Paleo is easy at home, but more challenging elsewhere. My bag lunches used to be built around a sandwich. It's hard to think of a really convenient paleo replacement. Left-overs are good, but what if there aren't any left over?
I'm thinking of cooking up a bunch of ground beef and melting a bunch of lard into it, then cooling it so the meat is "frozen" into the lard. Then I could just cut out pieces and eat them cold. That would provide ample calories and some protein.
What are your bag lunches? Or do you IF during the day?
Every week (sometimes more often than that) I make a batch of these egg "muffins" for quick snacks and work lunches. Not orthodox paleo, as they include cream and cheese, but they're SO good, and very convenient. Much more fun than a hard boiled egg. My husband calls them "Lembas Bread" after the super-nutritious and portable bread from LOTR. :)
Preheat to 350. Evenly distribute the meat to the bottoms of 12-18 pre-greased muffin compartments (depending on the size of your muffin pans). Don't be afraid to spoon in any leftover grease - it just makes the muffins flakier! In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and spices. Pour egg batter over the meat, then drop in a good portion of shredded cheese on top. Bake 30 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Remove from tins and refrigerate.
Grab and go for a quick snack/breakfast!
I employ multiple methods to solve the lunch conundrum:
-IF: I IF 1 - 2 times per week, which automatically solves my lunch issue on those particular days.
-Leftovers: As far as packing lunch, leftovers is often the easiest choice for me. Since going paleo, I have been cooking regularly, often cooking larger portions resulting in numerous leftovers. I usually bring these in small, seal-able Pyrex containers that I can re-heat in the toaster oven (I try to avoid using the microwave for reheating).
-Salads: On the days I don't have leftovers, I usually just throw together a quick salad and a piece of fruit. I always have something around to for making salads and a good salad can be both nutritional and filling. My example from yesterday's lunch: mixed greens, 1/2 avocado (sliced), crushed walnuts, raisins, fresh mushrooms, homemade naturally pickled ginger carrots, juice of 1/2 lemon and pumpkin seed oil.
-Emergency Stash: I always keep a stash in my car and office desk. Tins of Sardines, tuna, and salmon are probably the easiest to store, but I usually keep homemade jerky at my desk and I also keep some nuts in the communal freezer at the office.
I often skip lunch, finding it a perfect opportunity for intermittent fasting.
Common lunch items for me are: salads, avocados, hard boiled eggs, leftovers (soups, stews, crock-pot meals, and big pieces of meat from the bbq), tinned sardines/salmon/tuna, or a walk to the closest salad bar.
Tupperware has become essential since going paleo.
I'm in high school, but I deal with the same situation at lunchtime. My go-to is some kind of seasoned meat, a whole bunch of lightly-cooked greens (almost always kale, smothered with olive oil after cooking) and sometimes a piece of fruit or a couple carrots but not always.
My lunch for tomorrow is something of a staple, because it's really good and easy: shredded beef tongue in homemade barbecue sauce (Son of Grok's, but made with bacon fat instead of olive oil) with some garlicky kale. That gets packed with a freezer block, a fork and some napkins. I'll pack a carrot in case I want it, but I usually don't. Beef tongue is actually a very fatty piece of meat with a good amount of protein, which makes it a satisfying option as far as meat goes.
On Sunday, I boil up a work-week's portion of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the fridge to throw in my lunchbag. Also on Sunday I will slow-cook a large lamb roast, or a broiler chicken or whatever protein i feel like for the week, then carve it up into daily portions and throw it in my lunch and eat it cold. Like some others, if I'm cooking in the evening, I'll make enough to ensure I have leftovers for the next day(s) - baked salmon or whatever, and eat that cold.
Sometimes I'll make a large salad and cut the cold protein into chunks and top the salad with it - often making enough salad to portion out for a period of days (keeping the dressing in a separate serving-size container - that way the salad will last for a while in the fridge without turning into a soggy mess).
There are always enough berries in the fridge to portion out a serving size to go with whatever I've put together for the day's lunch. Sometimes, but rarely, I'll have nuts in the fridge and will portion out a serving size of those also.
It takes less than 5 minutes to assemble lunch in the morning, having done the pre-prep days before. I use the small glass containers with no-leak snap lids to minimize contact with plastic.
It might sound boring. But every day I eat:
1 large whole avocado (bring knife and spoon, cut in half and scoop it out...it will raise neolithic eyebrows). 1 small handful each of: pecans, almonds, and walnuts. Mix with pieces of dark chocolate and a few raisins or other dried fruit. 1 apple (for pectin more than anything else)
green peppers, carrots, broccoli, and/or other veggies.
Not a lot of fat, but I get plenty of that for breakfast and dinner. And if I'm too busy to pack lunch I skip it.
I second Aaron on Tupperware being essential.
My situation is kind of amusing (to me). I work in a restaurant as a pastry chef, where each day "family meal" is provided for us. For those who aren't familiar, this is where someone gets elected each day (usually in advance) to take leftover ingredients and make some sort of meal for the staff. The purpose is twofold: to make sure staff members aren't starving during the evening service (and therefore taking food they shouldn't), and to keep staff from leaving the restaurant to go buy food elsewhere. The presumption is that staff wouldn't bring their own lunch to a restaurant, of all places.
The problem with family meal is that it's usually fried or covered in sauce. More often than not, it's chunks of leftover fish (which is quite good fish in terms of quality) and white rice. Hooray. Once I started the PD in January, I completely abstained from it.
What do I bring? Usually a large salad with some sort of protein (primarily chicken) added to it. I'm also big on cooking a lot of something (roasted veggies, grilled chicken, ground turkey) on a day off and then portioning it out into Tupperware so I can take it to work. This is ESSENTIAL. Luckily I just drink water, so I have no need to bring it in at all (I keep a Nalgene bottle at work).
Bottom line, I find the trick is to plan ahead and allocate an hour of a day, once or twice a week, for cooking/prepping lunches in advance. You will save a lot of money in the process (versus last-minute "that day" runs to the store to grab something Paleo-friendly) and it also means you don't have to think about what you'll have...there's already options in the fridge.
We mostly do leftovers for lunch, but one thing that is particularly handy is that my husbands roasts a chicken each week. We pick it and use the meat in egg muffins as described above and for quick lunches (alone or in salads). Then we make a broth from the carcass and make a soup or stew that we also keep on hand for quick meals on busy nights/lunch to take to work. I suppose you could do more or less the same thing with a roast.