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20 Sandwich-Free And Healthy Lunch Ideas That Everyone Would Love

20 Sandwich-Free And Healthy Lunch Ideas That Everyone Would Love

Are you bored of eating sandwiches for lunch? Running out of ideas to make lunch healthy, delicious, and interesting? Trying to reduce simple carbs in your diet? Whatever your reasoning or motivation, here are some convenient packed-lunch recipes to make you look forward to lunch time at work or school and keep your energy up all afternoon. There is so much to choose from – soups, salads, one-pot meals, wraps, noodles or pasta dishes, and more.

1. Egyptian Tomato Soup

egyptian tomato soup

    Homemade soups work well for lunch at work. You can use flavorful, ripe tomatoes when they are in season or make it with canned tomatoes when it’s cold outside — a perfect reminder of summer sunshine and blue skies! You could add some orzo if you are looking for a more filling meal.

     2. Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    rsz_chicken-lettuce-wraps-main

      One of the worst things about carrying a sandwich for lunch at work is that they tend to be either too dry or too soggy.

      Here is a happy alternative in taste and texture — and it’s healthy, too. Lettuce leaves as a wraps work superbly to add crunch. You can use them in place of buns to wrap burgers, too.

      3. Couscous with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Capers

      couscous

        Inspired by pizza toppings, this vegetarian, flavor-packed couscous recipe makes for a lovely light lunch — and it’s great for lunchboxes. You could add some leftover chicken or lamb to make a more filling option.

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         4. Late Summer Lentil Salad

        lentil salad

          This is a delightful recipe that creates a bridge between the changing seasons. It combines the fresh flavors of summer with the warm, comforting aromas of the soon-approaching autumn. This contrast of a hearty lentil and grain pilaf as the base, with a refreshing fruity Greek salad as a topping, can be served chilled, too.

           5. Kale, Peach and Freekah Salad

          rsz_1rsz_kalepeachtempeh1

            I am not a big fan of kale, but this is a salad I love. It combines my favorite things to eat, namely fruits and nuts, with kale. It works beautifully to balance the bitterness of the kale and the different textures make each bite interesting. The dressing pairs really well to elevate the salad to another level. It’s a wonderfully versatile salad. You can substitute peaches for nectarines, plums, or even mango. Similarly, if you don’t have freekah, feel free to use whatever grains you have at home – quinoa, brown rice, pearl barley, or others you have available.

            6. Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Spicy Peanut Sauce

            viet rolls

              These are so refreshing and light and easy to eat, not to mention a breeze to put together. It’s merely a prep and assembly job with a very satisfying result. You can cut and prepare the filling and peanut sauce the previous night and make the rolls in the morning before dashing off to work. You’ll probably be thinking about lunch hour all morning and I won’t be surprised if they end up as an early snack before lunch! Kids will love these too, and it’s a great way to get them to eat more vegetables!

              7. Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Feta

              rsz_feta-cherry-and-quinoa-saladxxxlarge_2x

                This gorgeous salad makes the best of the summer’s bounty of cherries. The sweet juicy cherries go well with salty creamy feta. It’s great for picnics or brown bag lunches. You can substitute quinoa for orzo or couscous.

                8. Butter Bean & Tuna Salad

                tuna and butter bean

                  This healthy and delicious salad can be made with any beans you have lying in your cupboard – borlotti, cannellini, or a mix of all. I prefer to use tuna in spring water for a lighter version and then I can add in olive oil in the dressing as per preference.

                  9. Skinny Shrimp Stirfry

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                  Quick-Shrimp-and-Vegetable-Stir-Fry_RESIZED-5

                    It has only 195 calories per serving, which includes 16 grams of protein! It’s quick to cook and delectable. It’s perfect for a packed lunch and will be a hit with the kids!

                    10. Moroccan Chicken Salad

                    This appetizing salad uses fiery Harissa to add spice and zest to leftover chicken. The artichokes and ciabatta help bulk up the salad and keep you full longer, helping to reduce the extra calories from snacking too often.

                    11. Zucchini (Courgette) Pad Thai Noodles “Zoodles”

                    rsz_zucchini-pasta-noodle-recipes-10

                      One word – Yummy! Zoodles are a fabulous way to lighten up noodle and spaghetti dishes. They taste amazing and the spices and herbs really makes for a delicious lunch. You could make them the previous day and substitute the prawns for the protein of your choice. If you don’t have a spirulizer, you could use a mandolin or make shavings of zucchini like broad flat noodles using a veg peeler.

                      12. Buddha Bowl

                      rsz_buddhabowl1

                        Buddha bowls, Chirashi Bowls, and rice bowls all work on the same principle of adding layers of carbs, protein, and other toppings and dressings of your choice in a bowl.

                        A Buddha bowl is usually vegan and combines green leaves, starch, cooked and raw veggies, protein, dressing, herbs, and other toppings to add texture and flavor. Whether or not you are into clean eating or are doing a detox routine, or if you just love oriental flavors, you need to try one of these. It’s a wholesome DIY bowl alive with taste and goodness. You can customize it to your dietary preference, even adding meat or dairy protein, like in a Chirashi bowl, and still get the goodness of a healthy lunch bowl that covers your 5-or-more a day.

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                        13. Jam Jar Salad

                        Mediterranean-Quinoa-Salad-with-Summer-Vegetables1

                          Packed lunches often lose out on presentation because they are often hastily put together as you dash for work. However, the latest trend of carrying your lunch in a jam jar is a fun, cool way to eat salads with little effort on your end other than assembling it. This fun colorful rainbow salad not only looks appetising, but is very healthy and filling. Cook the quinoa the previous night to cut down on prep time. Layer it in a Mason jar to carry it to work and impress all your colleagues.

                          14. Thai Red Noodle Soup

                          Thai-Red-Curry-4

                            I love Thai red curry and I love noodle soups. This fabulous recipe combines both and is gluten free. It can easily be knocked out in just 20 minutes. Brown rice noodles are used in this healthier version, but you can substitute any kind that you prefer. You can make the Thai curry paste ahead of time or use one that comes from a packet. You can even try this recipe with Tom Yum paste instead of green curry.

                            15. Tortilla Rollups

                             
                            tortilla roll ups

                              These are great fun, very kid-friendly, lunch-box friendly, and incredibly versatile when it comes to fillings. Use a whole-wheat tortilla for a healthier option and spreads like hummus or avocado-based spreads. I like to add a lot of veggies to make it light, refreshing, and wholesome.

                              16. Mini Sweet Potato and Ricotta Frittatas

                              Mini sweet potato and ricotta frittatas

                                Frittatas are a great alternative to sandwiches and the kids will absolutely love them. This one is made lighter using ricotta instead of cheddar or parmesan and no cream. It’s packed with veg and the mini sizes are perfect for school lunchboxes.

                                17. DIY Salad

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                                rsz_salad_deliciouslly_ella

                                  One of the main things you can do in order to make packed lunches easier to put together in the morning is meal planning. An hour’s cooking on a weekend is all you need to keep your week moving smoothly. You can batch roast veggies, pre-cook grains like quinoa, make dressings like hummus in advance, and just assemble it all in the morning. Check the link for some great tips and lovely vegan recipes.

                                  18. Quick Fried Rice

                                  Brown-Fried-Rice-with-Chicken-and-Vegetables-The-Lemon-Bowl

                                    Fried rice is a popular, kid-friendly lunchbox recipe. Make it healthier by loading it with veggies and using brown rice for a wholesome version. I often use a mix of red, brown, and wild rice — my family adores it.

                                    19. Spicy Southwestern Tabbouleh

                                    tabbouleh

                                      You can prepare the bulgar wheat and salad dressing the previous night and keep it in the fridge. I often use stock instead of just plain water to cook the bulgar and add more flavor. In the morning, some light chopping and assembling and a no-stress delicious lunch is ready. Substitute the cheese for any protein of your choice.

                                      20. White Chicken Chili

                                      chicken-chili-DSC_5917-640x425

                                        A wholesome comforting bowl of chicken and bean chili makes for a lunch you’ll look forward to in the winter. The heat from the green chilies and spices with the mellow chicken broth are just what you need to brighten up a dull, wet, and windy day. Fortify yourself against colds and the flu with the goodness of this chicken soup. You can make a large batch and freeze half for another time.

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                                        Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                        Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                                        If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                                        1. Breathe

                                        The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                                        • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                                        • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                                        • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                                        Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                                        2. Loosen up

                                        After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                                        Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                                        3. Chew slowly

                                        Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                                        Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                                        Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                                        4. Let go

                                        Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                                        The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                                        It’s not. Promise.

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                                        Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                                        Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                                        21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                                        5. Enjoy the journey

                                        Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                                        Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                                        6. Look at the big picture

                                        The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                                        Will this matter to me…

                                        • Next week?
                                        • Next month?
                                        • Next year?
                                        • In 10 years?

                                        Hint: No, it won’t.

                                        I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                                        Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                                        7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                                        You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                                        Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                                        8. Practice patience every day

                                        Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                                        • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                                        • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                                        • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                                        Final thoughts

                                        Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                                        Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                                        Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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