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? 

italian chicken sausage & vegetable soup

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup | anutritionisteats.com

Back when we lived in Minnesota, soups were a regular lunch rotation while I suffered through winters.

Now that winter = 60 degrees, I find myself forgetting to make soups and stews, always waiting until it “cools down just a bit more.” Well, no more. I figured that since my office always feels cold, there’s no reason to wait until it cools down.

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup | anutritionisteats.com

The (very hot!) day I decided to make this soup, I watched Giada make a Vegetable & Barley Soup and I took two things from the episode: 1) Use a parmesan rind to help flavor soup (which I’ve always meant to do) and 2) Use the sausage as a topping instead of letting it simmer in the soup.

Like any good lunch or dinner – it’s healthy and tasty!

italiansausagesoup3

I wanted the soup to be full of vegetables as well as a good source of protein and fiber. So it’s simple. Fill the soup with tender-crisp vegetables and throw in some chicken sausage for a protein boost, it’s a filling combo. It happens to be gluten-free and paleo, if you’re into those things!

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 1 heart of celery (2 cups chopped)
  • about 1 pound of carrots (2 cups chopped)
  • 10-12 cups of chopped kale
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • parmesan rind (optional)
  • 12 oz italian chicken sausage
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add kale, broth, water, tomatoes and parmesan rind and simmer for about 35-40 minutes.
  5. While soup is cooking, thinly slice chicken sausage in half lengthwise and then chop.
  6. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of olive in in medium pan and sauté about 3-4 minutes, until brown, set aside.
  7. To serve, top serving of soup with chicken sausage and parmesan cheese if desired.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 370 Fat: 17 grams Carbohydrates: 35 grams Fiber: 10 grams Protein: 25 grams

 

new product favorites (april)

JustMayo-RetailJar

hampton creek just mayo. I bought this because I thought it was real, homemade mayo. Turns out it is vegan mayo. I contemplated taking it back to Whole Foods because I’m not usually a huge fan of vegan mayo, but figured I’d give it a try. It was DELICIOUS. And sorry honey, I never told you it was vegan. I’m pretty much counting down the days until I can buy their chipotle version, I love the packaging, the flavor, the texture, blah, blah, blah! I’m obsessed!

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

wildbrine sauerkraut. I tried this a few years ago at Expo, and am so glad it’s in stores now. The Dill Pickle is by far my favorite and it is such a delicious way to get in some fermented foods in on a daily basis. (Side note: Has anyone made their own raw sauerkraut? I’m tempted!)

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

everlane frozen wheat grass shots. These come frozen (like an ice cube) and can easily be tossed into a juice or smoothie. I love that I can add a bit of concentrated wheat grass without the hassle of dealing with wheat grass. I don’t really care for the flavor of straight wheat grass, but these are really mild and per the website, this is because it is grown outside instead of indoors like most wheat grass. 

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

shell-n-all fried peanuts. I found a bag of these at World Market and after trying shell-on peanuts in Napa, I’ve been trying to find something similar. They are crunchy and delicious – and the nutrition stats are similar to regular roasted peanuts. Score! (7 Facts You Want to Know about Peanuts)

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

vega one vanilla. I’ve been loving Vega’s “all-in-one nutritional shake” which is full of protein, fiber, greens, enzymes, probiotics and a slew of vitamins and minerals. (Both the chai and vanilla are fantastic!) I keep things simple and love vanilla vega one + frozen strawberries + spinach + coconut/almond milk.

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

chipotle garlic sauce. We found this line of spicy sauces, rubs and snacks at a local LA event, and man the Chipotle Garlic Sauce is so good. I loooooove it on chicken drumsticks. (Even more so than buffalo sauce which was my favorite!) They also have some fun popcorns but beware, even my spice-loving brother couldn’t handle the ghost pepper candied popcorn! 

Have you recently tried a new food that you love and/or I NEED to try? 

haricot verts with shallot vinaigrette

Haricot Verts with Shallot Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I know I should probably say that kale or swiss chard or something with an insane amount of antioxidants is my favorite vegetable but if I had to name a favorite – and only one favorite vegetable – it would be haricot verts. (And not green beans, haricot verts.)

If you aren’t familiar with haricot verts, they are a thinner, more delicate, and some say more flavorful, french green bean.

Haricot Verts with Shallot Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

Basically, I LOVE THEM!!!! 

We eat them every week. And typically prepare them the same way: lightly steamed and then sautéed in a bit of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper. But sometimes I switch it up.

These haricot verts, are lightly steamed and tossed with a shallot vinaigrette and can be eaten warm, chilled or at room temperature. They are delicious and I love that they can be made ahead of time.

Haricot Verts with Shallot Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

Serve them alongside a protein for dinner and get ready to fall in love with haricot verts!

nutrition facts (4 servings): 121 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein,  7 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Haricot Verts with Shallot Vinaigrette

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Keywords: steam side gluten-free low-carb paleo

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 Tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 12 oz haricot verts

Instructions

Whisk together all ingredients but haricot verts until emulsified. (Or shake together in a small jar.)

Lightly steam haricot verts in a glass bowl with a splash of water for 2-3 minutes, depending on how done you like them.

Drain off water and toss with dressing.

Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

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