12 Healthy Lunch Suggestions & Recipes – advance meal prep options or quick on the go lunch options!
Lunch is one of my favorite meals of the day (well, actually that’s a lie because I have 3 favorite meals of the day! 🙂) I really think that being able to look forward to a nice lunch helps you get through your morning workload and breaks the day nicely. It’s also a great way to energize your body for the afternoon ahead so you don’t hit a slump come 3 O Clock!
Below are some healthy lunch suggestions & recipes to you may like:
Soup – is a comforting lunch option particularly on cold winter days and is a great way to get your veggies in. Just make sure to always include a source of protein in your soup or on the side so that it’s a balanced meal. If it’s a filling soup with plenty of protein and veg you may not need to have anything on the side e.g. a soup which contained chicken or lentils. If you’d like something on the side, a couple of oat cakes or rye crisp breads topped with a little protein e.g. houmous, cheese, tuna etc.
For convenience, consider making up a large batch of soup in advance which you can store in the fridge or freezer. Soup is handy to put into a thermos flask for work or a transportable container to reheat in work. See soup recipes below.
Sandwiches – Bread in moderation is fine, but, so many people are stuck in a sandwich rut at lunchtimes which means they end up eating a lot of bread and miss out on other more healthful lunch options. I would encourage you not to get into the habit of eating sandwiches or bread for lunch every single day, variety and all things in moderation is the key to good health!
If you do choose to have a sandwich, make sure to include a good portion of protein such as tuna or chicken and include plenty of salad. When choosing a bread, opt for a sugar free variety with minimum of 2 grams fibre per slice, ideally more. Wholegrain bread is best, look for bread made from either (or a combination) of: whole grain wheat, whole rye, whole oats, wheat germ, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, spelt, quinoa or bulgur. Moderation is key, two slices of bread in a day is more than enough, particularly if you’re watching your weight and/or sensitive to wheat.
Salads – Follow 4 simple steps below to create a nutritionally balanced salad:
Choose a protein rich food or a combination if you wish, below are some ideas: Chicken, turkey, hard boiled egg, hummus, mozzarella, feta, tuna, salmon, sardines, chick peas, butter beans, kidney, cannellini beans.
Combine the protein with a range of salads/veggies. Below are some ideas: Mixed leaves, rocket, baby spinach, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, grated carrot/courgette, celery, onion, sprouts.
Add a healthy dressing (optional). A tablespoon of olive oil with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar works a treat.
Add a portion of whole food carbohydrate to serve with or alongside your salad (optional) e.g. quinoa, roasted butternut squash/potato, bulgur wheat, wholewheat/brown rice pasta Oat Cakes, Rye crisp bread, wholegrain/rye bread/wrap
Leftovers – I’m a big fan of making lunch out of leftovers from last nights dinner. I often take this into consideration at dinner time by cooking a little extra or if I fancy a second helping at dinner, I console myself by deciding to have that second helping for lunch instead the following day. That way I get two meals out of what I’ve cooked and don’t feel overly full (most of the time anyway!)
Top Tip: I often cook up a pot of quinoa at the start of the week, store it in the fridge and then throw it into soups and salads at lunch time. Keeping a few cooked hard boiled eggs in the fridge is also super handy for a quick but filling lunch/snack option.
10 Simple & Healthy Lunch Suggestions & Recipes
- Greek Chickpea Salad – ideal for advance meal prep – recipe linked
- Skinny Chicken Waldorf Salad – recipe linked
- Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup – recipe linked
- Superfood Soup – a meal in a bowl, recipe linked
- 2 Minute Pitta filled with houmous, roasted peppers & rocket – recipe linked
- Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Feta Salad – ideal for advance meal prep, recipe linked
- Spinach, Strawberry & goats cheese salad – super quick to make, click link to watch video recipe
- Mini Crustless Quiches – ideal for advance meal prep, click link to watch video recipe, scroll down page
- 4 Oat cakes or rye crisp breads topped with either houmus, cheese or tuna with slices of tomato & cucumber on top
- Carved Ham, coleslaw & hard boiled egg with crunchy lettuce – easy to throw together if you have pre-made hard boiled eggs.
- Veggie omelette (spinach, onion, mushroom, courgette, peppers make nice fillings) or poached eggs on avocado toast
- 1 small tin of reduced sugar baked beans & 1 slice wholegrain toast – perhaps add an egg for extra protein.
Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist & author of bestselling book ‘GoodbyeSugar’. She does consultations in a Dublin clinic and internationally via skype. Check out Elsa’s Online Nutrition & Weight Management Programs.