15 balanced lunch ideas that take less than 10 minutes to throw together and will keep you going the rest of the afternoon!
I know that sometimes it can feel like a struggle to put together a lunch that will taste good, fill you up and get you through the rest of the afternoon.
As always, when I build my meals I aim to include: whole grains, protein (including plant-based and dairy), fruits/veggies and heart-healthy fats.
BROWN RICE VEGGIE SUSHI WITH EDAMAME & FRUIT
Literally the easiest meal ever. I buy mine pre-made in my local grocery store’s sushi section (most will even make a fresh one right in front of you if you ask!) but you can also get it from your favorite sushi restaurant. You’re getting veggies and heart-healthy fats from the sushi rolls, so I pair it with edamame for some protein and fruit to finish it out. So good!
GREEK SALAD WITH WHOLE GRAIN PITA WEDGES AND FRUIT
If you ask me, there’s nothing better than a Greek salad (though I’m Greek myself so I may be a bit biased!). I toss mixed greens with tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, feta cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, olive oil and red wine vinegar (you can also add chickpeas or chicken!). I like to pair it with whole grain pita bread and a piece of fruit (or 3!).
HUMMUS & VEGGIE SANDWICH ON WHOLE WHEAT BREAD WITH STRAWBERRIES
I love this sandwich because it’s an awesome way to pack TONS of veggies into a convenient little bite! To make it, I simply spread two slices of whole wheat bread with hummus then layer in mozzarella cheese, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, avocado, onion, tomato and pickles. Serve with a side of your favorite fruit!
SALAD WRAP WITH FRUIT
Take your favorite salad (like this easy mediterranean chopped salad!), mix it together with the dressing, chop it up (I use my food processor) then roll it into a whole grain wrap (Joseph’s Lavash is my favorite). Pair with fruit and you’ve got yourself a lunch!
FARMER’S SALAD WITH AN ORANGE
This farmer’s salad has everything you could want and more. Flavor, crisp veggies and tender whole grain croutons. You’re getting almost all your food groups in one bowl which I love. Pair with a piece of fruit and you’re good to go.
LOWER SODIUM LENTIL VEGGIE SOUP WITH WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS, FRUIT & A CHEESE STICK
I love Amy’s light in sodium lentil vegetable soup as a quick and easy lunch option (if lentils aren’t your thing, they make many delicious varieties). I pair with some whole grain crackers, a cheese stick and a piece of fruit and boom! Lunch is done!
TURKEY & CHEESE WHOLE WHEAT BAGEL SANDWICH WITH CARROTS & AN APPLE
This is a super simple but oh-so-satisfying meal. I love Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat bagels. I then add a slather of hummus, lower sodium Boar’s Head turkey breast, a slice of mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado. I pair it with a piece of fruit and some sliced veggies and lunch is served.
RICED SWEET POTATO & CAULIFLOWER BLACK BEAN QUESADILLA WITH PLAIN YOGURT, AVOCADO, SALSA & HOT SAUCE
Layer a whole wheat or corn tortilla with gently sautéed sweet potato & cauliflower rice, mexican blend cheese and roughly chopped canned black beans that have been drained and rinsed. Cook in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until cheese is melted and just browned on either side.
CHEESY SCRAMBLED VEGGIE EGGS, WHOLE GRAIN TOAST & FRUIT
I’ve talked about this before, but I love egg because they’re a perfect vehicle for sneaking some veggies in. I like to sauté chopped tomatoes and broccoli florets or spinach until tender, add eggs and then finish off with a little cheese. I serve with whole grain toast and a piece of fruit to balance it all out.
WHOLE GRAIN GRILLED CHEESE WITH FRUIT & A SIDE SALAD
I’m convinced grilled cheese and salad were made for each other. I take 2 slices of whole wheat bread, slather the outsides with earth balance then add 2 slices of mozzarella in the middle. I pair it with a side salad (whatever you like!) and top with olive oil and balsamic glaze then pair with a piece of fruit. If you really want to be crazy, chop the grilled cheese up like croutons over the salad – it’s sooo good.
CHILI TOPPED WITH MEXICAN BLEND CHEESE, PLAIN YOGURT, AVOCADO, SALSA & HOT SAUCE SERVED WITH TORTILLA CHIPS
Once again, I love Amy’s lines of chilis but you can also make a batch of your own over the weekend to eat all week. Regardless of what you choose, all you have to do is scoop it into a bowl, heat it, top with avocado, mexican blend cheese and plain yogurt then serve with some tortilla chips for crunch!
EASY WHOLE GRAIN FLATBREAD PIZZAS WITH A SIDE SALAD
These easy whole grain flatbread pizzas provide whole grains, veggies, protein and heart-healthy fat all in one bite! I like to pair it with a side salad for even more fiber but that’s not even necessary since you’re getting everything from the pizza that you need!
TUNA MELT ON WHOLE WHEAT BREAD SERVED WITH CHOPPED VEGGIES & A PIECE OF FRUIT
I make my tuna salad by mixing chunk light tuna with plain greek yogurt and spicy mustard. I also like to add diced red onion and celery or carrots for crunch. I then place on one slice of whole with bread and top with a slice of cheese and toast until the cheese is melted. I add lettuce and tomato (and sometimes pickles!) then place the second slice of bread on top! Serve with veggies and a piece of fruit.
READY-MADE BURRITO WITH AVOCADO, SALSA AND PLAIN YOGURT
I love Amy’s burritos (can you tell they’re one of my go-to convenience food picks?!) and Trader Joe’s Super Burrito. Then I just pair with plain greek yogurt, salsa and avocado and I’m done.
WHOLE GRAIN CHICKEN MEATBALL MELT WITH A SIDE SALAD
Once again you can make your own meatballs over the weekend to use all week, or buy a ready-made option (Aidell’s is my favorite). Warm, then simply place on top of 2 slices of whole wheat toast (a whole wheat sub would work too!), top with a little mozzarella and additional marinara sauce and pop under the broiler just until the cheese melts. Pair with a side salad and you’re ready to eat.5