This article is mainly aimed at my friends in Finland. For someone who wants to switch to Paleo style of eating it might be daunting at first to figure out what to prepare for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. In my kitchen we rarely use any recipes, but instead mix and match few basic ingredients to prepare multiple different kinds of dishes. Therefore this article will also focus on basic foods and how to prepare them.
Our formula for larger meals (lunch and dinner) is very simple. We typically take one major protein source and combine it with vegetables, tubers, and salad. Here’s what you can do:
Salmon is relatively inexpensive and tasty, so it is the fish we use the most. We cook our salmon fillets either in an oven (225 degrees Celsius, 12 minutes) or on a frying pan (2-3 minutes / side). Throw in salt and pepper for taste, and squeeze some lime juice for extra flavor.
Minced beef can be cooked as it is on a frying pan, or you can make meatballs and hamburger steaks. Just add 1 raw egg for each 300-400 grams of meat, mix it in a bowl, throw in some spices such as pepper and rosemary, and shape them as you like. Cook either in the oven or on the frying pan.
Chicken or turkey fillets are easily prepared on a frying pan with some spices. One of my favorite recipes is to chop the meat into pieces, fry it, and when it starts to get ready throw in lots of curry, chili, and coconut cream.
Lamb has become our favorite this summer. It is very tender, tastes awesome and costs less than good beef steak. Cook some roast lamb on a frying pan, 2-3 minutes on both sides, throw in salt and pepper, put the lamb on a ceramic skillet, cover with aluminum foil and put the skillet to an oven for 10-12 minutes. You can spend that time getting ready to have an orgasm in your mouth.
Vegetables and tubers
We have two basic methods that we use 95% of the time when cooking veggies: steaming and baking. Most of the stuff can be cooked either way.
Sweet potatoes and yams are tasty and especially good when eaten after a workout since they contain quite a bit of starch and can therefore help in recovery. The quickest way to prepare them is to simply cut the whole thing in half so you end up with two “boats”. Cook them for 40-45 minutes in a 200 degree oven and you’ll find them soft, tasty, and the skin comes off easily.
Another, a little more laborious, way to cook them is to first peel the skin, then cut the it in slices, and throw the slices in an oven for about 20 minutes. Our go-to spice mix for these is pepper, chili, cinnamon and a bit of butter or olive oil.
As for the other tubers and veggies, we regularly eat mushrooms (fried), zucchini (steamed, fried, or baked), broccoli (steamed, fried, or baked), carrots (steamed, fried, or baked), tomatoes (fried or as-is), different leafy salads (as-is), cucumber (as-is), onions (fried or as-is) etc. I would recommend spending quite some time on the fresh produce section in your grocery and just experimenting with stuff. There’s a world of taste waiting for you.
And if you feel like a lazyboy, just grab a pack of frozen veggies and steam them. It won’t get easier than that :)
By combining different vegetables and tubers with fish and meats you can create a variety of dishes. Experiment with different spices and sauces and you can easily have a unique meal every day of the week if you want to.
Breakfast and snacks
When I switched to a low-carb diet in spring 2009 figuring out what to eat for breakfast and snacks was the most difficult thing to get my head around. In some ways this got even trickier when I started eliminating neolithic foods. However, I do have some tips:
Eggs are your friend. Period. I’m not a breakfast person so very often I just boil 2-4 eggs, eat them as they are and maybe throw in a fruit or some nuts.
Omelets make a kickass breakfast – or even a larger meal if you add e.g. some bacon or smoked salmon. One of the advantages of omelets is that you can throw pretty much anything on them; tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots… So if you have some leftovers from last night’s dinner you can use those as well.
Speaking of leftovers, there’s no reason why you couldn’t have the same food you had for dinner as breakfast the next day. Or as a snack.
And when it comes to snacks, I’ve found some nuts and fruit to work very well, but I also enjoy boiled eggs quite often if I feel like snacking. Another thing that works wonders is coconut water; just mix 1/3 or 1/4 coconut cream with cold water, stirr, and drink.
If you want to get a bit more fancy, try this Trail Mix by MDA.
Think you can’t enjoy sweet stuff simply because you want to eat healthy? Bullshit! Here’s something to get you started – although I don’t recommend eating this stuff every single day, especially if you’re trying to lose weight :-)
Peel some apples and pears, and then slice them. Grease a ceramic skillet with some butter and throw the sliced fruit in. Top with crushed almonds, add a bit of honey and bake for 30 minutes in 175 degrees Celsius. Enjoy with some coconut cream (or vanilla sauce if you’re feeling super decadent).
In general I just love coconut cream. The easiest dessert ever is to get some fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are insanely tasty), put them in a bowl and top with coconut cream.
A bit more fancy version of the same recipe would have you cover the berries in melted dark chocolate. Add few coconut flakes for color. Just don’t do what I did the first time I made that and have the dessert sit in a fridge for couple hours before eating. The chocolate had become completely solid.
To summarize, a load of different kinds of desserts can be made by mixing and matching fruit, berries, dark chocolate, and coconut.
I would love to hear what kind of dishes you have managed to come up with, so please share in the comments :) Also, if you feel completely lost and enjoy using recipes, here’s something to get you started:
PS. I’ll try to take photos of all the foods we make at home during one week so with that you’ll get a pretty good idea about what we eat.