For busy families, meal planning can be difficult. When you ascribe to a more restrictive style of eating, like the Paleo diet, it gets even more complicated.
As I discovered during my first 30 days of Paleo, this diet requires you to cook. A lot. Like every day. From scratch. If your schedule's already stretched to the limit, you might feel like giving up your plans to try a paleo diet, but don't!
As the Paleo diet has moved from the fringes to the mainstream, some enterprising folks have created meal delivery services specifically designed with busy people in mind. One of the most popular of these services is Paleo on the Go, a small, family-run company out of Florida. Founder and CEO Dave Rohde began the Paleo diet after suffering years of severe allergic reactions, chest pain, brain fog, stomach pain, chronic fatigue, and other various ailments. The diet alleviated many of Rohde's health issues, and he has since transitioned to the autoimmune Paleo protocol to improve even further.
I'd often wondered whether delivery services like Paleo on the Go were really worth the money. Could delivered food really be that good? So I was thrilled when the company offered me the chance to test several of their Paleo diet products.
Four days after getting a notice that the food had shipped, it arrived at my door in a good sized cardboard box. Inside was a Styrofoam cooler that contained dry ice as well as four items: a Pecan Paleo on the Go Bar, Leek and Sweet Potato Soup, Spaghetti and Meatballs dinner, and Chicken Chile Relleno with Salsa Verde dinner.
All of the food was still completely frozen upon arrival. I threw the bar and soup in the fridge to safely defrost, and put the other two meals in the freezer for a later day when I would inevitably not feel like making dinner.
Like all good food designed for the Paleo diet, this delicious breakfast bar came with a simple set of ingredients listed clearly on the package: Dates, pecans, dried cherries, sea salt, maple syrup, cocoa powder. I threw this in my backpack on a day I worked out of my local co-working space. It was a little soft by the time I dug in, but no less delicious. Hearty with just the right hint of sweetness, it tackled my mid-morning hunger with confidence.
This soup came perfectly portioned for one person, and also included a clear ingredient list on the label: Leeks, sweet potato, onion, coconut milk, lard or tallow, garlic, chicken stock and sea salt. After re-heating, I was surprised to find a distinctly Indian flavor, as if there might be some hidden curry or cumin. A nice twist on a classic leek and potato soup, but might not please all palates.
Since I began following the Paleo diet, this meal of spaghetti squash noodles and meaty tomato sauce has become a standby. I have to admit that the meatballs in this Paleo on the Go meal were more succulent than any I've been able to create at home, however. Made using grass-fed ground beef, ground pork, tomato, almond flour, egg, tomato paste, spaghetti squash, garlic, onion, basil, sea salt, grass-fed ghee and olive oil, this meal took just two minutes to heat up in the microwave, yet tasted like a home-cooked dish.
In order to fit in with the Paleo diet, this Chile Relleno is devoid of the gobs of cheese found in the traditional version. But that didn't make it any less delicious. Once again, the ingredient list is simple: chicken, poblano peppers, tomatillo, tomato, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, cumin, sea salt, and olive oil. With just the right balance of heat and flavor, my only slight complaint about this dish is that the chicken was a little rubbery.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the dishes shared with me by Paleo on The Go. I love that they are a family-owned company, that their labels clearly describe ingredients and allergy warnings, that their portion sizes are spot on, and that they are completely transparent about where they source their ingredients.
Would I use their service? Yes and no. While I completely understand the elevated pricing (real food costs more, and it's evident that these meals are prepared in small batches with lots of love), the cost of many of these dishes would prevent me from replacing my own grocery shopping and cooking with Paleo on the Go meals. I could probably make two weeks worth of my own spaghetti squash and meatballs for $16.99. However, I do like the idea of keeping a few of these meals in the freezer as a back up plan. Especially for those nights when my partner wants to order pizza and I'm left wondering how I'll stick with my Paleo diet while he munches on gluten and cheese.
My only other reservation would be the packaging. If you ordered just twice a month from Paleo on the Go, you'd end up with lots of plastic bags in the trash can, and lots of Styrofoam coolers in your closet.
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Disclaimer: Paleo on the Go provided samples for review at no cost to me, but in no way influenced the content of this review.
Images: memoriesbymike, Paleo on the Go, and Beth Buczynski