A Week of Paleo School Lunches! (Part 2 of 5)

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Whose kids work themselves into a snit when their lunch foods commingle?

Mine! Mine! Mine!

I get where they’re coming from. As a young lass, I’d freak out upon opening my lunchbox and discovering that my fruit had slid into a pile of chicken. I think we can all agree that strawberries shouldn’t taste like salty bird.

Luckily, we’ve got a couple of LunchBots Trio containers on hand for our persnickety kids.

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The dividers in these sleek, sturdy stainless steel containers make it incredibly easy to throw together bento-like boxes for the little ones. Plus, they remind me to add some variety into the kids’ lunches. I like to fill the two large square compartments with equal portions of protein and veggies, and to save the treats for the longer, narrower section — though all three compartments are actually the same size, so I guess I’m just fooling myself.

Here’s today’s kid-friendly lunch:

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Tuesday’s Lunch: Simple Chicken Salad, Blanched Carrots and Broccoli, Paleo Trail Mix, and Flavored Mayonnaise.

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Chicken salad is super-simple to assemble and extremely versatile.

First, make the dressing by mixing a dollop of homemade Paleo mayonnaise with a dab of Dijon mustard. Check out my mayo-making video here. (Too lazy to make your own mayo? This one comes highly-recommended by Liz Wolfe, though it’s proving a bit difficult to track down these days.)

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and if your kiddos don’t mind green specks dotting their food, toss in some minced herbs like chives or Italian parsley.

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Once the dressing’s ready, add cubed leftover chicken (cooked, of course). My Recipe Index offers a bunch of ways to make chicken, including Julia Child’s Classic Roast Chicken and Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy. In a pinch, the ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is fine. (I do it all the time. Shhh — don’t tell anyone.) If you’re feeling fancy, add finely diced apples and toasted slivered almonds, too.

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You can either whip up a batch of your own Paleo Trail Mix or grab a handful of your favorite purchased one. The Double-Os are fond of dried Bing cherries, so I toss a few on top as well.

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Raw veggies are a quick way to round out the meal. My picky kids, however, aren’t fans of the raw stuff, so I blanch ‘em ahead of time and store them in the fridge. Simply bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, dunk in the vegetables for about 30 seconds, fish ‘em out (not with your fingers), and chill the veggies in an ice bath. Blanching the vegetables doesn’t just make ‘em more tender — it also makes the colors pop. If you’ve got a bag of desiccated baby carrots at the bottom of your crisper, blanch ‘em and no one’ll be the wiser.

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Crudités are always better slathered in a creamy dip, so I spoon flavored mayonnaise, homemade guacamole, or Asian Almond Salad Dressing into a LunchBots Dips container. Remember, packed lunches aren’t just for kids, so feel free to go crazy with the Paleo condiments!

One last tip: You can make and pack everything into a LunchBots container the night before school and stick it in the fridge. The chilled stainless steel container (supplemented with a reusable ice pack if you so desire) should keep the food cold in your kid’s bag until lunchtime.

Don’t forget to check out Monday’s lunch and stay tuned for the rest of the week’s schoolyard eats!

[UPDATED: Wednesday’sThursday’s, and Friday’s lunches are now ready, too!]

A Week of Paleo School Lunches! (Part 1 of 5)

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With summer at an end, our kids are already heading back to school, eager (sort of) to cram their heads full of Very Important Knowledge and Valuable Life Skills, like the capital of Maine, the square root of 9, and how to run away from bullies. (Answers: Augusta, who cares?, and as fast as humanly possible.)

But how should we, as parents, fuel our children’s brains and bodies for the classroom?

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Sure, nothing’s quicker or easier than chucking packs of Snackables, Go-Gurts, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into backpacks…but I’m guessing none of us are eager to sacrifice our offspring’s health for the sake of convenience.

Still, convenience matters. Not many of us can devote hours each day to crafting five-star meals to cram into Batman lunchboxes. What we need are easy and healthy school lunches for our kids, right?

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So starting today, I’m teaming up with Jackie Linder of LunchBots—maker of my all-time favorite stainless steel lunch containers — to offer you a full week’s worth of simple Paleo school lunch ideas.

Ready to roll up your sleeves?

Monday’s Lunch: Prosciutto-Wrapped Frittata Muffins & Apple Slices with Nut Butter.

Like all the recipes we’re presenting this week, this one’s pretty straightforward. Follow the recipe on my blog (or on my iPad app) to whip up a dozen of these hearty, savory, eggy muffins for Sunday brunch or dinner, and save a few to pack for the next day’s lunch.

Here’s a kid-sized portion of frittata muffins and apple slices in a LunchBots Duo:

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Don’t have cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, or spinach handy? No problem. These miniature frittatas can be stuffed with whatever veggies and/or emergency protein you have handy — from ground beef and broccoli to bacon and kale.

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Wrapped in crispy prosciutto shells, these muffins are perfect for kiddos who love eating with their hands. (In other words, EVERY CHILD I’VE EVER MET. And some adults, too.) Bonus: No dirty forks to wash!

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Throw in a sliced apple, and fill a little LunchBots Dips container with your favorite nut butter (almond butter’s a current fave — as is Mee Nut Butter). Your cavekid’ll spend all of lunch period having a good ol’ time making gooey apple-nut-butter-sandwiches. (For those of you who asked, I put the apples in a silicone baking cup.)

Of course, if your school’s a tree-nut-free zone, substitute sunflower seed butter, or just sprinkle some cinnamon on the apple slices instead.

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?  (Speaking of which, don’t forget to squeeze a bit of citrus on the apple slices to keep ‘em from browning before lunchtime!)

Stay tuned for the rest of our series on Paleo school lunches — and trust me: you won’t want to miss the giveaway at the end of the week!

[UPDATED: Check out Tuesday’sWednesday’s, Thursday’s, and Friday’s lunches, too!]

Paleo Eats: 6/22/12

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The universe must have heard my pleas yesterday, because the Double-Os slept in ‘til 8 am this morning. Hallelujah. I made a mental note to go buy a lottery ticket — but then again, maybe the boys slept in only ‘cause we unplugged their bedside clock and sealed the black out shades tight. Dark caves work wonders.

Once I sprang out of bed — yes, I’m that exuberant when I get enough sleep — I hurriedly packed their lunches for camp and made everyone breakfast. I was rushing to get to the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto, so I gulped down a small portion of macadamia nuts and Applegate Farms roast beef for breakfast.

As I was reminded while reading It Starts With Food, there’s no need to “fuel” your workout with a big meal beforehand because you’ve got adequate energy stores. Just gobble up a bit of protein and fat and you’re good to go. (Remember, you have until 6/23/12 at 9 pm PST to enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of the Hartwigs’ book and my socks!)

The hour at the box passed by quickly: after our directed warm-up, I practiced straight presses with Carol (who is one strong mother), and finished up with an AMRAP filled with deadlifts, push ups, and box jumps. A couple of gals rang the PR bell after the presses, which inspired me to commit to getting to the gym on a more regular basis. I’ve long used the excuse that I just can’t get to the gym during my workweek, but to be honest, I’ve never really tried to stick with a consistent schedule. I’ll experiment next week with WODing after a night shift and see how it goes.

Once the workout was done, I gobbled up a baked yam and dropped the Double-Os off at their wushu studio. Then, I was free at last. Well, for a few hours anyways.

I’d arranged another lunch date, because there’s nothing I like more than gabbing and noshing with my pals. Before heading out to eat, I met Jackie at her office to get a sneak peek at the new LunchBots products that she’s rolling out next week.

was really excited to preview the new LunchBots Clicks with leak-proof, see-through tops. I’ve been looking for lightweight, indestructible, leak-proof stainless steel containers FOREVER. The kids and I’ll be putting them through the paces as we pack lunches, picnics, and travel fare this summer.

After I oohed and aahed at the new LunchBots line — I’m such a sucker for beautifully-designed products — the two of us met R. at Whole Foods to grab a meal. As I circled the deli counters like a vulture, I was struck by how little of the pre-made food is Paleo-friendly: most items contain sugar, canola oil, grains, and/or soy.

The best bet was to assemble my own salad at the self-serve bar: I piled veggies, chicken, and hard boiled eggs into a takeout container and drizzled on some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I could definitely get used to this whole Ladies Who Lunch thing, but what’s funny is that the three of us are anything BUT. It’s amazing that we even have time to get together to eat and gab.

Before I knew it, I was reunited with the Double-Os after camp. We popped over to our house to check on the construction crew, and I’m happy to report that the floor repair is lookin’ good. A second coat of varnish will be applied tomorrow, and we should be on track to move back in on Monday after two and and a half months of exile. Unfortunately our move-in date coincides with Big-O’s surgery. Oh, well. I’m sure we’ll figure it out. After all the drama of the past year, nothing really phases us these days.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the park with two of Big-O’s best friends. While the boys climbed and jumped off of any and everything, I caught up with some of my favorite mommies.

Since our days at the hotel are numbered, I’ve been diligently clearing out the fridge, and had nothing left to cook up for dinner. Okay, that was a blatant lie. We actually have TONS of food stuffed into our icebox, but the fridge’s temperature setting is completely out of whack. Everything’s been frozen solid.

We stopped at a local Mexican joint in the neighboring town for supper. I don’t even want to mention where because the food was mediocre and the service was awful.  

My hubby and I split the grilled spicy prawns…

…and carne asada…

…and the boys split a platter of carnitas.

We asked the server to hold the rice, beans, cheese, and tortillas, but he ignored our request. As you can imagine, the resulting platters that arrived were heaping with stuff we didn’t want — all of which crowded out the tiny portions of meat.

I was still hungry when I got back to the hotel. I *may* have topped off with some mac nuts and dark chocolate, but hey: sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Giveaway Time! Win A LunchBots Trio & Quad!

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**UPDATE: Giveaway is OVAH!**

This weekend, I had the pleasure of working out with Jackie Linder, the founder of LunchBots, at the Catalyst Athletics Olympic lifting seminar. I know I’ve spoken of how much I admired her from afar in my previous LunchBots giveaway, but after sharing a barbell with her for two days, I have even more respect for this thoughtful and passionate entrepreneur.

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Jackie started LunchBots in 2008 when she couldn’t find safe, reusable containers for the healthy foods she was packing for her kids’ lunches. Seriously, she created these stainless steel containers because there weren’t any available that fit her strict specifications for functionality, safety, and design.

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Thank you, Jackie!

I like variety in my snacks and lunches so I was stoked that LunchBots introduced two new designs — the Trio and Quad — that have three or four compartments, respectively. Since I’ve been on the Whole30 this month and preparing and packing ALL of my meals, LunchBots have been indispensable.

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Plus, the red colored lid on the Trio is my absolute favorite shade of my favorite color.

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So, how do you win a  LunchBots Trio and Quad ($39.98 value) to pack your own Paleo grub?

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Like the LunchBots fan page on Facebook
  2. Like the Nom Nom Paleo fan page on Facebook
  3. Leave only ONE comment on this post letting me know that you followed directions by Thursday, 1/26/12 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

As an added bonus, you can use the coupon code “NOMNOM” to get 10% off and free shipping on all purchases at LunchBots.com until January 31, 2012.

Good luck!

**UPDATE** We have a winner! CONGRATS Kimiworley!