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!