If you’re bored of the same old bland sandwiches, dull soups, or soggy salads and looking to add some nutritious variety and flavor to your lunch breaks, we have the solution for you.
In this article, we will guide you through some handy and straightforward tips to help you prepare healthy lunches for when you are on the go. You will also find some different types of nutritious lunches that you can make to diversify your diet and some incredibly delicious and easy-to-make recipes that you can prepare ahead of time.
When you are a busy person on the go, preparing your food can be much more beneficial and healthy than always buying lunches in restaurants or fast food places or ordering online or through applications. In addition, preparing your lunches at home in advance can also substantially improve your finances. It’s estimated that an average worker can save $2,000 to $3,000 a year by preparing and packing their lunches instead of buying them.
To make the process of preparing healthy on-the-go lunches easier, you can do the following:
Planning your meals can save you a lot of time when preparing your week’s lunches and can even save you money. If you plan your meals, you will be planning your shopping list at the same time and you won’t end up buying things unnecessarily. Also, it is much better to enter the kitchen with a clear idea of what you will cook.
Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients needed to prepare the recipes you have planned, make it easy for yourself by making all these ingredients ready to cook. Marinate the proteins if your recipes require them, wash and cut all the vegetables, organize the condiments that you will use as well as the tools and kitchen utensils. This process is called “mise en place” and is a French term meaning “everything in its place.” This process can make it much easier and even more fun when you prepare your recipes.
Try to choose foods that you can cook in large quantities and then separate into individual servings and store in the refrigerator or freezer for the rest of the week. This can be very practical and also save you a lot of time. You can also bulk different prep ingredients separately, like vegetables, proteins, and various types of carbohydrates. Then, you can portion and assemble separate individual meals that you can grab, take with you, and reheat for easy eating.
After you’ve prepared the recipes and the bulk ingredients you planned, let everything cool completely, and prepare the containers where you will store the individual portions or the batches or bulk ingredients you cooked. It is crucial to get good quality food containers as these tips depend on how long your food can last in storage after you prepare it. If you plan to separate your meals into multi-ingredient grab-and-go lunches, it’s a good idea to get containers with dividers. In this way, the foods will not mix and may last a little longer in storage without the risk of spoilage or contamination.
When you’re on the go and preparing lunch boxes is already part of your daily routine, we know that keeping lunches new and exciting over time can become a challenge. It is common to end up cooking the same thing repeatedly for reasons of practicality or simply because we can’t think of anything new. But this isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean we have to fail our healthy diet or give up and stop carrying our lunch boxes and start buying our lunches at restaurants again. The truth is that there are different types of healthy lunches on the go for adults that we can make, and sometimes we just need to refresh our imagination a bit to give variety back to our diet without having to stop eating healthy.
We can make different types of salads and also vary our dressings or delicious sandwiches that can satisfy your hunger at lunchtime and still be healthy and nutritious. There are also many different types of wraps that you can make and a wide variety of bowls. Here are some ideas from which you can choose or even combine to add a healthy twist to your lunch break.
A simple sandwich may seem bland as a viable lunch option. But the truth is that there are many more options and combinations that you can put inside a sandwich than just your regular PB&J.
The Turkey Sandwich with Kimchi Salad and Miso Sauce is a delicious way to upgrade a classic sandwich with ingredients from around the world. This sandwich brings together robust, tangy, and smooth flavors in one tasty combination. In addition, it is a complete meal capable of sustaining you at lunchtime and all within a practical sandwich. To prepare a delicious turkey sandwich with kimchi salad and miso sauce, you need:
- 8 slices 100% whole grain bread (1 oz.), toasted
- 12 ounces sliced roasted skinless turkey breast
- 1/3 cup very thinly sliced kimchi
- 1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup 2% low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white miso
- Take a medium bowl and combine cabbage, sesame oil, and vinegar; toss well to coat. Then add the kimchi and mix well to combine. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.
- While the cabbage and kimchi sit, whisk together the yogurt, miso, and olive oil until smooth.
- Spread about 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture on each of the 4 slices of bread. Then place about 3 ounces of turkey on top of each yogurt-covered bread slice and about 1/3 cup of kimchi salad. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread and voila! Your sandwiches are ready to go in the lunch box or to eat if you wish.
This is a perfect sandwich for those looking for a tasty plant-based option. Oven-fried cauliflower gives this sandwich a unique crunch without the need to deep fry your food. The coleslaw gives it a special touch, and the cauliflowers have a crispy coating of panko, a Japanese-style breadcrumb that complements this dish very well. To prepare your cauliflower Po’boy sandwiches, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 loaf or 10 oz of French bread.
- 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
- 5 cups or 20 oz cauliflower florets
- About 2 1/2 cups coleslaw mix
- 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 package (8 oz.) crushed tricolor
- 2 small plum tomatoes, cut into 12 slices
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Then spread the breadcrumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven to bake until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring once to bake evenly. Now, take a small bowl, pour in the lemon juice, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, mayonnaise, and mix.
- Combine cauliflower and eggs in a shallow dish and toss to coat the cauliflower. Use a fork to transfer the cauliflower to the panko, allowing any excess egg to drip off the cauliflower. Sprinkle cauliflower with pepper and salt. Mix in panko; Shake off any extra breadcrumbs and place the panko-coated cauliflower on a baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
- Cut French bread into 4 equal parts and cut each piece, cutting through, but not wholly to the other side. Take a medium bowl and mix half of the mayonnaise mixture and the coleslaw mixture. Divide the coleslaw, cauliflower, and tomatoes evenly among each piece. Drizzle with remaining mayonnaise mixture at the time of eating.
This sandwich is definitely out of the ordinary, combining grilled flank steak with oranges and blue cheese inside a delicious sandwich that will blow your mind. Preparing this sandwich is much easier than it may seem initially. You only need the following:
- 2 cups or about 8 ounces of basic grilled flank steak, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup or 1 ounce crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
- 1 cup of fresh orange segments
- 4 (2-ounce) Italian or French rolls
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 cup bagged pre-washed baby spinach
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon grated orange peel
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the cider vinegar, olive oil, grated orange peels, salt, and ground black pepper, stirring with a whisk.
- Pat the orange sections dry with a paper towel. Cut each bun in half. Top the bottom of each french roll with 1/2 cup of grilled flank steak, 1/4 cup baby spinach, 1 tablespoon gorgonzola or whatever cheese you have on hand, and 1/4 cup orange wedges. Drizzle each serving with about 2 teaspoons of vinaigrette. Then top with the top halves of the buns. Wrap it in foil or wax paper and chill before packing it into your lunchbox.
If you consider yourself more of the wrap type, this section is definitely for you. Wraps are quite convenient and the perfect grab-and-go lunch or breakfast. You can put almost anything you can think of in a wrap. With the following creative and tasty wrap ideas, your imagination will open up to a whole new world of possibilities.
This Little Italy Chicken pita will take you on a little trip to the Mediterranean at lunchtime. Use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to prepare the vinaigrette with which you will flavor this wrap full of flavor. You can accompany this wrap with some chilled green grapes on the side. To prepare these delicious wraps, you only need:
- 6 6-inch pitas cut in half
- 4 cups or about 3/4 pound shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped, and drained
- 1 ½ tablespoon of sun-dried tomato oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1 cup of chopped tomato
- 3 cups of mixed baby vegetables
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 minced garlic clove
- ½ cup or 2 oz grated Asiago cheese
- Grab a large bowl and combine sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and ground black pepper. Then add the chicken, tomato, cheese, and basil. Top each pita half with 1/4 cup leafy greens. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the pita halves, and voila, you’re ready to enjoy!
With this delicious wrap, you can give a delicious and spicy use to the leftovers of simply roasted pork. If you are a fan of heat, you can add an extra teaspoon of chipotle peppers to the avocado spread. To prepare this zesty wrap, you need the following:
- 1 ½ cups or about 8 ounces of 1/4-inch-thick slices of plain roast pork
- 4 8-inch fat-free flour tortillas
- 1 ½ tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup mashed peeled avocado
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ¼ cup bottled sauce
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- Take a large bowl and combine the peeled avocado, fresh lime juice, low-fat mayonnaise, canned chipotle peppers, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt, and stir well.
- Heat tortillas slightly following package directions. Then spread about 2 tablespoons of the avocado mixture on top of each tortilla. Be sure to leave a 1-inch border. Place the slices of simply roasted pork in the center of the tortillas. Now top each tortilla with 1/4 cup shredded lettuce and 1 tablespoon salsa, roll up, and your Avocado Chipotle Pork Wraps are ready to pack and go.
This Spinach, Hummus, and Bell Pepper wrap certainly deserve a place on the podium when it comes to wholesome, healthy, grab-and-go lunches. This delicious wrap will be ready in 10 minutes and delivers a combo rich in protein thanks to the hummus, a combination of crunch thanks to the bell pepper and spinach, and savory flavor and Mediterranean style that complement this wrap full of flavor. To prepare these luscious wraps, you need:
- 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted garlic hummus
- 2 1.9 oz. whole-grain flatbreads
- 1 ounce or about 1/4 cup crumbled tomato basil feta cheese
- 1 cup of well-compacted baby spinach
- Spread 1/4 cup of hummus on each flatbread, making sure to leave a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
- Divide bell pepper evenly among flatbreads. Then top each flatbread with 1/2 cup spinach and 2 tablespoons of feta cheese. Now roll up the wrappers starting from the short side. If desired, cut each wrap in half and secure with wooden toothpicks, or pack immediately into your lunch box.
Salads are undoubtedly a great choice when you want to keep your diet healthy. A good salad can be an excellent option for a complete lunch and it can be super practical for when you are on the go. You can easily prepare your salads the night before going to work and have them ready in your lunch box for when you have to leave. Keep your dressings on the side and spread them on your salads when you eat. This way your vegetables will stay fresh in the container. Here are some great salad ideas that will give your lunch break a super interesting twist.
This plant-based salad option is an excellent choice for when you’re on the go and want to maintain a healthy diet. Romaine lettuce adds a special crunch to this salad of grassy, fresh, and salty flavors. Make sure to dry the lettuce well before assembling the salad to ensure it lasts longer. Chickpeas provide a reasonable amount of protein, but you can also add 4 oz of shrimp or chicken breast if you want. To prepare this Greek Chickpea Lunch Salad, you will need the following:
- 1 15 oz. can of unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
- 2 cups English crescent cucumber slices
- 1/2 cup red onion sliced vertically
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into 8 slices
- 16 pitted kalamata olives or about 2 oz
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Take the bowls or containers and place 1 1/2 cups of lettuce and 2 tablespoons of onion in each 4. Top each serving with 1/2 cup of tomatoes, 1/3 cup of chickpeas, 4 olives, 1/2 cup of cucumber, and 2 slices of cheese
- Take a small bowl and mix the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic. Serve about 2 tablespoons of dressing with each salad at mealtime.}
If you are a fan of colorful salads, you will love this Baby Kale, Butternut, and Chicken Salad. Perfect for fall weather, this salad features soft butternut squash, which you can bake covered in a cooking tray for 20 to 25 minutes at 400°F, stirring after 10 minutes. This will also give you a batch on hand to use as a side, stir-into a meal, prepare a soup, or to be able to assemble this salad in a matter of 5 minutes. To prepare this tasty autumn salad, you need:
- 1 ounce or about 1/4 cup boneless skinless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
- ½ cup butternut squash, peeled and diced, roasted
- 2 tablespoons red bell pepper strips
- 1 ½ cups baby kale
- 1 ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- Take a small bowl and combine the olive oil, molasses, vinegar, and mustard. Then place the kale on a plate or in your lunch box; top with the remaining ingredients, then top with the molasses mixture, and you are ready to go!
For this delicious lemon-dill salmon salad, you will only need 15 minutes. To make this zesty salad, you can use boneless and skinless canned salmon, which is as versatile and tasty as canned tuna and has a higher content of omega-3 fats. This recipe can give you up to 4 portions and this is what you need to prepare it:
- 2 cans (6 oz.) boneless skinless sustainable salmon, drained and flaked
- 2 whole-wheat pitas (6 inches), each cut into 8 wedges
- 4 leaves of green leaf lettuce
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- 2 cups 3- to 4-inch carrot sticks
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped unsalted toasted almonds
- 3 cups red seedless grapes
- Take a medium bowl and mix the scallions, celery, mayonnaise, dill, lemon zest and juice, pepper, and salt. Add salmon and almonds, then place 1 lettuce leaf in each of 4 (4-cup) containers. Now divide the salmon salad evenly over the lettuce.
- Divide the carrots, grapes, and pita wedges evenly among the bowls, and you’re all set.
If you’re the type of person who likes to have a complete lunch with different ingredients and have the time to cook, prep lunch bowls can be an excellent option for when you’re on the go. Lunch bowls widen the range of variety as you can mix and match different ingredients and make great lunches for yourself. Here are some ideas for lunch bowls that you can easily prepare for when you are on the go and want to enjoy a tasty lunch with all the food groups well represented.
With this delicious roasted cauliflower and cashew bowl, you will have a tasty, healthy vegetarian option for your lunches of the week. You can accompany this bowl with a delightful honey-mustard vinaigrette and eat it without reheating. To prepare this simple but satisfying recipe, here is what you’ll need:
- 1 head or 8 to 10 cups cauliflower, finely chopped
- ½ cup cashews
- ⅔ cup raw pearl barley (makes about 2 cups when cooked)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 15 oz chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon of dijon
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated using the fine end of a box grater
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- Cook pearl barley according to package directions and let cool. Then preheat the oven to 425°F and toss the cauliflower with the olive oil in a large bowl. Then sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
- Spread cauliflower out on a large baking sheet. Grill cauliflower for 20 to 30 minutes or until soft and golden in places, occasionally turning for cooking evenly.
- Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Then mix all the salad ingredients and divide them into 4 sealable lunch containers. Store in the fridge for when you want to eat it.
This chicken fajita bowl is truly a tasty combination of baked chicken breast, bell pepper, and a delicious fajita vinaigrette for the final touch of flavor. You can make this recipe ahead of time, the night before, or even prepare the ingredients in bulk and have them ready to assemble this delicious bowl whenever you need it. Here is what you’ll need to prepare it:
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts about 2 large chicken breasts
- salt pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 spoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bell peppers cut into strips
- 1 cup of corn kernels
- ¾ cup uncooked basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Then place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Turn to coat evenly.
- Bake for 10 minutes, flip the chicken, then bake until cooked through or another 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Rest for 10 more minutes to cool before slicing.
- Cook rice according to package directions and let cool. Take a large bowl and combine the bell peppers, rice, corn, and red onion.
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients, add to the bowl and toss to coat everything thoroughly. Then divide between 4 containers for lunch. Top with the chicken, and you’re good to go! Store it in the refrigerator until you leave or until you’re ready to eat.
If you’re looking for a low-carb lunch bowl option, this may be it. This Ginger Sesame Beef Zucchini Noodle Bowl is an easy make-ahead meal and offers a tasty combination of flavors that will have you looking forward to lunch wherever you take it. Preparing this delicious lunch bowl is very simple. Here is what you need:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 medium spiralized zucchini
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce see note 1
- 1 tablespoon of monk fruit sweetener or 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup as you prefer.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- Make a simple sauce of low-sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and honey or monk fruit sweetener. Put aside for a while. Now heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Then add the meat and cook until cooked through or for 7 to 10 minutes. Break it up with a spatula. Then carefully drain the pan if necessary.
- Make a space in the meat and add garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Cook for 1 minute, add sauce and toss meat to coat. Cook for 1 minute until evenly covered. Then remove from heat and let cool. Take four 2-cup storage containers and divide the meat and spiralized zucchini among them. If you plan to use single compartment storage containers, place the zucchini noodles on top of the meat to prevent them from getting too soggy.