It isn’t hard to find paleo recipes, but figuring out how to put these recipes together into a complete, balanced meal can be a really big challenge – especially for people who are just getting started on paleo and not sure how to replace inflammatory foods like grains, legumes, and processed oils. After constantly getting asked questions like “what does a paleo meal look like?”, Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry of Paleo Parents decided to tackle the question in a really unique way: they made a cookbook with meal ideas.
In their cookbook Real Life Paleo: Recipes, Meals, and Practical Tips That Follow an Easy Three-Phased Approach to Health, you don’t just get a whole bunch of paleo recipes (though the cookbook is loaded with 175 recipes). They worked their booties off to create stunning images of paleo tables. The shots are set up not as individual dishes, but as complete meals so you really get an idea of what a balanced paleo meal looks like.
The great thing about this approach to paleo meal planning is that it is completely adaptable. The meals are suitable for individuals as well as entire families. By looking at the visual spread of the meals, you can easily decide on what to swap out for something different. There are 3 meal plans in Real Life Paleo which you can follow to the T if you need extra guidance, but the beauty of the book is really that it guides and inspires you to put together your own healthy paleo meals based on the recipes.
The paleo meal spreads in Real Life Paleo are definitely designed for real life, meaning they can be prepared in just 30 minutes on a busy weekday after work. There are also some spreads for brunches and special occasions like holidays.
Real Life Paleo is divided into 3 sections which outline a simple way to go paleo without hassle or fuss. The sections are:
Section 1: The 3-Phase Approach
This section outlines how you can go paleo with a simple 3-Phase Approach of Swap, Remove, and Heal. First you swap your old favorite foods with better versions. The goal is to get rid of the worst offenders in your diet. It includes grocery shopping lists and a food swap guide. Then you remove all the remaining non-paleo foods from your diet. Finally, you work on healing all the damage done by years of eating an unhealthy diet by focusing on nutrient-dense, healing foods.
Section 2: Setting Your Paleo Table
Here is where you will find the fantastic images Meal Ideas and Meal Plans.
Section 3: Paleo Recipes
This section is where you will find 175 recipes which are easy to make. You don’t need to be a kitchen guru to make these! All of the recipes are nutrient-dense and healing. There are also plenty of recipes for people on Autoimmune Protocol which don’t include common allergens like eggs or almonds.
- 3 meal plans
- Eating Out and Travel Guide
- How to make your own paleo staples
It Isn’t About Perfection!
My favorite thing about Real Life Paleo is that it lives up to its name. It isn’t prescribing some sort of impossible paleo perfection. The cookbook/guide gives “how-to instructions on avoiding perfectionism in order to make good choices and stick with it for a lifetime of wellness!”
Stacy and Matthew are letting me share a recipe from Real Life Paleo as a sneak preview to what’s inside, but the real value of this cookbook is in how they show you to put individual recipes together to make a complete meal.
Paleo Banana Ball Recipe
*Makes about 2 dozen balls
**The banana ball recipe is just one of 4 ball recipes on the page! All of them can be made with just a few basic recipes. If you don’t have dried bananas for this recipe, I’m pretty sure that any other dried fruit would work just as well.
- 1 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup unsweetened banana chips
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (which you can buy here)
- 1 cup dried soft whole bananas, cut into 2-inch pieces
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut or finely chopped raw nuts of choice
- In a food processor, puree the dates until a thick ball of paste forms. This is the glue that will hold everything together.
- Using a spoon, break up the date ball, and then add the banana chips and coconut. Pulse to distribute and combine into a course meal.
- Finally, add the dried banana and pulse to incorporate. Putting this in last will keep it from being chopped completely, thus leaving little bits intact to enjoy.
- Scoop out a 2-tablespoon portion of the mixture and roll by hand into a ball. Roll the ball into some shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts until coated. Repeat with the remaining mixture and coating.
If you want more great recipes or need some inspiration for meal planning, then you should definitely check out Real Life Paleo. You can buy it here. It would definitely make a good holiday gift for the paleo foodies and paleo newbies in your life!