Preparing and bringing meals to work can feel awkward when you’re accustomed to running out and grabbing a meal on break. This habit can really start to put a dent in your wallet and your health when choices are limited to cheap fast food or fresh but expensive, made-for-you meals.
Try balancing the scale a bit and prepping a couple meals for lunch each week.
If you’re stuck on what to make, here are 25 ideas of healthy lunches you can bring to work without breaking the bank or sucking too much time from your routine.
1. Sweet Potato Hummus
Hummus is a nutritious dip or spread that can go with just about anything! Making your own gives you the know over exactly what’s in your meal.
Pack a small dish with your homemade dip, fresh carrots, celery, and grapes, with whole grain chips, pitas, or sliced bread for a cafe-style lunch box.
2. Chicken, Rice & Veggies
It sounds all too easy, but why pay for a rice bowl when you can make one fresh from home? Simply cook your rice and steam your favorite vegetables ahead of time.
Add chicken, steak, or grilled tofu on top. Sprinkle with parsley, cumin, or curry according to your palate.
3. Slow Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Stew
Curry is a profound spice with a multitude of health benefits. With this stew, you give your digestive system a bit of a break from heavy meats and meals.
It’s a great option if you’re trying to stick to a cleanse or reset before Fall arrives. This recipe makes it easy on you to prep and let the crockpot do the rest!
4. Spicy Tuna Sandwiches
Only a few ingredients are needed to complete this quick mix in under 15 minutes.
Tuna is a good source for protein and essential fatty acids. This recipe kicks it up a notch with protein powered beans and a little heat.
All that’s left is to choose your favorite bread or hoagie, (whole grain is recommended). Top with fresh tomato, avocado, and even bacon to take this everyday sandwich over the top.
5. Steak Fajita Salad
Fajitas are fun to eat and simple to cook. Using fresh produce for your meal utilizes the powerful effects they have when freshly ripened.
Onions are strong detoxifiers and bell peppers are hydrating and provide vitamins unique to their colors. Steak is a great source for protein, but try to go grass-fed if you can!
The same dish can be made with alternative proteins, and even salmon or shrimp if you’re craving seafood.
6. Turkey and Mashed Potato Casserole
This nontraditional casserole is great for when the weather starts to cool down.
Potatoes catch a bad carb reputation, however if you’re really busting your tail during the week, extra carbs will support your efforts, not kill them.
For variety, mix in seasonal veggies before you bake it. Then, you can enjoy leftovers or bring it to share with your coworkers!
7. Tofu Lettuce Wraps
This easy lunch barely requires any cooking and serves your body with lightweight nutrients to keep you running through the rest of your day.
You can also swap the tofu for grilled chicken, or add lightly diced and grilled veggies to mix up your leftovers for the following day.
8. Thanksgiving Waffles
This dish will be sure to satisfy a few up and coming cravings as we welcome Fall season and holidays.
Turkey naturally boosts your body’s happy chemical- serotonin, and cranberries are a powerfully cleansing fruit packed with vitamin C. I’d recommend making your own waffle mix with gluten-free flour, like coconut or almond flour. All around, this may be one of the best recipe ideas ever.
9. Southwest Chicken Wrap
Wraps are perfect options for a busy day. They are easy to make, store, and eat on the go while providing you with enough fuel to conquer your schedule.
For really fresh flavor, I’d hit the farmer’s market to buy your corn and peppers. But if needed, frozen veggies work just fine!
You can grab a cooked rotisserie chicken to make it even easier on yourself, too! Vegans may enjoy the same dish with a creamy garlic and almond cream dressing and alternative cheese.
10. Lemon Chicken & Asparagus Stir-Fry
With only a couple of ingredients, this dish is fairly quick to make. Lemon juice helps to preserve foods and keep them fresh longer.
You can change out and mix up your rice for couscous, quinoa, or noodles.
11. Apple, Almond Butter, & Granola Sandwiches
If you ever find yourself craving sweets at lunch time, these sandwiches may be your new best friend.
Apples are energizing and contain cleansing properties to boost your metabolism, while almond butter is a rich source for healthy fats. Pairing these with whole grain granola provides a balanced and inexpensive meal for your lunch hour.
12. Veggie & Hummus Sandwich
Hummus spreads have caught a lot of hype, and for good reason! It’s a delicious way to get in protein and fiber, as well as minerals that support your nervous system.
If you’re not a fan of sprouts, try using fresh bell peppers or sliced cucumbers for a refreshing pop.
13. Taco Salad in a Jar
Made with ground turkey rather than beef, this recipe is much lighter on your stomach and easy to pack the night before.
You can also add fresh salsa with mango and parsley, baby Kale instead of romaine lettuce for a superfood boost, and alternative cheese for an allergen friendly choice.
14. Apricot & Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich
Chicken salad is an easy go-to when you’re short on time or want to prep for the week.
Apricots pack a serious punch when it comes to digestive and circulatory health. They are especially great for women’s reproductive health.
Almonds help to burn excess fats and rebuild muscles mass, making them a perfect blend of nutrients as well.
For a vegan option, use grilled tofu instead of chicken.
15. Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp are a light source of protein and are easy to prepare for this slow-cooker idea.
You can change out a few ingredients to make it dairy-free, using nut-milk alternatives for the butter and creams.
You can also add hearty veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes instead of grits for a rich source of healthy carbs to keep you full and focused.
16. Sesame-Ginger Noodles
Another light dish with multiple choices to mix and match ingredients to your liking.
You could use veggie noodles for extra nutritional boost and top with various seeds, almonds, avocado.
Add lightly grilled chicken, tofu, or steak on top for satisfying protein and you’re good to go!
17. Sun-Dried-Tomato & Pasta Salad
Tomatoes are an excellent source for vitamin C. Pair them with a delicious pasta, whether its whole grain, brown rice pasta, or even zucchini noodles, and you’ve got a meal that will help you stay lean without missing a beat.
18. Wheat Berry & Citrus Salad
This lunch recipe can go just about anywhere with you. It doesn’t require much to make and can be cooked in larger batches so you can get the most from your leftovers.
A dairy-free version can be made without the Feta cheese, or by swapping for a vegan alternative.
19. Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl
Sweet potatoes are great sources for carbs because they are rich in vitamins and minerals that support your digestive system and a healthy metabolism.
Broccoli provides rich green nutrients and helps to cleanse your body and support your immune system.
Combining the two creates a delicious, guilt-free lunch that works to keep you operating at your best and brightest!
20. Chickpea, Cherry Tomato & Feta Salad
Chickpea contains muscle-building amino acids, protein, and healthy fats that also support weight goals and mental performance.
To make this dish totally vegan or vegetarian, simply nix the feta and go with a vegan cheese for the creamy effect.
21. One-Pot Pesto & Pea Pasta
If you’ve only got one pot to spare, it’s all you need to cook this dish in under 30 minutes.
You can purchase pesto from the store or try your hand at homemade. Making your own pesto with freshly picked Basil leaves is a wonderful way to connect with your food.
Still feel like it needs a little something more? Add cherry tomatoes, olives, and chicken for an even more fulfilling meal.
For gluten-free options, you can also try the same recipe with brown rice pasta or veggie noodles.
22. Macaroni Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Mix up your traditional pasta salad with homemade avocado spread!
You can definitely stretch this as a side for a few lunches, pairing each with a different protein like a garlic-lemon chicken or top it off with baked salmon!
23. No-Bake Oat, Peanut Butter, & Granola Bars
If you know your day is going to be non-stop, these easy granola bars may be your saving grace! You only need to mix together 4 ingredients and chill the bars to firm.
Delicious, healthy, and easy for any day of the week. And the kids love them, too!
24. Cucumber-Lox Toast
Here’s another quick fix made with only five ingredients! This recipe gives you about 12 grams of protein, plus the health benefits found in yogurt like natural probiotics.
If you choose whole grain bread, the whole meal with remain very low in fat and boost your energy for the second half of your day.
If you only want to bring one or two slices, it would pair well with a side of fresh berries, sliced apples, or banana chips.
25. Blueberry-Orange Parfait
Parfaits don’t have to be just breakfast or dessert, they can make filling lunches. This one is made with fresh and energizing fruit.
You can add almonds, granola, and even more fruit for a larger portion.
With these 25 healthy lunch recipes, you can spice up your lunch break without breaking the bank. From now on, you can get the most from your lunch break with fresh and healthy lunches!
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