On The Go Lunch For Adults


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Easy Ideas for Lunch at Work That’ll Make Everyone Jealous

I try to pack my lunch for work as often as possible. But there have been weeks in which I buy it, ignoring my dwindling bank account. Because, truth be told, I’m only human and going through the effort of thinking up ideas for lunch at work and making my own food seems like a lot at 7 AM.

Yes, this is even though I know it’s good for my wallet and for my health. And yes, even though I know that the healthier you are, the more productive you are. (Nothing like a junk food coma to slow you down hours before an important deadline.)

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So, in effort to break my bad habit (and yours!), I’ve put together a list of 52—52!—ideas to inspire you. And because I’m just like you when it comes to making excuses, I stuck to three rules when selecting each recipe:

1. It Needs to Be Cost-Effective

There are recipes out there that look and taste great, but the ingredients required are absurdly expensive. And here you were trying to save money. If you’re buying them in bulk and can use them for several different meals, that’s great. But if not, you might as well have just grabbed it from the restaurant down the street.

2. It Needs to Be Easy to Make

Just as you want to keep the cost down, you also want to keep the time it takes to make it low as well. Nobody wants to spend hours every night preparing lunch for the next day. That’s a habit just asking to be broken. So, with the exception of slow cooker options, they’re also pretty fast.

3. It Needs to Be (Somewhat) Exciting

No, I don’t think every lunch needs to be a gourmet meal. And I don’t think every bite needs to be the most mind-blowing sensory experience ever. But you also don’t want to pack a lunch where you’re just like, “Eh, I’m just not in the mood for that.” And then you pretend you didn’t bring it and you go buy a better one (admit it—you’ve done it).

So, check out the list below for some lunch ideas that are bound to make you the most enviable person at work and prevent you from breaking the bank.

Easy Lunch Ideas When You Want a Salad

salad ideas for lunch at work

Here’s the thing about salads. Sometimes, they include a lot of ingredients. And while it’s a great way to incorporate tons of nutrients and keep your palate intrigued, it can be awfully annoying and tedious to prepare.

So, here’s a trick: Do all your chopping and dicing at once. You can prepare bulk amounts of the salads below and then save them in an airtight container in order to keep it fresh all week. Or, take it one step further and save them in several smaller portions you can just plop in your lunch bag on the way out the door. Efficiency at its finest, folks. (Another bonus tip: Store the dressing separately to avoid it making any of your leafy ingredients soggy.)

1. Asian Quinoa Salad

This salad’s not only delicious, but it’s pretty, too. If the number of ingredients in the dressing overwhelms you (understandably), pick up something similar to this Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette.

2. Avocado Chicken Salad

This chicken salad has four ingredients. Four! Plus avocado. Point made. You can also make it into a sandwich or a wrap, which makes this quite the versatile recipe.

3. Smashed Avocado Chickpea Salad

A vegetarian twist on the salad above, this one uses chickpeas instead of chicken, so you can still get a great source of protein. Smash away!

4. Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Pecans, and Manchego

Brussels sprouts are a great alternative to lettuce for a greens-based salad (maybe because they look like tiny heads of cabbage). And as someone who studied abroad in Spain, I can tell you that Manchego cheese is the best. Want a hack for this salad? Many stores sell sprouts that are already chopped and bagged, meaning you can just open and dump into a bowl.

5. Cherry-Almond Farro Salad

Farro’s a grain with a ton of fiber and will help to fill you up (so you aren’t ravenous and stealing from the office candy drawer 30 minutes later). And the cherries are the perfect sweet and tart addition.

6. Chopped Kale, Farro, and Chickpea Salad

This combination of foods is the perfect protein and fiber powerhouse. While the recipe calls for red miso paste, you can easily substitute another dressing for that (because who has red miso paste?). But if you do have it, go for it!

7. Chorizo and Tomato Salad

A reminder that simple doesn’t always equal boring. The chorizo adds some smoke and spice to really make this salad pop.

8. Lentil Salad With Goat Cheese

You had me at goat cheese.

9. Soba Salad With Honey Ginger Dressing

It’s a salad made with—wait for it—noodles. Plus, if you want, you can reuse that dressing you bought for the Asian Quinoa Salad.

10. Strawberry Fields Salad

Go ahead. Tell me you aren’t singing the Beatles’ song right now. (Straw-BER-ry Fi-iields For-EV-ah.) It’s not a requirement to listen to it while you’re eating this scrumptious salad. But it should be.

11. Succotash Salad

This salad’s fun to say and yummy to eat. Don’t stress about shaving the kernels of corn from the actual cobs. You can use frozen or canned corn to expedite your way to a tasty dish.

12. Taco Salad (in a Jar)

Sure, the jar is cute, but the best part about it is that it’s holding a yummy yet healthy taco salad inside. You can also do this with a burrito!

13. Three Bean Salad

This recipe has three main ingredients, and they’re all beans. Talk about easy. And fibrous. Beans—they’re good for your heart and for your lunch.

14. Watermelon, Tomato, and Cheese Salad

You’ll be pleasantly surprised about how well watermelon and cheese goes together. And when summer comes around, you’ll be craving something this refreshing.

Sandwich Ideas for Lunch at Work

sandwich ideas for lunch at work

Sometimes you just want to eat your lunch with your hands. Sandwiches are a handheld favorite, but your go-to can end up being a snore. Take yours to the next level by using one of the alternatives below. Trust me: It won’t leave you wishing you had chosen something else.

And for those that may not hold together well during your commute, pack the outsides (i.e., the wrap) and the insides (i.e., whatever you put in it) separately and throw it together when you get to work.

15. Apple Sandwiches With Almond Butter and Granola

Talk about non-traditional. You’ve probably spread peanut butter (or almond, or cashew, or [insert nut here]) on your apple slices before, but have you ever thought of making your apple into a sandwich? Yep, mind blown. But this is the perfect lunch if you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to crash later.

16. Avocado Tea Sandwiches

How cute and simple are these? Plus, it’s OK to bring fish to the office if you’re not microwaving it, right? Report back.

17. Crunchy Peanut Butter Wrap

Need I say more? You’d be nutty not to try this one. (Someone requested dad humor, right?)

18. Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

The combination of vegetables (and fruit—ahem, avocado) in this sandwich provides a variety of textures to keep your palate excited.

19. Peanut Butter, Pickle, and Potato Chip Sandwich

Yes, you read that right. I did not accidentally write “pickle” instead of “jelly.” These flavors actually do work together, and the chips are a crunchy bonus.

20. Pear-Walnut Sandwich

Cinnamon-raisin bread for a sandwich? Yep.

21. Red Pepper, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Mint Wraps

This wrap has four ingredients (not including some extra salt) and the contents have strong and complementary flavors. Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

22. Smoked Gouda and Apple Butter Sandwich

So simple, yet so tasty. And yes, cheese and apples go together. Perfectly.

23. Southwest Hummus Wrap

Hummus is the perfect ingredient to really tie the ingredients of this wrap together and make every bite the perfect fusion of flavors.

24. Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Quinoa Veggie Burger

Sure, these may take a little extra time to prepare. But if you prepare a bunch of them at once, all you have to do is grab one out of the freezer or fridge and throw it in your bag with a bun and some toppings!

25. Taco Truck Tuna Sandwich

How can you not like something that has the words “taco truck” in it? That’s what I thought.

26. Turkey and Apple Pita Pockets

These savory and sweet ingredients result in some pretty tasty pockets. Note: the pockets must be made of pitas; they cannot be made from denim.

27. Turkey, Smashed Peas, and Pesto Sandwich

Pesto adds the perfect punch of flavor to this well-rounded sandwich.

28. Ham and Arugula Sandwich With Cranberry Chutney

The cranberry and mustard are the perfect match for the savory ham and slightly bitter arugula.

Easy Lunches You Can Take On The Go

Personally, I’ve always felt like lunch is one of the toughest meals of the day. Unless you plan on being home all morning and afternoon, you either have to prep lunch recipes ahead of time and find somewhere to store your food until you’re ready to eat, or you have to spend money to buy something. The cheaper, wiser, and healthier option is to make your own lunch, obviously, but we don’t always feel like we have time. Plus, the typical lunch options get boring fast. That’s why you need to have these delicious, easy lunch recipes on hand for when you’re on the go.

Whether you’re heading to an office for the day, going to class, or even working from home, these lunch ideas are simple, and will keep you full and happy. Your best bet is to make a big batch of one of these recipes Sunday afternoon or night, portion them out the way you want, and then store them in the fridge so you can just grab ’em and go in the morning. Doing this will honestly make your week so much easier and less stressful.

These recipe ideas are ideal for that kind of meal planning, and for anyone with an on-the-go lifestyle. They can be heated up if you want, or they can be eaten cold. And they’re so delicious that everyone around you will be jealous. Who needs to spend money on salads from an overpriced deli when you could bring your own, right?

1. Edamame Feta Salad

This salad by Averie Cooks requires no cooking at all, which is always a huge recipe perk. Simply mix the ingredients together, let it sit, and you’ve got an easy lunch. The flavors are actually better after a day in the fridge, so this will only improve as the week goes on. Make enough to eat for about four days.

2. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Sandwich

Made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, this chicken salad by Damn Delicious is a lighter and healthier version of the classic favorite. Grapes make it sweeter, and a little different. You can make a bunch of this for the week, then bring bread for sandwiches… or just eat it on its own.

3. LunchBot Meal

Prefer to eat a bunch of things instead of just one? This idea for a little Bento Box-inspired lunch by Back To Her Roots is easy and delicious. This one in particular offers egg salad, steamed green beans, crackers, a pickle, cucumber slices, applesauce, grapes, pretzels, and chocolate-covered cherries. Feel free to put whatever you want in it, though!

4. Greek Quinoa Salad

Back To Her Roots’ other Bento Box lunch uses an easy recipe for Greek quinoa salad, which you can make on a Sunday night and eat all week, plus fruit, an egg, pretzels, and dates.

5. Crisp Tuna Cabbage Salad

Tuna salad is always a super easy and fast option for lunch, but it gets boring fast. Spice things up by adding cabbage and tangy Greek yogurt, just like The Kitchn. This one is so good, you won’t even need bread.

6. Feel Good Lunch Bowl

Bowls are great for on-the-go lunches, because they typically consist of items that are easy to carry around, and they offer lots of different flavors. This one by Oh She Glows mixes an easy black bean and quinoa salad with roasted veggies and hummus.

7. Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

Want something with a little bit more exotic flavor? Try this easy Thai chicken quinoa bowl. Make a bunch on the weekend to last the whole week. How Sweet It Is shows you how.

8. California Chicken, Veggies, Avocado, And Rice Bowls

Grill up a whole bunch of veggies and chicken, make some rice, and then put the bowl together for as many days as you need. Half Baked Harvest has a super easy recipe that you can customize and make your own.

9. Easy Burrito Bowls

Who needs Chipotle when you can easily make your own burrito bowl at home? This vegetarian option uses black beans, but you can also add chicken, beef, or pork. Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

10. Summer Chickpea Salad With Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

This couldn’t be more simple to put together, but the flavors make for something really delicious. This is another option from How Sweet It Is that will taste even better the second or third day.

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