Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or living in a literal cave, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo diet. After all, the first rule of Paleo is to tell everyone you’re Paleo. The premise of this lifestyle is that we should be eating the way we may have been when we were in the cave—the way we were evolutionarily designed to eat: the things you can hunt, gather, and forage. Grassfed ruminant meat, pastured pork, free-ranging chickens, wild-caught fish, vegetables, fruit, and most nuts and seeds. Trying this lifestyle out may seem intimidating at first, but switch your midday meal to one of these easy paleo lunch options, it can be a snap.
Processed foods or foods with inflammatory properties are eliminated from the diet, including 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 often pack our pre-made lunches of chicken and salad, or same lame sandwich every day only to be so bored silly that by Wednesday, we find ourselves actually dreading our lunch hour, or find an excuse to ask a coworker 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. Check out one or all of these easy paleo lunch options—they’re practical, packable midday feasts:
SEE ALSO: Thinking of going Paleo? Read This
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: wash and dry a few leaves of romaine lettuce, add tomato slices, crisp bacon, and avocado, if you 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. Manic Monday? Not today!
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 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: an easy paleo lunch full of protein and a veggie.
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 your choice. Personally, I like avocado with broccoli or cabbage slaw. Roll them up, and cut them into finger-food sized pinwheels. Add a side of deviled eggs and grapes or other seasonal fruit, and you’re good until dinner. Happy humpday to you, lunchtime rockstar.
SEE ALSO: Paleo Chocolate-Filled Thumbprints
Chicken Salad Stuffed Bell Peppers (also works with tuna)
For this delicious midday treat, 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 one tablespoon 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 noon, Slice the pepper into six 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 easy paleo lunch options include putting the chicken salad in a bowl and scooping with celery, carrots, or just a fork!
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., then drizzle it with balsamic and olive oil.
Did you just make something different and delicious as an easy paleo lunch every day? Yes, you did.
Here’s your shopping list for making 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
- 2 Tomatoes
- 2-4 Avocados
- 2-3 Zucchini
- Broccoli or slaw veggies
- Bell peppers
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
Many of these items 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, save time by pre-chopping, and money by making one trip and utilizing all of the ingredients all week long.
Welcome to enjoying your lunch again and have a great week!