10 Healthy and Delicious Lunch Ideas for Work ...

Healthy lunch ideas for work help you eat right and keep up your energy throughout all those long, hectic days at work. Whether you work out of the home or in it, you no doubt find it's more convenient to eat convenient lunches rather than healthy ones – fast foods or cafeteria choices filled with fats and carbohydrates. If you find yourself feeling tired, sluggish, and unable to concentrate, that could be the cause. That's why eating healthy at work is so important. You can find healthy foods at restaurants and even if the office cafeteria, but often you'll have more luck if you pack your own. Whatever you choose, here are some great healthy lunches for work.

1. Wheat Berry Salad with Red Fruit

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Here's one of my favorite healthy lunch ideas for work, one that's particularly tasty on warm days. It's cool and refreshing, and although the ingredients make it sweet, it also has a wonderful amount of tartness. You get the sweetness from the wheat berries, which perfectly complements the tart bite of apples, cranberries, and a lovely raspberry vinaigrette. The crunch of pecans is delightful, and you can offset some of the fruity flavor by serving the salad over arugula or the lettuce of your choice.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 cups Cooked Wheat Berries, (recipe follows)
1 large Fuji apple, unpeeled, diced
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted (see Tip) and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation:
Combine orange juice and cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Combine wheat berries, apple and pecans in a large bowl; stir gently. Drain the cranberries, reserving the juice. Stir the cranberries into the wheat berry mixture.

Whisk the reserved orange juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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2. Turkey-Boursin Wrap

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Here's another healthy lunch idea for work, one that's especially great after any holiday for which you've made a turkey. It's a great way to get over the leftovers! It's healthy as can be, with ingredients like a great coleslaw mix, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, Boursin cheese, plum tomatoes, and cucumbers. Since it's a wrap, it's easy to eat and it stores really well!

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix
3 ounces arugula leaves, stems discarded
3/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 (8-inch) spinach, tomato-basil, or plain flour tortillas
6 tablespoons light Boursin cheese, about 2/3 package
36 (1/8-inch-thick) slices cucumber, about half a large cucumber
18 (1/8-inch-thick) slices plum tomatoes, about 3 tomatoes
12 ounces thinly sliced cooked smoked turkey breast

Preparation:
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat.

Spread 1 tablespoon Boursin cheese over each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 6 slices cucumber, 3 slices tomato, and approximately 2 ounces turkey. Divide slaw mixture evenly among tortillas; spread on each and roll up. Cut each rolled wrap in half diagonally. Wrap each tortilla in plastic wrap.

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3. Broccoli, Ham, and Pasta Salad

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I'm a huge fan of pasta salads, but they can get really fattening really fast. However, this is a wonderfully light recipe, so you can enjoy your pasta – plus your ham! – without feeling any guilt. If you have your own mayo recipe, you can use a substitute, and it's a great way to get rid of leftover ham as well. If you're not a fan of that particular meat, though, try anything else, even tofu, that you think will taste good with the other ingredients!

Ingredients:
CREAMY HERBED DRESSING
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion or dried chopped chives
1 1/4 teaspoons dried tarragon or dill
1/2 teaspoon onion salt or celery salt or 1/4 teaspoon of each
White pepper to taste
SALAD
3 cups cooked whole-wheat fusilli or similar pasta (about 6 ounces dry)
4 cups chopped broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 large heads)
1 1/2 cups diced ham (8 ounces), preferably reduced-sodium
1 large red or yellow bell pepper (or a combination), diced
1/4 cup diced red onion, plus slices for garnish
1/3 cup raisins
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups spinach leaves
1 cup torn radicchio leaves

Preparation:
To prepare dressing: Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, honey, onion (or chives), tarragon (or dill) and onion salt (and/or celery salt) in a bowl until well blended. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.

To prepare salad: Combine pasta, broccoli, ham, bell pepper, diced onion and raisins in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until evenly incorporated. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

Serve on a bed of spinach and radicchio, garnished with slices of red onion.

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4. Salmon Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

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Salmon is an extremely healthy fish and it makes a wonderful lunchtime treat. When you're looking for healthy lunch ideas for work, you really can't go wrong with salmon. This salad includes a really fantastic vinaigrette which you'll be tempted to use for other salads, along with such exotic ingredients as kalamata olives. This is a super refreshing meal, and in a pinch you can eat it for dinner, too!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (6 ounce) cans boneless skinless pink salmon
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (1-ounce) slices French bread

Preparation:
For the vinaigrette, combine first 5 vinaigrette ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Add oil and stir well with a whisk. Set aside.

For the salad, flake salmon with a fork into a large bowl. Add the next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) and stir gently to combine.

Toss salad with the vinaigrette immediately before serving. Use a slotted spoon to serve.

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5. Mediterranean Wrap

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Wraps make really healthy lunches for work. Again, they're easy to eat and they store really well, plus they're much healthier than traditional sandwiches. The best part about this recipe is that you can easily tailor it to include the meats and veggies you like best, although it's delicious as it stands. Couscous, chicken tenders, and the ability to use tortillas, spinach wraps, or sun-dried tomato wraps – it's so delicious!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup couscous, preferably whole-wheat
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound chicken tenders
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber
4 10-inch spinach or sun-dried tomato wraps or tortillas

Preparation:
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine parsley, mint, lemon juice, oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Toss chicken tenders in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of the parsley mixture and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place the tenders in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until cooked though, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Cut into bite-size pieces when cool enough to handle.

Stir the remaining parsley mixture into the couscous along with tomato and cucumber.

To assemble wraps, spread about 3/4 cup of the couscous mixture onto each wrap. Divide the chicken among the wraps. Roll the wraps up like a burrito, tucking in the sides to hold the ingredients in. Serve cut in half.

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6. Barley and Black Bean Salad

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This is one of my favorite reasons, because I love barley and I love black beans! This salad manages to be both light and hearty, so it's a perfect midday meal. You get some spice and heat thanks to the addition of Monterey Jack cheese complete with jalapeno pepper pieces, and the cilantro makes the dish so fresh! Your coworkers will be clamoring for bites!

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking pearl barley
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

Preparation:
Cook barley according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain barley in a colander, and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.

Combine black beans, next 6 ingredients, and, if desired, cilantro and red pepper in a medium bowl. Add barley to black bean mixture; toss gently.

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7. Salmon Salad Sandwich

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You've had chicken salad and tuna salad, but what about salmon salad? It's light and creamy, but so incredibly healthy! The best part, in my opinion, is the fact that this recipe calls for pumpernickel bread, so you get some additional tang. Add in cream cheese and red onions, and you're talking about a serious lunch treat!

Ingredients:
2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
8 slices pumpernickel bread, toasted
8 slices tomato
2 large leaves romaine lettuce, cut in half

Preparation:
Combine salmon, onion, lemon juice, oil and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on each of 4 slices of bread. Spread 1/2 cup salmon salad over the cream cheese. Top with 2 tomato slices, a piece of lettuce and another slice of bread.

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8. Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta

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I adore shrimp, it's my favorite kind of seafood, and it mixes marvelously well with pasta. Don't go thinking that this is too heavy, though; it's a fantastic healthy lunch for work. It makes use of fresh herbs, like basil, and feta cheese for some zing. You can serve it cold or hot, depending on your preference. Protip: by serving it hot, it makes a great dinner!

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cooking spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped plum tomato
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked angel hair pasta (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/4 cup(2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Preparation:
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato and basil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until tomato is tender. Stir in kalamata olives, capers, and black pepper.

Combine shrimp mixture and pasta in a large bowl; toss well. Top with cheese.

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9. Italian Vegetable Hoagies

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Sometimes all you want is a really hearty sandwich. I'm a particular fan of Italian subs (or hoagies, or grinders, depending on your locale!), but they can be so fattening. That's why this is such a great alternative! Remember, when you're looking for healthy lunch ideas for work, you can usually find a better alternative to your more fattening favorites. This hoagie relies on veggies rather than meats, but you still get provolone for a good stick-to-your-ribs appeal. Combined with things like red onion, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes, you'll love it! And don't worry, if you want a more traditional Italian, you do have the option of adding pepperoncini!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 16- to 20-inch-long baguette, preferably whole-grain
2 slices provolone cheese, (about 2 ounces), halved
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini, (optional)

Preparation:
Place onion rings in a small bowl and add cold water to cover. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Combine artichoke hearts, tomato, vinegar, oil and oregano in a medium bowl. Cut baguette into 4 equal lengths. Split each piece horizontally and pull out about half of the soft bread from each side. Drain the onions and pat dry.

To assemble sandwiches, divide provolone among the bottom pieces of baguette. Spread on the artichoke mixture and top with the onion, lettuce and pepperoncini, if using. Cover with the baguette tops. Serve immediately.

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10. Hoisin-Mango Chicken Sandwich

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This lunch idea is incredibly simple, but it's got tons of taste power. All it takes is pumpernickel bread, Hoisin sauce, roast chicken, and some delicious fruits and veggies for taste! It's a heart sandwich, and once you've had it for lunch once, it'll become you're new favorite in no time at all!

Ingredients:
8 slices pumpernickel bread
Hoisin sauce
1 whole roasted chicken, skin removed
2 medium mangoes, peeled and sliced
1 bunch watercress sprigs, stemmed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

Preparation:
Arrange the bread on a work surface. Spread each slice with 1 to 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce. Top half the slices with thinly sliced roasted chicken, mango, a few watercress sprigs, and a little red onion. Place remaining bread on top, and press together gently. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally.

Using healthy lunch ideas for work will keep you on track and decrease your chances of slipping up. You won't have to worry if the only foods available to you are cheeseburgers or gooey slices or pizza or something, because you'll already have your own healthy choices. And honestly, bringing your own lunch to work is a lot less expensive – try it for a week and see how much money you have left over! When you're eating healthy at work, what are your favorite things to include in your lunch?

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