What do you normally eat for lunch? A sad sandwich? Whatever’s in the vending machine? A frozen entree you zap in the microwave? Whatever you eat, it’s time to up your game — lunch shouldn’t be a chore! Click through for some great healthy, satisfying and delicious lunches.
Earlier: Freekeh Breakfast Bowl (Recipe)
Forget the standard lettuce-tomato-onion combination — it’s all about unusual vegetables here! Another great option is to build a sandwich around whatever veggies you have leftover from the night before. Roasted veggies pair nicely with tangy goat cheese.
1. Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwich
- 2 Slices whole grain bread
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Ounce fresh goat cheese
- 1/4 Cup scrubbed, peeled & shredded beet
- 1/4 Cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 Pear, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup arugula or spinach
- 1/2 Teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Brush one side of both slices of bread with oil. On the non-oiled side of each slice, spread cheese. Stack beets, carrots, pear and arugula/spinach on one slice of bread. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Top with second slice of bread.
Recipe Adapted From: Martha Stewart.
Soups are a great thing to make on the weekends — just portion it out on Sunday night, and there’s your lunch for the rest of the week.
5. Greek Egg Lemon Soup
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 egg
- juice of one whole fresh lemon
- 1 cup uncooked small grain rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring vegetable broth and water to boil in a 3 quart pot. Add rice. Cook on low 20 minutes.
2. Blend 1 egg in a blender. Add only one cup of HOT broth only into blended egg in blender, but do this with only a quarter cup at a time. Re-blend after each quarter cup. This is so the egg doesn’t curdle. Pour egg/broth mixture into the rest of the soup. Stir in lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Serve with lemon slices.
Whole Grain Salads.
When it comes to lunch salads, I personally prefer ones that have whole grains in them; otherwise, I’m reaching for unhealthy vending machine snacks by 1:30. This is one of my favorites, though I often just toss in whatever vegetables I have lying around and whatever grain strikes my fancy — quinoa, barley, brown rice, freekeh, etc — and improvise.
9. Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Shiitake Mushrooms
- 1/2 Cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 Cup olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Pounds fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps wiped clean with a paper towel and halved
- 1 1/2 Cups quinoa
- 1 Pound spinach
- 8 Ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1. Set oven rack to about 4 inches from the heat. Heat broiler. In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Transfer mushrooms to a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour on half of the dressing (reserving the rest) and toss. Broil for about 20-25 minutes, removing to toss a few times, until the mushrooms are tender and there’s almost no liquid remaining.
3. While the mushrooms are in the broiler, bring quinoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 3 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cover saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa.
4. In a large bowl, add spinach, mushrooms, quinoa and remaining dressing. Toss lightly to combine (the spinach will wilt a little). Add some feta and serve immediately.
Recipe Credit: Martha Stewart.
13. DIY Bento Box.
Let’s face it: not everyone has the time to whip up a satisfying soup or a gourmet sandwich before they’re out the door in the morning. That’s why bento boxes are a perfect alternative — a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and voila, a perfect lunch! Here are some ideas for what to pack:
- Cold Veggies: carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, celery, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, edamame, etc.
- Fruit: berries, apple slices, banana, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapples, orange slices, cherries, etc.
- Dips: Peanut butter, nutella, pesto, hummus, ranch, spinach-artichoke dip, babaganoush, salsa, salad dressing.
- Leftovers: last night’s roasted veggies, last night’s whole grains, last night’s lasagna, etc.
- Savory & Snacks: cheese squares, mixed olives, nuts, popcorn, trail mix, granola, crackers, rice cakes, tortilla chips, slices of french bread.
- Sweets: fruit, yogurt, a cookie or 3, raisins, dried fruit, bite size candies.
Meditteranean: Pita bread, hummus, olives, carrots.
Ants on a Log: Celery, raisins, peanut butter.
Mexican: Tortilla chips, salsa, mini-make-your-own-tacos: tortillas, veggies, shredded cheese.
Antipasto: Olives, cheese, last night’s marinated vegetables.
Japanese: Sushi, white rice, edamame, salad.