Friday, December 30, 2011

Paleo Cold Lunch Ideas

Did you call it "hot" and "cold" lunch in elementary school?

I remember the days before swipe cards when the teacher would call roll at the start of the day and you had to respond with your lunch purchase selection so that she/he could hole-punch your paper card accordingly: "hot" (full cafeteria meal), "milk" (buying milk only), or "cold" (meaning you brought meal and drink).  And it only cost $5 to buy "hot lunch" with milk for the entire week.  Does that make me old?  Yes, I guess it does.


While I have the option to heat up my lunch that I bring from home to work, it is inconvenient.  And soup in a thermos is not the tidiest option for my children at school.  So, it is just easier to go with chilled or room-temperature options all around as far as lunches go.  Just like I did at the start of the school year, I am going to brainstorm some lunch options once again...

Children's lunches: the general goal is at least a protein, a fat, and a fruit (carb)... because chances are, they will only eat 2 of the 3 on any given day...


  • grilled, chopped chicken
  • salami
  • grilled then chilled chicken-apple sausages or nitrate-free hot dogs
  • roast beef, if I am feeling generous
  • they don't really like cold eggs, and nut butter is not allowed at school...
  • chopped veggies and dip (guacamole, walnut red-pepper dip, sour cream or cream cheese dip)
  • trail mix (dried fruit/raisins, banana chips, coconut, nuts on non-school days)
  • homemade larabars or fudge babies on non-school days
  • sweet potato chips?
  • olives or pickles (ever heard of cowboy sushi? ha!)
  • cheese or fresh cottage cheese for protein and fat when all else fails
  • fruit that packs well: apples, clementines, cubed melons/pineapple, fresh berries, bananas, grapes, unsweetened applesauce, canned peaches (we don't live in the tropics, and it will be January, good selection is limited)

I know my oldest would like kabobs of some sort - perhaps chicken/cherry tomato/olive?

Adults' lunches: can be similar to the children's except put it all on top of some salad greens, like Mark's big A salad... 

Salads are not usually satisfying to me for lunches, but if there is enough crunch/fat/protein, it might work, so I will give them another shot.

Here are some specific salad ideas to keep from getting in a rut:

  • cobb salad (my favorite!)
  • oriental chicken salad (my next favorite)
  • taco salad (probably with chicken for a cold version)
  • buffalo chicken salad (not purely paleo, but still a yummy option)
  • mediterranean (Italian/Greek) chicken salad
  • waldorf salad

(I've made my own version of most of these before.  If I make them again, I will be share the recipes.  My inspiration for this list came from this list of 20 Salads Hearty Enough for Tonight's Dinner.  I have not tried any of those exact recipes myself, and many would obviously be non-paleo or require serious tweaking in order to become paleo-friendly.)

OK, I may come back and add to this, but that is my brainstorming for now!

Updated 8/29/12: Find my most recent lunch brainstorming list here!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Groceries & the Beginning

Since it is winter break and I have a little more time on my hands (not that I am using it well), I took a photo of my last shopping trip to Aldi; $33.  Non-paleo items include the crescent rolls (could you really get more non-paleo??) and cream cheese.  I am not tempted to eat the crescent rolls since they are all packaged up together.  I will use them for when I need to make a frugal dessert of some sort to take somewhere.  I just got the cream cheese since it is a good price due to the holidays.  I can stick in the freezer if we don't use it for awhile.  The holiday cupcake wrappers (save for Valentine's day or next Christmas) and balsamic vinegar were on clearance for 50 cents and 99 cents, respectively.  Avocados are still 49 cents!

I am still thinking of trying some fermented cod liver oil.. for these low-sunlight winter days... but I have to work up the nerve to both try it and spend the $$ on it.

So... I've decided I want to kick the cravings.  I've slowly gone down the sugar slope over the past few weeks.  Readjusting to no sugar or caffeine is going to be brutal... especially in the afternoons.  I can do no grains OR no sugar/caffeine, but both at once?  Well, let's just say if you try it, you will realize how addicted you are to them.  Last spring, when we did our first paleo 30 day challenge, it took me half a week before I could think straight without them. BUT, then I felt better than ever.

I figure if I start today, I have 5 days before heading back to work, so I should be able to get over the worst of it before then.

(I have easily grown to enjoy coffee, and I am telling myself I will look forward to it's occasional return after 30 days, provided it doesn't make me feel sick.  One of my friends runs a coffee shop, for crying out-loud, and I received a gift card to there for Christmas that I really want to use! Excuses, excuses, right?  Not for 30 days!!)

So: December 29 - January 27.  30 days of paleo, here we go!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekly Menu

Some things we didn't get to last week since we were traveling...Which hopefully means a smaller shopping trip this week :)  Anyone up for a self-regulated Whole30 in January?  It is on my mind.  Rather cliche, I know, but a purge would feel good after the holidays and be a good way to start the year, no?  (My exceptions of grassed butter and raw milk stand.)

eggs & turkey sausage
banana bread
coconut milk smoothies
coffee, milk

(I don't have to pack so many since it is Christmas break- yay!)
fruit, cheese, nuts (lately this is what my kids have been wanting/eating for lunch)

ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries x2
primal broccoli cheese soup
paleo shepherd's pie x2
roasted paleo stuffing -tweaked according to what is on hand

Latest loves:
coffee milk (raw milk, infant coffee, splash of grade B maple syrup) - basically a cold latte, I think?
macademia nuts (roasted and salted)
Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (amazing)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly Menu

eggs, avocado
bananas, clementines
milk, coffee

celery, carrots
apples, pears

rotisserie chicken from Costco, roasted green beans, unsweetened applesauce
hamburger vegetable soup (paleo-fied) x2
grilled shrimp and pineapple skewers, salad
ham, sweet potatoes, salad x2
roasted paleo stuffing (or my own variation of this)

Kudos to my MIL for making a paleo-friendly meal last Friday night!

Maybe we'll make some paleo banana bread this week... and some non-paleo cut-out cookies for Santa :)

We went to Costco today.  Got cheese, salad, pears, clementines, bananas, eggs, almond butter, and coffee.  Will get milk tomorrow.  I also need to go to Aldi and maybe one of the regular grocery stores, and then we should be set for a bit.

Are you making anything special this week?

Find a variety of menu plans here!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Menu

Short and sweet this week due to parties and family gatherings....
(Please see last week's for any links; I'm lazy.)

eggs and turkey sausage

grilled chicken and avocados
raw veggies and dip
apples, pears

meatloaf & peas x2
(We ended up having a shepherd's pie variation last week, and I didn't make this yet.)
cashew chicken & green beans
salmon burgers and sweet potatoes

Non-paleo items I am taking to parties:
apple slices and pumpkin cream cheese dip
cocktail meatballs
getting rid of cookies!

This week we've got 6 Christmas parties/events within 5 days (1 and 1/2 which I opted out of), and then following it all on the 5th day I have to take an exam and a final exam all in one sitting.  I haven't studied yet.  Wish me luck :)  Hope you have a good week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weeky Menu

eggs and sausage, fruit
I want to try to find some primal cranberry muffin recipe or something.
This creamy turmeric tea looks different; I kind of want to try it.

salmon salad with avocado
spice rub crock pot chicken (use carcass to make stock for soup)
veggie chips

carrots and walnut red pepper dip
celery and almond butter

Cobb salad (greens, grilled chicken, bacon, boiled egg, avocado, cheddar, tomato, Italian dressing)
chicken "no-tortilla" soup topped with avocado, cheddar (and sour cream for the kids) x2
Italian turkey meatballs in marinara sauce, green beans
meatloaf, leftover creamy corn (the corn is a non-paleo t-day leftover from the freezer) x2

I'm going to try to get everything at Aldi this week.  I went last night and got everything, except for the bacon.  I had to forget something.  The only thing I would prefer to get from Costco would be cheddar, but I just got that at Aldi instead.  I think the dairy farm where we get milk has some beef they just processed, so I may be able to get some good ground beef there this week!  Avocados are 25 cents at Aldi through Tuesday, so I hope to incorporate those into a bunch of our meals.  I kind of based some of our meals around this, because we love avocados and they are not usually that cheap around here!  I buy them green, stick them in a basket with the bananas, and they are perfect in a few days.  Here are my lists.

Aldi: $60
veggie chips
eggs (3)
salt, oil (for play-dough)
walnuts (half pound)
cocktail sauce (for a party)
canned salmon
romaine lettuce (2 pkgs.)
sharp cheddar (3 pkgs.)
avocados (10)
marinara sauce
tomato paste
turkey (3)
whole chicken
frozen green beans
zip top bags

Farm: $52
2 gallons real milk
8 lbs. ground beef

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I got these from the library: The Primal Blueprint and Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals.  Very excited.  Now to find time to read them when I should be doing a million other things.  Might have to keep them on the nightstand until after finals.

My opinion: eating paleo is easier than eating Weston A. Price style.  In other words, if you are going to eat a "real" food diet, paleo is the way to go.  I feel like I spend less time preparing food than I used to.  More time planning, because things don't have much of a shelf life, so you have to always be prepared.  But less time actually fixing and cooking food.  No soaked grains, no pots of boiling rice or pasta, no having to make homemade sourdough bread, etc.  When I bake, it is because I want to, not because I have to.  Switching to paleo from a whole foods diet that included grains and legumes simplified things for me.

I struggle with this: giving a brief, accurate, and positive explanation of how and why  we eat "paleo".  These are great thoughts on that topic.