The most important part of being paleo

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FOOD PREP!! Hey everyone. Okay, its Sunday and one thing comes to mind for Joelle and I. That’s food preparation. We all know for success at anything in life you need to be prepared and the same holds true for your diet. A big part of our Sundays (or sometime Saturdays) are spent preparing our food for the upcoming week. Joelle and I have been able to get so good at this we can prepare the exact amount of food that will last us all week. Now this took some practice (like months). Now what makes it easy to plan that far ahead is having staple meals. Joelle and I eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack everyday. The only thing that really changes is dinner. We like to spice it up for dinner and try new things. As far as breakfast, lunch, dinner and our snacks are concerned we don’t have time to be changing them week in and week out. We have found what we like for those meals and stick to it.
Let’s talk about grocery shopping. We did say that this is paleo on a budget. Joelle and I are definitely not in the situation to buy all of our foods organic and shop only at whole foods or a local health foods store. We would be broke if that was the case. Food is fuel to me. I eat from a competitive athlete point of view. With that means a large consumption of food. Remember, I am on my feet all day at school, then straight to the gym to train, then coach at the gym, go home and hit another workout on my rower or sled, eat dinner and then finally relax. For Joelle, she is up and out the door usually by 7am. She is at work until 430-5 then she goes to gym, trains hard for an hour, and then is finally getting home around 730. We cannot be filling ourselves up with junk. In order to keep going in our day we both need the right foods. Okay, back to shopping. We get all of our shopping done and Aldi and Wal-Mart. Yep I said it and I’m not ashamed. Then people may ask,” well what about buying organic?” When it comes to buying organic we stick to buying organic for the “dirty dozen”. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. We also have started to price match at Walmart which helps our budget out. The only time we venture to a whole foods, a local health store, or a specialty store is for when we need things we know we can’t get at Aldi or Walmart.
Now let’s talk about money and the math to this budget. The picture above is our standard food prep each week. Yes, we need all of that for a week. Not all of our food we bought is pictured. Now, let’s dissect this a little bit. Every one of our meals come from our kitchen. We have complete control of what goes into our food. No bullshit fillers of any sort. All of our food goes through our hands and pots and pans. There are 7 days in a week. Joelle eats breakfast, lunch, a late afternoon snack (before she goes to the gym) and dinner. Joelle has four meals a day. For me, I have breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, late afternoon snack (post workout), and dinner. Zach has 5 meals a day. That makes 9 meals a day combined. 9×7= 63 meals a week. Hold onto that number.
Now let’s take a look at how much we are spending. Weekly we spend anywhere from $120-$150 on groceries.It varies each week depending on sales and maybe if we buy some stuff for a new recipe we are trying out.  So let’s say for the sake of this example we spend on average $135. So, $135 divided by 63 meals = $2.14 per meal.
Wow!! Now think about that. How many people can say they are getting exactly what they want to eat each meal, eating paleo, getting no bullshit fillers in their meals and only having to spend just over $2 on each meal. I don’t think there are too many.
Now, eating like this and prepping the food does require effort. Just like anything else in life, if you want it done right you are going to have to do a little work. A magic paleo genie chef isn’t going to come to your house each week to make sure you are prepared for the week ahead. You actually have to do the work yourself ( I’m pretty sure that’s called the law of specificity). If you want a certain thing to happen you actualky have to do it.
So now let’s talk about the picture at the top. What’s in it? What did we get with our money this week? At the bottom left is 4 butternut squash baked and mashed for my breakfast each morning. Just above that you have green beans that I picked the stems off and are ready to be cooked. In the bag next to that is two bunches of kale that have been cleaned and ripped from their stems, also ready to cook. Above that you have green pepper, mushroom, yellow squash all cut up and ready to be used. Moving to the right you have three pounds of brussel sprouts cut up( we love these) and cauliflower. Continue moving to the right and you have 6 heads of broccoli chopped up. Underneath the broccoli is a cranberry applesauce that I make for part of my snack. Underneath that is a container of already cooked stir fry vegetables( this will last about two days and then we make more throughout the week). In the bottom right hand corner is boiled sweet potatoes that have been mashed( both of us eat this). To the left of the sweet potatoes is Joelle’s fritatta (a baked egg dish with vegetables). Next to the fritatta is a bag of chicken breasts in a marinade that I will cook later ( use this for our salads each day). Finally, in the middle is a pack of uncured bacon that I cooked, along with the bacon grease that we save and use in future cooking.
There you have it. That is our standard food prep each week. Now there are no excuses to what we eat each day. It’s all there for us to take and use.  The best part, you wouldn’t believe how much time this save us throughout the week.

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