A little preparation goes a long way!

So, how do I feed a family of 6 a fully clean, paleo diet while working full-time and going to school? With a little planning, preparation, and of course, help from my cavekids 🙂 They love to be in the kitchen with me, and it’s my time to teach them to cook, talk about why certain food is healthy for our bodies, and just spend time hanging out with my favorite people.  Throughout the week, I see recipes here or there on sites like fastpaleo.com, everydaypaleo.com, civilizedcavemancooking.com, and many others (all on the “likes” section of my Facebook Cavemomma page) and I bookmark them – usually because I’m really busy going between job sites, so I’ll get them together later and print them.

Sunday morning, while we’re cleaning the house,  I take note of what we already have in the freezer, pantry, and fridge, and begin making a meal plan from the recipes I came across mixed with some favorites of ours. After I have about 7-9 meals, I begin my grocery list, always including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I do NOT want to have to stop at the store every night for this or that – it’s time-consuming and expensive. We spend the day Sunday at the pool, beach, park, or just hanging out around the cave.  Sunday evening, I go to 2-3 stores, depending on the week and the needs. I also stop by the local farmer’s market first for good local produce. I know this sounds awful, but if you have a plan, it truly isn’t. I make lists by store – Costco for the bulk items (mostly our business supplies, paper products, and bulk wild caught fish and chicken), then to whole foods for grassfed beef, local organic eggs and nitrate free uncured bacon, coconut milk, lunchmeat, and some on-sale organics, then SuperTarget for less expensive organics veggies and staples if need be. Sometimes I don’t need to go to Costco, and sometimes I only go to Target because it is closest and they do have a pretty great organic section where I am. Total trip: usually 2-3 hours. I can hear it now, in the worst whiny, nasal voice “but I haaaaaatttteee shooooopppiiiinnnnngggg” Yes, pumpkin, I know. Me too. But if you take the kids you can make it another fun learning experience – and mine keep me laughing and having a ball the whole time. Hey, I never said “a little prep is super easy!” I just said necessary. K? Good.

After we get home, we wash, cut, dry, and put away the veggies, bake the chicken, and start making some of the recipes we can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze. I bake and store spaghetti squash, make some meatballs, some sauces, etc. I post the meal plan on the fridge so there’s no decision-making or mind-changing. In my house, we live by  “you get what you get, and don’t throw a fit”. Besides, we decided on these meals together, making it a bit easier. Today, I cooked 6 chicken breasts, a spaghetti squash, a big batch of meatballs, and a bunch of egg cupcakes. We can grab the eggs on the way out the door in the am, have turkey rollups, salads, and grapes for lunch, and I’ll plug in the meatball-filled crockpot before we leave and set it for 12 hours. Now, when I get home all tired, dirty and sweaty from work (sexy, right?), I will pull that spaghetti squash out, throw it in the micro, and pour the meatballs and sauce over. BAM! Dinner is done in less than 5. Maybe, just maybe,  I’ll have time for a shower before the kids baths, dishwasher, and washing machine use all the hot water. Score! (Plus, if I have school that night, my classmates prefer I have time to wash up;))

All that prep gets 6 people through about Wednesday. Perfect, because Wednesday nights are youth group nights for the kids, so I get 2 hours to myself to get a good solid workout and prep for Thursday and Friday without the “help”. Saturday we eat small meals through the day and we prepare a big dinnner together or go out to eat. We have been solidly Paleo/Primal for about 2 months (We weaned into this over about 6 months), and I can tell you it gets easier every week. I notice that we eat SO many different meals now, keeping it fun and tasty instead of the same tacos, spaghetti, and meatloaf week after week. We try at least 2 new things every week and we’re having fun with it. This lifestyle has become part of us. Tradition. We’re reaping the benefits in health, learning, AND time together. Yay!!  I hope this helps you and your family! Soon, it is my intention to help families meal plan and make grocery lists..so, if you need help, hit me up! It’s why I’m here!


9 thoughts on “A little preparation goes a long way!

  1. I’m happy to see that it took you 6 months to switch the kids. I am still under 3 months primal myself and am finally secure enough to get the kids switched. I’ve reminded them “You won’t die without sugar. I promise!” so many times that I’m not sure I believe it anymore! LOL My oldest said “If you wanted us to eat like this, you should have started feeding us this way sooner!”. *sigh* It will get better.

  2. So true! When I tell people about how my family of 8 eats only Paleo, they always respond with how restricing it sounds. But like you, I have noticed how many DIFFERENT meals we eat now. It isn’t the same meals over and over again. Cooking is fun again because as a whole family we try new recipes weekly and get so excited on how good everything tastes. My sister is tired of me always saying “best ever” when I tell her about a new recipe we have tried, but it is the truth! We made the “best ever roasted veggies last night! 😉
    I love reading your blog because I relate 100%, we also make a meal plan and run to 3 different stores. It’s nice to know I am not the only mom out there with Paleo kids!

  3. It also helps when you have your own garden to get some more fresh veggies! Great post on the prep, that may be the single most effective thing to help stay on a clean eating routine.

  4. Love this post. Our family of three (plus two cats and two dogs) is on our second month of Paleo, too, and loving it! Why didn’t we do this sooner?

    What surprised me the most, was just how simple the meals are to prepare. You’re right: there are multiple ways to enjoy various lean meats and veggies, and dinner is on the table in a flash. Did I mention there are fewer pots/pans/prep bowls to wash, too? Bonus!

    We live on a small island, so shopping choices are a bit lean. I use the Grocery IQ app for my Android phone, and check off the recurring staples that we need. Once I get to our favorite, most comprehensive store, I survey what’s on sale, what’s really fresh and in season, and what I know is already in our deep freezer at home, and come up with a meal plan outline for the week based on that. That works great for us, and our food budget has actually gone down a little bit, because we’re not consuming all those over-priced, boxed, processed yucky things anymore.

    Keep up the great blogging 🙂

  5. Even freakier…. our shopping trips and sayings are even the same. My 4 year old son introduced us to “You get what you get, don’t pitch a fit’ from school! LOL My sundays are spent pretty much in the exact same way, with the exact menu! They are not much ‘help’ in the kitchen yet, but they sure like to be there with the radio on making messes 🙂

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