How do you stay organized when making big lifestyle changes?

People often ask me how I fit in all the planning and preparation that Paleo-style eating entails. How do I make it work when I’m on the go? How does eating out fit in? And what about the rest of the family, do they like this food?

For me, the keystone strategy that makes it work for me is meal planning. One day each week (for me, it’s Fridays since we do groceries on Saturdays), I plan ahead what we’ll have that week. I take into account what activities we have going on (appointments, tickets to a show, classes, etc) so I can think ahead for meals I might need to prepare in advance.

Personally, I need recipes to follow, so I search through my file of recipes, or google for “gluten free” or “paleo” this or that to find something new and interesting.

I make up my shopping list at that time too. The added advantage of this method is, it means we’re wasting way less food, because we only buy what we plan to use for the recipes I’ve planned.

Here is a sample meal plan that I prepared for us for this week:

(you can click the image to open a larger copy)

Now don’t get me wrong; I do not exactly ENJOY this process. Sometimes I think the effort involved in planning and preparing food is the hardest part, even more than trying to avoid too much chocolate or wine or saying no to french fries and pizza. BUT, it is – for me – a necessary evil that really does make the rest of the week so much smoother that it is worth the effort.

There are also meal plan services out there you can subscribe to to receive weekly meal plans suitable to your diet. I have used in the past. You can read my review of that service here.

As for whether the rest of the family likes eating this way, I will say that I’m lucky to have a supportive partner, who has made a lot of similar changes in his diet for his own health reasons, so he’s usually pretty happy with what I plan for us. About half the time, the food we’re making for us is something the kids will like as well. The other half, my partner will make something different for them. Sometimes we just need to tweak what we’re making for us. For example, when I make paleo baked chicken fingers, the kids love those. They dip theirs in plum sauce. On the side, I usually make sweet potato baked fries or mashed sweet potato for us, and we’ll throw in some regular oven fries for the kids. That doesn’t take any extra work and everyone is happy.

Your turn

Have you found it challenging to make lifestyle changes fit into your life? What tips and tricks have you found that make it work? Share with us in the comments below!

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