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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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                                  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 March 13, 2019

                                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                        1. Work on the small tasks.

                                        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                        2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                        3. Upgrade yourself

                                        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                        4. Talk to a friend.

                                        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                        7. Read a book (or blog).

                                        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                        8. Have a quick nap.

                                        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                        9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                        10. Find some competition.

                                        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                        11. Go exercise.

                                        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                        12. Take a good break.

                                        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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