By Dietitian Jill Place
I had a ton of fun putting this (almost no-cook) heal your gut menu together … not only for you but to expand my own food choices. After much research (and eating), here’s what I came up with …
I tried to make this as super-simple as possible. But found that you just HAD to cook SOMETHING if you wanted it hot … even if you just heated it up on the stove or in the microwave.
Of course … you could just eat salads for 7 days. But … even then … you’d have to assemble them somewhat.
It fulfills all the requirements of my HEAL YOUR GUT DIET … it’s Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Organic, low sugar, Pegan-Paleo … and very vegetable-dense. But this easy-peasy menu almost defeats the idea as most of the items on it are processed-frozen or in a package.
But … I ask you … which would you rather have? A diet plan that’s easy to do and heals your gut in the process. Or something complicated, fraught with labor-intensive recipes that you frustratingly abandon in two days. I KNOW WHAT YOU’D SAY IN A HEARTBEAT!
So I’m breaking this all down to easy prep ideas and actual products that you can buy and eat. SPOILER ALERT! These prepared things are pretty pricey. One of the snack things I ordered was almost $12 for 4 little packages.
But perhaps you could do a mixture of prepped and prepared? Depending upon your cooking prowess or interest, it’s totally up to you.
A Few Words about Menu Structure …
You’ll notice that the dinners on the printed plan are on specific days but breakfast and lunch can be any day. Since I reproduced the format of the “What to Eat Pad” that I’ve mentioned several times in articles and is available on Amazon (just click on the name if you’d like to buy it).
But you can eat these meals any time … or not. I’ve also included what I call an “awareness checklist” in the first column … a little reality check to see if the food is Gluten and Dairy Free. Where you’ve gotten it (prepped or take-out). And also a couple of soul-checks … to see if the food was actually what you wanted and if you slowed down and ate it mindfully (see my Micro-Mindfuls for more on that!)
I’m also giving you actual products to buy … most of these I got on Amazon or the internet. And here are ideas for each meal …
You can do eggs and Paleo sausage or bacon (available at health-food type stores), Paleo granola (see picture on the left) or hot cereal, waffles or pancakes (see pic) or smoothies (recipe this week).
Birch Benders also makes mixes … I love making my weekend waffles with Lakanto (monk fruit) syrup and berries. Oh … and don’t forget Mikey’s Grain-Free English Muffins or UnBun Everything Bagels and buns … I use them to make sandwiches too.
LOVE the bagged salad kits I get at the market (regular … not pricey health food stores) and top them with either leftover meats (Chinese BBQ pork on Asian kits … steak on others … and GOOD cold cuts (Applegate Farms, 365 [Whole Foods’ store brand]) on others.
I show you how to do this in Salad in Five … Minutes. The dressings in these kits probably have some sugar in them … but you can also get bagged salad, salad “guts” (whatever you like on a salad bar besides the greens), and a good dressing (I’m partial to Follow Your Heart but any good sugar-free Dairy Free dressing would do).
Another lunch idea … Gluten Free Soup (lots of varieties … even Rice Ramen … the healthy Cup ‘o Noodle alternative). Stickin’ to Paleo … you might want to try Parks and Nash soups … here’s the variety pack and I’m going to look for them today when we go to Whole Foods.
You might want to pair the soup with leftover meat and veggies (or cold cuts and Dairy Free cheese) in a Mikey’s wrap or English muffin. I also like La Tortilla Factory Grain Free tortillas. Or have it alone.
Restaurants are actually easy … salads or Mexican (my fave) … hold the cheese, sour cream, and tortillas. Or just meat and veggies/side salads.
And … of course … you can always take leftovers!
I didn’t know it before I started researching this, but there are a few Paleo frozen dinner companies out there … and growing. Here are the ones from Ice Age …
And here’s another one … Beetnik. I tried to find it in Whole Foods when I did my Facebook LIVE walk-through tonight. But couldn’t. You CAN get these, according to to the website, at Walmart.
But you must know that I’m not a great fan of frozen stuff. So these are great in a pinch. But you might want to bite the bullet and pan-fry or grill up some steak, chicken, or fish and have that.
Along with some salad or veggies (at least 2 kinds at dinner) and sweet potato everything (love the fries).
I couldn’t find Paleo frozen chicken nuggets anywhere (they do have decent Gluten Free ones though). But you can make them in an air fryer with this recipe, Paleo Air Fryer Chicken Tenders.
My air fryer (I bought the smallest one on Amazon to start and love it so much that I now have a six-quart) has fast become one of my fave kitchen appliances. It’s one of the easiest ways I know to make a really tasty meal in a flash. And comfort food to boot.
I know all these suggestions take a more little effort than just slapping a frozen meal in a microwave … but I’m just trying to give you some options.
Other Dinner Ideas …
You can easily order steak, chicken, fish, or other plain grilled, pan-fried or broiled protein entrees, salad or veggies in a restaurant too. And don’t forget to carry home leftovers for the next day.
As a matter of fact, making several veggie and protein servings at the same time is a great way to make this easier for you. Make a bunch one day and eat it for a few days.
I added the canned chili to the mix as there are no canned ones that are Paleo (but there ARE recipes). But who doesn’t like chili. You can sprinkle on some Dairy Free cheese and … if you want … crush up tortilla chips on it (there ARE Paleo ones of those … Siete Foods makes several different flavors). And add a salad or some raw veggies to complete the meal.
Putting Your Menu Together …
It’s really important … if you want to try a Heal Your Gut meal plan, that you plan ahead. Check out the ideas on my menu … then sketch out your own.
Go shopping like I did today at Whole Foods and find even more ideas that strike your fancy. Oh … and don’t forget the desserts. These are GREAT and there are many choices … but they’re a bit pricey.
The bottom line is that you stick to whatever plan you choose to do. And plan ahead because … you know the old saying … “If you don’t have a plan … the world has a plan for you. And it’s not about Heal Your Gut eating”
Oh … and you can always hire a personal chef. How about that?