Portable Whole30 Lunch Ideas by Michelle Tam https://nomnompaleo.com

A few days ago, I received this email from one of my Nomsters:

Hi Michelle!

I’ve been following your site for about a year, and slowly delving into this new Paleo lifestyle.

We’re immersing ourselves in eating healthy, but I’m having significant issues in one area. Even Google is not my friend for ideas…

We own a construction company, and my husband’s office is his truck, going from job site to job site. Normally, his eating habits are unhealthy because he grabs a bite when and where he can. He really wants to eat well and make significant life changes so we can make it to a ripe old age.

What can I pack him for lunch (and breakfast and snacks)? His day begins at about 5 am and lasts until 3 pm. I need to be able to plan accordingly and pack him hearty meals so he’s not tempted to hit a burger/taco stand.

He has a diverse appetite and eats pretty much anything. I just can’t figure it out. What should I pack that will last the day and will be able to taste good without being able to be heated? And hopefully it’s something he can eat while driving too, if necessary.

Any help you can offer a girl?

Thank you!


Great question! Although I’ve posted about packing Paleo lunches in the past (and have generally recommended packing leftovers!), I know that many of us have to eat our midday meals on the go. Some of us aren’t able to heat up our lunches—let alone scrounge up a clean fork.

In fact, as the sole graveyard-shift pharmacist on duty at my local hospital for many years, I often had no choice but to scarf down cold meals whenever I had a spare moment. So over time, I developed a bunch of portable Whole30 lunch ideas that taste great cold. (For food safety, I do recommend keeping these items in insulated thermal food containers, freezable lunch bags, or mini coolers with ice packs.) Supplement these finger foods with some nuts, trail mix, jerky, cold cuts, and/or fruit, and you’ll be well-nourished and satisfied, even if you’re on the run. (Need tips on surviving the nightshift? Read this post.)

Scan through my site’s Recipe Index (or go through my iPhone/iPad app or cookbooks), and you’ll find tons of portable, Whole30-friendly dishes to pack for work or school. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with this Whole30 lunch list:

  • Lazy Devils: If you use an Instant Pot to pressure steam the eggs, the peels will come right off. Lazy Devils are so much easier to make than deviled eggs, and you can top them with whatever you want!
  • Curry Turkey Bites + Apricot-Ginger Sauce: My boys can’t get enough of these veggie and turkey packed morsels. Know why? ’Cause I pack them with a tangy Apricot-Ginger Sauce. And all kids know that food always tastes better with a dipping sauce.
  • Egg Foo Young-ish: This Whole30 lunch is delicious, portable, and flexible enough to accommodate whatever you’ve got in your fridge or freezer! I’ve used leftover roasted chicken, cooked shrimp, ground beef, and Kalua Pig in place of the chopped ham, and all variations taste amazing.
  • Prosciutto-Wrapped Frittata Muffins: Longtime readers know that this is one of my all-time favorite portable bites. Make a double batch and freeze the extras.
  • Asian Meatballs: Just add a toothpick and enjoy! (Disclaimer: there are actually a few more steps before you add the toothpick. But they’re really easy.)
  • Chile Lime Chicken Wings and Magic Wings: Face it: eating chicken wings straight out of the fridge is one of the best things in the world. These two are among my favorite variations. By the way, do you know the trick to eating wings properly?
  • Paleo Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms: These Chinese dim sum inspired bites taste especially delicious with a squirt of Whole30 sriracha on ’em.
  • Spicy Tuna Cakes: These kicky little bites are loaded with flavor, and can be made ahead and frozen. Thaw them by popping them in your fridge overnight, and then pack them in your lunchbox.
  • Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites: Don’t mistake this for just another fancy-looking appetizer—it makes a killer Whole30 lunch, too. Besides, just imagine your coworkers’ faces when you break out a whole tray of these cucumber bites while they gnaw on their boring sandwiches.

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)!

Recipe IndexNom Nom Paleo CookbooksNom Nom Paleo App

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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