Healthy lunch ideas for work or school can be hard to come by. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of having the same sandwich or salad every day, but these 7 healthy lunch ideas will give you plenty of variety and the energy you need to get through the day! Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch to make at work or something you can make ahead and bring with you to school, these ideas will help you make the most out of your lunch break.
1) The benefits of packing a lunch
Packing your lunch can be an incredibly convenient and cost-effective way to ensure you’re eating healthy and getting the nutrition you need throughout the day. Bringing your lunch to work or school means that you can tailor your meal to your own needs, from the type of food you eat to the portion size. You also have more control over the ingredients used, making it easier to avoid unhealthy ingredients or allergens. Eating a homemade lunch can also help with portion control, as you’re able to choose exactly how much food you take and aren’t tempted by larger servings.
In addition to convenience, packing lunch also has many health benefits. You can choose healthier, lower-calorie options than what may be available at restaurants or cafeterias. Making your lunch allows you to get creative with your meals and use fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and other nutritious ingredients. Finally, when you bring your lunch, you have more time in the day for other activities because you don’t need to wait in line for lunch.
Read also: The Top 10 Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss
2) Quick and easy recipes
When it comes to lunchtime, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing your meal. Here are some quick and easy recipes that will have you ready to go in no time.
- Wrap up a veggie wrap with hummus, spinach, carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers for a quick and filling lunch.
- Pack a mason jar salad with your favorite leafy greens, beans, tomatoes, onions, nuts and seeds and drizzle it with a light vinaigrette.
- For a protein-packed lunch, combine tuna, avocado and hard-boiled eggs and serve over mixed greens or whole grain crackers.
- Make a quick quinoa bowl by combining cooked quinoa, diced vegetables, black beans and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Put together a deli-style sandwich with lean turkey, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes on whole-grain bread.
- For a delicious cold soup, puree cucumbers with Greek yogurt, garlic and herbs.
These easy recipes are perfect for those days when you don’t have much time to prepare lunch. They are healthy, filling and delicious, so you won’t feel deprived even when you’re on the go.
3) Meals that will last all day
If you need to make sure your lunch will get you through the day, some great meals will give you sustained energy. Start by packing a lunch that is high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. This combination will help to keep you feeling full and energized for hours. Some meal ideas include:
- Salads topped with grilled chicken or salmon
- Veggie wraps with hummus and avocado
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread
- Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts
- Quinoa bowls with grilled vegetables and feta cheese
- Egg muffins with spinach and peppers
- Lentil soup with a side of crackers or whole-grain toast
These meals are easy to prepare ahead of time and can be customized with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Packing a healthy lunch for work or school will ensure you have the energy to stay focused and productive all day long!
4) Foods that give you energy
When it comes to lunch, you want to make sure that you’re eating something that will provide you with the energy you need to get through the day. Here are some of the best foods that will give you energy:
- Oatmeal: Oats are packed with fiber and complex carbohydrates which make them an ideal food for sustained energy. Plus, they’re easy to make and delicious when topped with your favorite toppings like nuts, dried fruits or honey.
- Nuts: Packed with protein, healthy fats and fiber, nuts are a great snack to keep you going throughout the day. Try packing a handful of almonds or walnuts in your lunch for an energizing mid-day snack.
- Eggs: Rich in protein, eggs are a great source of energizing fuel. They’re also super easy to prepare and can be eaten in a variety of different ways from boiled to scrambled to poached.
- Fruits & Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that can help give you an energy boost. They’re also easy to prepare, require no cooking, and can be eaten as snacks or part of a balanced meal.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains are packed with fiber, healthy carbs, and essential vitamins and minerals. Examples of whole-grain foods include quinoa, brown rice, and bulgur wheat.
By incorporating some of these energizing foods into your lunch routine, you can be sure that you’ll have the energy you need to make it through the day.
5) Brain-boosting lunches
When you need to focus, you want to make sure you’re eating something that will give you the energy and brain power you need to tackle your tasks. Brain-boosting lunches should include foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, healthy carbs, and proteins.
Some great options include a salmon salad wrap with spinach, tomatoes, and red peppers. The Omega-3s in the salmon help improve concentration, while the other ingredients provide healthy carbohydrates and proteins to keep you going.
Another delicious option is a grilled chicken and veggie quesadilla. This meal provides protein and complex carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals for energy. You can also add some goat cheese or avocado for extra flavor.
For a vegetarian option, try hummus and roasted veggie wrap. The chickpeas in the hummus provide plant-based proteins, and the roasted vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking for something more substantial, add some feta cheese for extra flavor and brain-boosting power.
These are just a few of the many tasty options available for brain-boosting lunches. With a little bit of creativity, you can come up with even more nutritious meals that will help keep you energized and focused throughout the day.
6) Nutrient-rich meals
When it comes to packing a healthy lunch, it’s important to focus on getting as much nutrition as possible. A nutrient-rich meal will give you the energy and brainpower you need to get through your day. Here are some ideas for nutrient-rich lunches that you can make in minutes.
- Veggie wrap – fill a whole wheat wrap with shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, avocado, and spinach. Top with hummus or tahini for extra protein and healthy fats.
- Mediterranean salad – toss together lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and cooked quinoa. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice for a delicious and satisfying salad.
- Brown rice bowl – fill a bowl with cooked brown rice and top with roasted vegetables, cooked beans, and shredded cheese. For a protein boost, add sliced chicken or hard-boiled eggs.
- Quinoa salad – mix cooked quinoa with chopped vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Toss with a flavorful dressing for an easy and nutritious meal.
- Avocado toast – top whole-grain toast with mashed avocado, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Sprinkle with a little sea salt for a delicious and energizing meal.
These nutrient-rich meals are quick and easy to make, so you can have a healthy lunch every day!
7) Delicious and healthy snacks
Snacking during the day can be an important part of keeping your energy up and maintaining your focus, so why not make it a healthy one? Here are some delicious and healthy snack ideas that you can easily whip up in minutes.
- Frozen banana slices: Cut a ripe banana into slices, lay them flat on a baking sheet, and freeze for about two hours. Not only are these tasty treats easy to make, but they’re also packed with vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium.
- Yogurt parfaits: Start with a base of plain Greek yogurt, then add your favorite fruits, nuts, seeds, and other goodies like honey or granola. This nutrient-rich snack is high in protein and calcium.
- Popcorn: Popcorn is a whole-grain food, making it a great source of dietary fiber. For an extra healthy boost, try air-popping your popcorn and topping it with olive oil and your favorite herbs or spices.
- Trail mix: Throw together a mix of your favorite dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate chips for a tasty and filling snack. Make sure to choose unsalted nuts and seeds to keep your sodium intake in check.
- Hummus and veggies: A scoop of hummus with some crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery makes for a tasty snack with lots of fiber and healthy fats.
- Nut butter on toast: Toast up a slice of whole grain bread and top with a tablespoon of nut butter for a snack that’s both tasty and nutritious.
- Hard-boiled eggs: Boil up a few eggs ahead of time for a snack that’s high in protein and healthy fats. Plus, they’re easy to transport!