46 Paleo Tips Anyone Can Do


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You’ll find more practical advice like this in The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo. Navigate being paleo in a non-paleo world with success. Pick up a copy today!

So. You’ve been doing paleo for a while.

You’ve done your research and you know what foods to eat and you know why you should eat them.

But do you know how to eat them?

I don’t mean the putting-it-in-your-mouth-and-chewing-thing. I assume you got that down some time ago. :-) I mean strategies to enable you to avoid and resist non-paleo foods and zone in on the foods you want to be eating.

Or are you still in thrall to the little voice that says ‘just one bite.’  Or ‘it can’t hurt.’ These little voices are a menace. And we need strategies to keep them quiet.

Because metaphorical duct tape doesn’t work. We’ve all tried that.

I’ve listed 46 of my favorite tips below for your perusal, delectation and application. I’ve organized these tips to include meal prep and home organization as well as eating and drinking because preparedness is your biggest asset.

The emphasis is on simplification and systematization because for women especially, our involvement with food is messy and complicated but if we deal with the basics and put things on autopilot, our relationship with food will reap dividends.

Here’s the list:

Meal Prep

1. Use a meal planner with favorite dishes listed by protein type.  Write it up before you go shopping. Base your shopping list on your meal plan. And, of course, shop to the list.

2. Never go shopping hungry.

3. Never go shopping with hungry kids.

4. If you have young kids, organize your time so you can shop alone. You will make much better decisions.

5. When they are old enough, have kids help you gather grocery items in the store. Have them assist you in getting 6 lemons or 40 brussels sprouts, that kind of thing. You’re teaching them about many things when you do this.

6. Shop the perimeter of the store. Meat counter, dairy (if you eat it,) produce. Bonus: it takes much less time.

7. Get to know your butcher. Ask him questions. Where’d the meat come from? Does he sell offal? What do those ratings mean that they display so proudly?

8. Enter a store via the produce department, if possible.

9. If not possible, keep your eyes on the back wall and do not linger in the bakery. Try not to breathe and smell the bread fragrance they pump out! Head straight for the meat.

10. Buy at least one different type of vegetable for each day of the week.

11. Prepare your favorite meals without the non-paleo aspects – steak and kidney pie without the pie, quiche without the crust.

12. Avoid stores on chocolate sale days – the days after Halloween, Christmas, Valentines and Easter. Just don’t go there. Do not be tempted by cheap chocolate.

13. Don’t walk down the candy aisle. I’m serious, don’t do it! If you are shopping the perimeter of the store, this won’t be difficult, but if you are going up and down those aisles, beware.

14. Buy a slow cooker. And look up paleo slow cooker recipes. This was one of the best things I did.

15. Prepare food early in the day when your blood sugar is stable. It also cuts down on the need to think about food during the day and gives you an emotional boost knowing that a large part of your daily chore is done.

16. Choose one meal to paleo-ize at a time. I started with dinner.

17. Do what you can with what you have. If you can’t afford grass-fed beef, eat corn-fed. Nothing organic available? Eat the fruit anyway. Just scrub it well first.

18. Batch cook where possible.

19. Make vegetable soups and store them in the freezer. Make sure you always have some ready to go in your fridge.

20. Make chicken stock (in your slow cooker?) from chicken leftovers and bones.

21. Buy a thermos, warm it with hot water, warm your leftovers, toss the water, and drop in your food. There’s lunch.

22. Store leftovers in one portion sizes. I use one cup size food containers with screw on lids. Great for quick and easy lunches.

23. If you’re not fascinated by cooking, make only one new recipe a week at first. Try one new vegetable. Get used to trying new things.

24. Eat healthily before you cook. Don’t cook hungry.

Home Organization

25. Keep food in the kitchen only. Do not have it spread around the house especially in places where you are inactive – next to the sofa, your desk drawer, your car. There is one exception to this rule. See storage of non-paleo food below.

26. Organize your fridges shelves by paleo and non-paleo food items. Train yourself to laser in on the shelves you can eat from and ignore the rest.

27. Tuck non-paleo food out of sight so you don’t see it every time you open a cupboard or enter the pantry.

28. Make non-paleo food difficult to get to – high on a shelf, in a place difficult to get to, away from highly trafficked areas of your home. Mine are in the garage freezer, the top shelf of my pantry, a drawer in my bedroom.

29. Work out the paleo skeleton of your day. What will you do and eat in accordance with the lifestyle? Do those things first if you can.

30. Keep a stack of index cards on top of your fridge along with a pen, or if you’re not tall enough, one of these magnetic pen and note holders to the door of your fridge. Every time you notice yourself doing something right around food or wrong around food, write it down. Use these cards as reminders and to strategize solutions to negative food behaviors.

31. Plan your day the night before. Allow your subconscious to work on it overnight. I learned this on a time management course in 1985. Probably the best piece of advice I ever received.

Eating & Drinking

32. Watch your caffeine intake and observe how it affects you. For example, I can’t moderate my consumption and it causes me to be impulsive around food so I avoid it.

33. Make it a rule to not drink sugary drinks. Even ones with artificial sweetener or supposedly healthy stevia.  They mess with your head. Get used to drinking plain water instead.

34. Use sports top water bottles and carry them with you always. They are the easiest to transport and drink from.

35. Swig water at stop lights.

36. Patronize a small number of restaurants to eat at. Get to know the menu, the staff and their willingness to adapt to your paleo diet.

37. Avoid places with menu’s that take twenty minutes to read.

38. Read menus ahead of time and decide what you’re going to eat.

39. Ask for substitutions. A request for extra vegetables is rarely turned down.

40. Try going longer between meals. Just a little longer. Work on being in control of food rather than sitting in the passenger seat being driven by it.

41. Enjoy eating leftovers for breakfast, and lunch.

42. Eat salads in the summer, soups in the winter. If you eat in a restaurant, make sure you always order one of these.

43. Transition your family from carb-laden desserts to fruit, then to no dessert at all. Take it slowly, gradually increasing the instances of fruit and occasionally dropping in no dessert at all.

44. Have someone else clean the kid’s plates if you eat their leftovers.

45. If you struggle to limit your choices, eat separately from your family. Sit at the table with them (or be in the kitchen cleaning up) but eat before they do.

46. Take fish oil – capsules, on a spoon or just eat the fish. Make it a priority.

As you go about your life, keep looking for those pitfalls. Be observant. Notice when you paleo fail. Analyze it and reverse-engineer a solution.

Like our ancestors, keep an eye out for danger. Except the danger isn’t lions and tigers anymore. It’s modern day food.

Use these tips to help.

What tips have helped you stay on the paleo path? Let us know in the comments.

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Or ‘like’ PaleoNonPaleo Facebook page. I would so appreciate it! Thank you.

amazon, modern no nonsense guide to paleoAre you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you're feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.

Written by 

Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacquline March 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Great post! I am going to read it a few times. You have some helpful ideas! I always do better when I plan ahead and hide “bad” for me food from myself.


Alison Golden March 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

Hey there! Surprise is the enemy of victory, that’s for sure so I plan, plan, plan.


Ellen Berg March 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I cannot say enough about using the slow cooker~it is a busy Paleo person’s best friend in the world. I’m the only Paleo person in my house (just hubby and I), so I just chuck a big hunk of meat with some seasonings on it (sometimes dry rubbed the night before) into the slow cooker on Monday mornings, then I have lunch and dinner most of the week. I actually portion out my lunches while I’m packing away the meat which makes it super easy.

My other recommendation is to make extra and freeze portions in freezer bags in single- or family-sized portions. I did that with chili a few weeks ago, and just grabbed a bag and let it defrost in my fridge at work for lunch. Makes it easy when you’ve been too busy to shop or prepare a meal.


Alison Golden March 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Hi Ellen: You know until a few months ago, I not only didn’t own a slow cooker, but I thought a crockpot was a completely different thing. Now I am in love. When our family’s schedule gets hectic, the slow cooked is a boon. It’s the only reason we get places on time – because dinner is already prepared. I so agree with portioning it out as you go, so much easier. And you sound like me, don’t mind eating the same food over and over. ;-)


elizabeth traub April 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I would add that having survival packs in convenient locations when you are in less control of what to eat. I keep three different places filled with healthful snacks. My car, my handbag, and my backpack. If I get caught out and about and not the leader of the pack I can plan accordingly.
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Alison Golden April 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

That is a great idea, Elizabeth. Thanks for posting that. :-)
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Elise April 14, 2012 at 5:34 am

Thank you so much Alison for these precious tips! It’s always a real pleasure to read your posts :-)

I would need your advice on a point you refer to when you say:

33. Make it a rule to not drink sugary drinks. Even ones with artificial sweetener or supposedly healthy stevia.

Actually I’m addicted to Stevia. I love the strong sweet taste. I eat only very limited amounts of sugars (glucose / fructose), but I’m well aware it does not mean I’m not fond of sugar, on the contrary. I’ve found substitutes to have the dopamine release associated with the sweet taste; Stevia is one of them (I also eat lots of chewing-gums…). Now I’m starting to wonder whether my use of Stevia as a staple (to replace sugar) is a bad thing. Of course the feeling of being ‘addicted’ worries me. But maybe I should not be too stressed with that. After all Mark (Sisson) said that Stevia is actually pretty healthy, so it’s not going to kill me I guess ;-) And the pleasure felt when I add Stevia into my yoghurts and young coconuts may be worth the possible drawbacks? What do you think?

Many thanks for your tips and insightful posts :-)


Alison Golden April 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I think you can enjoy stevia but have a goal to release your addiction to it. Decrease the amount you put into your foods slowly over time and learn to enjoy your foods without the additional sweetener. As a former (continuing?) sugar addict, I can now eat things without needing a sugary taste and have completely changed the way I look at food – for fuel not comfort. It is a process and sometimes I relapse but with the supports I have put in place, I never go back to square one of complete and utter addiction. I think a lot is to do with confidence and having the confidence to know that we can live happily without our food supports. And that confidence ultimately comes with abstinence.


Maria October 31, 2012 at 2:05 am

These are now posted on my fridge. Thanks Alison. The restaurant advice is interesting. having gone paleo, we so rarely eat out!
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Susie December 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

This caught my attention from your response above – “completely changed the way I look at food – for fuel not comfort” Around this time of year, a lot of the foods that I get in trouble with are because they are comfort foods. My husband has this NEED to bake this time of year, it’s about the smells of the house and the memories of his childhood. Thus we have cookies and pies in the house that should not be eaten. My fellow colleagues love that I bring treats in for them, but they do get eaten around the house as well. I am just trying to get through Christmas with very little weight gain and then back in the saddle on December 26th.


Martin December 25, 2012 at 5:45 am

#6 makes shopping so much easier! Only after experiencing this one realises how much business exist around processed food.
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Christina March 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for writing this! I’m trying to convert to paleo and these tips definitely help and are very encouraging. :)


Gwendolyn July 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I carry a Camelbak water bottle everywhere with me. I feel naked if I don’t have it! I drink enough water now (I used to NEVER drink it at all).


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