Making a Non-Paleo Lunch Menu Paleo diet healthy ideas replacements-min

Making a Non-Paleo Lunch Menu Paleo

I went out for a farewell lunch with my team today.  We went to a bar in the city centre, with a fairly typical bar menu. So – a Paleo Lunch?

I'm quite happy to go almost anywhere to eat, with the knowledge that on most menus, with a bit of staff interaction, a Paleo meal can be put together.

I start by ruling out any predominately grain based meals, such as pasta, pizza, pies and sandwiches.  Of the remaining dishes I'm usually left with a few meaty options, of which I’ll try to identify the least likely to be fried (typically in vegetable oil), processed, coated (gluten), or marinated (often in sauces containing ingredients like gluten and sugar).  Unless the menu is extremely limited I also rule out salads and vegetable based options, as I don’t find them filling and they often have many ingredients I wouldn't eat (like dressings, sauces, cheese and croutons).

At this stage today I was left with these options: –

  • Slow braised lamb shanks served with minted rich gravy & mash
  • Surf & Turf. 200g rump steak, prawns sautéed in garlic served with chive butter, fries and salad.
  • Grilled Barramundi fillet with creamy mash & asparagus served with a hollandise sauce.
  • Lamb Cutlets served with creamy mash, olive pesto & wholegrain mustard cream

I generally look at all of the menu options and mix and match my chosen meat with the vegetable and salad sides on offer with other meals.  I've not yet been to a restaurant unable to accommodate my Paleo mix and match requests.  Had there not been so many good options, I would have also considered things like the burger (without the bun, fries or sauces).

Paleoising-Lunch mix match making paleo

My Mix and Match Paleo Lunch

I went for the lamb shanks, as I knew they should be unprocessed and not fried.  I asked for the lamb to come without the mash and sauce, but with plain vegetables instead.  It arrived with roasted eggplant, capsicum, zucchini & mushroom (luckily I've not started my nightshade elimination experiment yet), which was a perfect Paleo meal.

I find pubs, bars and steak houses the easiest places in which to eat out, where there is usually a lot of reasonable options to choose from.  A good Indian restaurant is often a surprisingly good choice too.  I always ask the staff exactly what is in each dish, and there are often tomato based sauces or dry cooked meats, which are a great Paleo option.  In my experience Chinese and Japanese can be a bit more testing.  Quite often I actually find it easier to say I'm allergic to soy and gluten and ask for the staff to help me find a suitable option.

One of the things I enjoy about going off-menu, is the inevitable discussions it provokes from my pasta-eating dining companions – an excuse to talk Paleo is always welcomed.

How do you get a Paleo meal from a non-Paleo option?  Do you find some types of restaurant better than others?  I’d love to find out what tricks I'm missing!

Making a Non-Paleo Lunch Menu Paleo diet healthy ideas replacements-min

Redundant Supermarket Aisles shopping groceries centre perimeter coles woolworths paleo diet-min

Redundant Supermarket Aisles

One of the best things about following a Paleo lifestyle, is the serious reduction of the time-sap that is the supermarket.  There is absolutely no need to go up and down every aisle – unless of course you like to look at the ingredients of Frankenfoods “just for fun” like I do.

My Supermarket Route

I generally get all of my meat from my local organic butcher.  This means one less thing to get from Coles or Woolworths, and a far superior product.  I get some veg from markets, but I've still not found a great reliable, local source – so at the moment I am still buying a lot of my veg from the supermarket.

My first stop is therefore the fruit and veg section, usually in the front corner of the store.  Here I generally try to buy local Australian produce and avoid the imports.  This is not only cheaper, but I believe a much more sustainable, healthy option.  I regularly buy sweet potatoes and pumpkins as good carbohydrate sources.  I buy lots of onions, garlic and tomatoes as they tend to form the basis of many meals.  I’ll often buy vegetables such as zucchini and cauliflower to create zucchini pasta and cauliflower rice.  I often pick up avocado as this is such a good, quick and easy fat source which goes with many meals.  Depending on which meals I have planned for the week ahead, I’ll get carrots, parsnips, Asian greens, spinach, capsicum (bell peppers), mushrooms, leeks and broccoli.  I vary my purchase significantly depending on what is in season and what looks good on that particular day.  Depending on the type of vegetables I'm buying, I’ll decide whether or not to go organic.  Unfortunately price is a big consideration in this for me.  I use the dirty dozen rule when deciding what I should buy organic – and what I'm more likely to get away with non organic for.

I'm buying less and less fruit as I'm trying to minimise my sugar intake.  I also believe I can get the same beneficial nutrients the fruit provides in vegetables and meat – without the sugar hit.  However, I always buy limes and lemons as I often have a slice in hot water as a refreshing hot drink.  I occasionally purchase kiwi fruits and will buy berries more and more as the season gets further underway.  I can’t remember the last time I had an apple – balancing off the sugar and nutritional content, there are so many things I’d choose to eat first.


One of many non-Paleo supermarket aisle I don't need to enter

Next door is usually the egg section.  I buy a lot of eggs.  This is an area I won't compromise on.  The minimum I'd consider buying would be free range, but I generally get organic.  I don't see them often, but where I do I'll also buy Omega-3 enriched eggs.

Close to the Fruit and Veg section is usually the “healthy” range (i.e. “Macro” in Woolies or “Health Solutions” in Coles.  From here I’ll buy nuts, nut butters and ground almond and coconut flour.  I don’t buy these items regularly, but to go into a specific meal I have planned, such as noatmeal, or into a curry .

Back on the outside perimeter of the store I’ll occasionally then get some meat (if I haven’t managed to get this from my butcher).  On the rare occasions I get meat from the supermarket I'm always very careful to get organic – I consider meat to be the key area where quality really is everything.

I dip into the centre of the store to visit the Asian section, as it is here I can stock up on coconut milk which is a great source of fat.  As I'm currently avoiding dairy, this is another section I get to skip.  Finally, occasionally I’ll visit the frozen section, where I’ll pick up frozen Australian berries.  This is typically an option I only use when fresh berries are not in season.

The only staple I can’t find in supermarkets is coconut oil, which I make a special trip to my local health food store for.


The confectionery aisle – also not required

It’s incredible to think how many aisles in the supermarket become completely redundant, when leading a healthy primal lifestyle.

Have you noticed a big reduction in your grocery miles since you reconsidered your diet?  How much of your diet do you get from supermarkets?

Redundant Supermarket Aisles shopping groceries centre perimeter coles woolworths paleo diet-min