Getting through a challenging workday requires proper fuel. Packed with essential nutrients, the following 14 healthy lunch ideas will keep you energized and focused.
Pre-packaged foods may be convenient, but they are often high in fat, salt, and sugar. A balanced lunch should contain protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables.
Protein – Essential for repairing the body and providing lasting satisfaction. Options include lean meats, hard-boiled eggs, beans, tofu, and low-fat cheese.
Complex Carbs – Deliver a steady stream of energy. Opt for whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, fruits, pasta, and brown rice.
Healthy Fats – Aid in vitamin absorption and include nuts, olives, avocados, and fish.
Fruits and Vegetables – Loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Water – Stay hydrated by bringing your own bottle of water, which can also double as a cooling element when frozen.
Preparing your lunch ensures you meet these nutritional needs. Here are 14 inspiring, convenient packed lunches that will sustain you until dinnertime.
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14 Creative, Healthy Lunch Ideas to Take to Work
1. Taco Tuesday
Utilize Monday dinner leftovers for a tasty Taco Tuesday lunch. Include shredded meat, corn tortillas, rice, lettuce, pico de gallo, and pepitas for a satisfying meal. Photo and recipe: Linda Spiker / The Organic Kitchen
2. Tuna Salad Protein Box
Pack in the protein with tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, accompanied by an egg and unsalted almonds. Two servings of fruit and vegetables complete this nutritious option. Photo and recipe: Chungah Rhee / Damn Delicious
3. Packed Like Sardines
Opt for sardines complemented by sliced portobellos, cucumbers, fruit, and almonds, providing a balanced mix of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. Photo and recipe: Paleo Leap
4. Meatless Mexican Lunch Box
A plant-based option featuring beans, brown rice, and homemade guacamole, ensuring a complete protein and wholesome mix of fiber and carbohydrates. Photo and recipe: Emily Turner
These delightful and nutritious lunch ideas will keep both your taste buds and body satisfied while you power through each work day.
Dressing makes it a party. Photo and recipe: Emily Turner / Gluten Free with Emily
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5. Spicy Chicken with Rice and Beans
This Instant Pot meal hits all the notes: quick, easy, delicious, and healthy! The recipe is versatile, too. Use rice or quinoa or tofu or whatever you have on hand. As long as you use the cilantro “sunshine sauce,” this lunch will be out of this world. Photo and recipe: Lindsay Ostrom / Pinch of Yum
6. Tofu Sushi Bento Box
Eat your hearts out, sushi lovers! These vegan rolls are filled with baked teriyaki tofu and miso-marinated kale and bok choy. If that’s not enough veg for you, the rest of the beautiful bento is stuffed with Asian pear, persimmon, and carrots. Photo and recipe: Sarah Eom / Father’s Workshop
7. Egg Salad & Veggie Box
We love that the large compartment of this lunch box is filled with fresh, raw vegetables. The egg salad is just the right amount of protein, and the whole-grain crackers act as perfect little scoops. Dried fruits and a square of dark chocolate will help you avoid the vending machine later. Photo and recipe: Melissa Griffiths / Bless this Mess Please
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8. Tofu Taco Salad
It’s amazing how healthy a taco salad can be when it’s not served in a giant fried tortilla bowl. Bonus points for using crumbled tofu instead of ground beef to help keep saturated fat and calories down. Photo and recipe: Jordan Cord / The Fitchen
9. Avocado Chicken Salad Bento
The more slots your lunchbox has, the more variety you can pack in. This grazer’s dream has three different veggies, dried strawberries (they’re always in-season), a flavorful chicken salad, and healthy fats from avocado and walnuts, which are full of stress-busting nutrients. Photo and recipe: Jenny McGruther / Nourished Kitchen
10. Curried Chickpeas and Spinach Bowl
One serving of flavorful curried chickpeas is a light and nutritious protein. Pair them with vitamin-packed spinach and brown rice, and you’ll be energized for the rest of the day. Photo and recipe: Brittany Mullins / Eating Bird Food
11. Mediterranean Mezze
Stuffed grape leaves and a whole-grain pita with hummus, olives, feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes will fill you up with enough fiber to manage those afternoon munchies. Photo and recipe: Wendy Copley / Wendolonia
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12. Thai Chicken Wrap Bistro Box
Are you tired of the same old sandwich for lunch? These Thai chicken wraps will satisfy your cravings for take-out while keeping sodium levels in check. The homemade slaw packed with vegetables combined with a whole-grain tortilla contributes to a healthy and filling meal. Just be mindful of portion control when adding the peanut sauce. Try out this healthy lunch recipe by Layla Atik from Gimme Delicious.
13. Snack Attack
Who said lunch had to be a one-plate meal? You can create a well-rounded and satisfying lunch with small portions of healthy, diverse bites. This could include a bean salad, some crackers, chia-seed blueberry yogurt, a pear, olives, and some chocolate-covered cherries. This diverse and nutritious lunch idea comes from Cassie Johnston of Wholefully.
14. BLT Bento Box
This unique and delightful lunch kit not only looks cute, but it also provides a balanced meal. It includes two sources of protein (bacon and almonds), whole grains (bread), and servings of fruit (strawberries and half an apple) and veggies (lettuce and cornichons). Save the cereal bar for a mid-afternoon energy boost and you’re all set. Nina Holstead from Mama Belly offers this creative and nutritious lunch idea.
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