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Quick Lunch Ideas

Quick Lunch Ideas

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These lunch ideas are ready in a matter of minutes

Aurelie Jouan

Ceviche makes the ultimate quick and healthy meal.

Resist the temptation to skip lunch — it can cause you to overeat (and choose unhealthy foods) later in the day. Instead, try a delicious and filling homemade lunch — we have five quick ideas to get you started.

Avocado Tartines

You can’t talk about lunch ideas that are ready in matter of minutes without talking about avocado toast. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to customize to taste.

Denver Omelette

Who ever said omelettes are just for breakfast? This ham- and veggie-loaded version makes the perfect, filling lunch.

Italian Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

If you have time to boil pasta, you have a time to make a delicious lunch. The balsamic vinegar adds a tart, complex flavor that complements the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, the saltiness of the ham, and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella perfectly.

Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich

This sandwich is a brown-bag favorite for a reason — it’s a filling and flavorful lunch that you can whip up in a matter of minutes. Plus, it gets a healthy twist with the addition of whole-wheat bread and fresh alfalfa sprouts.

Shrimp Ceviche

All you need to do make this healthy and flavorful lunch is mix chopped shrimp with lime juice and let it “cook” for 15 minutes. Then, stir in a few chopped vegetables and an optional shot of tequila and serve with tortilla chips.

52 Creative (and Easy!) Ideas for Lunch at Work That'll Make Everyone Jealous

I try to pack my lunch for work as often as possible. But there have been weeks in which I buy it, ignoring my dwindling bank account. Because, truth be told, I’m only human and going through the effort of thinking up ideas for lunch at work and making my own food seems like a lot at 7 AM.

Yes, this is even though I know it’s good for my wallet and for my health. And yes, even though I know that the healthier you are, the more productive you are. (Nothing like a junk food coma to slow you down hours before an important deadline.)

So, in effort to break my bad habit (and yours!), I’ve put together a list of 52—52!—ideas to inspire you. And because I’m just like you when it comes to making excuses, I stuck to three rules when selecting each recipe:

1. It Needs to Be Cost-Effective

There are recipes out there that look and taste great, but the ingredients required are absurdly expensive. And here you were trying to save money. If you’re buying them in bulk and can use them for several different meals, that’s great. But if not, you might as well have just grabbed it from the restaurant down the street.

2. It Needs to Be Easy to Make

Just as you want to keep the cost down, you also want to keep the time it takes to make it low as well. Nobody wants to spend hours every night preparing lunch for the next day. That’s a habit just asking to be broken. So, with the exception of slow cooker options, they’re also pretty fast.

3. It Needs to Be (Somewhat) Exciting

No, I don’t think every lunch needs to be a gourmet meal. And I don’t think every bite needs to be the most mind-blowing sensory experience ever. But you also don’t want to pack a lunch where you’re just like, “Eh, I’m just not in the mood for that.” And then you pretend you didn’t bring it and you go buy a better one (admit it—you’ve done it).

So, check out the list below for some lunch ideas that are bound to make you the most enviable person at work and prevent you from breaking the bank.

15 Quick and Easy Lunch Recipes

Do you ever end up spending $15 on a Chinese chicken salad during your lunch break for about 2 pieces of chicken? It’s the absolute worst – overpaying for a mediocre lunch for one serving while you’re at work. But with these recipes here, you can make your own work lunch in minutes, and even have extra for the next few days. It’s way cheaper, tastier and healthier. You can’t beat that!

1. BBQ Chicken Salad – This healthy, flavorful salad comes together so quickly, and it is guaranteed to be a hit with your entire family. [GET THE RECIPE.]

2. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Sandwich – From the plump grapes to the sweet cranberries, this lightened up sandwich won’t even taste healthy. [GET THE RECIPE.]

3. Easy Burrito Bowls – Skip Chipotle and try these burrito bowls right at home with an epic chipotle cream sauce. [GET THE RECIPE.]

4. Caprese Avocado Salad – A refreshing salad loaded with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and avocado with a sweet balsamic reduction. [GET THE RECIPE.]

5. Steak Fajita Salad – All the amazing flavors of a fajita conveniently in a hearty salad, served with the creamiest cilantro lime dressing. [GET THE RECIPE.]

6. Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Asparagus – A quick and easy pasta dish loaded with plenty of veggies and mozzarella cheese. [GET THE RECIPE.]

7. Quinoa Fruit Salad – This protein-packed quinoa salad is balanced with a tart vinaigrette and refreshing mint. [GET THE RECIPE.]

8. Chinese Chicken Salad – Restaurant quality that you can easily make right at home as a budget-friendly meal. [GET THE RECIPE.]

9. Kale Pesto Egg Salad – The addition of kale pesto in this egg salad is a wonderful, healthy twist to the traditional version. [GET THE RECIPE.]

10. Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad – A quick and easy Greek-inspired quinoa salad, perfect for Meatless Monday or any other day of the week. [GET THE RECIPE.]

11. Spicy Roasted Shrimp Sandwich with Chipotle Avocado Mayonnaise – A loaded shrimp sandwich with a kick of heat and a double dose of avocado. [GET THE RECIPE.]

12. Black Bean Quinoa Salad – A light and healthy quinoa salad tossed in a refreshing orange vinaigrette, chockfull of protein and fiber. [GET THE RECIPE.]

13. Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette – Perfect as a light lunch or even a meatless Monday dinner option. [GET THE RECIPE.]

14. Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad – A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version. [GET THE RECIPE.]

15. Chicken Pesto Sandwich – Lightened up with Greek yogurt, this hearty sandwich is one of the quickest, most tastiest meals you’ll ever have. [GET THE RECIPE.]

70 Tasty, Healthy Lunch Ideas That Will Truly Keep You Full Until Dinner

Further proof that delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-make lunches are possible.

Getting bored of the same lunch salad every day? Instead of plowing through uninspired lunches for yet another week, try mixing up your midday meal routine. And who said a healthy lunch always needs to be a salad? These crazy delicious soup, sandwich, and pasta recipes are proof that diet-friendly lunches are much more than just a bed of greens. Not only are these lunches super easy, they're also super quick &mdash you can throw them together in a few spare minutes in the morning, or set aside a little bit of meal prep time the night before. Either way, you'll start looking forward to getting to eat these healthy and easy lunch ideas.

The heartiest items on our lunch menus are chock-full of lean protein, which can help you feel satisfied all the way up until dinner &mdash think staples like chicken and salmon, rich dairy sources including cottage cheese and yogurt, and nutrient-packed add-ons like seeds (i.e. sunflower seeds!) and legumes. And don't be surprised if you see a lot of ingredients with lots of fiber, like avocado and chickpeas, as they're low in calories and also aid in helping you feel wholly satisfied.

Not only will you fill up on the good stuff (that means no more post-lunch crash!), but these easy-to-prep recipes are seriously affordable, which means you'll have more money to spend when the weekend rolls around. Of course, healthy eating doesn't stop at noon: start your day off with a healthy breakfast recipe and then keep it going with one of these low-calorie dinners.

RELATED: Sign up for our membership club GH+ to get a first look at seasonal, healthy recipes from the magazine.

Healthy Lunch Recipes

There’s more to lunch than sandwiches and salads (although those aren't so bad, either). Whether you’re at home, headed to the office or packing a brown bag lunch for school, these delicious recipes are sure to fit the bill.

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Photo By: Antonis Achilleos

Photo By: Antonis Achilleos

Photo By: Jason Clairy ©Clairy Productions Inc.

Chipotle Veggie Burritos

Burritos can be a healthy, vegetarian dish when you load them up with wholesome ingredients like rice, beans and corn.

Lemon-Herb Rice Salad

Fresh herbs, like mint and basil, add bursts of fresh flavor to this simple salad. Make sure you leave room for leftovers &mdash the dish tastes even better the next day!

Miso Soup

Forget take-out and the packaged stuff. Our Miso Soup is a cinch to make, and clocks in at just 115 calories per serving.

Keto Tuna Salad Cups

Tuna salad meets BLT in this keto-friendly mashup. Hang on to that oil in the tuna can for a flavor bonus.

Lightened-Up Stuffed Peppers

White rice, lentils and ground beef bulk up the filling for this gluten-free lunch.

Tex-Mex Chicken Quinoa

Top a mixture of cooked chicken and quinoa with heart-healthy avocado and black beans for a filling lunch that&rsquos ready in a flash.

Kale and Apple Salad

Veggie Lover’s Club Sandwich

Stacked high with veggies, this sandwich is as appealing to look at as it is to eat. With luscious avocado spread and smoky tofu, there's no bacon or deli meat required.

California Grain Salad

This sunny salad can brighten up the dreariest desk lunch. Thanks to rice cereal, veggies and goat cheese, there&rsquos a combination of flavors and textures to enjoy.

Vegetarian Chili

Beans and vegetables add a rich bite to this meatless chili. With fiery spices and a dash of hot sauce, it's guaranteed to power you through the afternoon.

Nordic Shrimp Toast

These decorative toasts have all the flavors of Nordic cuisine and no foraging is required! Delicate shrimp get double-hacked: first, they are quickly cooked in a covered pot off the stovetop and then sliced en masse using a trick involving two plastic lids. A protein-packed snack or part of lunch.

Chicken Tacos with Avocado Salad

These quick-and-easy tacos make the perfect midday meal. Packed with protein and veggies &mdash and topped with salsa and sour cream &mdash they&rsquore healthy and flavorful.

Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Enjoy pizza night a little more with Katie Lee&rsquos gluten-free, cauliflower version.

Hummus and Grilled Vegetable Wrap

Israeli Couscous with Cherries

Gem-like fresh cherries, parsley, red onions and scallions make for a fresh and colorful salad when combined with Israeli couscous.

Breadless Peanut Butter and Chia Jam Sandwiches

Satisfy a PB&J craving with these high-fiber sandwiches (bread not necessary). The chia jam is quick to make and can be stored for up to 3 days- spread on anything you would regularly eat with jam to add extra fiber.

Pork and Broccoli Grain Bowl

A fresh, slightly spicy grain bowl adds a fun zing to your lunch break. The pork, quinoa and sweet potato combo are enough to keep you satisfied, but not so heavy that you&rsquoll fall asleep at your desk.

Sweet Potato Toast with Steak, Roasted Peppers and Arugula

Turn leftover steak into a bright and healthy, low-carb lunch with this sweet potato toast topped with sweet red peppers and spicy arugula.

Vegetable Noodle Soup

Make this childhood favorite in less than 20 minutes.

Garden Egg Salad

Celery, radishes, romaine and sprouts add a heart-healthy crunch to this vegetarian lunch. Don&rsquot skip the mustard in this egg salad &mdash just a little bit adds loads of flavor!

Ellie's Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Lentil Toast

Though we love avocado toast, we&rsquore always excited to try fun alternatives. This recipe uses mashed lentils, tomato and scallion for a protein-packed flavor punch.

Broccoli Melts

These ooey-gooey vegetarian sandwich melts are made with broccolini and two kinds of cheese, but they clock in at just 261 calories and 12 grams of fat each.

Monte Cristo Crepes

A raspberry mustard and side salad make an excellent accompaniment to these cheesy, meaty crepes.

Antipasti Penne

This healthy, budget-friendly pasta dinner is inspired by pricey antipasti platters. We love the spicy-garlicky flavor the soppressata brings &mdash lots of bang for your buck!

Grilled Spiced Chicken and Plums

Fire up the grill &mdash and cook more than just meat! Sweet stone fruits (like plums) go great with honey-glazed chicken.

Lightning-Quick Lunch Ideas to Ensure You Actually Take a Break

A recent survey reveals 1 in 4 Americans working from home don't take time to step away from their desks for lunch. Use these quick and easy lunch ideas to ensure you're getting some quality food (even if you're short on time).

I go more days without taking a lunch break (or any breaks at all, for that matter) than I care to admit. This was already the case when I was working in an office but turns out to be even more true after working from home for several months now. According to a survey of 2,000 Americans working from home conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Freshly last month, it turns out I&aposm not alone in the non-lunch-taking department. The survey revealed 1 in 4 (29% to be more specific) of Americans aren&apost taking meal breaks, with 6 in 10 feeling guilty for taking any type of break during the workday. And those that do eat? Well, they either wind up just eating at their desks to keep working (me!) or order some expensive takeout. Freshly&aposs director of nutrition Brooke Scheller, D.C.N, says lunch is a critical meal during the day. "Not recognizing the importance of pausing for lunch can sabotage your afternoon productivity and even be the cause of evening overindulgence or stress eating later in the day," she says.

Scheller points out what we eat for breakfast, lunch, and our snacks throughout the day "plays a huge role in your ability to focus and concentrate." By not taking time for lunch, you&aposre more likely to experience that dreaded afternoon slump, causing you to munch on less-healthy snacks like chips or candy. "If we don’t eat enough throughout the day, we tend to make up for it later in the day," Scheller says. "So if you’ve skipped lunch, but then overdo it on evening snacks, there’s a biochemical reason why this happens. Focus on your meals throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to overindulge at night."

Since 2 out of 3 in the survey admit to not knowing what to make for lunch during a busy workday, here are some quick lunch ideas to help fuel the rest of your workday (and prevent overeating later).

16 Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas

Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich

When I'm in a rush, this chickpea salad is one of my go-to recipes. It is easy to make - and if you don't have the extra couple of minutes to chop celery and onions, you leave ɾm out! Very customizable.

5-Minute Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup

If you're craving a hot lunch but only have 5 minutes, this is the perfect recipe for you. If soup doesn't fill you up, get this on the stove and prep one of the sandwich recipes in this post while it's cooking. Pack the soup in a Thermos to keep it warm.

11 Quick Lunches to Bring to Work

These recipes are so stinking easy – from chicken burrito bowls, lo mein meal prep, and even Starbucks copycat chicken and hummus boxes! You will save so much money yet all your co-workers will be so jealous of your healthy, homemade lunch!

Guys, there’s no need to overpay for lunch anymore! I have you completely covered with the best work lunches ever! Hello, homemade lo mein and Korean beef bowls? Yes, please!

1. Thai Chicken Buddha Bowls – Healthy, hearty and nutritious bowls filled with whole grains, plenty of veggies, and a simple peanut sauce that is absolutely to die for. [GET THE RECIPE.]

2. Copycat Starbucks Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box – Filled with hummus, chicken strips, cucumber, tomatoes and wheat pita. And you get to spend just a fraction of what you would spend at Starbucks. [GET THE RECIPE.]

3. Asian Meal Prep Bowls – Teriyaki chicken, broccoli, bell pepper and brown rice. The sauce is also completely homemade. [GET THE RECIPE.]

4. Tuna Salad Meal Prep – Bikini-friendly lunch boxes with homemade Greek yogurt tuna salad, egg, almonds, cucumber and apple. You’re welcome. [GET THE RECIPE.]

5. Lo Mein Meal Prep – Again, bikini-friendly here. This lo mein is made SKINNY with whole wheat spaghetti and loaded with chockfull of veggies. [GET THE RECIPE.]

6. Chicken Burrito Bowl Meal Prep – Think of this as healthier (and cheaper!) Chipotle bowls that you can have all week long. Save time and calories here. [GET THE RECIPE.]

7. Steak Cobb Salad Meal Prep – Loaded with protein, nutrients and greens. Plus, this is low carb, easy peasy and budget-friendly. [GET THE RECIPE.]

8. Turkey Spinach Pinwheels Meal Prep – The perfect pinwheels with all the nutritious snacks you possibly need to get through the rest of the workday. [GET THE RECIPE.]

9. Taco Meal Prep Bowls – The easiest taco bowls you can ever prep ahead of time with the shortest ingredient list. [GET THE RECIPE.]

10. Korean Beef Bowl Meal Prep – Tastes like Korean BBQ in meal prep form at just the fraction of the cost, and you can have it ALL WEEK LONG. [GET THE RECIPE.]

11. Greek Chicken Meal Prep Bowls – Packed with everyone’s favorite fresh Greek flavors – with chicken, cucumber salad and homemade Greek yogurt tzatziki sauce. [GET THE RECIPE.]

Lemon Broccoli Rotini

Cooked in plant milk and vegetable broth with mushrooms, garlic, and onion, this one-pot pasta dish has extra hearty flavors, while tarragon, lemon zest, and juice take it to the next level.

View Recipe

50 of Our Easiest Lunch Ideas

For many, the question “What’s for dinner?” is top of mind day in and day out. But for me it’s “What’s for lunch?” Even as someone who finds great joy in cooking and preparing meals — and does it for a living — the question befuddles me. Most days, I find myself staring into the fridge hoping lunch will magically present itself. Truth be told, I settle for hummus and carrot sticks more often than I care to admit.

If you, like me, need some inspiration when it comes to the midday meal, look no further. Here are 50 of Kitchn’s best and easiest lunch ideas. Whether it’s a big, veggie-packed salad you crave a cold, crisp sandwich or something else entirely that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know you want it to be healthy and delicious, I am pretty sure you’ll find what you’re looking for among these recipes.

And as for what keeps them easy, some of these lunches can be pulled together in mere minutes, while others rely on just a few pantry ingredients and whatever you’ve got lingering in the crisper, and some can be made entirely in advance and leave you with leftovers for days to come.

30 Cheap Lunch Ideas That Taste Great without Breaking the Bank

Do you tend to spend a little bit too much money at lunchtime? During your break do you like to pop down to the nearest café and buy a croissant that costs more than it should and a side salad that empties your wallet? You’re not the only one!

Lunchtime can be an expensive time of day if you don’t plan ahead. However, luckily, there are many ways to save money at lunchtime while still eating a delicious and hearty meal. Whether it’s a sandwich, wrap, homemade soup, or something else unique, you can prepare your own lunch with fresh ingredients and a low budget.

I recommend preparing a week’s worth of lunches on a Sunday and then popping them into the freezer so they are ready to grab and you don’t resort to going to that expensive café down the street. For a little help on what you can prepare, take a look at the 30 cheap lunch ideas listed below.

1. Chicken Ceasar Wrap

This simple wrap is filling, nutritious, cheap, easy-to-make, and oh so yummy! What’s not to love? The fresh taste of Caesar salad wrapped up with tender chicken!

2. No Mayo Avocado Tuna Melt

A simple sandwich that is perfect for your lunchtime cravings. Cheap and easy and good for you too! This no mayo tuna melt has fresh vegetables and a fresh taste.

3. Hummus and Chicken Wrap

Wraps and sandwiches are always my go-to lunchtime meals. Not only are they easy on the wallet, they are an excellent way to fill your stomach while still eating healthy.

4. Chicken Lo Mein

A quick and easy noodle dish that will satisfy your Chinese take-out food craving without the expensive bill. This is a great meal to make in large quantities and store for a quick meal on the go.

5. Paleo Salad

A fresh summer salad that has only a few ingredients. A healthy way to energize your mind and give your body the nutrients it’s looking for.

6. Honey Sesame Chicken

A great way to make-up a week’s worth of lunches. Protein, starch, and a vegetable, the classic and balanced meal that is a perfect way to get all the nutrients you need!

7. Chicken and Avocado Salad

A salad mixed with the vibrant green of delicious avocados with the tender juiciness of chicken and a blast of freshness with lime and cilantro.

8. Avocado Egg Salad

The only thing better than egg salad is egg salad with avocado on fresh bread. That’s why this cheap lunch meal is a must-try!

9. BBQ Chicken Tacos

Tacos are one of the yummiest meals you can make for a good price! They fill your stomach and don’t empty your wallet! These chicken tacos have lots of tasty ingredients and wonderful BBQ flavor.

10. Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

You can easily make 3-4 meals from a cheap $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco or other large supermarkets. One of those meals could be this delicious buffalo chicken flatbread!

11. Chicken Salad Croissant

It can be easy to find croissants for a reasonable price, especially if you buy in bulk. Throw a handmade chicken salad on it and boom! You’ve got yourself a delicious lunch!

12. Chicken Cream Cheese Taquitos

Crunchy Taquitos with a creamy inside that will melt in your mouth. These taquitos are a cheesy treat that your taste buds will thank you for!

13. Salsa Verde Enchiladas

Just 4 simple ingredients and less than 30 minutes of your time before you’re chomping down on these melt-in-your-mouth enchiladas!

14. Burrito Bowl

This Burrito Bowl is totally versatile, made of items you have wasting away in your fridge, and whatever is on sale at the supermarket. Add your favorite Mexican flavors!

15. Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This comforting soup is easy to prepare and budget-friendly! Just like a loaded potato, add your favorite toppings and enjoy.

16. Double Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

This hearty soup is so filling that you will have leftovers for an entire week’s worth of lunches! Easy to freeze, cheap, and most importantly, oh so delicious!

17. Ham & Cheese Pockets

A great lunchtime snack for you and the kids. These can easily be made ahead and frozen so they are ready to grab when it’s time for a lunchtime break.

18. Chicken Burritos

These Chicken Burritos are the perfect on-the-go meal filled with protein, nutrients, and bursting with flavor! Freezer friendly and budget friendly too!

19. Turkey Cucumber Roll-Ups

The perfect budget-friendly picnic snack! Turkey salad all rolled up in a fresh cucumber wrap. This is a light, healthy, and tasty meal to bring to your next daytime potluck.

20. BLT Lettuce Wrap

Skip the bread on your regular BLT sandwich and substitute it for a healthier (and cheaper) option! Lettuce makes a perfect wrap to deliver the bacon lettuce and tomato to your mouth.

21. Paleo Chicken Salad

This no-cook meal is the perfect remedy for your lunchtime hunger. Light, fresh, and delicious, this salad is paleo-friendly and easy on the wallet.

22. Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers

Only 3 ingredients to make these lemony fresh Chicken Skewers! They pair lovely with steamed rice or a fresh spring salad.

23. BLT Stuffed Avocados

Oh, my, goodness! These BLT Stuffed Avocados look so delicious! They are very filling since avocados are packed with healthy fats and refreshingly good.

24. Fiesta Chicken Salad

This Chicken Salad is no-dairy and has an awesome taste. A great lunchtime snack that is easy to pack and even easier to eat!

25. Antipasto Salad

This salad may look luxurious (and probably taste luxurious too) but you’d be surprised how easy it is to make and how little it costs!

26. Spicy Tuna and Tomato Burgers

Tuna is a wonderful ingredient when you’re worrying about your budget. It is healthy, cheap, and full of healthy proteins. These burgers are an amazing lunchtime option that you and your family will love!

27. Chicken and Pepper Stir-fry

Not every meal has to be complex, it can be simple as a couple of main ingredients mixed with your favorite spices or sauces and voila!

28. Tuna Avocado Boats

I don’t know about you but I am avocado obsessed! So, when I find a cheap and healthy recipe that includes one of my favorite ingredients I get pretty excited. These Avocado Tuna Boats are the perfect lunchtime snack.

29. Sweet Potato Chili

A paleo and whole30 dish that is definitely going to be a family favorite! It’s hearty, healthy, and easy on the wallet. A great comfort meal for a cold winters day.

30. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Buy these ingredients in bulk and freeze the leftovers to save even more money and to always have something ready to eat in the fridge. A warm soup makes a wonderful lunch especially when flavored with the buttery taste of butternut squash.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of budget-friendly lunch meals that are still delicious, nutritious, and filling! Whether it’s a warm soup for a weekend’s afternoon, a fresh salad to bring to work, or a tasty sandwich to send with your kids to school, there are plenty of ways to eat a tasty lunch without breaking the bank.

With simple and easy-to-find ingredients you can be sure that it will only take moments to prepare a cheap meal.


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