Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lunch Time!

Now that school is back in session, parents and students alike need nutritious lunch ideas.  Here are some tips to keep you and your kids eating healthy lunches while not making you slave in the kitchen for their preparation.  The key is making sure each meal has healthy carb, protein, and fat.  The balance will create longer lasting satiety and won't leave you with highs and lows in energy.

Healthy carb choices: carrots, berries, apples, grapes, kiwis, salad greens, virtually any fruit and veggie you can think of except for beans/legumes of any kind, starchy potatoes (save those for an occasional dinner or post workout dish), and use high glycemic fruits rarely like bananas, melons, mangos, and the like.  High glycemic fruits will just leave you hungry a couple of hours later anyway, so keep them to a rare treat.

Healthy meat choices: fish, lean meats (including eggs, beef, poultry, game, pork, etc.), shellfish, sausages that don't have sugar (note: evaporated cane juice is still sugar), grains, or dairy in their ingredients.  Use fatty meats rarely rather than regularly (ex. bacon).  Soy products are out since they are soybean derived and highly processed.  Avoid deli meats for excessive salt and processing.

Healthy fat choices: nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives, avocado.  Avoid overly processed oils like canola or vegetable oil or oils from foods we avoid like soybean or peanut oil (peanuts are legumes).

Another key to eating paleo-style is eating minimally processed, whole foods.  If you buy a processed item in a bag, can, or jar--check the ingredients closely!  Don't allow soy products, grains, or sugar to creep into your diet.  Try to buy products with short ingredient lists and ingredients you can understand.  You and your family's health and performance will benefit from the effort you take to eat right.  

Here is a quick, easy lunch recipe that will give you meals for the week:

Roasted Turkey Breast
Great cold or warm and less than an hour to make start to finish!

1 split turkey breast, bone in, skin on (the bigger, the better) (NOTE: the picture shows two smaller ones I made for a double batch)
1-2 part olive oil
1 part seasoning mix (see choices or create your own!)

Potluck Seasoning Mix:
1T each of garlic powder, oregano, rosemary (crushed), thyme, basil, paprika, kosher salt
1tsp each pepper, crushed red pepper flakes

Italian Seasoning Mix:
3 sun dried tomatoes (chopped), 1T each of rosemary (crushed), oregano, basil, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, 1tsp each of pepper, red pepper flakes
(NOTE: make more of this seasoning than you need, add olive oil, and store in the refrigerator for other uses like salad dressing and flaxbread seasoning 

UPDATE 4/13/2010
Spicy Garlic Mix: 
(for one huge turkey breast or 2 small)
1T garlic powder (be generous)
20 grinds of black pepper (who really measures ground black pepper easily?)
1/2T kosher salt
1/2tsp or more of red pepper flakes/crushed red pepper
2-4T extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 or 450 degrees (depends on how accurate your oven is and trial and error results).  Mix seasoning with olive oil to create a paste.  Start with 1 to 1 ratio of seasoning to oil and increase oil if necessary to make it wet enough to spread.  To avoid contamination, if you are keeping any of the seasoning for another use, set aside in another container; don't keep any extra from turkey application!  Loosen the skin of the turkey by gently pulling it up and running your hand underneath to create a pocket.  Try not to tear more holes in it than the hand opening.  Also, open the cavity between the breast and tender with your hand to expose more surface area for the rub.  Get underneath or cut that layer of skin/connective tissue? on top of the tender.  For large breasts, I like to cut another layer in the thickest parts so that more seasoning can be distributed.  Rub oil mixture on turkey under skin, over skin, and in cavity between breast and tender--all over.  Roast uncovered in a baking dish for 45min (start checking at 35min for 150 degree internal temp or sooner if turkey is small) at 425/450 degrees.  I pull  mine at 150 degrees to allow for carry-over and juiciness, but most references say 165 minimum for safety.  For me that is dry as toast, but I strongly caution you to follow my lead only at your own risk.  I assume no responsibility.  I am pretty confident my turkey comes from a good source; I don't buy mine at Costco or Safeway.  Let the turkey rest before slicing/serving.  Refrigerate once cooled in an airtight container and it will last a week.

Turkey Breast Salad--heap a ton of greens into a bowl/container, measure turkey and add to salad, add dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice is simple and delicious), and any other veggies, berries, or fruit or serve on the side.

Turkey Breast Sandwich--serve between flaxbread with some veggies and/or fruit on the side.

Turkey Breast a la carte--serve with cut up veggies and/or fruit and nuts/seeds/avocado to create a balanced meal

Turkey Breast omelet or frittatta--add as another protein source to an omelet or frittatta



  1. Kristy, looks & sounds great, but why use the kosher salt? One of the first things a person notices after being on the paleo diet is that their sense of taste returns begins to taste the natural saltiness in meat ...and the "no added salt" component is pretty important :)

  2. I know what you mean about the salt. One of my turkey breast variations is garlic, olive oil, and dried onion--no salt, and it is great! However, I have to admit to adding salt to most of my cooking still. I rarely add it after cooking, so that is a step in the right direction and I definitely taste salt much more acutely when I use it less often. However, I've heard Robb Wolf describe salt as a sunburn in the bigger picture of changing your diet. Yeah, it isn't the best, but if it helps me eat 90% paleo-style, that is a huge win.

    I need to look more into it, but my instincts say that we (and all animals) crave salt for a reason. Of course, the processed world totally overdoes it, but once I am off processed food, using a little salt is okay in my book. The bigger picture wins out.

  3. Kristy, we crave salt, or sodium, for a reason. We need it. Table salt is a combination of sodium and chloride. We dont need that. We need sodium, sea salt. Sodium is crucial for maintaining the health of every cell in the human system. IT is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid, the digestive enzyme secreted by the stomach in order to digest protein. There is so much more, but, in moderation, we need sodium or we would die

  4. I agree, Suz. It has been awhile since this post and I have since read Gary Taubes article on Salt. I have no qualms using salt in my cooking or adding it to my meals, but I don't like the over-salted feeling after I have chips Thanks for the facts supporting my decision! It is always great to learn more about the science behind it all!

    Best wishes,

  5. Hey Suz,
    Hydrochloric acid is made from Cl, which would be chloride, so yes we actually need that to. The reason table salt is bad is from the processing. Sea salt that is unprocessed has thousands of other minerals as well as NaCl and is very necessary to life.

  6. Great post. I am always looking for lunch idaes, especially for my daughter during school. Thanks