Paleo meal planning can be challenging and time-consuming, even at the best of times. You want to live a healthy life and create delicious and nutritious paleo meals on a regular basis.
But sometimes life gets in the way.
Maybe this sounds familiar?
"My biggest paleo struggle is I have a family of picky eaters to feed. Two don't like salads. One doesn't like eggs, and the list goes on. I don't like to short order cook, and prefer to make one meal for everyone."
"Not only am I attempting to follow the paleo diet, my largest hurdle is that that I am also a vegetarian."
"Our family has lots of allergies. We are allergic to almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, coconut, etc. Since a lot of paleo recipes have these items to replace wheat, we are very limited in what we can cook."
I get a lot of emails and messages like these from readers asking for ways that they can tailor a paleo meal plan to work for them. Dietary restrictions, allergies, and picky eating preferences can make meal planning a real headache.
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Luckily, there are tools available to help! Though there are several available on the market, my personal favorite for paleo meal planning is Real Plans. This easy-to-use meal planner offers a robust selection of features that take care of every step between recipe selection and serving your meal on the table. With so many customizable options, it’s a great way to organize your meal planning and food shopping.
Easy Paleo Meal Planning For Challenging Dietary & Allergy Restrictions
Real Plans makes it very easy to set up your base diet and then add in any additional dietary restrictions. For paleo meal planning options, you have a choice between Paleo, Paleo - Primal, and Paleo - AIP, but there are also other diets to choose from (including Keto and Whole30).
From there, you are able to further customize your included and excluded ingredients according to your personal tastes or allergies. For example, if you’re allergic to almonds you would simply enter “almonds” in the excluded search bar and Real Plans would pull up all almond-based variants for you to select and exclude from your meal plan recipes.
Real Plans also offers preset meal planning templates for singles, couples, families, and even a dinner-only option. From there, you’ll have a suggested meal plan for each week that you can use as is, or add/cancel meals from either your visual meal planner or recipe box section to perfectly fit your calendar.
The Perfect Shopping List -- No More, No Less
The shopping list tool will allow you to streamline your shopping trips. Real Plans automatically assembles a shopping list for you and arranges your ingredients according to their location within the store. You can set up multiple lists for your preferred stores or remove an ingredient that you already have by checking off the item.
Real Plans also offer syncable iPhone and Android apps for easy shopping list updating and plan editing on-the-go. Alternatively, you can also email and print your list if you prefer to shop with a hard copy. Or you can send your list to Instacart for grocery delivery.
Finally, set up scheduled items to reappear on your list every 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks. This particular feature is perfect for maintaining pantry and fridge staples -- like avocados, sweet potatoes, and coconut milk -- so you never run out!
Never Forget to Thaw the Chicken Again With Timeline Planning
The timeline planning feature is the main difference between this tool and other meal planning applications. By accessing your weekly timeline, you’ll receive a play-by-play on what and when everything needs to be done without having to refer back to your recipe files.
I love this feature because it removes the guesswork---you’ll know when you need to go shopping for your ingredients, when advance meal preparation is needed, and even when to begin thawing your frozen items.
Recipe Box: Find All Your Recipes in One Place
Not only does Real Plans assemble a recipe box full of recipes that work specifically for your diet and preferences, but they also make it easy for you to import your own recipes from anywhere on the web...including your favorites from Cook Eat Paleo!
All you need to do is copy and paste your chosen recipe URL into the import manager. Just a few clicks later and you’ll have your recipe saved inside your recipe box.
Is Real Plans Worth It For Paleo Meal Planning?
Yes, though the question you should really be asking is how much are your time and health worth? With highly customizable meals plans, Real Plans offers you the chance to streamline your planning, shopping and preparation experience for as little as $6 per month.
According to the American National Resources Defense Council, for the average U.S. household of four, food waste translates into an estimated $1,350 to $2,275 in annual losses. With your weekly shopping list containing exactly what you need (no more, no less), Real Plans will enable you to dramatically decrease your overall food waste. Even if you only cut down your food waste by half, a Real Plans annual subscription costs only $72 so you can still find a tremendous amount of savings!
The bottom line? Real Plans is the healthy, delicious and smart way to manage your paleo meal planning.
Frequently Asked Questions About Real Plans
Here are a couple of Real Plans most frequently asked questions. You can find their full FAQ here.
Can I get a printable paleo meal plan?
Yes! When you are on the Meal Planner just click the Action button you will be given the choice to print or save your meal plan. You can even choose to have your easy-to-follow meal plan emailed to you every week.
What about other types of meal plans like Whole30, keto, AIP or vegetarian?
Absolutely, you can completely customize your Real Plans meal plans to fit your diet as well as any individual food preferences. Real Plans collaborated with the Whole30 team to create the Whole30 Real Plans and make your Whole30 easier.
Can I change my meal plan to a different diet type after I subscribe?
Yes. You can easily change your diet settings at any point after you subscribe. You will be given new recipes any time you update these settings in your control panel on RealPlans.com.
How long does it take to cook the meals?
This really depends on your settings. If you’re really short on prep time, users are given advanced filters that control the length required to create a meal. You’ll never have to worry about making the choice between eating a healthy meal or attending your Monday night yoga class!
What is the average budget for RealPlans.com meal schedules?
Real Plans is used around the world, so this is one of the very few features that this tool doesn’t provide. The good news is that your Real Plans recipes and menus are simple to change, so it’s easy to alter your plan to suit your budget.
Is there a money-back guarantee?
Yes, Real Plans offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on most menus. You can find out more about Real Plans return policy here.