Meal Planning for Beginners: 5 Steps to Healthier Eating

Meal planning template

I started meal planning after I had my second kid. It was so much work to take two kids under the age of two, to the grocery store I could only find the energy once a week. So, I started Meal Planning.

Besides saving multiple trips to the store, meal planning saves time, money, and increases the chances you will make healthy choices around meal time. Meal Planning and Meal Prepping usually go hand in hand, but that doesn’t always need to be the case.

Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail

Making time to Meal Plan and Prep

If you think you don’t have time to meal prep check out my E-book 10 Minute Meal Prep (10 low-carb recipes that can be prepped in 10 minutes). The recipes are low-carb and keto friendly, but really anyone could enjoy them, hell add some rice to the mix if you feel like it. I’m sure you can find 10 minutes to meal prep sometime during the week.

Meal Planning, like everything, it takes some practice to get the hang of. Every week you will get better and better and it will take less and less time.

When you use the Meal Plan Template, share it on Instagram and tag me. I would love to see it!

5 Steps to Healthier Eating: Meal Planning

1. Plan a Day to Plan

I know this sounds stupid, but it is an important step. For most people, this will be Saturday or Sunday, but it needs to fit in your schedule.

Tip

  • If you meal prep Sunday, Saturday may be the best day to plan.

2. Sit Down with Your Calendar and Meal Planner

Your meals need to fit into your schedule. Be honest about which days you will have time to cook and which days you need leftovers. Pick meals that fit into your schedule.

Download Your Free Meal Planning Template Now

Tips

  • On your busiest day, slow-cooker meals can be really helpful. The night before my busiest days, I will put all the ingredients into my slow cooker and store the whole crock in the fridge. In the morning all I have to do is turn it on.
  • Leftovers are also great! Make a double batch of the nights you have more time, cook once eat twice.
  • Some meals, the prep work can be done ahead of time, then cooked up quickly once you get home from work.
  • Make this fun! Sit down with a good coffee and enjoy the process.

3. Decide How Many Meals You Will Need

Are you the type of person that needs to plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks? Do you just want to start with planning your dinners? Most weeks I only plan 4 different dinners. I plan on leftovers other nights, and something usually comes up (i.e. going out to dinner with friends or unexpected dinner inspiration)

Tips

  • Keep it simple, it is ok to have the same thing for breakfast and lunch most days and then just mix it up for dinner.
  • Cook extra servings for dinner so the leftovers can be eaten later as breakfast or lunch.

4. Pick Your Meals

Now just pick your meals

Tips

  • Keep Pinterest boards with meal ideas. Here is my Pinterest Page if you just want some ideas.
  • Themed days can cut down on the decision making. Themes such as Taco Tuesday, Slow-cooker Wednesday and Curry Friday. There are so many variations on these themes you will never get bored, but it makes picking out a recipe a little easier.
    • Theme Ideas:
  • Only choose a couple different breakfasts, lunches, or snacks.
  • Involve the whole family. Kid’s (and sweethearts) are more likely to be happy with a meal they help choose.
  • Make sure you note where to find the recipes when it is time to cook.
  • Keep your meal plan where you can see it, maybe hang it up on your fridgemeal plan on fridge

5. Make your shopping list

Now that you know what meals you are making, create a comprehensive shopping list.

Tips

  • Utilize grocery delivery or pick up services.
  • Keep a running list of kitchen staples as you run out of them
  • Use an app such as WunderList that allows multiple people to contribute.
  • Don’t be afraid to have regulars

Next Level S$%#

 I try to have cabbage and fish at least once a week, and bone broth/gelatin AT LEAST 2 times a week. To help me to remember, there a little place on my meal planning worksheet that reminds me of this. Once you feel like you have meal planning under control, I recommend setting your own weekly quotas/goals.

Here is a Free Meal Planning Template

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Eating!

Meal Planner

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Healthy Pizza Zoodles for Meal Prep

finishes Pizza Zoodles in meal prep containers

The key to long term Meal Prep success is keeping it simple and fast while having as much flavor and variety of flavors possible. Healthy Pizza Zoodles for Meal Prep is a great recipe to add to your rotation.

Here is a Free Meal Planning Template

I brought Pizza Zoodles for lunch last, and man was I glad! A vendor had brought in pizzas and the breakroom smelled delicious. It was easy to say no to free pizza because I knew I had a healthier option with a similar flavor in my lunchbox. (I like this lunchbox because it big enough to carry all my day’s food and act as a purse.)

For Kitchen Essentials, including the glass meal prep containers, I use almost every day, check out my Amazon Shop!

Healthy Pizza Zoodles for Meal Prep in luchbox

Gelatin, A Hidden Super Food

This healthy recipe is made just a little bit healthier by adding gelatin. Gelatin is one of the super foods you can add to almost any meal. Along with adding protein, made up of amino acids many people are deficient in, it also adds a nice body to sauces and soups. Gelatin has many of the same benefits as bone broth but can be kept in your pantry. Here is the grass-fed brand I buy on Amazon.

In Pizza Zoodles, you won’t even notice it is there, but your skin, gut, bones, and joints will thank you.

Healthy Pizza Zoodles for Meal Prep cheese added

To see more of my adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food and what I am currently cooking, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

Healthy Pizza Zoodles for Meal Prep

Enjoy this flavorful simple meal prep recipe.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword batch cooking, gluten-free, grain-free, healthy, low-carb, lunch, meal prep, pizza, simple, zoodles
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon gelatin optional
  • ¼ c cool water for gelatin optional
  • 1 lb ground meat I used moose
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Avocado oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 package 4 oz nitrate-free pepperoni, slices cut in about 4ths
  • 3-4 oz Katamala olives black will also work
  • 4-6 zucchinis cut with spiralizer
  • Mozzarella cheese optional
  • Parsley optional

Instructions

  1. Mix water and gelatin together in a small bowl or cup and set aside (this is called blooming). Skip this step if not adding gelatin.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, browned meat and onion with enough oil to keep from sticking and salt.

  3. Once meat is browned, turn heat to low and add garlic, Italian seasoning, and balsamic vinegar. As the liquid sizzles, scrape off any brown piece stuck to the bottom of the pan, also call fond.
  4. Mix in tomato paste and bloomed gelatin
  5. Let simmer for a few minutes then turn off heat and stir in pepperoni.
  6. While the meat mixture is cooling, divide the raw zoodles (spiralized zucchinis) into 4 glass meal prep containers.
  7. Evenly divide the meat and olives place on the zoodles.
  8. Top with grated mozzarella and chopped parsley if you would like.
  9. Put lids on containers and store in the fridge.
  10. Reheat before eating,

Recipe Notes

  • Meals usually last about a week in the fridge, I usually trust my nose, but use your best judgment.
  • If you don’t have a spiralizer use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons or just slice the zucchini.
  • Tomato paste is great to use in place of tomato sauce when cooking with a lot of vegetables. It contains less moisture than the sauce and will help prevent the dish becoming too watery.

Healthy Pizza Zoodles

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She only provides links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Great Books to Help You Eat Healthier and Live Better

Great diet and lifestyle books to read

I had a man asked me on Instagram about my education. He was hoping to educate himself on a healthy lifestyle and wanted to know where I had learned about food and cooking. Well, I have a Bachelors of Science in Physiology from the University of Wyoming (Go Pokes!) and I am an American Council on Exercise certified Health Coach. These are a great foundation, but I am constantly trying to learn as much as possible about nutrition, cooking, and in general a healthy lifestyle. So I put together a list of them and I decided to make a blog post out of it so I could share it with you too!

Honestly, I listened to most of these on Audible. I love audio books and find it easier to listen while driving or cooking, than finding time to sit down to read. (Audible is part of Amazon)

For all of these books and Kitchen Essentials, I use almost every day, check out my Amazon Shop!

Habit Change Book

First things first, if you are trying to change your habits I HIGHLY recommend Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Who For

ANYONE wanting to change ANY habit.

Why

Gretchen is a genius and has amazing insight into the nature of people. She separates people into 4 Tendencies. Once you know yourself better, you will understand which strategies will and will not work for you. I love this strategy because it doesn’t waste time trying to change you as a person, but finds simple ways to change your habits.

If you have a second take her Four Tendencies Quiz. It only takes a minute and it will give your great insight. I’m a Questioner:)

Basic Diet Books

Who

Food, What the Heck Should I Eat by Dr. Mark Hyman is great for people that want to take the first step into healthy eating, but don’t want to get overwhelmed.

Why

Dr. Hyman does a great job covering the how, what, and whys of healthy eating in a way that is easy to understand. This is a good first read to dip your toes into the Paleo Diet

Who

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson if for everyone.

Why

This is one of three books I recommend by Mark and is a great overview of the primal lifestyle. It is easy to understand. Mark is a smart former pro triathlete turned jacked-old-man-killer-businessman, so who doesn’t want to be more like him? I also really like his balanced message and think it is really sustainable.

Who

Deep Nutrition by Dr. Catherine Shanahan is great for people looking to take a little deep look into diet and how it interacts with your genes. She dapples in epigenetics

Why

Dr. Shanahan works with the LA Lakers to make sure their diet is in tip-top shape so her suggestions are probably good enough for you. She pretty much recommends the Paleo diet but cames to it from her own conclusions using her background as an M.D. She is pro Bone Broth:)

Who

Death By Food Pyramid by Denis Minger is for anyone interested in why the food pyramid is dead wrong.

Why

I like this book because it talks about the political history and science behind the food pyramid and terrible government dietary guidelines. I’m a sucker for non-fiction and history is always interesting (as well as the science).

Next Level Books

Who

Wired to Eat By Robb Wolf is for people wondering why they love to eat junk food so much. The second half of the book will appeal to people that want to geek out on their blood sugar and how different foods affect them.

Why

Robb is a former biochemical researcher so his geeky science side really appeals to me, but he also does a great job explaining things well for people that don’t have a science background. He leans towards the paleo/keto side of things.

Who

Own the Day by Aubrey Marcus if for people looking to take it to the next level.

Why

Aubrey is borderline a biohacker and this book goes through the perfect day. It is a good read and let’s face it, as another ripped, kick-ass businessman he must know what he is talking about.

Who

Nourishing Broth by Sall Fallon Morell (author of Nourishing Traditions) is for people that love Bone Broth as much as I do.

Why

Bone Broth is amazing and everyone should consume it.

Who

Primal Endurance by Mark Sission and Brad Kearns is for anyone interested in training for endurance sports but not willing to sacrifice their health or balanced lifestyle for it.

Why

Both Mark and Brad were professional triathletes and really know their stuff. They are fans of the Maffetone Method

Who

The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls is for anyone that is interested in their mitochondria, which should be everyone. This book is especially important with people with MS or other autoimmune diseases.

Why

Dr. Wahls has an amazing story. She has MS and was in a tilt-recline wheelchair but was able to heal her body to the point she is now able to take long bike rides, all with diet!. Check out her TedTalk!

On a very personal note, My mom had MS and later died from Breast Cancer. I really wish I knew about her protocol when my mom was still alive. I really take to heart her guidelines in my meal plans now and wish everyone with MS know about her protocol.

 

Who

Paleo Principles by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne is for people that and a deep dive into the Paleo diet.

Why

This book is great for people looking for the textbook on the Paleo diet. It is very science heavy but Dr. Ballantyne does a good job making it understandable. There are also recipes in this book, ok most of the books I recommend have some recipe.

Keto Books

Who

The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns is for anyone looking to transition into the keto diet without the “keto flu”.

Why

I read this book when I decided I needed to get fat adapted for my sheep hunt and it was a huge success. I like that Mark and Brad are not dogmatic about a ketogenic diet and encourage consuming vegetables.

 

Who

Keto Quick Start by Diane Sanfilippo is another good option for people looking to start the keto diet.

Why

I like Dian’s balanced approach to things and she can really cook. I wasn’t sure if I should put this with the other keto books or cookbooks.

Cookbooks

Who

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is for anyone looking to eat like their great grandmother. People who want to incorporate grains, beans, and dairy into their diet and are willing to put in the time and effort to prepare them correctly to get the most out of them, should read this book.

Why

Sally is the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation and is all about sprouting grains and bean and raw milk.

Who

The Wild Kitchen by Wilderness Athlete is a great cookbook for everyone.

Why

These cookbooks are very practical and full of healthy recipes, some containing wild game but most do not.

Who

The Meateater by Steven Rinella is for hunters that need to cook all the meat in their freezer.

Why

Steve knows how to cook and write and is very passionate about both. What more could you ask in a cookbook author? He is not into “healthy recipes”, but game meat, naturally, is really healthy.

Who

Paleo Perfected by America’s Test Kitchen is for anyone trying to cook Paleo.

Why

America’s Test Kitchen does not half-ass cooking. They take their job really seriously, and you know each one of their recipes has been meticulously tested and will work every time.

E-Books

Is it weird if I put my own book on this list? I worked really hard on 10 Minute Meal Prep. I truly believe it will help you eat healthier while saving time and money.

10 Minute Meal Prep

Who

10 Minute Meal Prep by me is for anyone who is short on time but wants to meal prep. All the recipes are low-carb and keto friendly, but anyone could enjoy them.

Why

This E-book has 10 “recipes” for meals I make all the time that only take 10 minutes or less to prep. The dinners take additional cooking time (slow cooker, sheet pan, or stovetop),  but can be prepared ahead of time so once you get home from work, dinner is either ready or almost ready.

I am a huge fan of meal prepping and it can save you time and money while making it easier to eat healthily.

 

Hope this helps. Let me know if I have missed any you think should be on this list. I will try to keep it updated with the books I read.

Join my Facebook Book Club if you are interested in reading these or other books like them, and discussing them with like-minded people.

To see more of my adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

 

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program (and other affiliate programs). While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She only provides links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

3 Superfoods You Can Add to Almost Every Meal

3 superfoods you can add to any meal

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be all or nothing. These 3 Superfoods can be added to the healthiest, Instagram worthy meals, or those meals that are less than perfect, you know, the ones you are just happy made it to the table.

I would be lying if I said I had never added gelatin to a box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese, but the truth is we all eat meals that aren’t great for us. Adding even a little bit of one of these 3 Superfoods is better than none.

The little things really do add up.

No matter where you are in your health journey you can do this. If eating healthy seems overwhelming, just pick one of these Superfoods and try adding them to your diet a couple times a week.

1. Bone Broth or Gelatin

bone broth

My love for bone broth is no secret. Out of these 3 Superfoods, You Can Add to Almost Every Meal, I am most obsessed with bone broth.

My first ever blog post was about bone broth. I consume bone broth and recommend it to others regularly.

You can make your own, or buy a high-quality brand like Kettle & Fire.

The cook in me loves the extra flavor and body it can add to a dish. The health coach in me loves the proteins it contains and their health benefits. The hunter in me loves showing respect for the animal I harvested by using all the animal I can. The mom in me loves that it easy to incorporate into my kids’ diet.

How to Add Bone Broth to Meals

Use in place of water in any savory meal. If a recipe calls for water, just substitute bone broth.

Uses for Bone Broth

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How to Add Gelatin

Gelatin is a cooked form of collagen and has many of the nutrients found in bone broth. It can be purchased in bulk and kept in your pantry (here is the grass-fed gelatin I use). Gelatin has less flavor than bone broth, so it can be added to savory and sweet dishes.

Start by mixing 1 teaspoon of gelatin and 1 tablespoon cool water. This is called blooming, and once it sets up, it can be stirred into any warm food or liquid.

Uses for Gelatin

DIY Collagen Coconut Milk

2. Frozen Power Greens

imageService
I always have at least one bag of frozen power greens from Costco in my freezer. This way I always have them on hand

How to Add Frozen Greens

Once the leaves are frozen, I crunch them up into little pieces.  Freezing the greens ensures they don’t go bad as well as making some of the nutrients more bioavailable.
Once your meal is almost done cooking, stir in a ½ cup (or more).

Uses For Power Greens

Make Ahead Smoothies

 

3. Cauliflower Rice

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Cauliflower rice is so versatile. And despite Cauliflower being amazing for you, it doesn’t have a very strong flavor once it is cooked.

How to Add Cauliflower Rice

You can buy Cauliflower pre-riced, fresh or frozen, or use a cheese grater/ food processor to rice a head of Cauliflower yourself. Since my Costco started carrying Cauliflower rice, I have tried to always keep a bag in my freezer.

I usually roast Cauliflower rice in the oven.  Just drizzle a little avocado oil, sprinkle with salt, mix, then evenly spread out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat (these are the mats I use almost daily!)

You can also sauté on the stove or add Cauliflower rice directly to the dish.

Uses for Cauliflower Rice

Keto Taco Casserole

  • Curry
  • Chile
  • Fried “rice”
  • Keto Taco Casserole
  • Rice- Often I will cook rice in bone broth then mix with Cauliflower rice. This is a good compromise for kids and people not willing to completely give up rice.

Small Thing Add Up to Big Things

A healthy diet doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Good choices, no matter how small can add up to something great. Finding creative ways to use these 3 superfoods to your meals is a great way to add nutrients to your less than perfect diet, let’s be honest, no one’s perfect.

Hopefully, these small steps will seem very doable and make eating healthier a little less intimidating. Who knows, taking these steps may lead to other positive changes in your life.

Keep in touch, let me know ways you add nutrients to your food!

To see more of my adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

Superfoods

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She only provides links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Keto Taco Casserole with Cauliflower Rice

It is one of my personal goals to make #lowcarbhighveg a thing. Keto Taco Casserole with Cauliflower Rice would definitely be an appropriate recipe to use this sadly rare hashtag. So many people in the keto space seem to emphasize fat on fat on fat and ignore the quality of fats and vegetables. Most, veggies contain tons of micro-nutrients and few carbs.

Cauliflower is Worth the Carbs

In one cup of cauliflower, there are 5 grams total carbs and 2 grams fiber (3 grams net carbs), but it is so much more than its carb count.  Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family (like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), which means it is high in phytochemicals and sulfur.  These compounds are powerful antioxidants and vital to cellular health.

Sulfur-rich vegetables are so good for you, Dr. Terry Wahls recommends you eat 3 cups a day of these amazing vegetables!

Dr. Wahls M.D. is an amazing woman that was able to reverse her multiple sclerosis with her miracle protocol. I highly recommend her Ted Talk or Book to everyone, not just people with autoimmune diseases. Her TEDx Talk “Mind Your Mitochondria” has over 3 million views on YouTube!

Casserole Love

Who doesn’t love a casserole? While they are not the prettiest dishes, they are easy to make and so stick-to-your-ribs yummy. Keto Taco Casserole with Cauliflower Rice is no exception. You won’t even notice that it’s pack full of veggies and either will your kids.

When making this casserole, remember that casseroles are not an exact science. If you have canned tomatoes in your pantry, but they aren’t fire roasted or have green chiles, don’t give it a second thought, use them and move on. If you have ½ a zucchini, slightly shriveled, in your fridge, chop it up and throw it in. Make do with what you have, it will taste great.

Here is a Free Meal Planning Template

 

For all Dr. Wahls’ Book and Kitchen Essentials, I use almost every day, check out my Amazon Shop!

Keto Taco Casserole with Cauliflower Rice

This stick-to-your-ribs casserole is low in carbs but high in veggies

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cauliflower, easy, hamburger, keto, low-carb, vegetables
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs cauliflower rice 8 cups
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Avocado oil
  • 1 lb.  ground beef or game meat
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1 onions chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1 can 14 oz. fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 6 oz cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pickled jalapenos optional

Instructions

  1. On a large sheet pan, sprinkle cauliflower rice with 1 teaspoon salt and place in a 425° F oven, for 15-20 minutes*
  2. Meanwhile in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown meat, onion and bell pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt together.  Use avocado oil to keep from sticking.
  3. When meat is brown add all spices and stir until you can smell them.
  4. Turn down heat to low and stir in vinegar.
  5. Next add cream cheese, stirring until it is melted and evenly distributed.
  6. In your final baking dish* mix cauliflower, meat mixture, and tomatoes.
  7. Evenly spread out and top with cheese.
  8. Bake in preheated oven (425° F) for about 20 minutes until the cheese is nice and brown.
  9. Top with cilantro and jalapenos to serve

Recipe Notes

*You can skip prebaking the cauliflower, but your casserole will be runnier

*A 13-inch oven-safe frying pan can be used to brow the meat and bake the casserole. Or bake the casserole in a 9X13 baking pan.

Look for organic pasture raised cream cheese such as Organic Valley

To see more of my adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

Keto Taco Casserole with cauliflower rice

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She only provides links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Paleo Pecan Pie Bite and Holiday (backpacking) Recipe Book

I teamed up with Heather’s Choice to write a Holliday Recipe E-Book. It contains a few festive recipes that will be delicious in the backcountry or at home and totally FREE! I had so much fun working with the great people from Heather’s Choice. Below is a recipe for Paleo Pecan Pie Bites.

Full disclosure I am an affiliate of theirs, but I highly recommend their products. They make Paleo food for the backcountry. Like actually Paleo and with actual real food ingredients. When I don’t have time to make my own dehydrator meals, I use theirs. It’s great having food I feel good about eating or feeding to my kids.

It was Heather’s First E-Book I turned to when learning how to make my low-carb, high-fat meals for my sheep hunt.

Check Them Out!

The Holliday Recipe Book contains recipes for

  • Autumn Trail Mix
  • Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather
  • Thanksgiving Turkey Jerky
  • Pumpkin Chili (based off on Pumpkin Pie Spice Chili)
  • Backcountry Thanksgiving Feast
  • Pecan Pie Bites (recipe below)
  • Key Lime Packaroons

Download your FREE Holiday Recipe E-Book!

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Paleo Pecan Pie Bites

Paleo Pecan Pie Bites

Sometimes the little treats make all the difference. These little Paleo treats are great in the backcountry or at home

Course Dessert
Keyword backpacking, dehydrator, paleo, treat

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • cup maple syrup
  • 2 oz chocolate finely chopped optional

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, chop nuts until most of the pieces are very small, but larger
  2. than grains of sand.
  3. Add salt, vanilla and maple syrup, pulse to combine.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to portion and form little balls.
  5. Place the balls on a dehydrator rack sprayed with coconut oil.
  6. Flatten to form disks.
  7. Dehydrate at 115° F until completely dry, about 8 hrs.
  8. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  9. Coat pie bites in chocolate and place back on dehydrator rack to cool completely

 

Pecan Pie Bites

 

 

3 Supplements to Bring Backpacking

supplements for backpacking

During my Delta Dall Sheep Hunt, I took 3 Supplements and was amazed at how big of a difference it made. Every ounce counts, but with some research, these three found a place in my pack. (Here is a Round-Up of all the food I brought)

I choose these 3 Supplements to increase my athletic performance and decrease pain and inflammation because let’s face it sheep hunting is a lot of damn work and can sometimes be painful.

I am NOT a doctor, this is NOT medical advice. I’m simply telling you what I personally brought on my sheep hunt. If you are thinking about adding supplements to your diet do your own research and speak with a medical professional.
supmlemnts
Harvard Health

The 3 Supplements and Why I Brought Them

Spirulina

Spirulina is high in protein and nutrients. I figured if nothing else, protein and micronutrients never hurt, especially when you are exerting yourself so much. However, it has been shown to boost athletic performance and decrease inflammation (well at least in rats)

According to a study that was published earlier this year, “The results of this study imply that supplementation with spirulina extract may protect athletes against a deficit in immune function (especially, anti-infectious function) associated with strenuous exercise, and may cause a beneficial shift in “overtraining threshold” preventing a radical deterioration of immunity.”

Translation: spirulina boost immune function decreased by hard exercise and allows you to push harder without overdoing it.

Spirulina is well studied, on PubMed, there are over 1,700 published articles. I love that spirulina has been scientifically proven to be so beneficial, but I love how it makes me feel even more. In my n=1 experiment, I have found it gives me a boost of energy.

Use

When we were packing out meat and I was super tired, I would take a small handful to give me a little bust.

Spirulina is part of my normal diet as well. I add the loose powder to smoothies and my kids like it mixed into their yogurt.

Shroom TECH Sport

Like spirulina, mushrooms have been well studied and have way too many benefits to cover in this post.  Onnit has also done their own clinical trials that found Shroom TECH Sport increases athletic performance.

Use

I used as directed (take 40 minutes before workout) for my training leading up to my sheep hunt as well as every morning during the hunt.

Onnit has a money back guarantee (you get to keep the product), so I figured it was worth a try. I personally found it gave me an extra spring in my step for workouts and hiking.  This supplement is a little pricey (beware of cheap supplements, they are probably crap and could be dangerous!!) so I only took it on “breakthrough” workouts.

Turmeric

Like the other supplements, turmeric has been widely studied. A quick search on PubMed shows turmeric has been shown to help prevent cancer, decrease pain, increase cognitive function, and has strong anti-inflammatory properties while being considered safe with only mild side effects (if you take a super high dose). Ginger or black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric so many supplements include them (and many recipes).

Note: I also added cinnamon to my Instant Backcountry Bulletproof Coffee to help decrease inflammation.

Use

I took two tablets each morning and evening. I skipped it one evening and the next morning I could defiantly feel the difference.

Bonus “Supplement”

Salt

Ok, this isn’t a supplement, but salt and electrolytes are very important especially when eating a low carb diet or when you are very physically active. It also makes all food taste better. I brought along a little extra salt. Since I made most of my own food, I didn’t have to use it, but I will bring it next time.

Sea salt and Himalayan salt are best because they contain other trace minerals and don’t contain anticaking agents. I can taste better, but I have been called a salt snob before.

If you are reading this post you might also be interested in how I make my own High-Fat Dehydrated Meals for my sheep hunt. By going Keto/low-carb on my sheep hunt I was able to get cut 10 lbs from my back.

To see more of my adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She only provides links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Pumpkin Spice Paleo Chili

Pumpkin Spice Paleo Chili

It is Pumpkin Spice Season and I fully embrace it! I’m not talking about some gross oversweetened “coffee”. Pumpkin Spice Paleo Chili, on the other hand, that is what I’m talking about. The warm flavors taste like a cozy sweater feels.

In Pumpkin Spice Chili, the pumpkin isn’t super pronounced but adds a nice sweetness and body. Many chilies are thickened with flour, but I have gotten in the habit of thickening stews with pureed vegetables.

Cinnamon is a common ingredient in chili, so ginger seemed like a logical next step to me. Like the pumpkin, the ginger doesn’t stick out too much, just adds a little something special.

Why Pumpkin Spice Paleo Chili is the Perfect Dinner

For Kitchen Essentials, I use almost every day, check out my Amazon Shop!

Pumpkin Spice Paleo Chili

This Chili taste like a cozy sweater feels

Course Main Course
Keyword bone broth, crock pot, paleo, slow-cooker
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground meat* your choice
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 4 Roma Tomatos diced, canned will do
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 2 cup bone broth
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • Any random veggies you have laying around optional
  • 5 ounces baby spinach roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. In a cast Iron skillet brown meat and onions.
  2. Add vinegar to skillet. As the liquid sizzles, scrape up any brown pieces that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Vinegar will help decrease any gamy flavor.
  3. Add meat mixture to slow-cooker with all other ingredients except spinach.
  4. Stir to combine
  5. Cook on LOW 6-8 hrs
  6. After chili has cooked, stir in spinach and allow it to wilt

Recipe Notes

*I usually use game meat but will use beef if that is not available.

I sometimes add the left-over zucchini scraps from making zoodles or any other vegetables that are looking a little wilted in my fridge. To this day I have not found a vegetable that has not tasted great in this chili. If you find one, please let me know!

To see Gina’s adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food, follow her on Instagram or Facebook!

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Chili

Instant Backcountry Bulletproof Coffee

a cup of Instant bullet proof coffee for the backcountry

This is another “non-recipe”. Instant Backcountry Bulletproof Coffee was a big part of my nutrition on my Dall sheep hunt, but it really simple to make, takes up little room in your pack, and delivers calories and coffee while practically weighing nothing. I now keep one or two in my car just in case I need a quick meal.

Update

Since returning from my hunt, I have been playing around with my morning cup of fatty coffee, and came up with 5 more “recipes”. The original Instant Backcountry Bulletproof Coffee did the trick. I wasn’t crazy about the way the MCT powder tasted, but it was fine. But these Protein Keto Coffee for the Backpacking and Meal Prep are better tasting and just as practical! This post is still relevant and contains some good information, but if you would like more variety, including Mochas, also check out this post. The new recipes are also higher in protein.

Warning about low-carb backpacking

Before you try low carb backpacking I recommend that you eat low-carb/keto for at LEAST 6 weeks. Without properly preparing your body to burn fat as fuel, you will not get all the benefits of a ketogenic diet in the backcountry and you may not perform as well as you would like.

If you need help making the transition contact me or I recommend The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns. That being said I am so glad I went keto for sheep hunting. I was able to get all my food down to just over a pound per day.

Check out the DIY High-Fat Dehydrated Dinners I made and all the other food I borough.

Instant backcountry bullet proof

Overall I was really happy with a bulletproof coffee every morning on my hunt. Next time I will bring some plain coffee as well. Sometimes it’s hard to drink a 500 kcal coffee first thing in the morning. I would have preferred a hot cup of black coffee to start my day most mornings. Then once I was hungry, drank the bulletproof coffee, maybe cold.

There are high-fat premade coffees on the market. I made my own Instant Bulletproof Coffee because the commercially available ones did not have enough calories in 1 packet. Multiple packets would have been a hassle and extra weight. I needed a 500 kcals breakfast to get to my 3,000 kcal/day goal.

Instant Backcountry Bulletproof Coffee

This can barely be called a recipe. 

Course Breakfast
Keyword backpacking, batch cooking, high-fat, keto, ketosis, make-a-head
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 500 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Ripid Fire Ketogenic Creamer
  • 1/4 cup Aspen Naturals Keto Protein Powder
  • 2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups hot water

Instructions

At Home

  1. Mix all ingredients in a snack size zip-lock baggy

In the backcountry

  1. Add coffee mixture to hot water and sir.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes 2 "cups" of coffee

Why I chose each Ingredient

Grass-Fed Collagen + MCT Oil Powder

Is a good source of MCTs and Collagen Protein. Increases physical activity increases your need for protein and collagen contains amino acids many people are deficient in. It also contained twice the calories per 1/4 cup as the RapodFire Creamer.

Ketogenic Creamer


The powdered butter is a good source of fat and tastes good. I was bulkier than the MCT/Collagen powder and it contains guar gum (derived from a legume) which some people may be sensitive to, but I didn’t notice any side effects.

Instant Coffee

Let’s be honest, there is no good instant coffee, but when you are camping everything tastes better. I bought Yuban at the grocery store and it worked fine. I also put it in my Epic Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (grain-free). It is a lot cheaper than the Starbucks VIA.

Cinnamon


Tastes good and is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Sea or Himalayan Salt

Salt makes everything taste better and supplies essential electrolytes. Salt is your friend

To see more of Gina’s adventures and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food, follow her on Instagram or Facebook!

Pinterest Backcountry Bullet proof Coffee

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She only provides links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Super Easy Packable Keto Lunch

packable keto lunch

I have a hard time calling this a recipe, but my Packable Keto Lunch worked so well on my sheep hunt I now keep a stash my fridge. I try to have prep salads for lunch, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen, and I need something fast on the way out the door.

I first made Super Easy Packable Keto Lunches because I knew they would hold up after a week in my backpack. After eating them for almost a week straight I still liked them. When I returned home from my hunt I had some leftover and realized they were great even when you aren’t in the backcountry.

I love these Packable Keto Lunches so much they were the only recipe from the blog that made it into my E-book 10 Minute Meal Prep!

3 Reasons Packable Keto Lunches are the Ultimate Meal Prep.

  1. They take less than 5 minutes to prep
  2. They take up almost no room in the fridge
  3. They last weeks in the fridge

Sheep Hunting Food

During my Delta Dall sheep hunt, I wasn’t very worried about total carb intake. In general, just feel better when eating low carb, however, sheep hunting is so strenuous I knew some extra carbs would be nice. I wanted high-fat food because fat has over twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrate per gram.   If you are interested in keto backpacking foods, check out my DIY high-fat dehydrated dinners.

(Here is a Round-Up of all the food I brought)

packable keto lunch

When I made my backpack hunting meals I used multiple types of nuts and spice blends to mix it up.  You can use your favorite pre-made spice blend (such as Trader Joe’s Chili Lime or Everything Bagle), get creative and make your own, or just use salt.

Pick Your Nut

Nut Nutrition

Other Ingredients Nutrition Facts

Meat and Chese

Soaking Your Nuts

nuts soaking

I also took the extra steps to soak and dehydrate them. This makes them easier to digest. If this sounds like too much work, just buy your nuts dry roasted and salted : )

If you are interested in learning more about soaking nuts, check out this post, and remember you can make over 10 meals at once that will keep for weeks in your fridge so it might be worth the time : )

Super Easy Packable Keto Lunches

I started making these for backpacking, but I liked them so much I now keep a stash in my fridge at all time.

Keyword backpacking, backpacking food, dehydrated meals, high-fat, keto, low-carb, meal prep
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 500 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Paleo Valley Beef Sticks or 1 Epic Bar
  • 1 organic cheese stick
  • Nuts see table

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a snack size zip lock baggy.

  2. Store in refrigerator. 

Recipe Notes

I like Paleo Valley Beef Sticks because they are fermented, which gives them a great flavor and probiotics! (They are also available through Subscribe and Save on Amazon)

Choose the nuts that fit your dietary needs.

Try soaking and dehydrating your nuts to make them more digestible.

I recommend making 10 or 12 lunches at a time, depending on how many meat sticks come in the box.

If you would like more protein, add a second meat.

If you chose to use Epic Bars, check the nutritional label. Each flavor has different a different amount of carbs.

Follow Gina on Instagram or Facebook!

Keto Lunch

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!