Paleo Food Timing
I am really confused about what to eat and when. I think I have been doing a pretty good job on the Paleo diet, but I do not feel that balanced energy level throughout the day that I was hoping for. I am cooking at home with a nice variety of lean proteins, bringing my meals to work with me and snacking on lots of fresh fruit, especially bananas, throughout the day. I never buy anything from the vending machine anymore. To be honest, while I know I’m doing a better job at making healthier food choices, I’m kind of surprised that I have only lost a little bit of weight and am feeling hungry all the time. What do you think I might be doing wrong? Or it is possible that Paleo just doesn’t suit me?
Chris, Detroit Michigan
Thanks for this query, Chris!
Certainly, lots of people find it a little less than straightforward to know exactly when and what Paleo foods to eat while they’re first getting the hang of it.
It would be quite easy and understandable for someone to look at acceptable Paleo foods, and simply pick and choose those that appear to be the simplest to buy and quickest to bring to work.
The bananas you mentioned are a perfect example. If you brought a banana, or two or even three (I’ve had clients who’ve made this correctable mistake) to work and planned on having that as your snack, you’d be setting yourself up for blood sugar peaks and valleys, not that different from what you might have felt back before you were Paleo and were possibly buying things from that all too present vending machines.
Does that mean you shouldn’t eat bananas? Not at all! It just means that you need to factor in the glycemic index and load of foods and balance them out according to what you’re doing at the moment, and what you will be doing soon thereafter.
Don’t over think it.
To put it more simply- if you’re thinking of choosing a Paleo food that happens to be on the sweeter side (like a banana) and you’re sitting at your desk working, you’d be far better served to have a less sweeter fruit (like some berries) balanced out with some healthy proteins, perhaps some sliced turkey and a good dose of fat, like sliced avocado.
On the other hand, if you’ve just come back from a training run, take advantage of this perfect time to proceed with eating that sweeter fruit, the good old banana.
One of the key points in successfully adapting the principles of the Paleo diet to your lifestyle is balance. I address this in my upcoming book quite a bit.
In very basic terms, start every meal with some fresh veggies, then add some protein in a smaller quantity than the veg, and then add some fat in a smaller quantity still and finish up with a little bit of fruit. That’s it. As you tune in to your body’ response to what works and what doesn’t work as well as far as promoting that balanced energy level, you’ll have what to eat and when and how much dialed in as though you’d been Paleo your whole life!