I know how it is…
You’re busy, it’s hot, and the last thing you want to think about is the next three days of meals.
The fridge is looking especially bare (aside from an impressive array of paleo hot sauces).
Your stock of fresh veggies has dwindled to a few leaves of slimy butter lettuce and two sad, limp carrots.
Your inspiration for creating anything edible is at an all-time low.
And, even though you genuinely don’t want to make poor food choices, that’s starting to look like a very real possibility.
So, let’s do this. How about you lean into our meal plan for the next three days?
It’s a super-duper easy one—even if you’re a lousy cook or crazy-busy. And it’ll set you up for three whole days of not having to think about what to eat…not to mention helping you avoid food choices you’ll regret later.
As Doctors of Oriental Medicine, Randy and I are big on eating with the seasons and make a handful of adjustments when the weather gets hot. You can read about them in more detail here, but for the purposes of this post, let’s just say our summer meals feature lots of green soups and protein-rich salads. Think fresh, colorful abundance.
I’ll break things down meal-by-meal. That way, you can mix and match over the next three days (and beyond).
For me, breakfast is a cup of matcha or coffee with a spoonful of ghee and spoonful of coconut oil (the stuff of bulletproof intermittent fasting, in other words).
For those wanting something more, here’s a three-day line-up:
- 2 eggs scrambled or fried in ghee or high-quality butter, 2 slices of sugar-free bacon, sliced tomato and half an avocado
- Bowl of paleo “oatmeal” (oat-and-grain-free, of course) with a half-handful of berries
- To-go option: 2 hard-boiled eggs, 5 slices of organic Applegate deli meat and sliced bell pepper
Ahh…lunchtime. On workdays, I savor this alone space between yoga and clinic. On weekends, I look forward to sharing this together space with Randy. Either way, I almost always eat a packed lunch (sometimes paired with GT’s Kombucha). So good.
Leftovers from dinner make excellent lunches. And here are four additional choices requiring minimal prep:
- Can of safe-catch tuna (eaten straight or mixed with chopped celery, sugar-free pickles, extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of curry powder), lettuce leaves for scooping and wrapping plus any sliced veggies that strike your fancy—think heirloom tomatoes, red onion, green peppers and such. (For more tuna salad variations, look here.)
- 4 oz. package of smoked salmon (look for sugar-free), a half-handful of walnuts or macadamias, and a side salad of leafy greens plus any other veggies that are local and fresh
- Vegetarian option: Riff on the above, subbing scrambled eggs and/or full-fat, crap-free Greek yogurt (if you do okay with dairy) for the tuna or salmon.
- Extra-portable option: 2 hard-boiled eggs, 5 slices of organic Applegate deli meat and sliced bell pepper (Yes, this is an option for breakfast or lunch. I encourage you to play with what qualifies as “breakfast,” “lunch” or “dinner”—interesting how we create expectations and categories around those.)
Here’s where protein-rich summer salads get real. We tend to eat them in “deconstructed” form, with everything arranged separately on the plate rather than tossed together. Either way is fine, of course. Go with what’s most appetizing to you.
A few options:
- Easy scramble night: grass-fed ground beef, bison or lamb scrambled with green onions sautéed in coconut oil, served atop butter lettuce and ringed with all manner of fresh veggies and avocado (Eggs make a nice addition too.)
- Even easier night: organic Applegate deli meat, sliced hard-boiled eggs, fresh greens and other veggies, a few bites of mango, avocado, sugar-free dill pickles, and a sprinkle of walnuts, all drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil (Add hard raw cheese if you do dairy.)
- Sick-of-salad night: wild salmon cooked on the stovetop or grill with ghee or high-quality butter, a bowl of green soup (find my recipe here), and a blast of wasabi on the side
This is where we go super-light, keeping the sugar load minimal and making dessert a modest after-dinner affair rather than a whole meal unto its own (yeah, sorry). Cool thing is, eating enough healthy fat and protein during the day and at dinner tempers even the most insistent sweet tooth.
But to satisfy that must-have-dessert feeling, try these:
- Half-handful of berries and 1 date topped with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut butter or coconut milk, sprinkled with cinnamon and cardamom
- 2 small squares of dark chocolate (Choose 85% dark or higher.)
- Extra-special treat night: grain-free avocado-banana cookies (Blend 1 egg, 1 ripe avocado, 1 ripe banana, 1/2 cup of dark baking cocoa, 1/4 cup of raw cacao nibs, a capful of vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda; spoon onto a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. A word of warning: the result is more bittersweet than sweet…so you may want to add a tablespoon or so of raw honey.)
Okay, so I’m not much fun here either. I don’t snack; my main meals keep me satiated. This is a pretty cool, pretty typical “side effect” of eating paleo-primal for a sustained period (particularly when your diet is high in fat and low in sugar and carbs).
Everyone’s different though, and Randy likes having a snack most afternoons. Here are some solid stand-by’s:
- Hard-boiled eggs (pasture-raised)
- Half a roasted yam (Randy likes purple ones.)
- Half-handful of walnuts or macadamia nuts
- Spoonful of almond butter
- Spoonful of coconut milk (full-fat, organic)
- EPIC bars
- Snacks from Steve’s PaleoGoods (See my review of their grain-free granola bar here.)
Boom. Three days of easy, low-stress summer eating.
There’s plenty of room for additions, substitutions and free-styling, of course—and I highly encourage it. But you could also just stick to the plan as is, keeping things as decision-free as possible.
Either way, I’d love to hear how it goes, so please share in the comments!
Oh, and if you’re wondering what this three-day plan looks like in shopping list form, check below for the line-up.
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3-Day Summertime Shopping List
(For 2 people—adjust quantities accordingly)
1.5 lbs ground meat (grass-fed beef/bison/lamb)
1.5 lbs fresh salmon
1-2 heads of lettuce (organic)
Collards, kale or other greens (organic)
2 bell peppers (organic or at least local)
4 tomatoes (organic or at least local, not remote)
1 large cucumber (organic or at least local)
1 large red onion (organic)
1 large white/yellow onion (organic)
4 avocados (conventional is fine)
1 butternut squash (organic; can sub other squash of choice)
1-2 yams (organic)
Raw ginger (organic)
Raw garlic (organic)
1 apple (organic)
1 mango (organic or local)
1 ripe banana (organic)
1 container of berries (organic, not remote)
Small container of dates (or 3-4 dates from the bulk section)
Almond butter (without sugar or other additives, organic if possible)
85% or higher cacao dark chocolate (Taza is excellent but might turn you into a choco-snob.)
2 EPIC bars
1 doz. pasture-raised eggs
2 pkg. smoked salmon (Whole Foods brand is sugar-free.)
3 pkg. organic deli meat (We like Applegate organic roasted turkey and prosciutto.)
2 cans safe-catch tuna
Extra-virgin olive oil
Coconut oil (organic)
Coconut butter (organic)
Coconut milk (organic, full-fat, no sugar; Canned Native Forrest classic is excellent.)
Shredded coconut (organic, no sugar)
Raw cacao nibs (organic)
Dark chocolate baking cocoa (organic)
Spices (cumin, cinnamon, garlic salt, seat salt, pepper, etc.)
Hard raw cheese (if you’re okay with dairy)
Full-fat, crap-free Greek yoghurt (if you’re okay with dairy)