Healthy Lunch Ideas for Busy Days

Quick to prepare — or those you can make ahead
Fall, Healthy Recipes, Diet, Butternut Squash, Beef Chili

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.

Advertising Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

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

Tomato Soup With Chickpeas and LentilsThis 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.

Recipe: Black Bean Soup With Charred Poblano Pepper

Black Bean Soup With Poblano PeppersLooking 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.

Recipe: Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup

Mexican Chicken and Lime SoupThis 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.

Salads

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

Raw Kale Salad With Pine Nuts, Currants + Kalamata OlivesIf 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!

Recipe: California Kale Cobb Salad

California Kale Cobb SaladIf 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.

Recipe: Red Cabbage Salad With Capers and Raisins

Cabbage Onion SaladThis 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.

Advertising Policy

Chicken

Recipe: Easy Chicken Salad

Chicken SaladThis 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.

Recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Slaw Wrap

Chicken and Broccoli Slaw wrapWhen 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).

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Chili

Chicken ChiliOnce 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.

Beef

Recipe: Taco Salad With Beef and Avocado

Taco SaladWhen 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.

Recipe: Lettuce-Wrapped, Stuffed Bison Burgers

Lettuce-Wrapped, Stuffed Bison BurgersIf 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.

Recipe: Spicy Beef Chili With Butternut Squash

Beef Chili With Butternut SquashIf 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.

Advertising Policy

Fish

Recipe: 5-Minute Fish Tacos

Fish TacosThese 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.

Recipe: Fish Chowder

Fish ChowderThis 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.

Recipe: Cold Asian Noodle Salad With Salmon

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

Vegetarian

Recipe: Eggless Tofu Salad Sandwich

Eggless Tofu Salad SandwichWhether 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.

Recipe: Mac and Cheese

Mac and CheeseSure, 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.

Recipe: Sandwich on a Stick

Sandwich on a StickIf 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.

Advertising Policy