When was the last time you made yourself a nice lunch for a work day? If you’re like most people, lunch is a bit of a scramble. That’s why we came up with 5 bento box lunch ideas for adults, so you can take a breather in the middle of the day with a meal that’s enjoyable and satisfying.

We hear it a lot here at Mark’s Daily Apple: Breakfast is easy, and I make dinner for my family so that’s automatic. But lunch? Most days, I just wing it. I’ll skip it sometimes just because my day is underway, or I’ll eat something that’s quick – which isn’t always the best choice.

Sound familiar?

We hear you. Making yourself a nice meal smack in the middle of the day just isn’t tenable for most people.

Prep for lunches doesn’t have to be an elaborate chore thanks to these adult lunch options. Perfect for on-the-go, these lunches utilize leftovers, basic ingredients, and quick-cooking items. When paired together, they create the perfect balanced Primal lunch.

The best part? Most of these options can be made ahead and enjoyed throughout the week.

Easy Italian Bento Lunch


  • Sausage of choice
  • Mozzarella
  • Roasted squash
  • Italian dressing
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Basil

Roast and slice your favorite sausage, using a little avocado oil spray (optional) to prevent sticking. Slice up roasted zucchini and summer squash (or your favorite veggies), toss them in Italian dressing and roast on a sheet pan until golden. Assemble your lunch with the sliced sausages, mozzarella, the roasted squash, sliced tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil.

Easy Burger Lunch


Whip up some burgers on the grill or stovetop (or better yet, use leftovers) for this lunch. Slice your favorite potato or sweet potato (or for a lower carb option, you can use rutabagas or turnips) and toss them in avocado oil. Roast them on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip them over and roast until they’re golden.

Make burgers by using the sweet potato slices as “buns” and top your burgers with sliced tomato and red onion. Use your favorite Primal Kitchen condiments like Pesto Mayo, Dijon Mustard, and Spicy Ketchup to put on top. Serve with your favorite raw veggies.

BIG Mason Jar Salads



  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Nuts or seeds of choice
  • Chicken breast or thighs
  • Dressing of choice

No tiny salads here! Use a 32oz or half gallon mason jar and fill with your favorite salad items. To prepare this salad, we marinated chicken (you can use breast or thigh) in your favorite dressing for a few hours. Roast the chicken on a sheet pan at 375 degrees until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Shred or chop the chicken, then layer it in your mason jars. For very large jars like this, we recommend pouring the salad into a large bowl before eating.

When you’re ready to eat, pour the dressing into the jar and give it a shake.

Deli Bento


Who needs a regular sandwich when you can make these fun Primal Deli Bento Boxes? Use your favorite sliced meat (we like natural roasted sliced turkey), avocado and nori sheets to wrap them up in. Avocado oil mayo and dijon mustard are great condiments here. Serve alongside a primal snack mix like walnuts and fresh blueberries.

Tuna Salad Lunch


Want a fun twist on tuna salad? Combine 1-2 cans of tuna with your favorite avocado oil mayo (and maybe some mustard, too), some chopped celery, and scoop the tuna into a cut bell pepper. Serve alongside hardboiled eggs and a handful of walnuts and dark chocolate.


The post 5 Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Adults with Recipes appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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When you think of a Cubano, or Cuban Sandwich, you probably think of some combination of flavorful pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on bread, grilled until the layers meld into a salty, tangy, warm pork and cool pickle flavor bomb. This Keto Cubano Sliders Recipe gives you the Cuban Sandwich experience you crave without messing up your carb count.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders are versatile, and if you make the pork and bread ahead, you can throw them together for any occasion. Virtual learning with the kiddos? Throw them together for a lunch that makes everyone happy. Having your quarantine pod squad over for a late summer get-together before the fall chill sets in? Cubano Sliders will be a hit with everyone. Weeknight dinner? Serve sliders along with your big-ass salad and call it good.

A few tips:

  • The sandwich bread linked in the recipe browns very nicely in a pan or on a griddle. When pressing the sandwich, use a heavy pot or pan and maintain pressure until it’s time to flip the sandwich over.
  • You can use pork tenderloin instead of the pork butt (shoulder) if you’d like, but will need to adjust cooking time since the cut is thinner and leaner than the shoulder.

Ready to get started?

Keto Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) Sliders Recipe (Gluten Free)

Serves: 8

Time in the kitchen: 2 hrs 2o min, including 2 hrs hands-off roasting time


For the Pork:

  • 2 lbs. boneless pork butt (shoulder roast)
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Juice from 1/2 orange
  • Zest from 1/2 lime and orange
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the Sandwich:


In a bowl, combine half of the oil, lime juice, orange juice, lime and orange zest, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, garlic powder and black pepper.

Pour it all over the pork butt and place it in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat with the remaining oil. Once hot, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it in the pot. Allow the meat to sear for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pour the marinade into the pot as well as the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cover the pot and place it in the oven for about 2 hours. At this point, flip the meat over and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until you can shred the pork. Shred the meat and place the pot back into the oven uncovered and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Allow the pork to roast for about 30 minutes, or until some of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is tender. Set the meat aside.

Prepare your Keto Bread in a loaf pan and bake according to the instructions. Slice your Keto sandwich bread into 16 slices (or for a thicker bread, cut into 12 slices). Take two slices for your first sandwich. Spread a little Primal Kitchen Dijon or Spicy Mustard on one side, and then top with the pickles, ham, and a little of the shredded cuban pork. Place the Swiss cheese on top of the pork and then top with the second slice of bread.

Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet. Swirl it around and once hot, carefully place the sandwich in the pan. Use another skillet or a pot to carefully press down on the sandwich. Maintain the pressure on the sandwich until the cheese melts slightly and the bread begins to brown slightly. Turn the sandwich over and repeat on the other side until both sides are golden. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Slice your sandwiches in half and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (makes 8 sandwiches):

Calories: 710
Total Fat: 59g
Total Carbs: 10g
Net Carbs: 7g
Protein: 38g


The post Keto Cubano (Cuban Sandwich) Sliders Recipe (Gluten Free) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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keto egg wraps recipeKeto egg wraps are a keto dieter’s best friend. You can fill them with your favorite taco or burrito fillings, or make a satisfying sandwich wrap without racking up tasteless carbs from a tortilla. Fill and roll to your heart’s content, just like you would any wrap.

Here, you’ll prepare the egg omelette for this collard wrap in a similar fashion to how we prepared the egg “tortilla” in the Keto Burrito. The collard greens add a nice crunch and help the wrap hold together a little better than egg alone.

How to Roll Like a Pro

When folding up your wrap, orient your piece of parchment like a diamond with a point facing you. Build the collard wrap in the center of the parchment and then place the toppings and fillings on top. Carefully fold the parchment point closest to you up and over the collards and fillings. Continue to roll and tuck in the sides of the wrap as you go.

Keto Egg Wrap with Collard Greens Recipe, 3 Ways

keto egg wraps recipe

Serves: 1

Time in the kitchen: 20 minutes


Egg Wrap Base:

Veggie Egg Wrap Option:

  • 1/2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup sliced shallots
  • ½ Tbsp. mayo of choice (we like Primal Kitchen® Pesto Mayo)

Spicy Egg Wrap Option:

Buffalo Egg Wrap Option:

  • 1 chicken sausage, cooked and sliced down the middle
  • 1 Tbsp. buffalo sauce


To make the eggs, spray your seasoned cast iron pan with avocado oil spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes to heat up.

In a bowl, combine 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of water with a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk together with a fork.

Once the pan is quite hot, place the hot pan on your stovetop and heat over medium-high heat. Swirl 1/2 tablespoon of avocado oil in it and then quickly add the egg mixture to the pan and spread it out if necessary with a rubber spatula. As the edges of the egg begin to set, tilt the pan slightly while pulling up the egg from the edges with a spatula. This will allow the raw egg in the middle to fill the spaces in the pan so it can set.

keto egg wraps recipe

Allow the egg to cook until it is almost set, continuing to periodically run the spatula under the edges of the egg. Using your spatula and hand, carefully flip the egg over and allow it to cook for another 15-30 seconds. Remove the omelette from the pan.

keto egg wraps recipe

For the veggie option, heat the avocado oil in the pan. Once hot, add the sliced shallots. Sauté for about 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are tender. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

keto egg wraps recipe

To assemble the wrap, cut a square of parchment paper and orient it in a diamond shape so that the point of the paper is facing towards you. Arrange 3 pieces of collard greens next to one another vertically, and then the other 3 pieces of collards next to one another horizontally across the first layer of leaves. Place the egg on top and then the toppings based on whatever option you choose above.

keto egg wraps recipe

keto egg wraps recipe

Carefully pull up the piece of parchment towards you and begin rolling up the collard and egg wrap, tucking the sides in as you go. When you finish wrapping, carefully slice the wrap in half. Gently pull back the parchment as you begin to eat the wrap and enjoy!


keto egg wraps recipe


keto egg wraps recipe


Nutrition Info (for 1 basic collard and egg wrap):

Calories: 343
Fat: 27g
Total Carbs: 6g
Net Carbs: 2g
Protein: 21g


The post Keto Egg Wrap with Collard Greens Recipe, 3 Ways appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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balsamic chicken recipeWhether you’re having friends over for dinner or you’re short on time on a weeknight, balsamic glazed chicken is a simple no-fuss meal that you can serve with virtually any side dish.

This recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes and will become your new go-to balsamic chicken recipe.

Quick tips:

  • Ideally, you’ll pound the chicken breasts so they’re around ?” thick. This will make sure they cook quickly but will keep them super moist and juicy once cooked.
  • Depending on the type of broth and coconut aminos you use, you may need to add a little additional salt at the end of cooking.
  • Lightly crush your garlic before slicing to release its fragrant compounds.

Let’s get started.

Garlic Balsamic Chicken Recipe

balsamic chicken recipeServes: 4

Time in the kitchen: 15 minutes


  • 1.5 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen Olive Oil
  • 5 clove sliced garlic
  • 3.5 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chicken broth
  • 1.5 Tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 2 Tbsp. basil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • More fresh basil


Pound the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment using a meat mallet until they are uniform in thickness. Season both sides of the breasts liberally with salt and pepper.

balsamic chicken recipe

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced garlic and stir until the garlic is fragrant. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and saute for 2 minutes on each side.

balsamic chicken recipeAdd the balsamic vinegar and coconut aminos. Bring the mixture to a boil, then flip over the chicken again and reduce the heat to a simmer.

balsamic chicken recipe


Add the broth and the tomatoes and give the pan a gentle shake. balsamic chicken recipeContinue cooking over medium heat over the stovetop, turning the chicken every minute or so to coat it in the balsamic mixture. Add a small amount of extra broth as needed.

balsamic chicken recipe

Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the tomatoes are soft. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!

balsamic chicken recipe

Nutrition Info (serves 4):

Calories: 446
Total Fat: 13g
Total Carbs: 6g
Net Carbs: 5.3g
Protein: 50g


The post Garlic Balsamic Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes Recipe appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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how to turn your grill into a smokerAs the summer heat peaks, you probably don’t want to stand over your grill. Luckily, you can turn your grill into a smoker, creating a largely hands-off cooking process.

The taste of smoked meat screams summer to me, especially after spending the last eight years in North Carolina. If you want to try your hand at smoking at home but don’t have a dedicated smoker, you can actually transform your propane grill into a makeshift smoker. The process is fairly simple, but smoking time can be lengthy if you’re smoking a large cut of meat. So, a full tank of propane and some time at home are necessary to make it happen.

In this post, we’ll walk you through transforming your gas grill into a smoker and use bone-in pork chops as our test recipe.

How to Turn Your Grill Into a Smoker, and a Smoked Pork Chops Recipe

Serves: 2-4, depending on size of your pork chops

Time in the kitchen: 55 minutes, including 40 minutes hands-off smoking time

how to turn your grill into a smoker


  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about 1” thick
  • drizzle of Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • optional: ¼-½ tsp. chipotle powder
  • 3 handfuls of applewood chips
  • optional: your favorite Primal Kitchen® BBQ Sauce

Things to Consider when Smoking Meat

What Type of Wood Chips are Best for Smoking Meat?

  • Fruit tree wood: pork or chicken
  • Bold woods (like hickory): large cuts of pork or beef
  • Mesquite: beef
  • Pecan: all-purpose

First decide the type of wood you want to use. Fruit tree woods like apple and cherry are great for pork or chicken. More bold types of wood like hickory work well with large cuts of pork or beef. Mesquite has a distinctive flavor and best for beef. For an all-purpose wood, go with pecan which tastes great with pork, chicken and beef.

Are Wood Chunks or Chips Best for Smoking Meat?

Wood chips are much smaller than chunks and therefore burn more quickly. If you’re smoking small cuts of meat like pork chops or chicken pieces, chips work nicely. If you’re going to smoke a large brisket or pork butt, use chunks instead. I recommend using about 3 handfuls of chips for every ~40 minutes you spend smoking.

how to turn your grill into a smoker

Should You Soak Wood Chips Before Smoking Meat?

Soaked wood chips take a bit longer to create nice smoke, but they will also continue smoking for a longer period of time. I recommend soaking here because it keeps the smoking environment moist and the meat is less likely to dry out. Soak wood chips for about 30 minutes.

how to turn your grill into a smoker

Do You Need a Smoker Box When Using Your Grill as a Smoker?

Some people buy a smoker box, or their grill comes with a smoker box, but mine does not. I kept costs down by draining the wood chips and placing them in the center of some heavy duty foil. Wrap up the wood chips in the foil and make a few holes in the foil with a knife. These holes will be where the fragrant smoke emanates from the package.

how to turn your grill into a smoker


Once you have your wood chips ready, prepare your meat. Some brine their meat, but I found that a nice dry rub works well for something like bone-in pork chops or skin-on chicken thighs. Drizzle the pork chops with avocado oil and then cover the chops in the spice rub.

how to turn your grill into a smoker

Turn your grill on and set all burners to high. Set your packet of soaked wood chips over the left or right-most burner on your grill. If your grill uses 4 heating sections, set it over 1 or 2 of the heating sections. If your grill has 3 heating zones, set the chips over the far left or far right zone.

Close your grill’s lid and let the grill heat up. It will take around 20-25 minutes for the wood chips to begin smoking. Once you see a steady amount of smoke coming from the wood packet, place your pork chops all the way to the left or right side of the grill (the side that’s opposite the wood packet). Turn off the two (or three) heat zones that aren’t heating the wood packet so that the only source of heat still on is the heating zone under the wood packet. Some say that you don’t want grill marks on smoked meat, but I can’t help but love the look of them, so I placed the chops on the right side of the grill when the grates were still a bit hot to get some marks.

Set a meat thermometer with a probe to the desired internal temperature (for pork chops, I like 145 degrees Fahrenheit) and place it through the side of the pork chop so the tip of the probe sits in the center of the chop.

how to turn your grill into a smokerCover the lid of the grill and let the smoking begin!

how to turn your grill into a smoker

Try to avoid opening up the grill while the smoking is taking place, although after 15-20 minutes, you can flip over the chops if you choose. Continue smoking until the internal temperature is reached.


Our chops were about 1” thick and took around 40 minutes to smoke. If you are using a thicker chop or larger cut of meat, consider having a second packet of soaked wood to place on the grill after 45-60 minutes once the first packet burns out.

how to turn your grill into a smoker

Slice into strips, and serve with your favorite Primal Kitchen® BBQ Sauce on the side. If you like sweet heat, the Mango Jalapeño BBQ Sauce will make you very happy.


Nutrition facts (per 1/4 recipe)

Calories: 130

Total fat: 4.5g

Total carbs: 3g

Net carbs: 3g

Protein: 18g


The post Turn Your Grill Into a Smoker, Plus a Smoked Pork Chops Recipe appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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tuna poke bowl recipeRaw fish, when done right, is one of the most delicious ways to get your protein. You may be more than willing to visit a sushi or poke restaurant, but the idea of making poke bowls at home can be intimidating. Once you try it once, you’ll realize it’s incredibly fast and easy. If you can get your hands on some high-quality tuna, you can make all of your salty, sweet, and tangy poke dreams come true.

What Is Poke?

Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish that’s made with fresh raw fish, usually tuna, marinated in a salty and sweet soy-based sauce. A typical poke bowl starts with a bed of rice, layered with artfully arranged marinated fish and your choice of toppings like avocado, radish, cucumber, sesame seeds, seaweed, scallions, cilantro … the possibilities are endless.

If you’re following a Primal lifestyle, you might hesitate to get behind the ingredients you find in most poke, like sugar-sweetened soy sauce marinades and the high-carb bed of rice. But you probably know by now that living Primally doesn’t mean you have to miss out.  With a few simple swaps, we created a poke bowl that won’t derail your progress.

If you can cut a sushi-grade tuna portion into cubes, you can make this tuna poke bowl recipe. Soon, you’ll get creative with toppings and make it your own.

Let’s get started.

Tuna Poke Bowl Recipe

Time in the kitchen: 2o minutes

Serves: 2

tuna poke bowl recipe


  • 10 oz. cubed yellowfin tuna
  • 1/4 cup Primal Kitchen® Sesame Ginger Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar or coconut vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. scallions
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 thinly sliced or chopped cucumber
  • 1 bunch thinly sliced radishes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot sliced into ribbons
  • 3 cups roasted cauliflower rice
  • 2 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Mayo (classic or vegan)
  • 1 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Buffalo Sauce (or sriracha to taste)
  • Additional sliced scallions and sesame seeds to garnish
  • Additional garnishes: avocado, seaweed wraps, chopped mango or pineapple


In a bowl, combine the Primal Kitchen Sesame Ginger Dressing, coconut aminos, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and salt.

tuna poke bowl recipeFold in the tuna along with the scallions and sesame seeds. Allow the tuna to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

tuna poke bowl recipe

Roast the cauliflower rice in a 375 F degree oven until browned. Slice the cucumbers and radishes and use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrot into ribbons.

Mix together the Primal Kitchen Mayo with either the Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce or a squeeze of Sriracha sauce until it reaches your desired spiciness.

tuna poke bowl recipe

Arrange a bowl with the tuna, raw veggies and cauliflower rice. Top with scallions and sesame seeds as well as a drizzle of the spicy mayo.

tuna poke bowl recipe


  • Always use sushi-grade fish if you are consuming fish raw. Sushi-grade tuna is handled appropriately to ensure raw quality.
  • If you aren’t a fan of tuna, you can use salmon. If raw fish isn’t your thing, these poke bowls are delicious with cooked shrimp or cooked fish.
  • Experiment with different toppings for your poke bowl. Add ingredients like sliced avocado, chopped fruit, pickled veggies.. Whatever sounds appealing probably is!
  • For a fun twist, layer the tuna and veggies in a nori seaweed wrap and eat it that way instead of in a bowl.

tuna poke bowl recipe

Nutrition Information (1/2 of recipe):

Calories: 500
Fat: 30g
Total Carbohydrates: 19g
Net Carbohydrates: 14g
Protein: 39g


The post Tuna Poke Bowl Recipe appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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If you want to eat right, you always need to be one step ahead of Taco Bell. Whether you’re flying, road-tripping, going to school, or just getting ready for work, packing your lunch is for winners.

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watermelon salad recipeWe can generally get our hands on a watermelon any time of year, but these are the months when they actually taste sweet and juicy. As soon as watermelons come into season, my Summer Watermelon Salad comes out of hiding. It’s a late summer treat that reminds us that even though we’re hearing the first whispers of school starting and pumpkin spice, it’s still summertime.

This watermelon salad is a sweet, crunchy, tangy accompaniment to any summer meal.

Tip: feel free to leave the feta cheese out if you are dairy-free, or replace it with goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.

Summer Watermelon Salad Recipe

Time in the kitchen: 5 minutes

Serves: 4

watermelon salad recipe


  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1 large tomato sliced into wedges
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 5 chopped radishes
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onion
  • 3 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Lemon Turmeric Dressing
  • salt and pepper


Chop the watermelon into ¾”-1” cubes. Slice the tomato into wedges and chop the cucumber and radishes.

watermelon salad recipeThinly slice the red onion and the basil.

watermelon salad recipe

Combine the watermelon, chopped basil, tomato, cucumber, radishes and red onion in a bowl. Pour in the Primal Kitchen Lemon Turmeric Dressing and fold it into the salad along with the feta.

watermelon salad recipeSeason with salt and pepper and garnish with more basil leaves.

watermelon salad recipe

Nutrition Information (¼ of recipe):

Calories: 146
Fat: 6g
Total Carbohydrates: 19g
Net Carbohydrates: 17g
Protein: 5g


The post Summer Watermelon Salad Recipe appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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