Ah, yes — the plight of figuring out what to pack for work lunch. For me, there are four reasons why I find it so difficult:
- Let’s be honest: the majority of us are eating lunch while working. And that’s just boring.
- For the sake of your coworkers, lunch can’t be too smelly, too crunchy, or too slurpy. Your microwaved brussels sprouts aren’t welcome.
- Office kitchens are a mixed bag. Some don’t exist. Some offer only a refrigerator. Others have a refrigerator and a microwave. And a lucky few have a full kitchen.
- Those food blogs promising “the best lunches for work” usually neglect to mention that you’ll spend precious hours of your weekend on meal prep.
With so many variables revolving around work lunches, it can be hard to come up with options that don’t leave you wishing you left for that mediocre sandwich shop with your colleagues.
Luckily, we’ve identified three common lunch categories and the three recipes for each that are as yummy as they are simple. And best of all: there’s not an icky smell, slurp or crunch to be found.
image: hannah zahner
The Cobb Salad. To keep meal-prepping to a minimum, boil your eggs for the week on Sunday, bake the bacon, and use deli-counter chicken. Pre-chop the veggies or slice them at the office. When it’s time for lunch, toss on your toppings, add the dressing, and you’ve got yourself a classic Cobb salad.
Chickpea, Avocado, and Feta Salad. This salad literally takes five minutes to make and only has seven ingredient. You could easily make it the night before or chop up the cilantro, onion, and avocado and mix it all together at work.
Caprese Salad. Fruit + Cheese + Herbs + EVOO. That’s it. You could go the traditional route with tomatoes and mozzarella or mix it up with any fruit and cheese combo.
Breakfast for Lunch
Protein Packed Smoothie. PROTEIN PACKED. That’s the key. This smoothie recipe is absolutely delicious, but you can really add whatever you want to a smoothie. Just make sure to keep the protein powder and nut butter, so that you stay full until dinner.
Yogurt & Granola Breakfast Bowls. Make your own granola if you’re fancy or, if you’re like me, just buy it from the store. I like to add banana and berries on top of the yogurt and granola. Yum!
Avocado Toast. This is a little more involved, but totally worth it! My favorite way to make it: crusty bread (toasted or not, if you don’t have a toaster) + avo mashed with lime, EVOO, and salt + soft boiled egg + sriracha.
Chicken Salad Sandwich. Nothing screams lunch to me more than a chicken salad sandwich. Use a rotisserie chicken to cut out the step of cooking the chicken breast and prep the mixture the night before. When it’s time for lunch, all there is to do is add the salad and toppings to the bread!
Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwich. Simple ingredients + easy to make = a lunch you’ll be looking forward to all morning. Make the night before, wrap them tightly, throw them in the fridge, and enjoy the next day.
Heirloom Avocado Bagelwich. Bagel. Tomato. Avocado. Cream cheese. Microgreens. EVOO. Perfection.