Who says Paleo lunches have to be boring?
After combing through all the Paleo meal ideas on my blog (and in my cookbooks and app), are you still stumped about what to pack your kiddos (or yourself) for your mid-day meal? If so, don’t despair! Review this summary—devoted entirely to packed lunches.
Paleo Packed Lunch tips:
- Some eaters—big or small—enjoy variety, while others like the same thing every day. But no matter what, make sure to pack real, nourishing foods: some protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruit. When I’m prepping lunches for the kiddos, I try to remember the Golden Rule of Lunches: Don’t pack anything in the kids’ lunchboxes that I wouldn’t happily eat myself.
- At the same time, don’t be paralyzed by high-falutin’ notions of crafting a perfectly precious bento. Each year, Jackie Linder (my friend and creator of LunchBots) and I spend an entire afternoon preparing these boxes to look as tempting as possible—our aim is to inspire readers to make awesome lunches!—but let’s get real: our kids’ lunchboxes aren’t nearly so photogenic in real life. When I’m rushing to get the kids out the door in the morning, garnishes and visual flourishes are the last thing on my mind.
- Lastly: Get your kids involved in picking foods and packing their own lunches! If they have a say in selecting items from your real-food pantry, their food is more likely to end up in their bellies rather than the garbage can or trade box.
Okay—to review, here are the lunches from this year’s series (click on each image to read more):
Chicken Salad, Roasted Carrot & Cucumber Stacks with Dip, Crunchy Paleo Crackers, and Strawberries
Meat Loaf Muffins, Plantain Chips, and Paleo Ranch Dressing with Vegetables
Damn Fine Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, Fruit, and Liar Bars
Meat ’n Potatoes: Roast Beef Roll-Ups, Bacon-y Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes & Cucumbers with Pesto Mayo, and Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Banana Bread
Brunch-In-A-Box: Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Bacon & Eggs, and Fruit & Veggies
I know—you want more, right? Then take a gander at my lunch series from 2014:
Hot-Dog-As-The-Buns with Roasted Peppers and Sauerkraut, Vegetables, and Mixed Berries
Spicy Tuna Cakes with Crudités and Flavored Paleo Mayonnaise
Zucchini & Smoked Salmon Pinwheels with Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus and Roasted Beets
Cracklin’ Chicken, Heirloom Carrots, Tomato & Basil Salad, and Macaroons
Egg Foo Young, Garbage Soup, and Fruit Salad
Salad with Seared Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches
Crab Salad Stuffed Tomatoes and Lazy Devils
Not enough to satisfy your appetite? Then don’t forget to read up on my lunch series from 2013:
Sausage Patties, Apple Sun-wich, Veggie Skewers, and Paleo Ranch Dressing
Egg & Prosciutto Roll-Ups, Mini Cinnamon Apple Scone, and Mixed Fruit Salad
My Sister’s Green Chicken, Crudités, and Roasted Rosemary Almonds
Asian Meatballs with Bell Peppers & Blanched Broccoli
Peachy Pork Lettuce Wraps and Cherry Tomatoes
More tips and tricks for packing lunches:
Every time I run a series on lunches, I get a bunch of questions from readers, many of them centering on: (1) how to keep hot foods hot, (2) how to keep cold foods cold, and (3) how to feed adults (and bigger kids) whose appetites exceed the portion sizes pictured in our photos. Our answers:
- Use an insulated food container like a LunchBots Thermal to keep hot foods hot!
- Toss an ice pack or two into your lunch bag to keep cold food cold! Alternatively, you can buy a PackIt freezable lunch bag which has coolant sewn inside the bag!
- Satiate bigger appetites by packing more food!
Remember: these meal ideas are simply meant to get your creative juices flowing—not to strictly mandate what your lunch needs to look like. So start dreaming up your own uniquely tasty lunchboxes!
What? You want more? Okay—let’s jump into our handy-dandy time machine and visit the series of Paleo lunches I made with LunchBots way back in 2012!
Prosciutto-Wrapped Frittata Muffins & Apple Slices with Nut Butter
Simple Chicken Salad, Blanched Carrots and Broccoli, Paleo Trail Mix, and Flavored Mayonnaise
Zoodles & Meatballs with Pineapple and Strawberry Kabobs
Roast Beef Roll-Ups and Mixed Berries
Hard-Boiled Eggs, Chicken Apple Sausages, Cherry Tomatoes, and Grapes
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!