Do you have a go-to lunch?
As a creature of habit, it’s easy for me to get into ruts, or “go-tos,” with meals–especially when I am looking for AIP lunch ideas.
However my habit-like tendencies date back to childhood.
As a kid, I ate a PB & J on Iron Kids Bread with Cheetohs and grapes every day straight in pre-K, until one day, I woke up completely bored, and changed my preferences: Turkey and Kraft Singles cheese, please, with Pringles and apple slices.
Fast forward to 2nd and 3rd grade, and lunch was all about Lunchables and Hot Pockets until my taste buds grew up in middle school, shifting to turkey on whole wheat bread with pretzels and baby carrots.
Today, I still have the same tendencies to like a particular food for awhile, until I get bored with eating the same thing every day months later and move on to the next.
Variety is essential for getting a variety of nutrients from the foods we eat and diminishing the risk of needing to take supplements.
Why take a multi-vitamin when you’re eating a broad spectrum of colorful fruits and veggies, meats and fish and healthy fats?
When we eat the same spinach salad with grilled chicken and sugar-free dressing, our bod only gets the same sources of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Calcium, amino acids and artificial sweeteners (dressing)—even though we are “eating our veggies” and “getting in protein.”
Couple this with a dietary health protocol, like AIP (the autoimmune protocol) if you have autoimmune issues, and your risk for nutrient deficiency doubles with variety more limited.
Hello: Lunchbox Makeover!
Here are 20 Easy Brown Bag Lunches (AIP-Friendly, Salad-Free and Not Boring) to help you get off the “PB&J train”:
#1 on the list?
Kill two birds with one stone by cooking extra at dinner time for lunch the next day!
However, if you’re not doing leftovers from dinner, consider building a grown up lunchable with one of these easy-peasy combos (inspired by my former favorite “Lunchable“–you know the meal all the cool kids brought to school)?
25 Grown Up “Lunchables:
1. Sliced chicken breast + Berries + Yellow & Green Roasted Zucchini Squash + Coconut Butter (1-2 Tbsp.)
2. Canned Wild Salmon + ½ Avocado + Orange
3. Wild Caught Tuna Packet + Avocado Oil Mayo (or avocado if strict AIP) + Celery & Cucumber Slices + Diced Apples or Grapes (wrap in Collard Green Wrap)
4. Pulled Chicken (from rotisserie chicken) stuffed Acorn Squash+ Coconut Butter + Kale
5. Lettuce Wrap or Coconut Flour tortilla + Nitrate-free Roast Turkey (or pre-made “taco” meat) + Nitrate-Free Bacon Slice + Tomato + Mustard + Avocado
6. Nitrate-Free Roast Beef/Turkey Roll-ups (wrapped around cucumber slices, zucchini slices, bell pepper slices, etc.) + Apple + Coconut Butter (or Baked Granny Smith Apple with cinnamon/coconut oil)
7. Shrimp (peel and eat) + ½ Avocado + Roasted Cauliflower “Popcorn”
8. Dijon Mustard Chicken Thighs + Yellow Summer Squash + Roasted Broccoli with Nitrate Free Bacon, diced
9. Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders (by the Healing Kitchen) + Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips + Asparagus Spears
10. Nitrate-Free Salami + Black Olives + Plantain Chips + Roasted Bell Peppers
11. Kale Chips + Cauliflower Hummus (by Autoimmune-Paleo) + Organic Ham or Turkey Slices + Steamed Baby Carrots
12. Chicken “Salad” (mashed with Dijon + avocado, or avocado-oil mayo)+ Plantain Chips + Cold Pressed Green Juice
13. Grain-Free Bread + Tuna Salad (tuna + Avocado oil mayo or Avocado) with lettuce & tomato + Pear
14. Nitrate-free Bacon wrapped Asparagus + Cold Roasted Chicken + Grapes
15. Chicken Drumsticks + Celery Sticks dipped in Tessemae’s Ranch Dressing + Handful Walnut Halves + Orange
16. Grassfed Burger Patties (or Ground “Taco Meat” by Whole New Mom) + Guacamole + Sweet Potato Rounds + Lettuce/Tomato
17. Ground Turkey Meatballs + Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Dip + Roasted Broccoli Spears in Olive Oil + Roasted Carrot “Fries”
18. Ground Bison Hash + Butternut Squash + Kale (sautee in 1 tbsp. coconut oil)
19. Sweet Potato “Bowl”: Sweet potato + Pulled Pork (or chicken) with sugar-free, AIP homemade barbecue sauce (like this one by Primal Palate) + Cooked greens in coconut oil
20. Grain-free (egg-free) Chicken Bacon Mushroom Quiche (by Stupid Easy Paleo) + Berries
21. Spring Rolls (by Delicious Obsessions)
22. Chicken Broth with chicken and veggies + Side Coconut Cornbread (by A Girl Worth Saving)
23. Chicken Sausage Links + Broccoli Slaw in Apple Cider Vinegar/Olive Oil
24. Pulled Pork wrapped in Collard Greens with Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Dressing + Roasted Cauliflower & Carrots in Avocado Oil
25. Peel & Eat Shrimp + Sliced Melon wrapped in Prosciutto + Asparagus spears dipped in Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing