Lunch is the easiest meal of the day! 99% of the time, Dustin and I eat leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. All you have to do is remember to make enough for dinner AND tomorrow’s lunch. If necessary, just throw in a few extra chicken breasts, or an extra pound of beef, and there you go… lunch!
Unless you don’t mind eating your food cold, this plan works best for people with access to a microwave. If you do not have access to a microwave, you may need some other options (or you can do what I do sometimes: leave your lunch bag in the car all morning so the food is at least lukewarm by lunchtime- hey, it works, and I don’t mind lukewarm food).
If you don’t have access to a microwave, and you’re too much of a pansy… I mean you don’t like cold/lukewarm leftovers, your next best option is salad. But don’t worry, it does not have to be the same salad every day! A salad can be whatever you want it to be! Here are a few of our favorite salad combinations, and a few favorite dressing ideas:
1. Garden Salad: baby spinach with lots of diced chicken, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, brocoli florets, and mushrooms.
2. Chef Salad: baby spinach or romaine with boiled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, purple onions, sliced deli ham, avocado, and mushrooms.
3. Chicken Salad over Spinach OR in a Lettuce Wrap: top a bed of spinach or romaine lettuce with this recipe.
4. Turkey and Pepper Salad: baby spinach with cubed or sliced deli turkey, lots of red and yellow peppers, olives, and tomatoes.
5. Fruity Salad: baby spinach with grilled chicken strips, sliced grapes, golden raisins, pears, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and slivered almonds.
6. Tuna Salad: canned tuna on lettuce with tomatoes.
7. Salmon Salad: 1 can of wild-caught Alaskan salmon on lettuce with apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, and avocado.
8. Greek Salad: greens with red and yellow peppers, olives, and pepperoni.
9. Steak Salad: baby spinach, cubed steak, boiled eggs, caramelized onions, and tomatoes.
10. Mexican Salad: shredded romaine lettuce with grilled chicken (seasoned with chili powder and cumin), peppers, mangos. Top with guacamole and homemade salsa.
My favorite Paleo salad dressing is extra-virgin olive oil drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It is great of every salad, and the tangy flavor is delicious!
You can also make a delicious avocado dressing using this recipe.
Or AMAZING Simple Salad Dressing using this recipe.
And finally, sometimes I like to just allow the fruits and vegetables be my “dressing.” If you have a salad that is loaded with juicy toppings, you may not even need dressing… they are delicious enough on their own!
If you are taking salad, or something that must be kept cold, for lunch, I recommend investing in a good lunch bag/cooler with plenty of space for an ice pack and lots of food.
As you pack your lunch bag, be sure you include plenty of snacks to get you through the day. Because Paleo foods are so easily-digestible, you can enjoy more of them throughout the day. We will usually include 2-3 of the following items to snack on throughout the afternoon (I will tell you more about each of these in the “A Paleo Snack” post… coming up soon!): a Larabar, beef jerky, trail mix, turkey rolls, pepperoni, individually-packaged applesauce, a small serving of almonds, spicy okra, raw baby carrots, diced chicken, etc.
I usually pack our lunches right after dinner when I’m putting leftovers away. In the morning, we just grab and go!
Note: all the ingredients listed above should be Paleo approved. This means that deli meats or cans of tuna/salmon, etc., should contain no preservatives, no added sugars, etc. Just pure, simple ingredients.