Paleo Lunch

How long does it take you to make your lunch? Five minutes to throw together a sandwich? Three minutes to microwave last night’s dinner? Or maybe a whopping 15 minutes to drive down the street and order something?

The truth is that modern technology makes it easy to eat on the run. But what if we lived 50,000 years ago and had to make our food using Paleo tools?

We already asked this question about breakfast, so now it’s time to tackle lunch – using a hamburger. Hungry to see what we found? Keep reading.

Paleo Lunch Prep: Now vs. Then

How much longer would it take to prepare a hamburger in Paleo times than it does today?

These days, making a hamburger only takes about 15 minutes – heating up leftovers for lunch takes even less time.

Back in the Paleolithic era, however – after slaughtering a bison, harvesting and grinding wheat, and drying and crushing mustard seeds – that same hamburger would take about 15 days to make.

Of course, as we’ve said before, convenience doesn’t always equal health. A Paleolithic burger would have taken over two weeks to make, true, but it also would have been antibiotic-free and without the “catastrophic threat” of superbugs.

A Step-by-Step Breakdown of Paleo Lunch Prep

It takes roughly six steps to assemble a juicy hamburger oozing with ketchup, mustard, and all your favorite toppings. With Paleo tools, though, that same juicy burger would take 19 steps – and would not yield quite the same experience due to its coarse, wild mustard, the texture of the bison meat, and the primitively handmade bread.

The longest and least predictable step of the bunch? Finding and killing a bison for the hamburger meat. Luckily, if we want a hamburger today, most of us don’t have to hunt and kill a cow.

The Time We Spend Eating

Despite the rise in popularity of cooking reality shows and celebrity chefs, research shows that Americans cook less and eat faster than ever before.

Americans spend an average of 64 minutes engaged in “primary eating” (only eating, without doing something else at the same time). Sixteen minutes are spent “secondary eating” (eating while doing something else) – a huge change from even one century ago (never mind 50,000 years).

According to the latest USDA report, the main places people engage in both primary and secondary eating are at home and at work. A large percentage of our secondary eating also takes place in front of the TV. It’s the most common thing women report doing while they eat and the second-most-common thing men report doing.

The Popularity of the Hamburger

Of course, we can’t talk about hamburgers without talking about how much America loves them. We love them to the tune of 50 billion hamburgers a year. That equals three burgers per person per week – and 60 percent of all the sandwiches sold in the U.S.

Despite America’s 50-billion burger love affair, Australians still outrank the U.S. for overall meat consumption. Americans actually rank No. 5 on the list of top beef-consuming nations in the world.

Where Modern Tools Meet Healthy Eating

Modern tools definitely make it quick and easy to prepare a hot lunch. Thousands of years ago, a quick-and-easy burger wasn’t possible because so much time had to be devoted to finding, preparing, and eating it.

Still, there’s something to be learned from the Paleolithic era. Slow-cooked food is often healthier. On top of that, organic food isn’t just good for you – it also tastes better.

At Kettle & Fire, we’re pretty big on healthy, organic food that is made slowly and savored. That’s why, while we’re grateful for modern conveniences, we still slow-simmer our bone broth for 24 hours to extract all of the protein and make sure that what we eat is still close to nature.

If you’re intrigued by these comparisons, stay tuned for a comparison of modern versus Paleo dinner – coming soon!


The descriptions and times listed for each step are estimates based on a collective analysis of a variety of reputable sources; however, these videos and infographics are for entertainment only.

Infographic & Video Sources

Textual Sources

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