12 healthy lunch recipes

Boring lunches are so 2014. This year it’s all about tasty and healthy lunches.

We know the reasons we should pack our lunch instead of buying it out. (Healthier and cheaper!)

But it’s not easy. It takes planning and prepping. And most importantly, precious time. But as annoying as it is to actually do it, you’ll be so glad you spent a little time when you get to sit down to a tasty and healthy lunch. I prefer to set aside some time each Sunday to prep the components for lunches so that I only have to spend a few minutes getting lunch ready the night before.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

It’s also important to start small. It would be crazy to make a different meal each day of the week, so I aim to make the same lunch for three days and leave the other two days open for leftovers, frozen meals or meals out.

Here are some of my favorites that can be prepped ahead of time and easily packed up for work. Pick a new recipe to try each week and you’ll never suffer through a boring lunch again!

Green Salads:

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Summer Harvest Salad (Trader Joe’s Copycat!) I’m so glad I found this recipe again, it’s such a good one and it’s full of satisfying ingredients topped with a yummy mustard-y dressing.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Simple Kale Salad Sometimes you just want a simple kale salad…and here it is. It’s a superfood salad!

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Waldorf Salad Sweet, crunchy and full of fresh produce. Low in calories (300) and high in protein, if you’re looking for something light but filling, this is your salad.

Grain Salads:

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette Is it wrong to say that I love this salad because the arugula can be used as-is and it doesn’t require washing any vegetables?! It’s the truth. But it’s also delicious.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad Hmmm, so many good ingredients in this quinoa salad.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Black Bean Quinoa Salad This vegetarian salad has a whopping 23 grams of protein per serving. It’s a satisfying one! Quinoa, black beans and a little cheese – what else do you need in life?

Soups and Sandwiches:

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup Make a huge batch of this soup and freeze for many lunches to come. If you eat salads often, this vegetable-packed soup will be a nice change of pace.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Curried Lentil Turkey Soup Oh I love this soup. So much curry flavor going on and so many satisfying ingredients (lentils and turkey).

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Egg, Avocado & Cheese Toast This is about the only recipe that can’t be packed up for lunches, but I had to include it because it’s such a staple in my life. Add two of my favorite foods to avocado toast and I could eat this for every meal of my life!

Chicken Salads:

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Curried Chicken Salad If you like curry, you’ll love this curried chicken salad. Chicken salads are perfect for lunch because you can top a simple green salad with a dollop of chicken salad and you have quick lunch for a few days.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Spring Chicken Salad The best spring produce (peas and leeks) shine in this chicken salad that’s made with greek yogurt and a small amount of mayonnaise.

12 Healthy Lunch Ideas | anutritionisteats.com

Fall Chicken Salad This is a copycat from a favorite little cafe of mine and I might have to consider it my favorite. (I’m not sure I can fully commit but it’s definitely up there on the list.)

PS. If you want more… Healthy lunch ideas!

What’s your favorite healthy lunch? 

how to make the healthiest bowl of oatmeal

How to Make the Healthiest Bowl of Oatmeal | anutritionisteats.com

Put down the packet of oatmeal because today, I’m showing you how to make a healthy (the HEALTHIEST!) bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a darling in the nutrition world, and for good reason – each 150 calorie serving provides 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and is a whole-grain food. It’s also cheap, readily available and almost everyone likes it.

Tastes good. √
Cheap. √
Nutritious. √
Easy. √

How to Make the Healthiest Bowl of Oatmeal | anutritionisteats.com

I’m glad we’re on the same page now.

So what takes a bowl of oatmeal to the HEALTHIEST bowl of oatmeal?

How to Make the Healthiest Bowl of Oatmeal | anutritionisteats.com

It’s pretty simple. Some antioxidant-rich fruit, some protein in the form of greek yogurt, some chopped nuts for a dose of healthy fats (and crunch!) and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup if you need something a little sweet.

This upgraded bowl of oatmeal comes together in minutes, but will leave you satisfied until lunchtime.

Healthiest Bowl of Oatmeal
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 5-7 oz container of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp almonds
  • 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Prepare oatmeal as directed.
  2. Top oatmeal with berries and yogurt.
  3. Roughly chop almonds and sprinkle over oatmeal.
  4. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup if desired.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 390 Fat: 6 grams Carbohydrates: 62 grams Sugar: 30 grams Sodium: 72 mg Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 25 grams

PS. Looking for more healthy breakfasts? 8 Nutritious Breakfasts On the Go:

green beans vinaigrette with blue cheese

Green Beans Vinaigrette with Blue Cheese | anutritionisteats.com

Let’s ring in 2015 with something green, shall we?

It’s a total cliché, I know. But December wasn’t all cookies and egg nog either – things were actually quite healthy around here. Waldorf Salad, Veggies with a Charred Onion Dip, Blueberry Baked Oatmeal and not a single cookie or candy insight! (Well, I was eating them but not making them.)

Green Beans Vinaigrette with Blue Cheese | anutritionisteats.com

It’s no secret that I love green beans. (Always haricot verts actually, and there is a difference, albeit small.) Richie gets sick of them because week after week, I prepare them in the same exact way: lightly steamed, finished in a pan with a touch of (usually) butter, garlic salt (YES, the stuff that comes in a big green bottle) and red pepper flakes. On the nights that he makes them, they’re always much better! His secret?

Skipping the garlic salt and red pepper flakes. Butter, salt and pepper. That’s it.

Green Bean Vinaigrette with Blue Cheese | anutritionisteats.com

But this idea for green beans basically fell into my lap (it was on the back of the package) and since I’ve been loving the blue cheese + nut +vinaigrette combo lately I had to make it immediately. I need a life – I know!

It couldn’t be easier to make. Steam the green beans, whip up the vinaigrette (which honestly, is something I think you should always have around) and toss everything together. Dinner vegetables get an upgrade!

Green Beans Vinaigrette with Blue Cheese | anutritionisteats.com

 

Green Beans Vinaigrette with Blue Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup toasted and chopped nuts
Instructions
  1. Lightly steam green beans. (I microwave mine!)
  2. While the beans are cooking, whisk together shallot, mustard, vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper.
  3. Toss green beans with about ¼ cup of dressing. (You'll have extra dressing.)
  4. Top with blue cheese and chopped nuts.
  5. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

 

waldorf salad

Waldorf Salad | anutritionisteats.com

I love this time of year. The lights, the cheer – everyone seems so happy! And I can’t forget the constant stream of sweet treats. I don’t know about your office, but between the gift sweets and homemade sweets, it’s hard to stay away from the kitchen. And then there’s my own kitchen…which has seen its own constant stream of sweet treats lately. Dessert > Wine. (Only while pregnant.)

Waldorf Salad | anutritionisteats.com

But with all of the extra treats, it’s also a time of year when cutting back elsewhere needs to happen. Cookies > Other Carbs.

It’s not something that I actively keep track of, or even stress out about, but I make sure that salads are a staple for lunch and dinners are built around protein and vegetables. For me, it feels easy (and honestly, salads at lunch are the norm) but painless. I still get to enjoy the treats and while I’ll be gaining weight this year no matter what, at a minimum, I can feel good about fitting in some nutritious foods into each day.

Waldorf Salad | anutritionisteats.com

But it’s not the time to cut-back too much – meals still need to be filling! This salad, though pretty light in calories, still packs a protein and fiber punch, and it will keep you satisfied until your cookie snack! :)

Need more convincing? This salad is:

  • high in protein (32 grams!)
  • full of fresh produce (crunchy romaine and celery + sweet apples!)
  • healthy fats from almonds
  • light and tasty yogurt-based dressing

Enjoy every cookie. And every salad!

Waldorf Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1-lb chicken breasts
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (not greek)
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper
  • 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped almonds
Instructions
  1. Grill or broil chicken until cooked through.
  2. Let cool and thinly slice. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, yogurt and mayonnaise.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.
  5. Layer lettuce, celery, chicken, apples and almonds on each plate.
  6. Drizzle with dressing.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 308 Fat: 12 grams Carbohydrates: 19 grams Sugar: 12 grams Fiber: 5 grams Protein: 32 grams

How do you balance things this time of year?