When I first started packing grain-free lunches, I searched and searched and searched for paleo and primal lunch ideas.
Guess what? There aren’t that many — at least, not ones that are kid-friendly! It seems (online, anyway) the majority of persons eating the Paleo Diet are adults. Only a handful of paleo/primal sites share kid ideas and even few share tangible, real world (i.e. “Your Kids Can’t Find Socks, Shoes, Their Toothbrush, Their Backpack, You Don’t Have A Bra On But Need To Get To School, Can’t Find Your Car Keys, Have Tripped Over The Dog Three Times, And Your Husband Is Out The Door” kind of MOM) ideas for simple lunches.
Over time, I started saving my own ideas, modifying standard lunches, and utilizing a combination of leftovers and healthy convenience foods to create Paleo and Primal lunches. Now, as I start our second school year making grain-free lunches for myself and the Little Lady, I have a good arsenal of ideas under my belt. BUT, I know that there are other parents, new to the paleo and primal worlds, that would love easy ideas and I want to help!
I’ve compiled our favorite recipes AND created a printable list (that you can stick on your fridge) to help you as you move from away standard, grain-based lunches.
And, as you’ll see below, during the school year, I share our daily bentos on Instagram — you can follow along for daily grain-free and standard ideas!
- The recipes, ideas, and printable are, by no means, a comprehensive list of ALL the options you have. Instead of listing every meat, every veggie, and every single fruit allowed on the paleo and primal diets, I chose those that I have found easiest to pack and the most kid-friendly.
- To save: click the image/link and then either (1) if on a Mac, click your download button, or (2) if on a PC, right-click and save. Easy!
- This will print on normal 8 x 11 paper. I made it colorful enough to be pretty (’cause I like pretty) but not so saturated that it will take gobs and gobs of ink!
Paleo School Lunch Ideas
- Egg Salad
- Deviled Eggs (we love pesto deviled eggs!)
- Frittata “Muffins”
- Hard Boiled Eggs (the method I follow for easy-peel eggs)
Nitrate-free Prepared Meats
- Hot Dogs
Nitrate-free Deli Meat
- Honey-Mustard Bacon Wrapped Chicken (This recipe was a HUGE hit!)
- Barbecue Meat
- Chicken Nuggets (yes, grain-free!)
- Chicken Salad
- Chicken Wings
- Hamburger Patties
- Meatballs or Bolognese Zoodles
- Rotisserie Chicken (this crockpot version is perfect!)
- Salmon Patties
- Soup (any kind will work — these are the thermoses I use to send hot lunches,)
- Taco Meat
- Bell Peppers (I like to serve them as an easy veggie stick for dips/sauces)
- Cabbage/Slaw (I love this Thai inspired slaw for lunch!)
- Cauliflower (serve raw or turn into Cauliflower Hummus and serve with additional veggies)
- Cucumber (use as a crunchy veggie to dip in sauces or chunky dips/seafood salads)
- Green Beans
- Green Peas
- Lettuce/Salad (pack the salad dressing separately to avoid wilted greens)
- Sweet Peppers (a fun primal option my daughter loves is to stuff these with full-fat cream cheese)
- Sweet Potatoes (send leftover roasted potatoes from last night’s dinner!)
- Apples (here is my method for keeping apples from browning in lunches)
- Blackberries (here is a resource of keeping berries fresher LONGER)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Almond Butter
- Seed Butters
- Apple Chips
- Banana Chips
- Dried Dates
Grain-free Baked Treats
- Nut or Coconut Flour Baked
- Banana Bread (or another paleo quick bread)
- Bread Sticks
- Cheese Crackers
- French Toast
- Grain-Free Wraps (I use grain-free wraps to make grain-free quesadillas and ham & cheese roll-ups for my kiddos)
- Muffins (I have these grain-free blueberry muffins in the freezer for EASY breakfasts and lunches)
- Pizza Bites
- Sandwich Bread
- Waffles (I use this recipe and then turn leftovers into sandwiches!)
Primal Dairy Options
- Full Fat Cheese
- Colby Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Full Fat Mayo
- Full Fat Sour Cream
- Full Fat Yogurt
More Paleo, Primal, and Grain-Free Lunch Ideas
As mentioned earlier, there were only a few resources when I first started out in this grain-free world; these particular sites gave me a HUGE help in stepping away from the sandwich.
Momables — Laura Fuentes has always had great ideas in her Momables Lunch Plans and I was able to adapt many for our grain-free lunches from her ideas. NOW, she has a new Grain-Free lunch and meal plan (subscription service) that gives 3-4 recipes and lunch ideas each week for grain-free good eats!
Nom Nom Paleo – Michelle Tam is pretty renowned in the Paleo world and her 5-Part Paleo Lunch Series was a good springboard when I was trying to find ideas.
Paleo Parents — Stacy does bento-style lunches for their boys and had a good post about creating paleo lunches that kids can get excited about. Her philosophy falls very much in line with the one I’ve always had … if you make the healthy food fun, they’ll eat it!
Our Paleo Life — Kendra has a good paleo kid-lunch post with visuals that help you see what can go in a lunch and how to pack it!
Lunch Packing Resources
If you missed my post last week, I shared my favorite tools for packing kid-lunches . . . whether paleo or standard!
Time to share your lunch! What fun lunch boxes have you been packing for your family?
You can link to any kid-lunch/bento or family-friendly recipe on a blog post or via flickr photos — this linky is for any kind of healthy school lunch and kid-food, regardless if it is Bento-style or not. I want to celebrate our efforts to provide good and enjoyable school lunches for our families!
My only request is that you either add a link back to this post or include the Lunch Graphic (which links back) to your post so others can get here to view the linked lunches too!
Link up your school lunches and bentos! Please use a permalink for your post rather than linking your general blog/flickr account URL — this will help people go directly to your fabulous lunch!
disclosure: some affiliate links were used in this post!