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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 May 21, 2019

                                        13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

                                        13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

                                        Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

                                        Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

                                        Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

                                        1. Stress Eating

                                        I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

                                        While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

                                        I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

                                        If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

                                        How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

                                        2. Nail Biting

                                        Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

                                        People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

                                        Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

                                        For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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                                        3. Hanging out with Naysayers

                                        We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

                                        Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

                                        Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

                                        4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

                                        Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

                                        While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

                                        Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

                                        Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

                                        5. Smoking

                                        Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

                                        In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

                                        Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

                                        Smoking risks

                                          6. Excessive Drinking

                                          All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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                                          According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

                                          • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
                                          • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
                                          • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
                                          • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
                                          • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

                                          If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

                                          If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

                                          7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

                                          Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

                                          If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

                                          A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

                                          “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

                                          And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

                                          While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

                                          Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

                                          Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

                                          8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

                                          There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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                                          In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

                                          Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

                                          Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

                                          9. Watching Too Much TV

                                          I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

                                          Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

                                          Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

                                          It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

                                          10. Being Late

                                          Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

                                          Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

                                          Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

                                          11. Being in Bad Relationships

                                          Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

                                          I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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                                          Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

                                          12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

                                          Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

                                          Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

                                          Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

                                          By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

                                          Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

                                          13. Focusing on the Negatives

                                          In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

                                          Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

                                          Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

                                          And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

                                          Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

                                          Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                          Reference

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