on-the-go meal options
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Autoimmune Protocol | On-The-Go Meal

How do the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and sack lunches get along? I have two young kids, so I am regularly packing lunches for us whether going to the zoo, seeing daddy at work, or just a having play-date at the playground. It can be tricky to think of what to pack for an on-the-go meal when your diet is all fresh food. My go-to for an on-the-go, AIP-approved lunch is what my kids call a “snack-y” lunch. Kid translation: a lunch comprised of all finger foods. One of our favorite combinations is on the Mediterranean side: Kalamata olives, salami, pickles, dates, fresh fruit, and a crunchy side.

On-the-go meals have three parts for us which usually means three separate containers. There’s the main meat and vegetables which go in one container for each person. A sliced fresh fruit in its own container, enough for all who are eating. The last part is a crunchy, salty snack which I also pack in one container with enough for the whole family to eat.

Main Meat and Vegetable

Ease of serving and eating an on-the-go lunch is top priority for me. I take the time to make individual containers for myself and each kid so that serving lunch is just a matter of taking the lid off and handing it to the child.

on-the-go meal meat veggie

Fresh Fruit

The only exception is our fresh fruit. Since fresh fruit is likely to be juicy, I usually slice it up and put it in a separate dish. As you may know, I am one of THOSE parents, so this serves two purposes:

  1. The juices of the fruit not to mix or taint the meat/pickled vegetables and vice versa.
  2. It allows my kids to finish their meat and vegetables BEFORE they get fruit.

I know. I know. What a mean mom, right? Fruit is filled with sugar, and who wouldn’t rather eat sweet fruit than vegetables and meat? I know my kids’ tendencies, so I have them finish the rest of the meal before having fruit.

on-the-go meal fruit

Crunchy, Salty Side

The last part to this lunch is crackers or chicharrones, as diet allows. I have not removed nuts from my kid’s diet, so they have a small handful of almond crackers with their “snacky lunch.” Sometimes they pile the meat on the cracker, but mostly they eat them plain. Chicharrones, or pork rinds, are my snack/treat. They are zero carb as they are only pig skin fried in lard and sprinkled with salt. It is the only snack food I know of that will not raise my blood sugar.

**Note: I only eat the plain chicharrones that are only pig skin and salt. The flavored chicharrones have gluten in the seasoning.**

I love chicharrones far too much. 🙂 Brutal honesty here, I can down an entire bag in one sitting, no problem. According to the nutrition facts, I am consuming 7 servings and 560 calories when I do that. Ha!

Want your mind blown? Calories don’t matter if you are eating the right food. 560 calories in fat will not make you fat at all. Fat is fuel to your body, brain, cells, everything. Eat more fat!

on-the-go meal crunchy

So there you have my favorite on-the-go meal that still sticks to the Autoimmune Protocol, fills me up, and fuels me for the rest of the day. It’s a simple as filling a container with salami, pickles, olives, and dates. Serve it with a side of freshly sliced fruit and maybe a crunchy snack like chicharrones. It’s the perfect lunch!


What is your go-to meal when you need to eat away from home? Any other “snacky” lunch combinations you enjoy?

finger food lunch

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Cinnamon Apples | Paleo, AIP Recipe

As my diet is currently limited under the Autoimmune Protocol, so sweets are few and far between. I originally made Cinnamon Apples as a breakfast side back when I ate a Paleo diet, but I’ve found it to be so much more versatile than just a breakfast item. It even passes for a dessert in my book. The natural sweetness of the apples is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth!

How to Make Cinnamon Apples

Apples are one of my favorite fruits. I eat them just about every lunch. With a little extra effort, you can jazz up ordinary apples by just tossing them in cinnamon and cooking on the stove-top with a little water. These apples have no sugar added and make a great topping or stand-alone side dish!

No Sugar Added

There is no added sugar in this recipe for several reasons:

  1. I am a Type 1 Diabetic so I try not to add carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar, if I can help it.
  2. Sugar does bad things to your brain. Everyone’s brain, whether or not you have an autoimmune disease or are as fit as a fiddle. In recipes like this, I try to rely on the natural sugar in the fruit without supplementing.
  3. Refined sugar is prohibited in the Autoimmune Protocol.
  4. It is just plain delicious without more sugar!

Cinnamon Apples Raw

Toppings are Everything

Do you want to take a meal up a notch? Go through the extra effort to add toppings. If you’ve made potato soup, fry up bacon and chop some green onions. It takes the soup from good to great. If you’ve made pudding for dessert, toast some coconut and throw some fresh berries on top. It’s really the extras that take an ordinary meal to the next level.

Cinnamon apples are very versatile as a topping. For breakfast, put them on oatmeal, grain-free porridge (from flax seed or spaghetti squash), or sausage patties. For lunch, toss the cinnamon apples on top a salad, yogurt, or cottage cheese (if dairy is in your diet). For dinner, apples and pork go together swimmingly. Top grilled pork chops with a scoop of cinnamon apples or even mix into pulled pork.

Cinnamon Apples with Pork

Simple Sides Improve the Meal

Making more dishes is more work, but a couple simple sides really help to balance out the meal, making it more satisfying. These cinnamon apples only take 25 minutes from start to finish and can cook on the stove while you work on the rest of the meal.

Some meal suggestions:

  1. At breakfast, serve cinnamon apples alongside breakfast sausage patties and sliced avocado.
  2. For a kid-friendly lunch, serve cinnamon apples in place of applesauce or apple slices. A helping of these next to Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups would be delicious!
  3. Cinnamon apples could be a side for dinner with any pork main dish, meatloaf, or hamburgers.
  4. Dessert – serve cinnamon apples topped with coconut whipped cream or toss the apples on top of pudding or ice cream!

Cooked AIP Cinnamon Apples

Recipe Notes

My favorite apples are pink lady, so that is what I used in this recipe. Pink lady apples are crisp and sweet with a slight tartness. It isn’t necessary to only this variety, use whatever type of apple you enjoy most!

Make sure to watch the apples as they cook. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, it needs more water or less heat. Add only a little more water at a time, about 1 tablespoon, or turn down the heat to low. Then continue cooking.

Enjoy this simple, tasty addition to your recipe box!

What super simple recipes are you enjoying lately? Have any recipes with less than 5 ingredients to share?

Cinnamon Apples

The perfect side dish or topping to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Cinnamon apples are Paleo, AIP, Dairy-free, and Grain-free. Enjoy them today!

Course Dessert, Side Dish, Topping
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 74 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Pink Lady Apples Peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Slice fairly thin, about 1/8th of an inch thick. Thicker is ok too as long as it is consistent. All the slices should be the same thickness.

  2. Place apples, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan. Stir to cover apples with cinnamon.

  3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Cook time will depend on thickness of the apples. Continue to cook until very soft and flexible.

  4. Serve hot as a side dish or topping. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe contains 16 net carbs (19g carbohydrates and 3g fiber).

Cinnamon Apples

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Almond Date Bars | AKA Homemade Larabars

Hello and welcome to Flawed yet Functional!

I am a Type 1 Diabetic who has found healing of my gut and thereby insulin-free management of my diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes (The pancreas is dead or dying.) but not for me! How have I managed to not be on insulin? I follow a gluten-free, high vegetable, and dairy-free diet, a.k.a. Paleo! You will find inspiration to be your healthiest self here at Flawed yet Functional, diabetic or not. So glad you stopped by!


Let’s talk about snacks today. Snacks are so important when you have kids. All you parents out there can attest to this, I’m sure. I don’t leave the house without a snack packed, if we are going to be gone more than an hour. Grocery shopping, hardware store, or even just a long drive to a friend’s house, snacks are always on hand.

One of our favorite is Almond Date Bars or more commonly, homemade Larabars (or “laraballs” according to an ever-so-precise 2 or 4 year old). These tasty treats are full of raw nuts and dates. In fact, if you disregard the pinch of salt and splash of vanilla, they are only raw nuts and dates! A snack with a very short list of easily known ingredients? This is a snack I can get behind!

Other perks???

  • Quick to make
  • Kids can help make it
  • No hidden ingredients
  • Raw/whole ingredients
  • Hand held
  • Just sticky enough to hold together while little ones eat it
  • Perfect.

When I make Almond Date Bars, I blend them up in my Vitamix. Be careful if you are using a blender! These ingredients put a lot of stress on the motor. I start on low, letting the dates and almonds bounce around and get roughly chopped. When it all looks uniform but still large pieces, I turn up the power 1 or 2 notches until pieces are smaller but still bouncing. Lastly, I turn the power up 1 or 2 more notches and use the damper to push the mixture down to the blade. When a paste starts to form, I quickly stop. It should look blended, sticky, and with chunks the size of the almond pieces in the pictures above.

If you smell the motor start to smoke, STOP. You can, in fact, burn out a motor on a Vitamix. Ask me how I know…not with this recipe in particular, but we’ve put our Vitamix through the ringer these last 8 or 9 years. We love it, but we are on our 3rd motor…good thing the warranty is for 10 years!

If you don’t have a Vitamix, you can also pulse these in a food processor. I haven’t made them using this appliance, so I can’t explain how it works, but follow the same guidelines, pulse carefully until mixture turns sticky and almonds are chopped small. Be careful not to overwork the motor.

There may be some or quite a bit of loose almond bits. Don’t worry about those! Pour the mixture, loose nuts and all onto a clean surface. Kneed the “dough” to incorporate all the loose nuts and make a uniform, sticky ball.

Roll out and cut into bars or grab a small piece and roll into a ball. This step is perfect for little helpers. My kids love rolling these into balls (and snacking on one or two while they are at it!).

There are recipes a plenty for Date Bars, aka mock Larabars, but this almond combination is our favorite. Check out this post for more flavor combinations!

Enjoy!

Almond Date Bars

Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, kid-friendly homemade Larabars. Simple to blend up. No cooking involved!

Course Snack
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Kid-friendly, Paleo
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 160 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup whole, pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 pinches sea salt

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender. Turn on low until almonds are roughly chopped. Turn up blender slowly, damping the dates and almonds down. Work quickly, this will be heavy on the motor. Turn off as soon as almonds are chopped small and forms sticky lumps.

  2. **Can be made in a food processor too. Pulse to chop and combine ingredients until it forms sticky lumps.**

  3. Pour out onto a mat and kneed together, incorporating any loose almonds.

  4. Roll into individual balls or roll out in rectangle and cut into bars. 

homemade almond larabar

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Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups

Welcome to Flawed yet Function! I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my blood sugar through a Paleo diet and a healthy lifestyle. I love to cook, which is a good since Paleo requires a lot of cooking! I share my own Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) recipes on the blog, but you can find so many more ideas on my Pinterest boards. Follow me there to see what I might be cooking next! 


As a kid, I hated peanut butter. Absolutely hated it. So much so, my mom actually allowed me to forgo it whenever we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is saying something, my mom was an eat-what’s-put-in-front-of-you kind of mom (as I am…weird…). I did not like the texture:  so sticky! The feeling of my tongue getting stuck to the roof of my mouth, not being able to get it off my teeth. Ugh! I did not like the flavor either: nuts were not my thing.

And then, I grew up. Ha. I learned to love peanut butter after I graduated from college. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch was like dessert for the main course. Yum!

Funny story: my husband lived on PB&J while he saved for my engagement ring, so needless to say he wasn’t fond of this sandwich when we got married. I fell in love with this kid-friendly favorite right when he couldn’t stand it. I learned quickly as a new wife to not send PB&J in his lunch. Ha!

Pre-diabetes diagnosis, my kids and I would eat peanut butter and jelly on the regular for lunch. I thought I was giving my kids a healthy meal of whole grains from our homemade bread and protein from the peanut butter. I knew the jelly wasn’t healthy, but I figured that it was a small enough amount to not be TOO harmful. Right?

Fast-forward through the type 1 diabetes diagnosis, elimination of gluten, introduction of many veggies, and our lunches turn out to be primarily leftovers from dinner. Really, this isn’t a problem. My kids eat leftovers just fine. But every now and then, I want to give them a treat. I want them to know the sticky, sweet goodness of peanut butter and jelly.

In order to indulge in this treat, I had to make several adjustments:

  1. Almond butter instead of peanut butter (peanuts are inflammatory)
  2. Homemade jelly instead of store bought (cut down on unknown ingredients)
  3. A Paleo, grain-free, dairy-free wrap to hold the goodness together.

Almond butter is now a staple in our home. I buy ours from Costco. I make strawberry freezer jam every June from strawberries we pick down the road. The wraps were the only tricky part. I found this recipe for soft tortilla shells, and after we ate them with chicken tacos, I thought they could be so much more versatile than just a tortilla. The flavor is mostly egg and quite mild egg flavor at that. I adjusted the ratios to make the wrap a little thicker to hold up to the almond butter and jelly, see my version below.

With a few leftover wraps from chicken tacos the night before, I decided to give them a whirl as a holder for almond butter and jelly. It looked like it might be a sticky mess so I rolled it up.

kid-friendly lunch paleo pb&j

As with all new foods, presentation is everything. I enthusiastically presented them to my kids as Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups, and they were a hit! They loved picking up the roll and taking bits from the end or cutting it up into bite-size rolls.

paleo kid lunch

I serve our lunches with fresh fruit and veggies to add nutrition to an otherwise fairly nutrition-less main course. Again, this is not a staple in our house anymore, just a treat which the kids and I love (Hubby is still on the fence!).

Note: When starting from a fresh batch of wraps, I let them sit on a plate or cutting board to cool a bit until just warm before topping with almond butter and jelly. If the wrap is too warm, the almond butter and jelly melts. The wrap is still pliable when cold, but a touch warm is much easier to roll.


Any one else used to hate peanut butter (or any nut butter!) as a kid? Am I alone in this aversion? So funny that now I can’t get enough of it. I love any type of nut butter. Yum!

Paleo Wrap

Grain-free, dairy-free, and kid-friendly wrap good for many uses: tortilla shell, wrap for sandwiches, or low-carb pancakes!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 104 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Whisk eggs in large mixing bowl.

  2. Add coconut flour, almond milk, and salt. Whisk to completely mix. Batter will be thin.

  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

  4. When pan is hot, pour ~1/4 cup amounts of batter to middle of the skillet. Use the back of the measuring cup to spread batter out into thin circle.

  5. Cook until light brown on one side, flip and cook on other side. Total cook time is short, less than 1 minute.

Recipe Notes

*Cook one at a time to avoid wraps running into each other.

*Store in airtight container in fridge.

kid friendly pb&j