Quick Lunch Ideas that will Turn Your Day Around
We live in a fast-paced world where time is quickly filled with our careers, family life, social obligations, and our own personal pursuits. All of that time takes energy from healthy food options that can fuel your day. However, it also means you do not take more than maybe 10-20 minutes each morning to prepare a healthy meal perfect for helping you get through the rest of your day.
At 95 Nutrition, we do our best to provide ideas for lunch, breakfast, and dinner, so you feel satisfied and energized. We wanted to focus more on those quick lunch ideas that you can throw together without sacrificing taste or food quality. Here are some easy lunch ideas that will give you the delicious meal you need when on the run.
Sandwiches, the Quick Solution
Sandwiches are quintessential lunch foods. They're highly adaptable, easy to make and transport, and can be made as healthy or as indulgent as you want them to be. You can have a lot of fun creating incredible sandwiches from unique ingredients you buy on the weekends and then pop into your work bag for lunch during the workweek. Plus, sandwiches often bring a sense of nostalgia for many people. Here are some sandwich ideas that will surely brighten anyone's day:
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich – The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is likely the most popular sandwich recipe. It's simple, delicious, and hits the spot every time. Stores have all kinds of new spreads from almond butter and sugar-free fresh strawberry jams that make this option refreshing. Add in some protein bread for an extra boost during your day.
- Ham & Cheese Sandwich -Add a few slices of ham and cheese to two slices of bread for a perfect pairing! This sandwich is sure to add a little excitement to your workday lunch hour. This is also a great way to add exotic condiments for the extra bite of flavor.
- Chicken Salad Sandwich - Chicken salad sandwiches only get better with time, so this is one recipe where you can’t go wrong by making it in advance! Fill your sandwich with chicken salad made from leftover chicken or turkey meat, mayo, celery, nuts...whatever suits your fancy! Add some dried cranberries around the holidays for a more festive lunch.
Mixing Flavorful Smoothies
Many workspaces include blenders or refrigerators for you to safely store a pre-made smoothie to boost the energy you need for the afternoon meetings. It's a common misconception that smoothies are reserved for summer when you want something cold and refreshing to quench your thirst. They're a perfect choice in any season: fruits and vegetables blended together with yogurt or juice make for a quick meal that's easy to digest and chock-full of nutrients.
As long as you have the right ingredients on hand and some way to blend them, you can make delicious smoothies with just about anything. Use fruit, vegetables, yogurt or milk, juice, or even peanut butter or chocolate can be added. That means there are infinite options for creating your own delicious idea for lunch combinations. If you're looking for an extra nutritional punch that'll keep you full until dinner time, throw in some protein powder or chia seeds.
When all is said and done, there's no need to get bogged down by what makes up a perfect smoothie. Simply combining fruit and/or veggies with liquid is sure to suffice.
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Healthy Lunch - Dinner
Quick & Easy Pasta Dishes
Pasta is an excellent solution for your mid-week meal dilemma—it's inexpensive, convenient, and can be made with a wide variety of ingredients. You can also mix all kinds of proteins into your pasta lunch ideas like meatballs, shrimp, chicken, and more.
One of the best things about pasta is that it often tastes even better the next day. So you can make one big batch of this delicious dish on Monday and then enjoy the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Pasta can also be made ahead and frozen for an even quicker meal. Try putting together single-serving portions in glass jars with lids and freezing them until you're ready to enjoy them. Then, when lunchtime rolls around, simply empty the contents into a pot or a microwave-safe dish and heat until warm. You'll have a satisfying snack without all the hassle.
The Joy of a Panini
Who doesn’t like a freshly made Panini? This is a grilled sandwich made with simple ingredients such as bread, cheese, and meat. Variations of the Panini include breads like the ciabatta, michetta, and rosetta.
Most people think a Panini is only good right after being pressed together at a store, restaurant, or cafe. On the contrary, if you prepare your Panini ahead of time at home and then put it in a bag, you can quickly warm it up in a microwave or toaster oven. This will leave you with a delicious meal that your coworkers will try to write down for their own easy lunch ideas.
Freshly Made Salads
One of the best ways to avoid a heavy feeling after eating is to stick to a salad. Salads are great for several reasons. First, they are quick to make and easy to transport. You can easily take lunch with you in a Tupperware container or eat it right at home. You can throw together a salad with almost any type of fruit or vegetable, making it one of the most versatile meals.
They are also good for you. Salads allow you to get a lot of nutrients in one meal without worrying about how much fat meat might have or what kinds of calories may be added from bread like sandwiches contain.
A salad can be as simple as mixing up some greens with your favorite dressing, but if you want something more filling and delicious, try adding nuts, dried fruit, and cheeses for protein and vitamins that will keep you feeling full longer than just lettuce alone. Salads offer an excellent base to add different meats or vegetarian options for those on a specific food diet.
An Egg a Day
Egg dishes such as omelets, quiches, and frittatas are a great way to add protein and flavor to your lunch. Add some chopped veggies, grated cheese, and herbs for a well-balanced meal that takes less than 15 minutes to make.
Eggs can be hard-boiled, scrambled, or fried with other ingredients in an omelet or quiche dish. They can also be eaten raw or barely cooked (think poached eggs), cutting the preparation time even more.
The key to great egg dishes is freshness. The fresher the egg, the better it will taste. If possible, buy eggs from local farmer's markets instead of supermarkets. Make sure you store them correctly by putting them in the main compartment of your refrigerator. Try not to put them on door shelves where temperature fluctuations may lead to spoilage over time.
Wraps - the Sandwich Alternative
When you want something as easy as a sandwich for your lunch foods but not the added carbs, you can't go wrong with a wrap. They're easy to make, transport, and easy to eat. Even better, they're highly customizable. You can use lettuce, tortillas, or pita bread, fill them with anything you want and choose between sweet and savory options.
A lettuce wrap is a perfect mix of sweet and crunchy. Start by spreading peanut butter onto romaine lettuce leaves, then add a banana sliced lengthwise down the center of each one. Drizzle on some honey or maple syrup for an extra pop of flavor.
You can also try a snack wrap as a dessert that makes for an ideal afternoon pick-me-up. Toss a couple of handfuls of trail mix into a whole wheat tortilla or pita bread and roll it up for easy scooping and eating. If you don't have any trail mix on hand, nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips will do the trick.
The Filling Appeal of Soups
With only a tiny amount of effort and preparation, soup can be an affordable and convenient meal. It's handy as an idea for lunch since it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until you're ready to pack it up to take with you. You'll have a warm, satisfying meal that will keep you full for hours by just heating your soup back up once you reach your destination.
There are plenty of recipes for people who aren't looking to spend hours at the stovetop. For example, you can use leftover chicken/beef/fish stock from a previous evening's dinner as your base, then add any leftover meat or veggies that need using up. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, there are plenty of pre-made options available at most grocery stores. Just make sure they're not loaded with unnecessary salt or sugar.
Pack Something Easy for Your Lunch Today
If this still sounds like too much work, why not try out our expert meals at 95 Nutrition. We create easy lunch ideas that are budget-friendly and designed with the concept of sustainable dieting, meaning there are no tricks or gimmicks, just delicious food for you to enjoy without needing all the extra work.
Our portion-controlled meals are meant to help support you through your weight loss journey with all the nutrition and filling flavors that leave you feeling full and satisfied. Check out our current week’s menu on our main page or reach out to our experts to find a solution just for you. We cannot wait to provide the wonderful you need to live a more rewarding and energized lifestyle!