Hello and welcome to my blog, Healthy Lunch Ideas Packed, where I will be sharing my favorite ideas for healthy lunches that are full of flavor and easy to take with you on the go. . Did you know that many of us pack lunches every day? If you’re like me, you probably don’t always remember to pack a lunch. By the end of the week there are days where we’ve skipped lunch entirely. This is why I have compiled Healthy Lunch Ideas Packed with Antioxidants and Vitamin C. These healthy lunch ideas will make your workday so much easier, and won’t hurt your waistline!
Healthy Lunch Ideas Packed
But before you grab for that ready-made deli sandwich or caesar salad, remember that these pre-packaged foods, though easy, tend to be high in fat, salt and sugar and can make you feel hungrier. Plus, they rarely meet all your nutritional needs. A balanced lunch should include all these components:
It helps to repair your body and keeps you satisfied longer, so it’s important to try to include protein in every meal. Make sure your lunch makes up a third of your daily intake. Choose lean meats, such as canned tuna, chicken breast or salmon. Or go vegetarian with a hard-boiled egg, beans or tofu or low-fat cheese. Hummus, nuts and low-fat cheeses are also great sources of protein.
Carbohydrates, including dietary fiber, provide a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Fiber also keeps you feeling full for hours afterward. The trick is to opt for complex carbs, which digest slowly and aid digestion. Sources include whole-grains, beans, sweet potatoes, fruits, pasta and brown rice.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help your body synthesize fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, which you especially need if you work in an office all day. Healthy fats include nuts, olives, avocados and fish.
Fruits And Vegetables
They’re vital for a healthy immune system, provide essential vitamins and minerals, and stimulate creativity. Plus, the color and texture they add will make your meals look like art. Make sure a good portion of your daily five servings is included in your lunch.
BYO-W to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Have your bottle of water do double duty by freezing it overnight and packing it with your lunch. It’ll keep your food chilled and will have defrosted into a refreshing drink by lunchtime.
The best way to ensure you’ll get all that in your lunch? You guessed it — pack it yourself!
Now, we know coming up with creative healthy lunch ideas five days a week can be a bit challenging at first, but having a plan makes meal prep that much easier. Here are 14 convenient packed lunches that provide all the nutrients you need to keep you going until dinnertime.
1. Taco Tuesday
Make the most of Monday dinner leftovers by turning them into a Taco Tuesday lunch. Shred up whatever meat was had last night and pack it along with corn tortillas, rice, lettuce, pico de gallo and pepitas for a complete meal.
2. Tuna Salad Protein Box
For those looking to really pack in the protein, look no further. Tuna salad made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo is already plenty of healthy, lean protein, but an added egg and unsalted almonds make sure you’ll meet whatever protein minimum you set for yourself. Two servings of fruit and veg make this lunch an all-star choice.
3. Packed Like Sardines
Oily fish are good for your heart and full of healthy fats. Sliced portobellos and cucumbers compliment the saltiness of the sardines and give them some bite. The double dose of fruit offers just the right about of carbs and pairing them with almonds (and almonds butter) adds a pop of protein.
4. Meatless Mexican Lunch Box
No meat needed! Beans and brown rice make for a complete protein while satisfying fiber and carbohydrate requirements, too. Fresh greens, tomatoes and homemade guacamole pack in the veggies and salsa verde dressing makes it a party.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10. Curried Chickpeas And Spinach Bowl
Once 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.
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: Wendy Copley / Wendolonia
12. Thai Chicken Wrap Bistro Box
These wraps will satiate your cravings for Thai take-out while slashing sodium levels. The homemade slaw has plenty of vegetables and a whole-grain tortilla is way more healthful than plain white rice. Just watch your portion control when it comes to the peanut sauce.
13. Snack Attack
Whoever said lunch had to be a one-plate deal? You can build a well-rounded meal with snack-size portions of healthy (but otherwise random) bites, like bean salad, crackers, chia-seed blueberry yogurt, a pear, olives and chocolate covered cherries.
14. BLT Bento Box
This lunch kit isn’t only cute, it packs two sources of protein (bacon and almonds), whole grains (bread), and a serving each 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 golden.
Packing your lunch for work is a healthy and budget-friendly habit. Fuel your workday the healthy way with these fresh ideas for packed lunches!
Sandwiches Are Simple
Sandwiches are easy to make and take to work. To keep sandwiches interesting, try these tips.
- Choose different breads: Go for whole grain bread, pitas, mini bagels, tortillas, small dinner rolls, English muffins, flat breads or naan. Check the label for at least 2 grams fibre per serving.
- Try a variety of spreads: Use mustard, salsa, hummus, tzatziki or lower fat mayonnaise. Imagine the tasty combinations!
- Mix different ingredients: Try peanut butter and sliced apples, egg salad with arugula, salmon with teriyaki sauce and baby spinach, roasted turkey with avocado, tomato and lettuce, hummus with grated zucchini and carrots, refried beans with salsa and grated cheese, or leftover stir fry in a wrap.
Love Your Leftovers
Leftovers are great for packing lunch in a hurry. Here are 5 tasty lunch ideas made with leftovers.
- Stir-fry: Try this Sweet Chili Tofu Stir-Fry filled with colourful veggies.
- Soup: A warm vegetable-based soup is a great way to enjoy more veggies at lunch! Add a toasted whole grain pita and hummus for dipping.
- Salad: This simple Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Salad, made with leftover grilled chicken, is rich in protein. Enjoy with a slice of whole grain baguette.
- Chili: For a hearty lunch, serve chili with a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese and a small whole grain dinner roll.
- Pasta: Freeze single portions of this Spinach and Mushroom Vegetarian Lasagna for a quick lunch. So easy!
Tip: Check out these salads and soups for more leftover ideas.
A note On Food Safety
Make your lunch the night before and keep it in the fridge so it can chill completely. Pack it in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack (or a frozen juice box) to keep things cool and safe to eat.
Remember to wash your lunch bag, containers, water bottle and utensils with warm soapy water after each use.
What To Drink
Staying hydrated can help you feel refreshed during your workday. Keep a reusable water bottle at work so you can sip fresh water during the day. Add a little lemon, cucumber or mint for flavour.
Snacks To Pack
Small healthy snacks can help keep you energized when you’re hungry between meals. Pack snacks in your lunch bag so you don’t have to rely on vending machines or coffee shop treats. Try these snacks:
- Hard-boiled egg and a few whole grain crackers
- Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt with berries
- Steamed edamame (soybeans)
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Veggie sticks with black bean dip
- Protein-packed bars
Tip: Check out more snacks you can pack.
Snacks To Keep At Work
Keep some non-perishable foods at work for those times when packing snacks just doesn’t happen:
- Light tuna: Buy single-serving cans or vacuum-packed pouches. Eat with a few whole grain crackers for a snack or scoop onto a salad for lunch.
- Fruit cups: Try unsweetened mandarin oranges, fruit cocktails, pineapple, applesauce and peaches packed in water or juice.
- Trail mix: Make your own with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, popcorn and multigrain pretzels.
- Granola, nut or seed bars: Choose plain bars with little sugar and at least 2 grams fibre.
- Cereals: Choose an unsweetened cereal with at least 4 grams of fibre per serving. Buy milk at work to add to a small bowl of cereal.
- Crackers and bread sticks: Choose whole grain ones with at least 2 grams of fibre per serving. Enjoy with natural peanut butter, hummus or a little cheese. Keep some in the workplace fridge if you have one.