November 9, 2020

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Busy Days

Quick to prepare — or those you can make ahead

A bowl of chili with chunks of butternut squash

Whether you eat lunch at home these days while WFH or pack it to take along, having a healthy (and tasty!) lunch you feel good about can sometimes make or break your day.

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To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite lunch recipes to help you power through your day — and keep you full enough to avoid mindless snacking come 3 p.m.

They may take more planning than swinging through the drive-thru or ordering in, but they’re easier on your waistline and your wallet, too.

Soups

Recipe: Tomato Soup With Chickpeas and Lentils

This Indian-inspired vegetarian soup is easy to throw in your slow cooker in the morning if you’re an early riser. Or make it ahead — and it freezes well.

Tomato Soup With Chickpeas and Lentils

Recipe: Black Bean Soup With Charred Poblano Pepper

Looking for something quick and filling? This soup is for you. It comes together in under a half-hour and is bursting with flavor from poblano pepper, paprika and cumin.

Black Bean Soup With Poblano Peppers

Recipe: Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup

This Mexican-inspired soup features zesty lime, fresh radishes and a touch of heat from jalepeño. And it’s all ready for lunch in just 25 minutes.

Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup

Salads

Recipe: Raw Kale Salad With Pine Nuts, Currants + Kalamata Olives

If you’re stuck thinking salad means iceberg lettuce, it’s easy to break out of the rut using the superfood kale. It features lots of different flavors and a satisfying crunch!

Raw Kale Salad With Pine Nuts, Currants + Kalamata Olives

Recipe: California Kale Cobb Salad

If you enjoy a classic Cobb, give our California Kale Cobb a try. To save time around your lunch hour, chop your kale and bake the bacon in advance.

California Kale Cobb Salad

Recipe: Red Cabbage Salad With Capers and Raisins

This simple salad’s flavor develops in the fridge overnight, so prep it the night before and you’ll be rewarded with a tasty lunch — filled with brain-healthy antioxidants.

Cabbage Onion Salad

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Chicken

Recipe: Easy Chicken Salad

This chicken salad is great for when you’re out of ideas, but are looking for something the whole family can chow down in little time. It features chunks of chicken tossed with Greek yogurt, tart dried cranberries, crisp Granny Smith apples and rosemary.

Chicken Salad

Recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Slaw Wrap

When you make wraps, it’s best to use fresh vs. processed meats. Try this delicious lunch, featuring shredded chicken (use a rotisserie chicken to save time).

Chicken and Broccoli Slaw wrap

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Chili

Once you’ve got your ingredients prepped and sautéed, this chili only takes another 45 minutes to simmer. So it’s doable if you’re working from home, or you can always finish it in your crockpot and have it the next day to last the week.

Chicken Chili

Beef

Recipe: Taco Salad With Beef and Avocado

When you’re craving a taco salad, don’t hit the drive-thru. Try this healthy version with grass-fed beef, cumin and chili powder, on a bed of mesclun and red cabbage.

Taco Salad

Recipe: Lettuce-Wrapped, Stuffed Bison Burgers

If you’re trying to cut carbs, try these bun-less bison burgers for a change. Once you prep them, you can throw them on the grill or broil them.

Lettuce-Wrapped, Stuffed Bison Burgers

Recipe: Spicy Beef Chili With Butternut Squash

If you use pre-packed diced butternut squash, this flavorful chili can come together in time for a filling lunch. You can also prep your onions and peppers the night before to save yourself even more time.

Beef Chili With Butternut Squash

Fish

Recipe: 5-Minute Fish Tacos

These tacos are perfect for lunch because they come together so fast. Use any thawed frozen or fresh firm, white fish. Try flounder, cod, snapper or tilapia.

Fish Tacos

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Recipe: Fish Chowder

This fish chowder makes plenty of leftovers. Make it for dinner one night and then the rest stays good for lunches in the fridge for five days.

Fish Chowder

Recipe: Cold Asian Noodle Salad With Salmon

This Asian-inspired dish hits the spot when takeout temptation strikes. Chilled noodles are topped with cucumber, salmon and a delicious garlic sauce.

Cold Asian Noodle Salad With Salmon

Vegetarian

Recipe: Eggless Tofu Salad Sandwich

Whether you’re vegetarian or not, this eggless tofu salad is a tasty lunch — with customizable toppings, depending on your mood or what you have on hand.

Eggless Tofu Salad Sandwich

Recipe: Mac and Cheese

Sure, it takes longer than the kind that comes in a box. But you won’t regret it and your kids (or you!) will still gobble it down.

Mac and Cheese

Recipe: Sandwich on a Stick

If you’re feeling lazy (or crunched for time), this recipe is essentially a deconstructed sandwich. But sometimes just presenting something differently is enough to make it new and fun.

Sandwich on a Stick

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