I can’t help but feel a little skeptical when I see a chef-level lunch posted to the ‘gram. I mean, more power to ya if you’ve got time to whip up a 15-step recipe in the middle of the workday, but for most of us, a midday soufflé or whole roasted chicken just isn’t an option. But if, like me, you’re still looking for delicious options to fuel you for the rest of the day, look no further because we have 20 healthy lunch recipes ready to go.
Regardless of whether you’re a sandwich person, salad lover, or smoothie devotee, there’s something for everyone. I go through phases with my lunch consumption—sometimes I crave large, hearty meals that can be meal prepped days ahead of time, and other days I want something light and quick that can be thrown together with whatever odds and ends happen to be in the fridge.
Bookmark these healthy lunch recipes and be covered for every lunchtime craving regardless of whether you WFH or are back in the office. We’ve rounded up some of our fave lunch ideas that not only hit the spot but are ready to go in just 15 minutes or less. Having a tasty midday meal shouldn’t take ages to make or require loads of cleanup. Scroll on for the delicious and nutritious lunches we can’t get enough of.
Sandwiches, Toasts & Wraps
Especially in the middle of the workday, there’s truly nothing easier than piling your fave proteins, veggies, and fats on top of your carb of choice. Toasts and wraps put a spin on the classic sandwich and are just as breezy to prepare and equally satisfying. Scroll on for some of our fave sandwiches, toast, and wrap combinations.
The Green Thumb Sandwich by Broma Bakery
Why we love it: If you’re a sandwich person, then this is likely to become a new fave. It’s bursting at the seams with delectable herbed goat cheese, avocado, alfalfa, and more. It’s tangy and has a crisp cucumber bite that is juxtaposed with creamy avocado.
Hero ingredient: Yogurt dressing is the unexpected flavor punch that elevates this sandwich to an art form.
Why we love it: Get your everyday avocado toast up to the next level with this truly delicious version. It’s the pinnacle of the avocado toast craze. Once you get a taste of this delicious toast, you won’t be able to go back to your usual recipe. It’s easy, quick, healthy, and chock full of flavor.
Hero ingredient: There are few problems that can’t be solved with a jammy egg.
Caesar Chicken Collard Wraps by The Defined Dish
Why we love it: If you’re a wrap lover, then you’ll want to try this collard spin on a chicken caesar wrap. It’s sturdier than other kinds of lettuce and practically invincible to sogginess, which is ideal if you’re transporting it to work. It’s a nutritious and healthy lunch that’s easy to make ahead or whip up on the fly.
Hero ingredient: Skip the cooking step and pick up a rotisserie chicken the night before.
Why we love it: A peanut butter rice cake is always yummy, but these four rice cakes are downright cute. They’re fresh, delicious and full of unexpected flavor. Take your pick from a Mediterranean, farm-fresh, avocado, or dessert-worthy rice cake.
Hero ingredient: The humble rice cake, of course! It’s versatile, stays fresh for weeks, and never goes out of style.
Why we love it: Save your bag of baby carrots, give your tastebuds a treat, and try out these toasts for your next lunch. The unexpected flavor combination of the charred, crunchy bread, creamy hummus, and slightly sweet and spicy carrots are almost too good. You don’t have to get too fancy with extra toppings, but a splash of lemon juice or a bit of basil wouldn’t be remiss if your heart desires it.
Hero ingredient: Carrots are truly the star here.
Most days, I don’t plan ahead for lunch. Around 12 pm, I’ll wander into the kitchen and end up aimlessly throwing together a weird salad combo of whatever veggies are in the fridge. But salads are a delicious lunchtime solution that packs in multiple servings of veggies, and most can be thrown together in just a few minutes.
Best Broccoli Salad by Love and Lemons
Why we love it: Even the most avowed broccoli haters will be pleasantly surprised by this nutritious and delicious salad. The light creamy and tangy dressing perfectly complements the dried cranberries and smoky tamari-roasted almonds. I love a one-bowl recipe and this one is perfect for a make-ahead lunch or even your next picnic.
Hero ingredient: Dried cranberries add a nice textural element as well as a pop of bright flavor.
Ultimate Chicken Taco Salad by The Defined Dish
Why we love it: There are few things that bring me as much joy as a lunchtime taco salad bowl. It’s a quick and healthy way to satisfy the taco craving during a busy workweek.
Hero ingredient: Another rotisserie chicken saves the day and makes meal prep a breeze.
Strawberry Salad with Balsamic by Love and Lemons
Why we love it: This summery spin on a traditional Caprese salad is as good as it sounds. Pops of flavor courtesy of the cherry tomatoes and strawberries pair beautifully with the smooth creaminess of the avocado and fresh mozzarella. Yum!
Hero ingredient: Toasted pecans give this sweet salad a surprising and tasty nutty crunch.
Chopped Asian Chicken Salad by The Defined Dish
Why we love it: Tap into a little childhood nostalgia and check out this updated version of a classic chopped Asian Chicken Salad. It’s got all your faves like cabbage, carrots, and almonds for a dreamy crunch and some mandarin oranges that add a touch of sweetness and zing.
Hero ingredient: The creamy peanut dressing is even better than you remember!
Sometimes a nutrient-packed, creamy smoothie is the perfect easy mid-day meal. With just a few simple ingredients, these drinks can be whipped up in just a few minutes. They’re especially great options for those of us on the go.
Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothie by Minimalist Baker
Why we love it: Satisfy your fruity cravings with this bright blue, creamy, sweet, and nutritious smoothie. The almond butter base and a little coconut milk give it a glorious texture. And this blue beauty is just as pretty to look at as it is delicious.
Hero ingredient: Blueberries make this smoothie the treat that it is.
Why we love it: You won’t believe this decadent smoothie isn’t a milkshake! It’s a protein-packed treat that just so happens to be Jennifer Garner’s favorite.
Hero ingredient: Heaping handfuls of spinach give your body the nutrients it craves without overpowering the taste. The ideal situation!
Why we love it: Who says pumpkin spice has to be relegated to the fall? This spicy, warming blend of deliciously aromatic flavors translates perfectly into a satisfying and unbelievably creamy smoothie. The trick is to freeze the banana beforehand!
Hero ingredient: Pumpkin purée is loaded with nutrients and flavor.
Creamy Avocado Banana Green Smoothie by Minimalist Baker
Why we love it: Get your green on with this positively verdant smoothie. All you need is five ingredients and a blender for a smoothie that is so creamy, dreamy, and thick that it’s practically a milkshake.
Hero ingredient: Along with being delicious, avocado is full of fiber and healthy fats.
Great Lunches You Can Meal Prep on the Weekend
The secret to a next-level lunch is having a few key ingredients prepped ahead of time that you can just rewarm and throw together in the middle of a busy day. Scroll on for a couple of our fave combos that can be prepped easily ahead of time. You’ll thank yourself later.
Why we love it: This quinoa bowl is jam-packed with nutrients that give me the energy to get through even the most stagnant of workdays. It’s filling without feeling too heavy and full of flavorful ingredients that can be easily subbed with whatever you’ve got in your fridge.
Hero ingredient: You can slap a fried egg on just about anything and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll go crazy for it.
Why we love it: Even the most avid burger lovers can get into these healthy weekday wraps. A beef patty has been swapped for leaner ground chicken and bibb lettuce takes the place of a buttery bun. Asian-inspired herbs and spices add freshness and zest.
Hero ingredient: Fresh mint!
Why we love it: Cut your prep time by hours with a pre-made garlic and herb spread. It adds all the zing without any of the hassles. Sweet potato loves like myself go wild for this easy, sumptuous, and healthy lunch recipe.
Hero ingredient: Pomegranate seeds are Camille’s stealth little food stylist secret because they instantly make any dish look photoshoot-worthy. (Along with being absolutely delicious, of course.)
Why we love it: Need to pack an insane amount of green veggies into your body? Then look no further than this immune-boosting super soup. Your body will feel seriously good after consuming this nutrient-rich soup, meal prep over the weekend so all you have to do is reheat!
Hero ingredient: Top with fresh herbs to really elevate the experience.
Why we love it: Once those veggies are roasted and ready to go, it doesn’t get much easier than throwing together this delicious, wholesome lunch bowl. It’s a bright, beautiful, and tasty concoction you’ll turn to again and again.
Hero ingredient: The yogurt and herb dressing has some of our favorite flavors like dill, dijon mustard, and honey, and can be used in all kinds of different dishes.
Why we love it: Make a big pot of soba noodles over the weekend and have your fridge ready and packed with veggies for a week of filling and delicious lunches. It’s easy, tasty, and frankly, fun!
Hero ingredient: If you haven’t gotten on the buckwheat soba noodle train yet, it’s time to hop on. They are hearty and complement all sorts of raw and cooked veggies, are bursting with nutty flavor, and don’t need cheese and oil to beef up the taste.
Why we love it: If you’re on a grain bowl kick then you’ll want to take a look at this mix-and-match grain bowl formula that can be customized with your favorite ingredients. Start with your grain of choice—freekeh, farro, rice, quinoa, or couscous, and build from there.
Hero ingredient: I can’t resist a sweet potato-laden grain bowl, it’s just too good.
This post was originally published on September 12, 2020, and has since been updated.