Lunch Options for the On-The-Go Paleo
Whats in your lunch box?
I have found that the lunch options if you are away from your kitchen are pretty poor. Your best bet it to dine in at a cafe or restaurant if you want ‘clean’, but thats not always a realistic option. A friend of mine, that will be competing in the World Games next year, has asked me for some advice on lunch options when you on-the-go. He’s a cop so that limits the amount of time that can be spent having lunch and often where he might be when 1pm comes around. So that got me thinking, perhaps there are a few others that might like some helpful tips on what the best options are when you out and more importantly what to avoid.
Im going to focus on food court meal options for this post. I know many a time I’ve been out and found myself starving and only the Westfield food court as my saviour. The obvious choices; McDs, KFC, Hungry Jacks, are a no-go zone for various reasons that are bigger than the fact their food tastes like crap and has no wholeness left (more on processed mass produced food another time). I recommend look to the smaller, non-chain food stalls, as they usually make the food onsite, rather than importing it all in inside plastic bags (pre chopped lettus from Subway anyone?) or 10 litre tubs. Again, there is no Wholefood-ness anywhere here! The smaller shops are also often family run, so I find that there is more likely a chance that a bit of love and care goes in to the food.
The following are my best picks if you want to follow a Paleo-ish meal or just general healthier choices:
Kebab bar: order the meat (try to only choose meat that still looks like meat and not just a big sausage on the rotating cooker) Chicken is often you best bet here. Have it with the salad options – I lean toward the Tabouli as its contains loads of parsley that is extremely alkalising and also help to cleanse the blood and freshen your breath! Avoid the breads as they use very refined flour and will leave you with a big after-meal energy slump. If your not keen on the meat you can get a falafel or a few big scoops of hummus, these are often made onsite and are really fresh.
Sandwich bar: Even if you aren’t in to bread this counter is probably going to provide you with the best lunch selection. This shop will let you taylor make your own salad to whatever you desire. Go for proteins and fats – this will help you stay full all afternoon and avoid a sugar hunt around 3pm! I usually select the chicken or smoked salmon, 1/2 avocado, olives, a chunk of feta/brie, cucumber and as many salad greens that will fit in. Ask them to squeeze fresh lemon juice and some olive over it as this will help activate the enzymatic breakdown of your food and increase the iron absorption from your green leaf veggies.
Sushi Counter: Many people think that this is the healthiest option as its often the lowest in fat. But this is high in hidden sugars that are added to the rice to make it sticky and stay moist when its soaked overnight (if done tradationally). So avoid the sushi rolls and go for the sashimi and ask for extra avocado if they have it. I find that the small plater is often very filling. I also grab a Miso soup, which made from a fermented soy paste. This aids in digestion of proteins, as its very hard to digest the proteins in raw fish because there has been no process to help start this, such as cooking/heat.
Supermarket/Deli: I have headed straight to the supermarket or deli many times to get my quick lunch fix. Deli’s have loads of options and you can just order enough for on,e which is really handy if your flying solo. Opt for shaved meats (try and avoid the really processed meats – you can often tell those apart as they are shaped like a square (no meal is in a square shape from an animal!). i’ve even seen a happy face in devon meat, from the effects of food dye. I go for shaved prosciutto or turkey, most deli’s will have a sulphur free meat option so ask before you order, it will be more expensive but since your only getting a few slices it won’t add more than an extra 50c. Then I get some cheese, olives and any other antipasto that looks good. They will usually supply plastic spoons, but i always carry a fork and spoon in my car (that I wash after each use!) just in case!
Thats my best wrap up of how to navigate the food court without doing too much damage. The most important thing at lunch is to eat a good mix of proteins and fats with greens that will keep your energy level up and more importantly, starve off the energy zap that starchy carbohydrates often cause. The more fat you eat at lunch to better chance you’ll have of keeping satisfied for hours. This will help see you past the 3pm slump and lessen the need or want to reach for the Tim-Tams in the staff kitchen.
Let fat be your friend at lunch and every other meal…. I’ll be talking a lot more on fats and the importance they have in our diet over the next few posts – so if you keen opt to sign up and follow the blog so you can get more tips like this right into your inbox!
I would love to hear if anyone has any other lunchtime suggestions
But until they bring back the ‘long lunch’ I know where I’ll be eating or avoiding at my local food court.