo diet and a number of meal examples to help you achieve weight loss in a healthy and sustainable way.
What is a paleo diet?
A paleo diet is also known as the Stone Age diet, the paleolithic diet, the caveman diet, or the hunter-gatherer diet. Based on all its different names, you can already assume what this diet is all about, what it encourages and forbids. And if not, a good rule of thumb when planning your meal is to ask yourself: Did the cavemen consume this? If the answer is no, then it’s most likely not a paleo-friendly meal.
Still, to make things more precise, we’ve highlighted a number of foods you can consume to create paleo meals, and we suggest you add them to your shopping list:
Beef is among the most popular options on a paleo diet; it’s rich in protein and iron. Protein helps you lose weight and build muscle mass, while iron can help treat anemia, boost your immunity, improve concentration and sleep as well, and improve muscle endurance.
Besides beef, you can also choose lamb, turkey, chicken, duck, etc., as long as you pick lean cuts of meat that are lower in calories and fat.
Oily fish and seafood
Seafood, in general, makes a fantastic protein source and oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation as well as lower the risk of heart disease and arthritis. With that in mind, make sure your paleo diet meal plan includes salmon, shrimp, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring, etc.
Eggs are an excellent low-calorie, high-protein, and nutritious choice for your paleo meal plan. They contain the nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce, which is why they’re known as complete proteins.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies should be an integral part of most of your paleo meals. Some of the best fruit choices include apples, bananas, oranges, pears, berries and avocados (which you can use to create a tasty avocado smoothie for weight loss). Paleo-friendly veggies include broccoli, peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc. Certain starchy vegetables are also allowed; carrots, sweet potatoes and beets can work together with other ingredients in this list to reduce the risk of heart diseases, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and prevent digestive problems.
Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens are high in fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and specific vitamins while being low in sodium, carbs and cholesterol. Great examples to include in your paleo diet are spinach, kale, Swiss chard, Romaine lettuce and collard green.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds can be fantastic sources of protein, fiber, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins. Make sure to include some almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and macadamia nuts.
Certain cooking oils
Not all oils are paleo-friendly; you should focus on including extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and flaxseed oil.
Health benefits of paleo
Apart from helping you lose weight, a paleo diet meal plan can also bring a number of beneficial health effects, including:
- improved heart health,
- healthy blood glucose and improved insulin sensitivity,
- lower blood pressure,
- improved satiety,
- improved cholesterol balance, etc.
Paleo diet meal plan for weight loss
Although a paleo diet can bring you several health benefits, many people choose to start it with the goal of losing weight. The diet allows you to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way and helps you avoid processed foods. Since it mainly focuses on whole foods and fresh ingredients, meal planning and prepping may not always be achievable, so we suggest you learn more about the food prep vs. meal prep debate and find an option that’s better for you.
Before going any further and sharing the meal plan, we have to talk about the forbidden foods on the paleo diet. Most common foods, such as meat and vegetables, are included in this diet, so you will not have too much trouble sticking to them. Still, if you strictly commit to the paleo diet, you have to be aware of all the restricted foods:
- Cereal grains
- Wheat flour
- Refined sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Refined vegetable oils
- Processed foods
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of the paleo diet, we can keep going. In the following paragraphs, we highlighted some of the best meal options for your paleo diet that will help you lose weight without starving yourself. Maintaining a calorie deficit is desirable, but it’s also important not to go overboard and deprive your body of the energy it needs to get through the day. If you often witness hunger spikes, you can also consult your doctor about using phentermine for weight loss.
Breakfast with no dairy? You may be wondering how that’s going to work. Dairies are off in a strict paleo meal plan. That is no milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, butter and other dairy products. Also, oatmeal and bread aren’t allowed on this diet either. Even so, the paleo diet gives you a wide range of options to choose from to prepare healthy and delicious breakfasts. On this one, meal planning can become your best friend and save you a lot of time, especially if you have busy mornings and don’t have too much time to prepare breakfast. Our advice? Make a shopping list with all the paleo-approved foods we mentioned before you go grocery shopping. That will save you from ending up eating eggs for breakfast every morning. These easy breakfast ideas will help you too:
Sweet potato bowl
For this breakfast, bake one medium sweet potato – you can bake two sweet potatoes or more and use the leftovers for future breakfast or meals. Let the baked sweet potatoes cool and mash them. You can add cinnamon to spice and maple syrup for extra flavor. You can top your sweet potato bowl with seeds, pecan, almonds or different nuts.
Banana, apple and carrot smoothie
Smoothies are a fast and sweet option for your breakfasts. For this one, simply blend one banana, one apple, and 1/2 carrot in your blender. You can add seeds if you like and ice for the hot weather days.
Egg and spinach muffins
This is another great breakfast idea you can prepare ahead and enjoy for several days. For 12 medium muffins, beat eight eggs and add cooked spinach to the mix. To make the muffins more exciting and flavorful, add mushrooms, onion or meat such as beef or chicken. Put the mix into the muffin cups and take it to the oven.
Paleo lunch ideas
Staying on track with the paleo diet will be easy for you with these fantastic lunch recipes we came up with.
Grilled chicken salad
A chicken salad is a great and tasty way to incorporate a lot of nutrients into your lunch. Season a boneless chicken breast with fresh ground pepper. Grill it. For the rest of the salad, you can use hard-boiled egg whites, red onions, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado and cucumber. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl; slice the grilled chicken and add it to the bowl. You can use fresh lemon juice, avocado oil and melted honey for the dressing.
Italian meatballs (but make it paleo)
Grab a large bowl and mix ground meat – it can be beef, turkey or a combination of both – eggs, seasoning and almond flour to keep the mix together. Shape the meatballs and cook them in the oven. You can make batches of 20 or 30 and freeze them to get ahead for future meals.
These salmon cakes are so easy to make you will include them in the list of your favorite foods as soon as you try them. For this dish, you can opt for canned salmon or buy fresh salmon and cook it yourself. You will also need vegetables – you can use cauliflower, onions, carrots and tomatoes. Make sure to chop and shred the vegetables. For the next step, mix and combine the salmon with the vegetables. Add your favorite herbs for more flavor. Finally, add one large egg. The egg will help keep the ingredients together. If needed, you can use almond flour for more texture. Once you have your mixture, form patties of your preferred size using your hands. You can cook the salmon cakes in a pan or the oven. So easy and tasty!
There are tons of recipes you can prepare using paleo-approved foods. Here are some ideas you can add to your paleo meal plan.
All you need is 2 cups broccoli florets, one small chopped red onion, two slices of cooked bacon and one tablespoon of sunflowers seeds. Combine the broccoli and chopped onions, crumble the bacon and add it to the broccoli and onions. Add the sunflower seeds. For the dressing, shop for paleo-friendly dressing, or make a homemade one yourself. There are tons of easy recipes on the internet.
For this delicious dinner, you need two lamb steaks (for two servings). Put the lamb steaks in a bowl and add avocado oil and fresh pepper. Mix it well and leave it for at least 5 minutes. Heat a pan and cook the steak for 2 minutes on each side. You can leave your lamb steaks like this and serve them with your favorite paleo-friendly salad. Another option is to slice the steaks and place them on top of the salad. Vegetables that pair well with lam are asparagus, carrots and radishes.
A paleo diet meal plan will likely keep you satisfied between meals, but if you do get hungry, we suggest you opt for these paleo snack ideas:
- a piece of fruit
- hard-boiled eggs
- baby carrots
- a handful of nuts
- sliced apple and some almond butter
- homemade beef jerky
- a bowl of berries
The paleo diet meal plan was designed based on the diets that hunter-gatherers had likely followed. Although there’s no singular right way to follow it, the general idea is to avoid processed foods and consume whole food with fresh ingredients. While dairy is restricted if you’re trying to eat paleo, you can consult your physician about some modern variations of this meal plan to ensure your weight loss in a sustainable way. This diet can also be an excellent base for developing a long-term, healthy lifestyle that heavily relies on the consumption of unprocessed foods. If you want to learn more about the subject or seek medical guidance during your weight loss journey, don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment with us.
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