Stocking Up On Paleo Essentials (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)
If you’re planning ahead and anticipating the possibility of spending several days at home due to COVID-19, but can’t (or don’t want to) stock up on beans and rice, frozen pizzas, and chips/crackers to see you through, I’ve put together a list of paleo/real food essentials for you to consider. I’m not adding photos (other than above video; view it here on YouTube) to this post so you can easily print it.
To have on hand a couple of weeks worth of nutrient-and-delicious meals and ingredients.
Here’s how I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been batch-cooking and freezing food, so I have quick and nourishing meals on hand in case I feel under the weather. That includes things that I know that I like when I’m sick: namely, broth, soups full of vegetables, simply-seasoned braised meats, fruit, and carbs.
I’ve also been stocking up on cooking ingredients because I know that if I’m feeling fine, I’ll want to be cooking. In effect, I’m covering both illness and boredom as contingencies.
I know times are stressful and it’s tempting to reach for the comfort of sugar and processed carbs, but sticking with healthier choices will keep you feeling like your best self if you have to spend several days inside.
It’s also better to face illness with as healthy an immune system as possible, and that requires good nutrition (as well as rest and avoiding stress).
Also important to consider: if you or a loved one feels unwell, nourishing foods will be in demand. So resist the urge to buy a lot of cookies, chips, and crackers – even “paleo” versions – and instead buy ingredients for making a treat or two from more nutritious ingredients. If you’re home and feeling well, especially with kids, you might be quite grateful for cooking/baking projects to tackle.
- Ground meat to 1) make into meatballs to freeze, and 2) freeze as is to have on hand for making burgers, spaghetti sauce, or quick skillet meals.
- Roast cuts like pork shoulder and beef pot roast to 1) braise and freeze, and 2) freeze as is to have on hand for cooking.
- Canned fish (tuna, sardines, smoked oysters) for quick salads and snacks.
- Frozen fish to have on hand for cooking.
- Frozen berries to thaw and eat as is or with yogurt, and to use in pancakes or smoothies.
- Frozen greens like kale and spinach for quick sautes and hashes, and to use in smoothies.
- Frozen cauliflower rice to saute or roast as a side dish, and to use in smoothies,
- Fresh cabbage, brussels sprouts, radishes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, celery, garlic, romaine lettuce, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, celery root, beets, winter squash, and other hardy vegetables that can last for weeks in a pantry or refrigerator.
- Fresh citrus and apples because they can last for weeks in the refrigerator.
- Fresh bananas to freeze for smoothies or baking.
- Paleo baking flours like almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca starch.
- Paleo sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar.
- Healthy cooking fats like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and ghee (skip ghee for AIP).
- Collagen peptides. I add this flavorless protein powder to smoothies, pancake batter, chocolate avocado pudding, Healing Green Broth, on and on. It’s great for skin and gut health.
- Dark chocolate for snacks and baking (skip for AIP).
- Nuts and seeds for snacks and baking (skip for AIP).
- Dried fruit for snacks and baking.
- Eggs for 1) cooking and baking, and 2) to make into frittatas to freeze (skip for AIP).
- Kombucha. If you don’t want to slip into sipping wine every night (it compromises your immune system), kombucha is a great cocktail-hour sub.
- Glass food storage containers and mason jars for storing/freezing food. I also use plastic freezer bags, although I try to use them as infrequently as possible.
- Masking tape and a marker for labeling containers for the freezer.
- Supplements that might run out in a week or two.
MAKE AND FREEZE
- Meatballs. There are many meatball recipes in Project Vibrancy Meals meal plans and here on Fresh Tart.
- Braised roasts. Whether pork shoulder, beef pot roast, or chicken, braised meats – in their juices – freeze like a dream.
- Plantain tortillas. They freeze so well and can be used for sandwiches as well as tacos.
- Broth. There are many broth recipes in Project Vibrancy Meals meal plans, there’s a Rich Chicken Broth recipe here on Fresh Tart, and the Free 30-Day Healing Green Broth Challenge walks you through making four different types of broth. All include freezing instructions. When you have good broth on hand, you can make quick soups in a flash, Healing Green Broth, or just have broth to sip if you’re unwell (or love sipping broth, which I do, because it’s nourishing, delicious, and great for your skin).
- Soups and Stews. I freeze any soup or stew. Make a big batch of your favorite, divide it into reasonable serving sizes, label, and freeze.
- Frittatas/Egg Cups. They reheat really nicely in a microwave and you can load them up with vegetables and even potatoes.
MAKE AND REFRIGERATE
- Condiments. When you make your own, they’re SO MUCH better and are loaded with nutrients. My recent book, Kickass Condiments: 20+ Little Recipes That Change Everything, is loaded with quick meal ideas using condiments. The condiments last for weeks in the fridge, so make a few and bank them.
- Chopped vegetables. I buy and chop either cabbage or kale every week. Both last for more than a week and make it super simple for me to toss a handful into a quick soup, stir-fry, salad, or hash for added nutrients and fiber.
- Paleo granola. Make a big batch and refrigerate (or freeze) to keep it fresh as long as possible.
- There are many, many paleo recipes here on Fresh Tart. I linked to a few above, but see the recipe index for more.
- Project Vibrancy Meals meal plans are Paleo/AIP/Whole30-compliant and map out shopping lists, batch cooking recipes, condiments, detailed storage instructions, and how to put together quick, flavorbomb meals.
- The 30-Minute Paleo Cookbook shares 90+ quick paleo meals.
I’ll update this as needed, but for now, I hope it gets you off and running. Good luck, stay safe, stay in planning mode instead of panic mode, focus on nutrient-density AND comfort, and enjoy the cooking.