If only this was what came in fry containers, the world would be a different place…
Several of you have asked me for great healthy, fast lunch and snack ideas. Things you can make ahead and take with you to work, school, in your car on a road trip, etc, etc. I know how disastrous it can be to be out and about, blood sugar crashing with no healthy food in sight. When that happens to me, I’m liable to eat anything…
The other night I ended up so hungry at a gas station! Yikes, the WORST place to be hungry. After literally 15 minutes of walking the isles, I finally opted for some trail mix, the best of the evils lining the shelves. Had I have thought a bit in advance, I could have avoided the whole trap (the following night I did with a simple tupperware of strawberries and soaked almonds).
A little bit of planning goes a long way, my friends. Here are some great ideas:
- Soaked nuts with fresh or dried fruit. If you opt for fresh, make sure you pack soft fruit in such a way that it doesn’t get mashed up (plastic storage containers for berries or stone fruit, for example).
- Ants on a Log (Celery + Almond Butter + Raisins). An oldie, but a goodie 🙂
- Omelet Muffins
- Energy Balls: Apple Pie Balls or Superfood Balls are two of my favorites
- Veggie Flax Crackers
- Collard Wraps
- Smoked Salmon & Avocado in Endive (or wrapped in collard greens is great, too)
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Veggies with Cauliflower Hummus, Guacamole, Baba Ghanoush
- Organic Jerky (read labels and make sure these are preservative free from clean animal sources)
- Hard-boiled Eggs
- Organic Lunch Meat
- Seaweed Snacks
- Kale Chips
And a couple things to avoid that seem healthy snack ideas, but aren’t so much:
- Store-bought “healthy” energy bars: Not all are terrible, but you really need to inspect the ingredients. You know the first ingredient of a Tiger’s Milk Bar?!?! HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!! And they sell those in health food stores! Its CRAZY!! Only buy bars made of real ingredients like nuts and dried fruit. Even still, these are often loaded with sugar and the proteins from the nuts are not easy to digest since they havent been soaked/sprouted (unless it says so in ingredient, even then only a couple of the raw bars have been). Be especially careful for soy (Cliff Bars and Luna Bars have soy as their main protein). you’re much better off making the Superfood Energy Balls in a big batch and freezing them…you’ll save lots of money, too 🙂
- Prepared Smoothies and Juices: Naked Juice, Bolthouse Farms and the like. These are LOADED with sugar and pasteurized, so the enzymes that would have been available had you have made this from scratch are lost.
- Trail Mix: These are not all necessarily terrible, but avoid the ones with chocolate, peanuts and sugar-coated fruit (you would be surprised how many are…check ingredients). Its also very easy (as I’m sure you know) to eat an entire bag on auto-pilot! Again, the nuts are usually roasted and not soaked to make the protein and nutrients bio-available, so I’d much prefer you to stick with soaked nuts with some fresh fruit.
- Beef Jerky: Anything you find at a gas station or conventional supermarket is most likely not your friend. Read the ingredients. Unless it has salt, meat and spices as the ingredients, avoid like the plague.
If you must eat fast food, here’s some better options:
- Mexican: Burrito bowl with grilled veggies, meat, salsa and extra guacamole. I’m sure much of Chipotle’s marketing is a gimmick, but still a better option than many places.
- Burger: Lettuce wrapped with bacon, avocado, dijon mustard and all the veggies. Hold the mayo, cheese and creamy sauces. I usually need 2 to fill me up. If you can find a place (there are several in SoCal now) that serves grass-fed beef, GO THERE!! Obviously fries are a no-go as they’re fried in nasty oil. Make your fried food at home with coconut oil, ghee, duck fat or bacon fat.
- Indian & Thai: Veggie and Meat Curries without the rice. Also check to make sure there is just coconut milk in the creamy curries. Some places use dairy cream.
Other typical lunch spots:
- Salad with protein, avocado, dried fruit, nuts and an olive-oil based dressing (don’t assume a vinaigrette is olive oil, ask).
- Grilled meat with veggies and a pesto, salsa, or guacamole on the side.
- Clear soups without beans, noodles or rice.
Do you like this article? Its an excerpt from my new online healthy eating and cooking program called “Paleo Cooking at Home: Fast, Cheap & Easy”. Learn more by clicking this image: