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Kids Paleo Lunches

Paleo Lunch Inspiration

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Paleo Lunch Inspiration

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Kid Friendly Paleo Box Lunches

When we decided to switch the entire family to a Paleo diet, my first concern was “What the heck do I make my kids for lunch?”. I mean, the only way a kid will eat lunch is if it’s served between two slices of bread, right? The first solution was to make “paleo” bread. Basically, tasteless quick bread. It satisfied their need for a sandwich, especially when served open-face and covered in egg salad. But I didn’t really like it and didn’t want to have to make bread all the time (not that it was hard). Plus, that’s really just paleo-fying something, not truly paleo. So I came up with other ideas.

Luckily, our kids have always liked fruits and veggies. We have never had to hide them in other foods or trick them to eat their greens. But I didn’t want them to miss their sandwiches and I wanted them to have a nice variety of foods everyday.

I try to balance out their lunches with a protein (usually eggs, meat, or egg/chicken/tuna salad), some fruits and veggies, and then a little snack (like dates, homemade Larabars, trail mix, applesauce, etc). It’s never really the same and I think they really love it that way. And the lunch boxes always come back empty so I know they really do love it.

Paleo Lunches

These box lunch ideas aren’t just for kids, it’s easy to have a paleo lunch at work now.

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeTuna Salad; Applesauce; Carrot Sticks; Cucumbers; Plum Tomato; Strawberry; Blueberries; Dates; Nuts

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifePapaya; Egg Salad with Paleo Mayo; Cucumber Sticks; Plum Tomatoes; Yellow Bell Peppers

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeTurkey BLTA Roll-Ups; Dates; Strawberries; Carrot Sticks; Applesauce; Chocolate Chia Pudding

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeTuna Salad; Mango Chunks; Carrots; Plum Tomatoes; Strawberries; Chocolate Brownie Bites

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeTurkey BLTA Roll-Ups; Strawberries; Carrot Sticks; Cucumber; Grapes; Chocolate Brownie Bites

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeTurkey BLTA Roll-Ups; Strawberries; Dates; Grapes; Sugar Snap Peas

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeMango; Hard-Boiled Eggs; Cucumber Sticks; Carrot Sticks; Tomatoes; Paleo Ranch Dressing

Kids Paleo Lunch Ideas | Our Paleo LifeTurkey BLTA Roll-Ups; Date; Strawberries; Mango; Carrot Sticks; Cucumber Sticks

Also, I really love these little divided Ziploc tupperware containers. They come in a 2-pack at the grocery store for under $4. I need to get more because I’d really like to prepare a few days worth of lunches at the same time (of course some stuff would have to wait until the day of to add to the lunch boxes).

Occasionally I’ll add a full salad in the main part, with a small container of dressing on the side. That’s also a hit. Especially when there’s bacon involved. Just sayin’…

 

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75 Comments on “Kids Paleo Lunches

  1. Sheri Carroll

    I love these containers too! I loved the food ideas, but had a question. Does the applesauce, egg salad, pudding etc… leak? I never put the gooey stuff in because I don’t know if it will make it to lunch! Also, my son loves deviled eggs but I didn’t think they would transport well. My son is in first grade and I’m sure the lunches really get bumped around, but I’d liked to figure out a way to send some of these foods because he’s a picky eater on a GF diet. Thanks! Great post.

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      My daughter is also in first grade and we never had any issues with leaking. The seal is pretty good so long as you make sure to snap the top on all the way. The deviled eggs might get knocked around and get less “pretty” but they’re still good. I was nervous the first few times I sen the leak-prone stuff but never had one leak in the 4 months I’ve been using them.

      Reply
    2. theresa

      If you make the deviled press then back together to make a whole egg they transport quite well, I found a very small Tupperware that fits just one whole egg and I use that so it doesn’t touch the other foods or make the lunch box smell.

      Reply
    1. Kendra

      I found them with the rest of the tupperware things at my grocery store. I imagine that WalMart and Target would carry them as well. They weren’t the expensive ones you can get online, they are intended to be more disposable but they lasted us half the school year (would have been longer, but we didn’t start until school was halfway through).

      Reply
  2. Penelope

    Do you store them in the fridge or the freezer? I plan to make a week’s worth of these all at one time.

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      I have yet to make more than 1 day in advance, I will be working on that this school year. But I would suggest storing them in the fridge. I would leave some items out and put them in the day of, like the shelf stable foods, but that may just be a personal preference.

      Reply
  3. BankerMommy

    Eating clean at home has been easy but now I am Starting to get nervous about kindergarten lunches, thank you for the suggestions 🙂

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      I have never had a problem with the guac browning, but I think that is due to the lime juice. In my pre-paleo days, I made guac with a powdered mix, and it always turned brown. I’ve noticed that the fresh stuff doesn’t.

      Reply
  4. Myra Simpson

    Cool post! I have my own lunch/bento blog, and I am starting my Paleo journey and transitioning my child’s lunches as well.

    I use EasyLunchboxes. I used to use Ziploc when I started packing lunches, but I end up throwing them away when they warped really bad since I have to microwave to reheat my lunches at work. The same set of ELBs have lasted me 3 years now. We have no issues with leaking, since I don’t pack soups in it–at least not for my child, I do, but travel horizontally in my car, but I pack applesauce, yogurts etc in hers.

    Reply
  5. Lisa Thompson

    I love your kid lunches! We tried the Turkey BLTA roll ups today and the kids (and I) loved them! Quick question….I really want to make the egg items you show but we pretty much always eat eggs for breakfast. What do you/they eat in the morning on the days the kids have egg salad for lunch? I don’t want to have too many eggs in a day:)

    Reply
  6. JupiterGirl

    Thank you! I have a really picky 6th grader, she won’t eat tuna, egg or turkey. I’ve noticed her grades have been going down; do you know of any correlation between Paleo and lack of concentration? Do you think she could just need more calories? She’s refused to let me buy bread for her lunch, but I’m starting to wonder if she’s getting enough to eat?

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      Hmm, I haven’t heard of any correlation, and not getting enough calories can certainly be an issue. I know a lot of people (myself included) find they’re more hungry on paleo simply because you’re not getting filled up with a ton of carbs. If she’ll eat chicken and/or beef, maybe chicken salad or meatballs/mini meatloaves for lunch? Carb-heavy veggies can help too if she will eat them. And maybe a paleo bread replacement, like a coconut-flour or almond-flour based bread would help.

      I feel like I’m just rambling and not offering much help, but I hope it is a little. Good luck.

      Reply
      1. JupiterGirl

        Thanks for prompt response! It only occurred to me in last 24 hours, so I have just started investigating, but have already read some similar comments ie:she might need more calories and I will re-introduce potatoes (she only like sweet potatoes when they’re in the form of fries with ketchup!). Yes she eats chicken, bacon and meatballs are made weekly in big batches! She’ll happily eat a salad, but often doesn’t eat the protein. And she’s a pre-teen girl, so got our work cut out already!! Lol

        Reply
    2. Dianne

      I’m glad you are considering all these options for your daughter. I suspect you are on to something about her calories. This is such a time of change for her and her body. Additionally, I’d read up on how girls at about her age as a group traditionally dumb down in school for crazy sociological and cultural reasons.

      Reply
  7. Laurie

    Tupperware is an actual brand, separate from Ziploc.

    There, I said it. 🙂 My mom sold Tupperware for most of my youth, so it’s one of those things like the correct pronunciation of a name that just hangs in my head and I have to correct it! LOL!

    Thanks for the post – I’m trying to go “NO GRAIN” this year, and this is a great help for me, as well as giving me ideas for my son.

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      Ha! Then Tupperware did an amazing job at branding, just like Kleenex, since those words have become the generic terms for those types of products regardless of brands. But I totally get where you’re coming from 🙂 Good luck on your grain-free adventure!

      Reply
    2. Robyn

      Funny you should mention that – it was bugging me too. We (in Australia) don’t use ‘Tupperware’ as a generic name for plastic containers. I don’t know what we use but it certainly struck a wrong note to call it Tupperware when it is just disposable plastic! But the meals are fantastic – I’m SOOOO impressed! I wonder if I could size these up for my hubby?!

      Reply
    3. Valerie

      I was going to remark on the “Tupperware” but you beat me to it. ZipLoc and Tupperware are not the same thing. You can buy ZipLoc at WalMart but you cannot buy Tupperware at WalMart. You could get into serious trouble with Tupperware if you keep calling ZipLoc Tupperware.

      For the lady who microwaved her ZipLoc containers, never microwave with the lid on. That will definitely warp your lids. Cover with a paper towel or a flat microwave-proof plate.

      If you go to the many Bento web sites you will find oodles of recipes and ideas for lunches. The Japanese have been doing this for a very long time.

      Reply
  8. Michele

    I love these, but beware the empty containers! I found out last month that my daughter has been taking Top Ramen to school (her father’s purchase) and trading it with a friend for a lovely bagel every day. The poor girl’s mother! She has no idea. I tried to tell her, but she didn’t understand what I was saying. LOL

    Reply
  9. Laurie F

    Do you worry about giving your kids raw egg? It’d love to make egg or chicken salad but the raw egg makes me nervous!

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      I had to think for a minute and figure out what you were talking about, but I realized you are probably referencing the mayo. I have never had a problem and it has never crossed my mind to be concerned about the eggs in the mayo. If you are worried, you should be safe using pasteurized eggs. All store-bought mayo also contains eggs, as well.

      Reply
  10. trish

    Do the foods stay put in the compartments of these containers?? even the apple sauce? Just wondering before I go searching for them!

    Reply
    1. Kendra

      Yup, everything stays in it’s own compartment with the Ziploc brand containers. I know there are other similar-looking containers that are not leak-proof, which is why I went with the Ziploc brand. Even though they are technically the disposable type of containers, I’ve been using them for about a year, and they’ve held up just fine, still not leaking.

      Reply
  11. Kim

    You really should avoid the plastic! Try out Planetbox lunch systems. I’ve been packing my 4 Paleo kids their lunches in them for the last 3+ years. They’re fantastic! No chemical leaching. Enviro-friendly. Easy enough for my youngest to open/close. In the summer we pack them up for picnics, beach trips, etc. They make adult sizes too for my husband and myself. It’s made Paleo eating on the go a breeze. I can’t praise them enough!

    Reply
    1. Annette

      Are the Planetbox lunch systems leak proof? I find that the ziploc work the best, but would like to move away from plastic. I haven’t found any light weight ( backpack is already very heavy for my child) containers that are leak proof aside from the ziploc. I also have mine for over a year.

      Reply
        1. Sam

          I’ve been using planetbox for over a year now and there are containers for liquids (like dips and apple sauce) that are leak proof but i honestly have never had a problem with anything leaking (I tend to throw juicy cuts of meat in them). If you’re really nervous about it the bigger planet box has a sealable, microwavable container and you can always cover a section in press-and-seal!

          Reply
    2. Maryjo

      The only problem I have with Planetbox is they are outrageously expensive! Most families with young children can’t drop $20+ on 1 lunch box. I know I can’t! It also makes it hard to plan ahead since you won’t have more than 1. There are healthy types of plastic containers now that are not nearly as expensive.

      Reply
  12. Carol

    Since so many of us are immigrants I read how good it is for us to eat like our ancestors did. Since I have a Mediteranian background it us easy for me to eat healthy-hummus, tabooley, eggplant, etc.

    Reply
    1. Kendra Benson

      I have never officially written up a recipe for either of these (it’s on my list but I have a pretty long list right now 😉 . For the tuna, I used canned tuna and my Paleo Lime Mayo. Then I add some chopped dill pickles and some sea salt. For the egg salad, it’s hard boiled eggs, Paleo Lime Mayo, a little yellow mustard, sea salt, and chopped dill pickles. Sorry I don’t have exact measurements, I usually just eyeball it, which is why I still don’t have a written recipe yet.

      Reply
  13. Tammi

    I just found you Via Nom Nom Paleo on Facebook! Yeah! I am so happy I did. lunch is a BIG issue. My 13yo won’t eat any thing (at school)that some one might point out as weird. But, these ideas look great. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts!

    Reply
  14. Brianna

    thanks for the great ideas! my kids are younger so they won’t eat that much, so i’ll just lower the portion sizes! they are going to love it!

    Reply
  15. Janet

    My family is new to paleo and we question EVERYTHING! So in all my whining about no beans or peas, you give your kids sugar snap peas. Are you a legume-friendly paleo?

    Reply
    1. Kendra Benson

      We eat them on occasion. Some legumes are better than others and we don’t typically buy them, but when I see fresh sugar snap peas at the farmer’s market, it’s really hard for me to resist them 🙂 I never make beans at home but we do sometimes eat them when we go out to Chipotle. I guess you could consider those our cheats. Although Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser have recently stated that legumes are not all evil. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen to their podcast about it: http://robbwolf.com/2014/02/25/episode-214-guest-chris-kresser/

      Reply
      1. Annelies

        I have a hard time resisting sugar snap peas, too! There is just something so happy and summer-y about them, including that satisfying sweet crunch!

        Reply
  16. Megan Claborn

    I’m currently trying to ease into a Paleo diet and this was very helpful! I love that these are foods that I like AND don’t have to put a ton of effort into it. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  17. Johnb187

    Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? Theres lots of people that I believe would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thanks ddeceebgdfbb

    Reply
  18. Heidi

    How do you keep the foods cold? I always worry about botulism or my kids getting sick from meat or eggs sitting out unrefrigerated since it’s in their backpack for about 4 hours until they eat it. Is an ice pack sufficient?

    Reply
    1. Kendra Benson

      I used to put an ice pack in with their lunches, but eventually got lazy enough and forgot it. Their lunchboxes are insulated, so I think the food stays cool enough. We’ve never had any issues (knock on wood), but if you are concerned about it, an ice pack will definitely do the trick.

      Reply
  19. Gabi

    I don’t have any kids and I think these would be great for me and my husband! Thanks for the information and pictures. Very helpful when trying to come up with alternative options to sandwiches and buying lunch. Not in the Paleo diet yet, but I think these are great to get started. baby steps!!!

    Reply
  20. Jacob Alexander

    The 7th one is easily my favorite. 🙂 However, the best thing about these lunches is that you can make a bunch of different variations, so basically you’ll never get tired of them. The pictures are also really great. Thanks for the nice ideas!

    Reply
  21. Alix

    Hi Kendra! I love the lunch and recipes you provided. I can’t wait to try them. I am wondering if you have a recipe for the tuna salad? Sorry of its on here and I missed it.

    Thanks so much for your time!

    Reply
    1. Kendra Benson

      Hi Alix. I don’t have a recipe written up, but I did post this in the comments back in July. I had to search for it, I wasn’t even sure if I had written it or just thought it 🙂

      “For the tuna, I used canned tuna and my Paleo Lime Mayo. Then I add some chopped dill pickles and some sea salt. Sorry I don’t have exact measurements, I usually just eyeball it, which is why I still don’t have a written recipe yet.”

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
    1. Kendra Benson

      As far as I’m aware, there is no hard and fast “rule” on whether you can use plastic or not, it’s probably just better to use metal. But that doesn’t fit into my budget, and I’m not putting hot food in the plastic, so I’m not really overly concerned about leeching or anything else. If you prefer metal, then go ahead and use it. It’s just a personal preference. I also haven’t found any metal containers that are leakproof so that’s another reason I don’t use them.

      Reply
  22. amy

    have you noticed that ziploc has discontinued these containers?! now what to use? i’ve used and loved these containers for years, but they don’t hold up too long. i’ve had to replace them twice i think in about 4 years of heavy use. any suggestions as to what to replace these with? and why, oh why, did ziploc discontinue these??!! :/

    Reply
    1. Kierssis

      Tupperware is selling pretty good containers!!! Find a distributor near you or let me know I have a friend that sells them
      Hope this helps!!

      Reply
  23. Theresa

    Hi! I came here searching for lunch ideas for my Kindergartener. Both her grandmother and I are gluten intolerant an recently she has been having GI issues I believe as a result of eating school lunch as we eat pretty clean at home.

    The problem is she does not like most protein. At lunch she will only eat the fruit, veg & carb. Typically the school serves things like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, canned fish, hotdogs, meatballs, etc. These aren’t things we eat at home so she doesn’t like them which is fine by me lol.

    The problem is 1. she will not eat leftovers; 2. She does not like most of the protein choices that would work for lunch so that means deli meat is out, tuna salad is out (she’s never tried egg salad though), peanut/almond butter is out; 3. She gets bored pretty quickly. If i take carbs away and she wont eat protein im afraid the fruit & veg wont be enough. I am also trying to cut back on dairy but whole milk, yogurt & string cheese are a big part of her diet.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
  24. Allysa

    I just wanted to add a quick note to inform anyone who does not yet know, fruit should never be eaten with meals. It should only be eaten on an empty stomach, as it definitely interferes with the digestion of meat and dairy.

    Reply
  25. Amy

    thank you so much for these ideas! I’m four months pregnant and haven’t been eating very healthy. I’m always working at other people’s houses and couldn’t think of things that didn’t need to be heated up, besides a sandwich. This will help me be healthier, thank you sooo much!

    Reply
  26. Jamie

    Thanks so much for this. As weird as this sounds, I hate condiments so there are many things (dressing, mayo, mustard, vingear, etc.) that I don’t eat. So finding a way to make simple food exciting has really spurred my movement to eat healthier.

    Reply
  27. Jan

    Thank you! I’m looking for adult lunch ideas for ME and these are great Our school day has been lengthened this coming year to 8+ hours for teachers. Should I just pack a snack of two as well?

    Reply
    1. ME

      Hi Jan, I too am a teacher. I eat my fruits for snacks. Like someone said, it’s best to eat your fruit alone. If you’re behind on protein, nuts, almond butter on celery is good. Grapes are good to walk around class and still teach. Bananas and apples cut in bite sizes mix in cinnamon to stop browning is good too. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  28. Melanie Cook

    Hi, Your photos are great of the lunches. I am looking for healthy lunch ideas for my two teen boys. I am not on a type of diet, but we are eating less on processed food and sugar. We are eating whole foods more too. When I look closely at the boxes of food and their contents, I am concerned of the amount of food that are sugar food (natural yes), but berries, papaya, plums and mango are very high.The lack of fibre or foods that are energy dense to keep us from having a sugar spike an hour later, is missing.The fruit chosen has a high water content also.I can see why one of your comments from a Mum with a teenage daughter lacked concentration at school. A well known fact that eating food that does not keep you full for longer or provides energy (complex carbs) will make you loose concentration. Teenagers need these the most at this age. Plus we need to eat lots of fibre or they will get constipated and bowel cancer is high because of this also. Could you come up with some other ideas to make these more balanced?

    Reply

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