A common barrier to any diet, especially a paleo/primal diet is knowing how to cook. For me I have grown up cooking and now work as prep cook. I cook most of my meals (90 percent or so), and plan them out as much as I can. Learning to cook well doesn’t take much time or effort, but knowing how to prepare food and cook effectively and efficiently.
To start out you may want to pick up an incredible book on learning to cook such as “Four Hour Chef” by Timothy Ferriss, authored by someone that went from little cooking experience to cooking like a pro. There are few books out there besides a few Julia Child books and others that teach the essentials and how to of cooking. There are many videos online as well that will teach you basic skills such as sauteeing, broiling, baking, basic knife skills and preparing food.
Getting basic cooking equipment is also necessary as well if you aren’t already stocked with cooking gear. The essentials are a good peeler, knife (you can find cheap sharp knives to practice with at first like a kuhn rikon), blender, food processor, cutting board, pots, pans, bowls, whisks and spatulas. In Timothy Ferriss’s book “Four Hour Chef” he has a detailed list of what to start out with and items to splurge on if you can afford it.
Preparing and planning meals for a paleo diet is fairly simple some foods aren’t eaten on a paleo diet. For those unaware of what a paleo/primal diet consists of it cuts out processed foods, grain fed meats, soy, wheat/gluten, rice (although some may do fine on it), starches (although sweet potatoes and potatoes are fine with some), dairy (raw, and cultured should be fine for most), legumes, limited fruit and is typically a moderate to low carbohydrate diet.
Depending on health status, and weight goals (gain or loss), your diet may vary some. Essentially you can combine a vegetable and protein with a few spices to create a meal. Using Robb Wolf’s food matrix, or a website such as http://www.supercook.com you can come up with unlimited food combinations. Most of the recipes listed in the Four Hour Chef book are paleo/primal friendly as well.
Personally I buy a variety of protein and vegetables, with fats as well. I typically buy the cheapest organic/grass fed meats I can find which are Whole Chicken, ground beef, sausage, and chicken wings, I also get goat cheese, raw cow/goat milk, yogurt and nut butters as well. I buy a variety of vegetables as well such as carrots, onions, squash, zuccini, mixed greens, broccoli, cauliflower among others.