Are you a serial lunch purchaser? Think toting a brown paper bagged lunch is passé? Buying lunch day after day may be the culprit causing your funds to go down. And, eating out or grabbing lunch at your local deli can lead to expanding waistlines and depleting bank accounts. Try out these nutritious, delicious, and energizing lunch ideas that will have your co-workers yearning to peek into your lunch box.
And, as a pro tip, use your lunch break — even if you have to sneak out for 15 minutes — to take a walk around the block, go to a nearby park, or simply eat your lunch away from your desk. Allow yourself time to reset and refuel.
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Very Veggie Sandwich
Sick of sodium-laden deli meat and saturated fat-filled mayo? Try this herbed white bean and carrot salad to put some pep into your lunchtime step.
2 slices of whole grain bread
4 thinly sliced slivers of avocado
Herbed white bean spread
Springs of cilantro
Zesty Carrot Salad
1 carrot, peeled and then shaved with a vegetable peeler into long thin ribbons
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp red onion, finely sliced
1 tsp olive oil
Herbed White Bean Spread
1 1/2 cups sodium-free canned, rinsed, and drained white beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of Kosher salt
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For the carrot salad, toss the carrots in a medium bowl with half of the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, combine the red onions with the rest of the lime juice, coriander, pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add onions to the carrot mixture and add the parsley. Toss to combine and drizzle with olive oil.
For the herbed bean spread, combine all ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until the mixture is smooth and cohesive.
To assemble spread 2 tbsp of bean puree on one slice of bread; place a handful of zesty carrot salad and cilantro on top. Lay avocado on the other slice of bread. Combine and enjoy.
In a salad rut? Try this crispy crunchy flavorful salad to spice up your lunch routine. Another pro tip: Place your dressing at the bottom of your lunch container and layer your ingredients with the pita crisps on the side. When it's lunchtime, add the pita crisps and give your container a few good shakes.
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Creamy Lemon Yogurt Dressing
1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
Za’atar Baked Pita Crips
1 whole grain pita, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tbsp Za’atar
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups little gems or baby romaine hearts, coarsely chopped
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sodium-free chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup cucumber, cubed
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, torn
For the dressing, whisk ingredients together to combine. If the dressing is too thick, add a little water — 1 tbsp at a time.
To make the Za’atar Baked Pita Crisps, heat oven to 350 degrees . Toss pita pieces with oil, Za’atar, and garlic powder. Bake for 10 minutes and finish with a pinch of salt.
Place 1-2 tbsps of dressing at the bottom of your bowl, add salad ingredients, pita crisps, and toss well.
This gluten-free lunch is great cold! Make ahead, pack, and grab on the go.
2 organic zucchini, peeled or sliced into spaghetti-like strands (use a spiralizer or a ribbed peeler)
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch kale, leaves washed and removed
2 cups mixed herbs (parsley, mint, cilantro, basil)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated with warm water and thinly sliced
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add garlic and boil for two to three minutes. Add the kale and cook for 10 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to fish the garlic and greens out and into a strainer. Transfer garlic, herbs, and kale to a food processor, add lemon zest and lemon juice. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil. Adjust seasonings with more lemon, salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Toss 1-2 tbsps pesto with the zoodles, top with sundried tomatoes and Parmesan.
If you're bringing the soup to work for lunch, pack the chickpeas separately and add them before eating.
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp ginger, diced
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp turmeric
2 clove garlic, diced
1lb carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/3 cup carrot juice
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground white pepper
1 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Melt coconut oil. Add turmeric and toast spice for one minute. Add ginger, onion, and garlic and sauté for five minutes until softened, but not browned. Add carrots, vegetable broth, and carrot juice. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes until carrots are soft.
Turn heat off and let cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, puree soup. Stir in vinegar. Bring soup back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with dill and poppers as garnish.
Za’atar Spiced Chickpea Poppers
1 15oz BPA and sodium-free can of chickpeas
1 tbsp neutral high heat cooking oil (non-GMO canola or grapeseed)
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pimenton or paprika
1/2 tbsp za'atar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse and thoroughly dry the chickpeas. In a bowl, whisk to combine the oil and spices. Toss the chickpeas in the bowl and coat. Spread the chickpeas out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment. Roast for around 30 minutes, tossing every five minutes until the poppers are browned and crunchy but still have a slight give.
Miranda Hammer — a clinical dietician, nutritional nerd, and founder of Crunchy Radish — is constantly in pursuit of the most wholesome foods out there. Ahead, she shares some of her must-know, feel-good recipes.