Back to School: Packing A Paleo Lunchbox

In the midst of our fast-paced lives, crafting a lunchbox that's both nourishing and satisfying can feel like a Herculean task. If you've decided to embrace the Paleo lifestyle, you're already on the path to consuming whole, unprocessed foods that our ancestors would applaud. The question becomes how do you translate this philosophy into a lunchbox that keeps up with modern demands while delivering on the promise of health and flavor?

The challenge of putting together a balanced, healthy lunch while providing something that your kids will actually eat is real! It has to be both sustaining and appetising for them, or you might find your children will throw their lunch away instead of eating it, or resort to sharing their friends snacks and treats. 

It doesn't matter if your child enjoys variety or the same thing every day, as long as it has some protein, vegetables, healthy fats and fruit.  Depending on your child’s activity level or how long they are spending at school, you may also want to include an extra snack. Make it a colourful lunch that's appealing to look at and is packed with nutrients. 

Learn more about the Paleo diet for kids in this post

Foods To Include

Protein-Rich Options:

  • Sliced roast beef or cuts of steak
  • Meatballs
  • Sliced grilled chicken or turkey.
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Slices of nitrate-free deli meat (turkey, roast beef, etc.).
  • Tuna or salmon salad (made with Paleo-friendly mayo or avocado).


  • Carrot sticks, celery, and cucumber slices.
  • Bell pepper strips.
  • Cherry tomatoes.
  • Baby carrots.
  • Sugar snap peas.


  • Sliced apples or pears (sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning).
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).
  • Grapes.
  • Sliced melon or oranges.

Healthy Fats:

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.).
  • Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds).
  • Avocado slices
  • Single serve nut butter packages (delicious with apple slices)
  • Cheese slices (if dairy is part of your Paleo diet – read more on that here)


  • Kale chips.
  • Paleo-friendly trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruits).
  • Veggie chips (sweet potato, beet, or parsnip).

Dips and Spreads:

  • Guacamole or avocado dip.
  • Nut butter (almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter) with celery sticks.
  • Cauliflower Hummus 


  • Water is the best choice. You can add slices of lemon, lime, or other fruits for flavor.

Treats (in moderation):

  • Dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content).
  • Homemade energy balls made from dates, nuts, and cocoa.

Wrap It Up:

  • Use large lettuce leaves or collard greens as a wrap instead of bread.
  • Paleo-friendly coconut or almond flour tortillas.

Lunchbox Meal Ideas


Tuna, egg and salmon salads are easy to throw together using wild canned fish or free-run eggs, avocado oil mayonnaise, diced onion, celery, pickles, and your favorite seasoning. Wrap these salads in lettuce leaves, pile them on leafy greens, or serve with a side of crunchy raw vegetables or your child's favorite home-made root vegetable 'fries'. 

Check out our salad guide for more inspiration on creating a lunchbox worthy salad. 


Leftovers such as BBQ chicken, burger patties, or thin-sliced steak are delicious as a lettuce wrap, and served with burger fixings and some home-made root vegetable 'fries' on the side. Leftover meatballs and Paleo friendly pizza or meatza are also great leftover options. 


Egg muffins are always a tasty option and a great way to use up leftovers and ensure your child (or you) are eating some vegetables. The combinations and possibilities are endless. Try adding crumbled cooked sausage, chopped bacon or even leftover meatballs or meat sauce to the mixture for added protein. Many sweeter Paleo muffins are also low in added sweeteners and full of nutrients. A side of nut butter for dipping works well too.

Sandwiches, Wraps and Rollups 

Try thinking outside the bun. Using thinly prepared burger patties, grated vegetable patties or large Portobello mushrooms can provide for creative 'sandwiches'.  There are also a variety of grain free wraps available or you can use a large lettuce, chard, or other green leaf as the 'bread' wrapped around quality deli meats, tomato, onion, avocado, and other fillings of your child's liking. 

Quality, additive free deli meats rolled into a tube or wrapped around avocado or other veggie strips are also fun and easy to eat. 

Note: It is best to avoid deli meats preserved with nitrates and other chemicals. 

Soup or Stew 

Soups and stews are a great lunch box addition especially as the weather gets cooler. Using an insulated thermos keeps the food hot for several hours.

Breakfast For Lunch

Make deviled eggs or simply hard boil eggs packed whole or halved seasoned with salt and pepper. Adding some cooked bacon, pre-cooked Paleo friendly hot dogs, sausages, or sausage patties served with condiments on the side for dipping creates a great meal of 'breakfast for lunch'. You can even pack in some raw or lightly steamed broccoli or cauliflower as a side. 

Additional Tips

Prep Ahead: Prepare as much as possible the night before or during the weekend. Wash and cut veggies, slice fruits, and portion out snacks. This will save you time during busy mornings.

Bento Box Style: Consider using a bento box or compartmentalized lunch container. This makes it easy to pack a variety of foods without worrying about them mixing together.

Make It Colorful: A colorful lunch is not only visually appealing but also nutritious. Try to include a variety of colors from different fruits and vegetables.

Involve Your Child: If your child is old enough, involve them in the planning and packing process. This can help ensure they're excited about their lunch and more likely to eat it.

Dressing on the Side: If you're packing salads or wraps, consider packing the dressing or sauce on the side in a small container. This prevents the food from getting soggy.

Frozen Fruit: Freeze grapes, berries, or sliced fruits. By lunchtime, they'll thaw and help keep the rest of the lunch cool.

Insulated Lunch Bag: Invest in a good-quality insulated lunch bag or box to keep foods at a safe temperature until lunchtime.

Include a Note: Add a little note of encouragement or love in your child's lunchbox to brighten their day.

Variety is Key: Rotate the foods you pack regularly to prevent lunchtime boredom. Experiment with different combinations to keep things interesting.

Educate Your Child: Teach your child about the Paleo diet and why certain foods are chosen. This can help them make healthier food choices on their own.

Easy-to-Eat Foods: Choose foods that are easy to eat with minimal mess. Finger-friendly options like sliced vegetables, fruits, and bite-sized protein are great choices.

Practice Food Safety: Use ice packs to keep perishable items cool and safe. Remind your child to wash their hands before eating.

Adapt to Preferences: Pay attention to what your child enjoys and adapt the lunch options to their preferences. This ensures they look forward to their lunch each day.

Bonus Tip

Mornings are a whirlwind, and the school lunch prep frenzy often becomes a race against the clock. Amidst the hustle, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a solution that's both time-saving and health-conscious? That's where Pete's Real Food steps in. With a commitment to high-quality ingredients and a passion for crafting mouth-watering meals, Chef Pete has redefined the way we approach school lunches. Pete's Real Food offers a variety of convenient and nutritious options for kids' lunches that can make meal prep easy for moms while providing delicious choices for the kids. Check out our full menu (with your kids, of course!) and order yours here >>>>>>>

As you embark on the journey of simplifying your lunch routine while embracing the principles of the Paleo diet, you're not just assembling ingredients in a box – you're curating moments of nourishment and joy. Whatever lunch you pack or carrying device you use, just make it fun and exciting for your kids. It’s hard enough to be different, but if the other children see that your child’s food is colorful and exciting because they always have something cool like dips or wrapped food, then the other kids will be curious instead of judgemental about your child’s difference and your child will look forward to enjoying the delicious lunch you lovingly prepared. 

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