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Q: I make most of my meals at home using whole-food ingredients, but I’d like some backup options. I eat a grain-free diet, and I’m looking for healthy, quick-fix Paleo meals that can help me when I’m too busy or too tired to cook. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Fortunately, because of demand from customers just like you, manufacturers have upped their game in terms of offering quick-fix, Paleo-friendly products, many of which are packaged with vegetables as ready-made meals. Others can be combined with a salad or cooked vegetables to form a complete meal in minutes. Here are some of the best heat-and-eat products you can find in natural food stores.
Quick-Fix Paleo Entrées
Kevin’s Natural Foods Heat & Eat Dinners
Cofounded by Kevin McCray, who overcame a serious autoimmune disorder by eating a Paleo diet, Kevin’s Natural Foods offers a line of flavorful chicken-based entrées that empower people to eat clean at home. With flavors including Roasted Garlic Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken, and Thai-Style Coconut Chicken, these quick-fix meals can be heated in the microwave or on top of the stove in just 5 minutes. They’re all Certified Paleo and Certified Gluten-Free.
Tribali Foods Meat Patties and Sliders
Tribali Foods was developed by Angela Bicos Mavridis, who wanted to capture the magic of her grandmother’s kitchen in a way that fits into today’s hectic lifestyles. The company sells certified Paleo patties created from organic animal meats combined with vegetables, spices, herbs, and purées to create flavors that tantalize the taste buds. Examples include Mediterranean Style Organic 100% Grass Fed & Finished Beef Patties, Umami Beef Patties, and Organic Chicken & Apple Sliders. These quick-fix meat products cook from frozen and are ready to eat in minutes.
Applegate Farms Well Carved Burgers and Meatballs
In 2020, Applegate Farms, known for its natural and organic sausages and deli meats, introduced its Well Carved line of frozen organic burgers and meatballs—savory combinations of organic meat blended with nutritious vegetables, legumes, and/or brown rice. Applegate’s Organic Mediterranean Style Meatballs, Organic Grass-Fed Beef Burgers, and Organic Turkey Burgers are mostly grain-free, as well as USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Heat the meatballs in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop, and heat the burgers in a skillet or on the grill.
Primal Kitchen Bowls and Skillet Meals
To help fill a need for real-ingredient, Paleo-based items in the frozen aisles of natural food stores, Primal Kitchen launched its Bowls and Skillet Meals last year. The bowls feature innovative packaging made from recycled sugar cane fiber: just heat them to make simple, single-serve meals. The quick-fix Paleo meals serve two people and take just minutes to sauté in oil in a skillet on the stove. Steak fajitas anyone?
Ready-to-Eat Animal Protein
If you don’t have time to throw together even a quick-fix Paleo meal, the following products can fill the void. Buy these items ahead of time to keep healthy protein at your fingertips. They can be eaten right out of the container, added on top of salads, or used in recipes.
Wild Planet Canned Fish and Chicken
Wild Planet Foods offers a full line of sustainably caught seafood with fresh-from-the-sea flavor. Its products include albacore and skipjack light tuna, wild pink and sockeye salmon, sardines, white anchovies, wild mackerel fillets, and wild yellowtail.
The company also sells canned organic roasted chicken breast, with or without sea salt. The chicken is raised on an organic diet free of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and genetically modified ingredients. For a quick-fix Paleo meal, try using the chicken in salads, Mexican food, or soups.
BELA Canned Codfish
BELA Canned Codfish is the first and only tinned cod on store shelves. It’s prepared in a centuries-old Portuguese style, with plump fillets of the white, flaky fish marinated in organic extra virgin olive oil, sautéed onion, garlic slices, and sea salt. Try pouring a tin (oil and all) over a bowl of warm, grain-free pasta, light beans, or cooked vegetables.
Patagonia Provisions canned seafood
Patagonia Provisions sells a line of nutritious, responsibly sourced canned seafood that includes lightly smoked mussels and selectively harvested mackerel and wild pink and wild sockeye salmon. Enjoy as is, or heat the sealed package in hot water for seven minutes, open, drain, and serve over greens for a quick-fix Paleo meal.
Vital Farms Organic Pasture-Raised Hard-Boiled Eggs
Vital Farms, known for its fresh pasture-raised eggs, offers the only hard-boiled, pasture-raised eggs on the market. Its hard-boiled eggs are available in a 6-count package containing three “grab-and-go” 2-packs. Available in the refrigerated section of natural food stores, each 2-pack comes with its own salt and pepper packet. Eat out of hand, add on top of salads, or make quick deviled eggs with them.
Jerky: The Portable Meat Snack
Need a quick Paleo pick-me-up when you’re on the go? Jerky is the answer. Derived from a word that means “dried, salted meat,” jerky is made from beef or other sources of animal protein, cut into strips, and then dried, usually with salt to prevent spoilage.
Jerky is ready-to-eat and can be stored for months without refrigeration. That makes it a convenient high-protein snack or mini-meal when you’re hiking, traveling, or away from home for an extended period of time. Jerkies that follow grain-free Paleo guidelines include:
EPIC Meat Bars & Bites
EPIC Provisions offers an extensive line of meat bars and bites. Keto-friendly, unsweetened bars include Chicken Sriracha, Beef Sea Salt + Pepper (new), and Beef Jalapeño (new). All of the beef is sourced from grass-fed cattle.
Smaller than the bars, EPIC Bites make the perfect light snack. In addition to Chicken Sriracha, other unsweetened varieties are Beef Liver Bites, made with grass-fed beef and beef liver, and Venison with Beef Bites, made with grass-fed venison and beef.
Chomps Meat Sticks
Chomps makes sticks from grass-fed and finished beef and venison and free-range, antibiotic-free turkey. They source beef raised by ranchers who practice regenerative agriculture methods such as rotational grazing. Varieties include Sea Salt Beef, Italian Style Beef, and Salt & Pepper Venison. The products are Certified Gluten Free and Certified Paleo.
Wild Zora Meat and Vegetable Bars
Wild Zora produces high-protein meat bars made with responsibly sourced, free-range meat paired with a serving of organic fruits and veggies. They’re handy, nutritious, all-in-one snacks. Paleo varieties that don’t contain cheese: Mediterranean Lamb, Apple Pork, Taco Pork, Curry Turkey, BBQ Beef, and Chili Beef.