Meal Prep Fridays: Armed & Ready for School Lunches

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

 

Back to school is officially here, which means…back to routine!

 

How was your week?!

 

Even though I am not in school anymore, I still feel the ‘excitement’ of getting into a new routine.

 

Along with that routine comes…preparation. Lunch prep that is.

 

What are you packing for your lunches nowadays?

 

Are you even packing one at all?

 

Or, are you more apt to daily, fend for yourself when hunger strikes—whatever that may mean (a run by the fast-food restaurant next door, delivery to the office, a quick in-and-out stop at Chipotle or drive-thru, noshing on a Quest Bar on the go, etc.)?

 

 

Why NOT be prepared?

 

Every night before bed, I prep my lunch for the next day. Then, in the morning, all I have to do is toss it into my little Igloo Lunchbox, stuff that baby with some ice packs, and voila—food for the day ahead! (Up to 12-hours worth of goodness).

 

Often times I get asked about what to pack for lunch, or to what to keep on hand for a day on-the-go,

 

My obsession lately?

 

Bento Boxes!

 

Nom Nom Paleo introduced us all to Bento Boxes!

 

These aren’t super new, but they are super-convenient! I call them the Lunchable Makeover! (anyone remember Lunchables?).

 

 

Pick and choose a protein, healthy fat or two, veggie, and maybe a piece of fruit or little treat to top off your lunch, and BOOM: lunch-on-the-go!

 

Plus…your kids will love ‘em! (fun finger foods—what’s not to love?).

 

Today’s Meal Prep Friday is devoted to helping arm you (and the kids) for a week’s worth of stress-free, thought-free lunches you can easily take on the go.

 

This weekend, when you hit the grocery store, hit it with a plan of attack!

 

Here’s to a new school year with several grab-and-go options, PLUS a couple kid-friendly (and adult-friendly recipes) to throw into the mix:

 

Proteins:

See my chicken nugget recipes in the Kid Friendly section here

Chicken breast

Rotisserie chicken meat

Grass-fed burger sliders

Ground turkey patties

Hard boiled eggs

Canned tuna/salmon

Grilled salmon

Homemade egg/tuna/chicken salad (made with Dijon or Primal Mayo)

Leftover taco meat

Pulled pork

Homemade sushi (you have to try THIS from The Clothes Make the Girl)

Taco meat (see recipe below)*

Homemade chicken nuggets (made with almond flour or coconut flour)

Turkey/Bison meatballs

Homemade chili

Chicken drumsticks

Meat & Veggie skewers

Nitrate-free Prepared Meats

  • Bacon
  • Hot Dogs
  • Jerky
  • Sausages

Nitrate-free Deli Meat

  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Pepperoni
  • Salami
  • Turkey* (See turkey sandwich & egg and bacon sandwich recipes below)

 

Veggies:

 

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage/Slaw
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans
  • Green Peas
  • Kale
  • Lettuce/Salad
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes (leftover roasted potatoes from last night’s dinner!)
  • Tomatoes

 

Fruit:

 

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

Dried Fruit (eat sparingly; opt for no added sugar/high-fructose corn syrup)

  • Apple Chips
  • Banana Chips
  • Cranberries
  • Dried Dates
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

Healthy Fats:

 

  • Avocado/Guacamole
  • Almond Butter
  • Seed Butters
  • Coconut Butter & Coconut Oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (drizzle on salad greens or veggies)
  • Olives
  • Raw, grass-fed, full-fat Cheese
  • Raw, grass-fed, full-fat Yogurt (Straus Family Creamery or Wallaby’s plain, no-sugar added)

Nuts/Seeds (opt for raw)

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Macadamias
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Walnuts

 

Treats:

 

  • Kale ‘Chips’
  • Homemade Sweet Potato ‘Chips’
  • Plantain Chips
  • Grain-free Granola
  • Small Square of Dark Chocolate
  • Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Homemade Larabars
  • Homemade banana bread (made with almond/coconut flour)
  • Homemade muffins (peach, strawberry, blueberry, banana)
  • Chia pudding made with coconut milk
  • “Powerballs” (made with 1 TBSP nutbutter, 1 TBSP coconut flakes and 1 TBSP Enjoy Life chocolate chips per ball; store in freezer then move to fridge once hardened)

 

Easy Lunch Recipes:

Tacos

 Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp cooking fat
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Heat cooking fat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground meat, garlic and onion.  Cook, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until fully cooked, approx 7-8 minutes.

 

  1. Add spices to beef, and if meat is really dry, you might want to add 1-2 Tbsp of water.  Stir to fully incorporate.

 

  1. Turn temperature down to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it smells so delicious you just can’t wait another second!

 

  1. Serve in almond flour tortillas, coconut flour tortillas, romaine lettuce wraps, OR on top of cauliflower rice, roasted sweet potatoes, or a hearty salad (with guacamole OF COURSE).

 

 

Recipe: Egg & Bacon Sandwiches

 

Ingredients:

2-3 pasture-raised eggs

2 slices nitrate free turkey bacon

½ small avocado or 1/3 large avocado

Mikey’s Muffins (or almond flour/coconut flour based bread)

Sea salt, pepper, to taste

Cooking oil: Grassfed butter, ghee or coconut oil

 

Directions

  1. Thaw Mikey’s Muffin in fridge for several hours before consuming (remove from freezer).
  2. Heat cooking pan with 1 tsp coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Whisk eggs in small bowl with a fork, then add to pan to scramble. Scramble eggs. Add sea salt and pepper to taste if desired.
  3. In separate pan, fry bacon.
  4. Toast muffin in toaster oven or toaster.
  5. Place eggs and bacon on muffin. Add avocado. Enjoy as a sandwich.

 

Turkey Club Sandwich

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices Nutty Bread or Paleo Bread (Compliments Elana’s Pantry)
  • Dijon mustard and/or smear of Primal Mayo
  • 2 slices avocado
  • 2 pieces Romaine lettuce
  • 1-2 slices juicy tomato
  • 4-8 slices Applegate Farms organic deli turkey OR fresh roasted turkey

 

Directions

  • Toast bread
  • Smear bread with mustard and avocado
  • Place lettuce on bread, then turkey slices

Close sandwich and eat

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