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12 Work Lunches You May Actually Look Forward To

Monday is fast approaching and you sigh resignedly at the thought of what work lunches to prepare for the week. No doubt, making something fresh, nutritious and easy to pack can be tough. However, it sure beats paying for lunch every day. 

With a bit of planning, you can put together a lineup of wholesome dishes for the week. 

What Makes a Great Work Lunch?

Two key components make the perfect lunchtime bite: the right ingredients and portion size.

You want your meal to be filling and contain a healthy balance of macronutrients to keep you energized and working efficiently through the afternoon. When selecting your lunch ingredients, combine fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats to keep your energy up during the day. 

Second is the correct portion sizing. Everyone has different calorie needs depending on their levels of activity. Decide what a healthy lunch portion looks like for you and stick to it. Pack too much and you may overeat, which isn’t good for your energy levels. Pack too little and you might run out of pep before the day ends.

12 Lunches for Your Next Workweek

Now you know what to consider for your work lunch prep, here are 12 simple, well-balanced recipes you’ll be excited to bring to work.

  1. Turkey Club Sandwich 

A turkey sandwich has everything you need — it’s nutrient-dense, delicious and fresh. Choose whole-wheat bread over white to increase the nutritional value. Include your choice of fresh veggies or fruit to round out the meal. 

  1. Chicken Caesar Wraps

Place leftover roast chicken and Caesar salad on a tortilla and wrap it up. Pack a small tub of garlicky tahini sauce. Tortillas and chicken are highly versatile, so feel free to swap the Caesar for a different salad. 

  1. Mason Jar Salads

This healthy work lunch packs a nutritious punch with different layers of crisp veggies, leafy greens, lean proteins and rich, creamy dressing. It also helps you control your portions so you don’t overeat. Layering is essential when prepping your Mason jar salad. The base layer should be the dressing so the rest of the ingredients stay as fresh as possible. 

  1. Spinach and Ham Frittata

Frittatas are simple to make and feature all the right ingredients for a healthy lunch — eggs, milk, veggies, cheese, garlic and ham. They’re great to eat, whether hot or cold. Add mushrooms to elevate the richness of the dish. 

  1. Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry

Recreate the magic of Chinese takeout for tomorrow’s work lunch with chicken, fresh veggies and sauce made with honey, sesame oil and soy sauce. This dish pairs nicely with brown rice or quinoa.

  1. Tuna and White Bean Salad

Incorporate healthy seafood into your lunchtime meals with some canned tuna over white bean salad. Bulk it up with a chopped-up hard-boiled egg, then add lemon pepper seasoning to introduce heat. Scoop onto a tortilla or between your favorite bread. 

  1. Warm Pasta Bowl

Pasta is a lunch staple. You can make it ahead, plus it holds up well during transport. Your favorite choice of pasta will do, but remember to include lean proteins and healthy fats to balance the carbs. Sprinkle some shaved Parmesan cheese to add more flavor. 

  1. Thai Crunch Bowl With Salmon

The Thai crunch bowl follows the popular Korean Bibimbap dish pattern, which features a bowl of rice with various toppings, including shredded carrots, peppers and cabbage neatly arranged on top. Add thinly sliced edamame and broiled salmon along with your toppings for this recipe. 

  1. Grilled Cheese and Red Pepper Sandwiches

Roasted red pepper and sharp cheddar cheese make a tasty combo that’ll have you impatiently waiting for lunchtime to roll by. Add some melted Monterey Jack cheese and a generous helping of sauteed onions and jalapeno for an indulgent meal. Round things out with a bowl of tomato soup or a veggie salad. 

10. Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl

This wholesome dish is light and healthy, perfect for that midday energy boost. Buddha bowls comprise several small portions of different foods, including spiced chickpeas, roasted sweet potato, avocado and quinoa. They’re full of exquisite flavors and are incredibly satisfying. Best of all, you can customize them with your favorite greens. Add fresh kale for crunchy freshness. 

11. Chicken Enchilada Casserole

The key to an irresistible chicken enchilada casserole is the sauce. You can easily make the enchilada sauce at home using ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, such as tomatoes, chili powder and spicy seasonings. Some people add fresh green chiles for a brighter taste, but feel free to make it as you like. Just pop in the microwave when it’s time for lunch. 

12. Baked Potato 

Baked potatoes are a cinch to make and are an excellent choice for those days when you just need comfort food to get through. The perfect baked potato is crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Store them in a pan covered with foil or plastic wrap in the fridge.

Make Lunchtime Exciting Again

Planning and prepping your work lunches doesn’t have to be boring. Get started with these two weeks’ worth of healthy, filling lunchtime delights.

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