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? 

curried chicken salad

It’s officially lunch week over here. A few weeks ago, we had breakfast week and I guess that means dinner week should be next! We’re starting things off with a superb curried chicken salad (it’s perfect over greens and easily made ahead of time) and later this week, I’ll be sharing a ton of ideas on what to pack for lunches – ideas designed for both kids and adults!

So the curried chicken salad.

Chicken Curry Salad | anutritionisteats.com

The location of my office? It’s a good one. (Except that the four mile drive can take 30-40+ minutes on a bad day!)

It’s a few blocks away from one of my favorite lunch spots, Clementine (I’ve created a number of copycat Clementine recipes: whole-grain oat muffins, lentil, beet & goat cheese salad and fall chicken salad) and it’s a few blocks away from my favorite mall in LA. Which is trouble, so I don’t visit the mall that often.

A visit to the mall = a visit to madewell = spending too much money. So I just avoid it all together, as much as humanly possible.

Chicken Curry Salad | anutritionisteats.com

In addition to some great stores, this mall has an incredible food court. It’s honestly the best food court EVER! I normally stick with the same greek salad, but recently I branched out and had lunch from Coral Tree Cafe.

They make a classic curried chicken salad, served over greens. So perfect. I had to have it every day for lunch the following week. The curry sauce is creamy and so flavorful, but the raisins make this salad. I am not normally a raisin fan, but in this version, they are the sweet bite this salad needs.

Chicken Curry Salad | anutritionisteats.com

Chicken salads are a favorite of mine because they can be made ahead of time and served with a simple salad for a healthy, protein-packed and easy lunch. And curried chicken salad just might be my favorite of the bunch. A hint of spice, a touch of exotic and a little excitement to 1pm on Wednesday.

Curried Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
  • ¾ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup diced carrots
  • ⅓ cup diced cucumber (remove seeds)
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • ⅔ golden raisins
Instructions
  1. Cook chicken breasts as desired and let cool and chop into small pieces. (I poached mine, directions here.)
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, water, curry powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Prepare and chop all vegetables.
  4. Toss together all ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Serve with greens, stuffed into a pita or with crackers.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 316 Fat: 11 Carbohydrates: 13 grams Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 41 grams

 

last of summer succotash

Last of Summer Succotash | anutritionisteats.comWe’ve done our fair share of housesitting since we moved to Los Angeles and in addition to enjoying the perks of a real HOUSE, central air, backyards and GRILLS it’s also really fun to hang out in a neighborhood different than ours.

New neighborhoods = new restaurants!

One of our absolute favorite restaurants to visit when we’re housesitting is Beer Belly in Koreatown. (Watch the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives video here.) In addition to their great selection of craft beers (the beer list is always changing) they have some tasty bar food. We’ve tried quite a bit of the menu and love the duck fat fries, the pork belly chips and (and on a healthier note) the summer sucka tash.

Last of Summer Succotash | anutritionisteats.com

Right away, it was one of those dishes that I just knew I’d need to make at home. Because it’s simple enough and SO tasty. And those two words (simple + tasty) are essentially my food motto.

Traditionally, succotash is a combination of lima beans, corn and garlic or onion, but there are a ton of succotash varieties out there. Some are made with tomatoes, some red peppers and some swap edamame for lima beans. I knew right away that I wanted to include edamame in my version to up the protein a bit. I also wanted to include some zucchini because this succotash is all about celebrating end-of-summer produce, not to mention it’s always a good idea to add more vegetables where you can. Beer Belly is definitely the only place I’ve seen succotash topped with chipotle mayo and pickled shallots and I definitely wanted to include them.

Last of Summer Succotash | anutritionisteats.com

And even though corn is in season, and it’s best fresh, I used my favorite roasted corn from Trader Joe’s. Shucking and cutting off corn on the cob isn’t particularly laborious, but remember my motto above… SIMPLE! If you want to use fresh corn – major kudos! If you want to use frozen corn – I get you!

Let’s continue with the simple theme. This dish definitely is. Pickle the shallots. (The night before!) Mix up the chipotle mayo. Sauté the veggies for a few minutes. Done!

Last of Summer Succotash | anutritionisteats.com

Serve it alongside some grilled protein, or with some quinoa for a meatless meal.

Summers over now, right?

Last of Summer Succotash
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup sliced)
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1½ Tbsp chipotle, chopped with sauce
  • 1½ cup corn kernels
  • 1½ cup cooked edamame
  • 1½ cup diced zucchini
  • 1½ cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt in a small jar.
  2. Add sliced shallots to the jar and let sit overnight or for at least a few hours.
  3. Stir together mayonnaise and chipotle peppers and set aside.
  4. Prep remaining ingredients.
  5. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan.
  6. Add vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for about .... minutes.
  7. To serve, top vegetables with a dollop of chipotle mayo and a few of the pickled shallots.
Notes
Pickled shallots should be made a day in advance if possible.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 143 Fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 15 Sugar: 4 Fiber: 4 Protein: 7

roasted corn, tomato & basil salad

Roasted Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

I need to brag for a minute.

I have successfully grown plants. Yes, plural! I’m not going to publicly call it a garden quite yet, but in my mind it is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to grow edible plants. Ok, I’ll tell you. Pretty much every year, I’ve tried – and failed – to grow vegetables, herbs, and really anything.

Roasted Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

But that all changed. And this year, I have jalapenos, flowers, succulents, a money tree, cactus and a big OL’ pot of basil. The basil just started multiplying. And then I started to panic…how do I use it fast enough? What can I do besides make pesto (which is a whole conversation in itself)?

So I took the best produce of summer and combined it all together in one, tasty salad.

Can we talk about summer for a minute though? We have done NOTHING. We haven’t gone to the beach, we haven’t been to Malibu, we haven’t even been to the Hollywood Bowl and we haven’t gone to one outdoor movie. We’ve visited our pool once – pathetic. Our favorite outdoor movie location isn’t happening this summer, which is really depressing, we have a few outdoor shows later this summer and we keep talking about the beach, but ugh, we really need to get going.

Roasted Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

Another important topic: not only is this the summer of plants, but it’s the summer of corn. And, I like it. Mexican Street Corn Crostini was a great start to the corn season and I think I’ve got at least one more in me!

But this corn salad could also be considered a salsa, a topping for anything grilled, scrambled eggs or a topping for a green or tomato salad. The possibilities are endless. (And what I really mean is, put this on anything and everything.)

Roasted Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

This recipe comes together really quickly, simply shake together the dressing and toss all ingredients together.

Enjoy! (Are you crossing things off on your summer-do list?)

Roasted Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 16 oz fire roasted corn, or about 4 cups of grilled corn
  • 16 oz grape tomatoes
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cups basil
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Sauté corn lightly if using frozen. Set aside.
  2. Slice tomatoes in half.
  3. Soak onion slices in cold water. (To lessen the intensity.)
  4. Thinly slice the basil into ribbons.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in small jar. Shake together.
  6. Stir together all ingredients but basil, then gently add basil and stir just until combined.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 93 Fat: 4 Saturated fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 14 Sugar: 5 Sodium: 11 Fiber: 2 Protein: 2 Cholesterol: 0