This month’s Wellness Wednesday Post is an informative Guest Post with paleo lunch ideas from Elizabeth McMillan, MS, CNS.
The Paleo diet has been dubbed the caveman diet because it includes foods that would have been consumed by our ancient ancestors. This diet is simply a hunter-gatherer diet. When choosing foods, you should always opt for organic when possible to limit your exposure to toxins, such as pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and other chemicals. Furthermore, grains and dairy products are generally not included in this diet.
The paleo diet allows any foods that can be hunted or found in nature, including:
- Meat – lean, grass-fed only meats. Avoid grain-fed because it can cause digestive issues.
- Fowl – duck, chicken, turkey and hens. Some people like game birds. These may also be enjoyed.
- Egg – Opt for Omega-3 enriched eggs
- Fish – preferably wild fish, such as salmon, tuna, flounder or locally caught fish
- Vegetables – unlimited amounts as long as they are not deep-fried
- Fruits – limited amounts if you are trying to lose weight because they are naturally high in calories and sugar
- Oils – natural oils, such as coconut, olive or avocado oil
- Seeds – sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds
- Nuts – hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, pecans cashews and almonds
The Paleo diet offers many health benefits. The Paleo diet is filled with choice proteins which ensure the body is receiving healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Because the diet relies so heavily on fresh vegetables and fruits, you can rest assured that you will be getting the nutrients your body needs. Furthermore, your digestion will improve. The paleo diet uses foods that the human body is better able to digest and absorb.
Those suffering from allergies and asthma can also benefit from this diet as it minimizes known food allergens. Many of the paleo foods help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Many of those who embrace the Paleo lifestyle have found that weight loss is easier. The diet helps you burn fat and build muscle. Finally, because the diet does not allow for refined sugar, insulin sensitivity is increased. This can help reduce the risk of a number of diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Many people worry that following a Paleo lifestyle is difficult; however, if you shop wisely, you can easily prepare delicious meals and snacks. All you need is a lean protein, such as steak, pork, poultry or fish, and a plate full of fresh or steamed vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, spinach and cucumbers. For a sweet snack, try apple slices with a tablespoon of almond butter or a cup of fresh blueberries.
Paleo Lunch Ideas
If you work outside of the home and fear you will not be able to follow a Paleo diet, we have you covered. The following five lunch menus not only look great but taste great. They include some type of protein, plenty of vegetables, a small amount of a healthy fat and a fruit. With these lunches, you can rest assured you will have energy and won’t be left feeling hungry.
If you are looking for a lunch that will impress your co-workers and make them jealous, look no further than this lunch. It features grilled salmon with fresh lemon slices and fresh dill, a side salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. For dessert, you will enjoy fresh berries and kiwi slices.
If you are in a rush in the morning, you can still pack you an amazing Paleo lunch. Grab your favorite lunch box and fill it with leaf lettuce topped with rolled cold cuts, homemade mayonnaise and pickles. A section of fresh peaches completes this easy to prepare lunch.
Who doesn’t love sushi? If you are following a Paleo diet and want to enjoy sushi without the rice, we have a recipe for you! This salmon inspired sushi uses hard-boiled egg whites cut into matchsticks as a replacement for the rice. To assemble, lay down a toasted seaweed paper on a piece of plastic wrap. Then, mash an avocado with lime juice and sriracha and spread it on your seaweed. Top this with matchstick pieces of cucumber, bell peppers, salmon, and egg whites. Roll it the seaweed paper up and slice into four pieces for a delicious lunch.
You can enjoy taco Tuesday by creating a taco salad. In a pint Mason jar, layer lettuce, diced onions, diced bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, taco meat and homemade salsa for a delicious and healthy lunch. With all this food, you will not be left feeling hungry.
Imagine your lunch box filled with a gorgeous salad made of fresh salad greens and watercress topped with seared prosciutto and peaches. This delicious meal offers you a salty, sweet lunch to satisfy all of your cravings. For some crunch, top your salad with chopped pistachios and dress the salad with an oil and vinegar dressing. Talk about delicious!
The Paleo diet is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and meats. What this means for you is that meals are simple to prepare and delicious. Think outside of the box and create lunches that will leave you full and your co-workers asking for your recipes.
About Elizabeth McMillan
Elizabeth McMillan, MS, CNS is a board certified nutritionist at Rose Wellness Center in Northern Virginia. She specializes in science-based nutrition therapy that focuses on preventive health and optimizing one’s wellness. Elizabeth places a strong emphasis on the relationship between our food choices, lifestyle, and integrative wellness.
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