Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo diet; after all, one of the first rules of Paleo is to tell everyone you’re Paleo. The premise of this lifestyle is we should be eating the way we were evolutionarily designed to eat: the things you can hunt and gather and forage. Grassfed ruminant meat, pastured pork, free-ranging chickens, wild-caught fish, vegetables, fruit, and most nuts and seeds. Eliminated are processed foods with inflammatory properties, such as grains (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.) soy, dairy, and sugar. There are many advantages to the paleo lifestyle, the most attractive of which may be the lack of bloating and fatigue experienced after meals. Our bodies can happily and slowly digest without causing a major crash or the urge to unbuckle our belts.
This begs the question “so, what CAN I eat? No bread? What do I eat for lunch?” The answer: more variety than you are probably brown-bagging now!
In an effort to stay healthy and save money, we pack our pre-made lunches of chicken and salad or same lame sandwich every day only to be so bored silly by Wednedsday, we find ourselves actually dreading the noon hour, or find an excuse to ask Sally out to lunch to review those memos about TPS reports just so we can avoid that mess we have in the break room fridge. No more. Be the envy of the office with these super simple and brag worthy packable and completely Paleo friendly midday feasts.
Monday: BLT – Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. What the heck, throw an avocado on it. The lettuce makes a nice wrap for this ensemble, and without all the added stuff, the flavor really comes through. To make: dry a few leaves of romaine lettuce, add tomato slices, crisp bacon, and avocado if you would like. Wrap the lettuce leaves around the yummy fillings and secure with a toothpick. Take as many as you feel you’ll need to be full, and probably an extra to share with Sally. Manic Monday? Not today!
Tuesday: Meatballs and zucchini noodles – There are many ways to do this, including using Aidelle’s pre-cooked meatballs (we buy ours at Costco) or making your own, like these awesome Italian meatballs by Stupid Easy Paleo. You can buy a vegetable spiralizer on Amazon.com inexpensively, and make some amazing “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). This is almost too easy, but SO delicious. The great thing is, you don’t have to cook the zoodles ahead of time. Just take them along in a baggie, and heat them up at work, right along with the meatballs. Boom, protein and veggie.
Wednesday: Pinwheel Sandwich rolls and fruit – Layer thickly cut, filler-free lunch meat of choice (We like Applegate brand or Boar’s Head), and veggies of choice – I prefer avocado with broccoli or cabbage slaw. Roll them up, and cut them into finger-food sized pinwheels. Add a side of devilled eggs and grapes or other seasonal fruit, and you’re good until dinner. Happy Humpday to you, lunchtime rockstar.
Thursday: Chicken Salad stuffed bell peppers (also works with tuna) – For this delicious midday treat, we buy a rotisserie chicken and strip it down, add it to the food processor for a few pulses, remove and place in a medium bowl. Add some homemade mayo, like this one, or even better, smash a half an avocado into the chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with 1 tbsp of dill weed. Stir well. Slice the very top off of the bell peppers and remove the middle/seeds. Spoon the chicken salad into the pepper cavity and wrap with plastic wrap. When the bell tolls 12, Slice the pepper into 6 pieces, and use it as the vehicle to deliver the delicousness to your mouth. I feel this pairs nicely with sliced strawberries or grapes. Other options include putting the chicken salad in a bowl and scooping with celery, carrots, or just a fork!
Friday: Leftover kabobs – Take all the leftover meat from dinner this week, slide it on a skewer with some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, bell pepper leftovers, onions, etc. Drizzle it with balsamic and olive oil. Something different for lunch every day? Yes you did.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it all happen:
Head of Romaine Lettuce
1 package Bacon –
Aidell’s Meatballs (or Ingredients for homemade meatballs (2lb grassfed ground beef or pork)
Lunchmeat – Applegate or Boar’s Head are best
1 Rotisserie Chicken
broccoli or slaw veggies
Extra virgin olive oil
Many of these will be used over again for other meals in your week. I try to incorporate some of these veggies into my morning eggs or my evening meals, saving time by pre-chopping and money by making one trip.
Welcome to enjoying your lunch again! Have a great week!