Besides going home, lunch is my favorite part of my workday. It’s a little sliver of time where you can relax and enjoy some food. Packing a healthy lunch has many benefits, regardless if you’re watching your weight or not. It gives you something to look forward to and won’t weigh you down, giving you a dreaded carb coma. When most people think of a healthy lunch, they automatically think of salad. But truth be told, I hate salad. There’s nothing wrong if you enjoy a pile of grass, but here are some less depressing healthy lunch ideas for work.
Before we get started, a few base assumptions…
You have access to a refrigerator
You have access to a microwave
You consume meat and other animal products
You actually meal-prepped this week like you said you would
Taking me out to a restaurant is a chore. I take forever to decide on what I want because I’m such a picky eater. I have a rule where if there’s more than 2 ingredients I don’t like, I don’t get the dish. This wrap is a perfect example of something I wouldn’t order but would make it home. First things first, I like the smell of bacon but hate the flavor. And ranch? I’ll leave it to the cowboys. But this wrap is something you can throw together in minutes before you head out the door. I recommend getting cold cuts at Trader Joe’s because they’re free of nitrates and other unfortunate ingredients. Not to mention their sliced cheese gives Land o’ Lakes to write home about (sorry, mom.)
There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of chicken soup on a less-than-wonderful workday. Snuggle up in your cubicle with this healthier version. As someone who grew up solely on boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I’ll admit that I was hesitant to switch to thighs. But trust me, it makes a world of difference. I couldn’t hunt down whole wheat acini de pepe but I did use whole wheat orzo. If you’re doctoring this recipe up (aka not following it word for word) stick with a small whole wheat pasta or brown rice. This recipe only makes a few servings, perfect for those who cook for one.
Guys, if you don’t have a pressure cooker, go out and get one! Seriously, it’s a complete game changer in the kitchen. They’re less than $100 and will make healthy eating a breeze. I love this tomato basil soup because it requires minimal chopping and takes less than 45 minutes to make lunch for the entire week. Unlike most tomato soups, I find this one satisfying because of the cheese. That combo of protein and fat will keep you full all afternoon.
Ugh. The office is ordering takeout again from your favorite little Asian bistro. Your wallet and waistline will thank you if you switch to this easy beef and broccoli stir fry. This healthier version of your favorite Chinese classic takes less than an hour to make. Pair with some brown rice (or quinoa if you’re daring) plus some steamed broccoli, and you’ll be eating good every day of the week.
Despite the fact that I studied abroad in China, chicken teriyaki is still my go-to when I don’t know what to order. It’s a safe menu choice because it tastes the same whether you’re at P.F. Chang’s or your neighborhood joint. What I don’t like is the hidden ingredients in the sauce (e.g. dyes, sugar, MSG, copious amounts of salt.) This version is sweetened with honey and practically cooks itself in the crockpot. This is a must if you feel like indulging but want to skip the mystery ingredients.
As much as I love a good bowl of soup, sometimes I don’t want to be hungry in an hour. I found that the key to a satisfying lunch is something warm. Have you ever noticed that? Even leftover pizza feels more like a wholesome meal once you zap it. This white chicken chili is hearty, full of protein, and perfect for your summer palate.
What’s your favorite lunchtime treat?
Do you prefer to bring lunch or buy?
If you eat salad for lunch, what are some of your favorite flavor combinations?