Take the Challenge (Series Continued)


Take the Challenge (Series Continued)









Take the Challenge (Series Continued)- Updated October 2015

The following is the second phase of my Take the Challenge…Go Paleo posting series.  Check out the links, jot down some ideas, and Let’s Get Started!

Pre and Post Workout Mealsweights-79587_640

Good nutritious whole foods are really the best items to be selecting for fuel and recovery.  If you have to grab a shake make it yourself using egg protein and/or pure gelatin (Great Lakes Gelatin, Collagen Hydrolysate). If you are trying to identify food sensitivities I don’t recommend consuming whey protein (unless you have found out through your elimination diet phase that you can tolerate dairy).  If you can’t tolerate dairy try to stick with egg protein and/or the pure gelatin in those shakes and smoothies.

When preparing your pre and post workout meals reach for items such as:  beef, fish, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, fruit, nut butters, nuts, coconut oil, grassfed butter, etc.  If you are looking for more guidance on fueling up and recovering Paleo approved check out some of these useful links:

If you get hungry and need a snack here or there during the day try one of these simple options.  Remember with Paleo it’s all about eating when you are hungry and if you aren’t then don’t.  You don’t need to eat several meals a day unless you just really want to.

More Paleo Snack and Appetizer Ideas:

Paleo Grubs- Healthy Snacks

PaleOMG- 48 Paleo Super Bowl Snacks

Primal GRITS Pin Board- Grain Free Snacks and Appetizers


Paleo Meal Planning and Prepping Tips (1 Week Sample Menu included)menu

This section is provided to give you an idea of how to plan, prep, and execute meals so that you aren’t scrambling around not sure what to eat, and falling back into old habits before you barely get started. Please feel free to adjust, mix it up, or flat out skip over anything below.  I wanted to present you with a mirror image of a week at my house so come on over, pull up a chair, and join Primal GRITS’ family for a meal or two :)


Over the weekend I try to knock out some of the food items I know I will need for sit down or grab-n-go meals/snacks during the week.  Prepping and/or cooking any of these items before the week begins helps me make sure I always have something yummy to eat that follows my dietary needs and guidelines.  It’s important to eat food that makes my body most happy, because in turn it helps me function at my best throughout the week.

If I have food items prepared in advance then I don’t resort to “a cheat food hunt” (grabbing those processed convenience foods- even what may sometimes seem like a higher quality treat version can cause blocks in your journey) if I already have the good stuff ready to go!  The week is busy, and can be very tiring, so I need to prep, and cook it up, to make sure my weaknesses don’t take over when I’m really too tired to even think.  You yourself can create inexpensive Paleo “convenience foods” and have them available at your fingertips! It’s all about planning and prepping to make it work and for it all to come together! I promise you it is well worth it!!

Also, when going over these tips and examples please don’t get overwhelmed. Keep in mind I have been eating this way for a while now, and have played around quite a bit over the years with what tactics for meal prepping work for me and my family. What works for us may not work for you. I am also far from perfect (there is no such thing), and I don’t always have things together and ready for ever meal my family needs (then I end up just throwing random things together from the fridge, or I just make scrambled eggs with veggies). This process can be ever-changing, and probably in all honesty really should be. I come across ideas all the time that I use to tweak what I am already doing to see if it works better. There is no right way! It is just your way :) Too many ideas and questions flooding you already? Please don’t stress it!  Just start off small.  Try just picking one or two meals, maybe just snacks, or side items for that week. Pick a day and time that you are going to try planing, prepping, and execute those item(s) and see how it goes.  You can do it!

The planning part is important, because I need to know what I have in stock and what I need to grab at the store, or local farmers market, for prep and cook day. When trying to plan it’s important to decide on what meals you will serve in your household for the week, a couple of weeks, or for a month (depending on what works best for you).  Once you decide on the meals it’s time to figure out how much you want to make, the ingredients you need, and when you need it by.  Also, sometimes I may batch cook items I am out of even if I know we don’t need it for a meal that week. So, if I know I am out of tortillas I might throw a big batch of them together over the weekend just to re-stock for back-up meals.  Remember, you can put food items you don’t need immediately in the freezer for a future busy day fromscratch meal.  Planning ahead and keeping grab-n-go meals in the freezer can really help you stay on track during this journey.

The following is an example of picking a dish for the week and deciding what needs to be batch cooked:  I want to make my spaghetti or lasagna this week. I will check my freezer to see if I have any sauce already made up from a previous batch cooking session. If out I know I need to add those items to my purchase ingredients weekly list, and on prep day make a big batch of my homemade sauce. I prefer to make my sauce ahead of time so that all I need to do is prepare my “zoodles” and throw everything together when I get home from work that evening. (Also, sometimes when I do lasagna for supper I will make enough for a whole other pan and freeze it for a future meal.)

These tips and tricks are what make homemade fromscratch cooking possible for my family. As long as I plan, prep, and create real food meals I know my family will be enjoying healthy delicious options at our dinner table!

***Some items that freeze nicely: Nola– aka Grain Free Granola, Oat Free Oatmeal (the nut mixture), Grain Free Blueberry MuffinsGrain Free Tortillas, Paleorized “Cheezy” CrackersFlourless Peanut Butter Cookies, Grain Free Chocolate Chip Muffins, Grain Free Pizza Crust and Pizza Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Grain Free LasagnaCream of Mushroom Soup, other Sauces/Dips/Dressings, Nut and Seed Mixtures

It’s really up to you on how you want to tackle meal planning, prepping, and the execution of “batch cooking” (cooking big batches of a recipe at one time to use throughout the week or to freeze for future meals).  Play with it and try different tactics. Here are a few things we do at our house:

Main dish dilemma…We grill and/or smoke up a bunch of meat every weekend. It gives us a meat/protein option for any meal during the week (whether we use it as the main item of the meal, or shred it up over a salad, use it in a soup, or for a meaty chili, etc).  As far as fish goes for batch cooking the quickest and easiest way to us is to broil a platter of fish fillets at one time, package them in sealed containers, and store in the fridge. I like to take a few of them to work for a lunch or two during the week, and it’s the perfect back-up for those days I’m running late getting out of the house, and I forget to grab my leftovers. With the fish already at work waiting for me I know I will still get in a healthy and satisfying meal. (For side items I always take a few sweet potatoes, some sautéed veggies, and/or a container of mixed greens to throw salads together for quick-n-easy work meal options).

Next, I think about side dishes. Some are easy/quick and can be made no trouble on the spot (like my Spinach and Kale saute or Baked Sweet Potato Chips). Others have a longer cooking time, or have more prep steps, these I need to cook and/or whip up ahead of time so they can stand a chance of playing a part in our busy day scramble. So for example I will bake several sweet potatoes for smoothies, sides, post workout recovery snack. (The cook time is too long for me to make these in the morning before work after a run or WOD, and I love a sweet potato to be a part of my post workout meal/snack. Having these made beforehand are a must for me.)  Make homemade mashed potatoes, pureed parsnips and turnips, or roast up a bunch of root veggies. You can also dice vegetables the night before for Crock Pot meals to be thrown together before work, or for your Instant Pot meal you want to whip up when you get home that evening. Get creative!

Snacks:  Cook a big batch of boiled eggs, mix nuts and seed and place in sealed containers, wash fruit and raw veggies and slice/dice if desired, etc.

For some more tips check out (I don’t agree/recommend all of the foods/recipes you will see on some of these links. This is purely for tips not food suggestions.):  12 Brilliant Meal Prep Ideas to Free Up Your Time, Meal Prep 101 for Beginners, Meal Prepping Made Easy

Keep trying tactics and tricks till you find what works best! Soon you will find your groove and know how to make this lifestyle manageable and enjoyable for your schedule, and your family’s needs.

The following is a list of items I might make in bulk over the weekend so that I am prepared for the busy week ahead (I don’t specifically do these exact recipes each weekend. This is just an example of what I might do, or have done before.) :

  • Bake several sweet potatoes (I make only enough for the week, I don’t freeze. Sometimes we throw them in the smoker with whatever meat we are cooking that day. I rub the skin of the potato down with coconut oil and then sprinkle on a little sea salt before wrapping it in foil. They are so simple to make, and will melt in your mouth!)

  • Grill and/or Smoke Meat for meals throughout the week (whether we use it as the main item of the meal, or shred it up over a salad, use it in a soup, or for a meaty chili, etc)

honey glaze

Parsnip and Turnip Puree

Asparagus and Okra Superfood Saute

  • Throw together my Crock Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken (This is a really great dish to whip up during the week as well because prep time is super short and it all goes in the crock pot.)PGShreddedMexicanChick
  • Make BES Paleo Mini Muffin Quiches (I usually make these on Sunday for easy grab-n-go breakfast or snack options during the week).BES Paleo Mini Muffin Quiches

Monday Meal Options: (Mondays at my house are pretty hectic so I have a “just grab-n-go” rule. I only will make simple side dishes on these really busy days, otherwise I use what we prepared/cooked over the weekend for each meal. If you don’t have meals to cover each day of the work week figure out which ones are your busiest…or when you usually feel the most run down. Save your meals that you prepped and cooked for those specific days.)

BES Paleo Mini Muffin Quiches

  • Lunch:  Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken Salad with side of mixed berries. (Top greens of choice with Primal GRITS Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe. I also like to add avocado and extra veggies to my salad such as: mushrooms, raw bell peppers, and squash.)CrockPotShredChickSalad

honey glazeAsparagus and Okra Superfood Saute



Tuesday Meal Options

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and spinach (I would prepare this before work very simple yet satisfying). Baked sweet potato with coconut oil, cinnamon, turmeric, sprinkled Chia seeds on top (optional). Side of mixed berries. (If you want to use items already cooked and prepared have a similar breakfast to Monday’s or eat leftovers from last nights supper.)


  • Lunch:  Leftovers from Monday’s supper.
  • Supper:  Boston Butt (was smoked over the weekend), Baked Sweet Potato Chips, Spinach and Kale Saute (Everything was made over the weekend except for the sweet potato chips and greens. They are so easy to whip up fast! I get it done while all the food is warming up to be served.)


Wednesday Meal Options

  • Breakfast: Sweet Potato stuffed with Boston Butt, spinach, and a mix of other veggies from leftovers.
  • Lunch:  Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken Salad with side of mixed berries. (Top greens of choice with Primal GRITS Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe. I also like to add avocado and extra veggies to my salad such as: mushrooms, raw bell peppers, and squash.)CrockPotShredChickSalad
  • Supper:  Use any of the meats already cooked (Boston Butt, chicken legs, or crock pot shredded chicken) and make soft shell tacos/wraps. Make my grain free tortilla shells. Pick your meat of choice, and fill them up! Toss on some salsa, avocado, vegetables used throughout the week, etc. (If you don’t want to make tortillas stick to leftovers, make broiled salmon, or a veggie scramble.)grainfreeChickenTortillas


  • Post Workout Meal Option: Green Smoothie Delight, hard-boiled eggs, and/or any items you batch cooked over the weekend/leftovers.

Thursday Meal Options

  • Breakfast:  BES Paleo Mini Muffin Quiches and a Baked Sweet Potato with coconut oil, cinnamon, turmeric, sliced banana, and sprinkle Chia seeds on top (optional).BES Paleo Mini Muffin QuichesBakedSweetPotwithChiaSeeds
  • Lunch:  Leftovers from cooked meals.

One-Pot Meal Spicy Sausage and Colored Cabbage

Friday Meal Options

  • Dinner:  Burgers (no bun, cabbage leaves, portabella caps, or grain free bun), grilled or pan-fried in butter, with vegetables (sweet potato chips or grilled zucchini and squash), homemade condiments or salsa for sauce. If you don’t feel like cooking refer to my eating out tips at the end of this post and go out on the town with family and/or friends and unwind, or there are always leftovers!


Have some fun with your burgers!!! Add a fried egg on top, homemade guacamole, caramelized onions and mushrooms, etc. This aint no boring burger…make it a gourmet burger!!

  • Post Workout Meal Option: Leftover meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, fruit

Saturday Meal Options

  • Lunch:  Leftover hamburgers and veggies from the night before.

Sunday Meal Options

  • Lunch:  Leftovers from Saturday

Looking for something sweet to eat? Here are a bunch of Paleo friendly dessert recipes for special occasions:  Primal GRITS Grain Free Dessert Pin Board (Try not to eat desserts right off the bat if you can help it, but for special occasions/treats these are awesome healthier versions of your sweet treat faves, and some great newbies.)

Other Meal Options: Primal GRITS Recipes and Primal GRITS Pins


Eating Out Paleo Guideresturaunt

It isn’t extremely difficult to make restaurant meals Paleo friendly. Just tuck these tips away in your pocket and get on to that next dinner date!

  1. Before getting to the restaurant check to see if they have a menu available online. Look it over and decide what you are going to get before ever getting there.
  2. Upon arrival tell the waiter/waitress to notify the chef that you cannot have items containing gluten. Most chefs know what they need to do to alter the meal to meet those needs or will let you know what dishes to steer clear of.  Some restaurants have a separate gluten free menu they offer which can help eliminate some of the guess work.
  3. Don’t be shy. Make sure you ask questions you might have about the meals preparation, or specific ingredients being used. Request for things to be left off, or see if you can substitute items. (Example: Extra veggies instead of rice, grilled and not fried, no soy sauce used please used, etc.)
  4. Request to have your food cooked in coconut oil, olive oil or lard.
  5. Ask for No MSG.
  6. And last but not least try and relax. It is hard when you have a true intolerance or allergy, but in other circumstances try your best to order something you will be happy with and that aligns as close as possible. Kick back, engage in good conversation, and enjoy your meal!

Eating Out Links:





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