The main reason people abandon a new diet or eating style? Not knowing what to eat to stay on track. Sure, the first few weeks are totally invigorating when your new meal plan is fresh and exciting, but after a while, you need to mix up your go-to recipes to keep things interesting and to stay motivated.
The benefits of the Paleo diet are pretty incredible, from weight loss to clearer skin and more energy. But coming up with new ways to cook with the same foods can be a challenge, especially when you get accustomed to just using a few of your favorite ingredients. (We're looking at you, bacon and avocado lovers.)
That's why we put together a weeklong Paleo meal planner that includes seven healthy, easy-to-cook dinners that are also protein-packed. There's a one-pan salmon dish, a vegetarian meal, and even a taco recipe. Yup, with the right ingredients, you can be Paleo and eat tacos.
Ahead, find a week's worth of clean, easy, Paleo-friendly eats.
The Meal: Asian beef rainbow salad
The Recipe: Let's just go ahead and call this what it is: the least boring salad recipe out there. It's a quick weeknight dinner to whip up on the fly, and you can even make extra of this one ahead of time for several days in advance. Then all you have to do is grab and go. Throw ground beef in a skillet, chop up your veggies, and you'll be done cooking in 20 minutes flat.
The Game Changer: The contrast between citrusy lemongrass and spicy Sriracha and jalapeños adds way more flavor than you'd ever expect to this ultra-clean, veggie-packed meal.
The Meal: Paleo orange chicken
The Recipe: Not only is this dinner Paleo, but it's also Whole 30–friendly, if you're really going for it. Zesty orange, ginger, and garlic combine for a meal that's packed with flavor and a ton of protein.
The Game Changer: Swapping out the regular rice used in the classic dish for cauliflower rice is both smart and delicious.
The Recipe: Need a little break from all that meat? There are actually a fair number of vegetarian and vegan Paleo recipes out there, such as this simple salad that makes an ideal dinner when you don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. The instructions call for avocado, greens, radishes, and onion, plus some sunflower seeds for a little bit of protein.
The Game Changer: The reason this salad is so easy to make is that the dressing takes less than 10 seconds to prepare. Drizzle tahini (made from sesame seeds, so totally Paleo-friendly!) over your veggies, and then top with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
The Meal: Mustard salmon sheet pan dinner
The Recipe: Salmon is one of the healthiest proteins out there since it's packed with brain-boosting omega-3s. Plus, it's always a good idea to load up on asparagus, which helps you de-bloat. While there's some debate over whether white potatoes are acceptable on a Paleo diet, they can easily be swapped out for sweet potatoes or carrots if you're being super strict.
The Game Changer: The ingredients list in this recipe is simple (one of the best parts about Paleo cooking!), but the mustard adds a tangy taste to the salmon that can't be beat.
The Recipe: If you’re getting tired of eating chicken breast, give the thighs a try. The meat is slightly darker for a different taste and texture, and they’re super basic to cook. Chop up figs, garlic, onions, and thyme, throw it all in a skillet, and dinner is served.
The Game Changer: Sugar is obviously off-limits when you’re eating Paleo, but the caramelization process of fruits and veggies is totally natural. Caramelized figs and onions sweeten up this perfectly simple dinner in a completely natural way.
The Meal: Blackened fish tacos
The Recipe: Who says you can’t eat tacos when you’re eating Paleo? These yummy fish ones are an amazing Saturday night dinner, whether you’re cooking for one or for a whole dinner party. Pick any white fish you like (the recipe suggests snapper or cod), and grab some grain-free tortillas at your local health food store.
The Game Changer: What makes these so tasty is the genius blackened rub for the fish. A mix of ground pepper, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and garlic—aka all the good stuff—you’ll definitely be adding this seasoning mix to your cooking arsenal.
The Meal: Mediterranean grilled lamb kebabs
The Recipe: So clean, but so delicious! These kebabs are the perfect weekend recipe since they require a little extra marinating time (anywhere between two and 24 hours), but aside from that minimal prep work, they’re fast to whip up.
The Game Changer: The pine and citrus notes of the marjoram used in the marinade add another element of depth to the hearty lamb. Finished off with a spritz of lemon, these are way lighter and fresher than you’d expect, making them an ideal summer entrée.