Healthy Lunch Ideas

You can never have enough healthy lunch ideas:

In my experience as a registered dietitian, I see the tendency to gravitate toward unhealthy food choices or "comfort foods" when a person is bored of eating the same ol', same ol'. The solution?

Keep things interesting!

How to Use This List of Healthy Lunch Ideas for Maximum Benefit

  1. Review the list.
  2. Write down all your favorite lunch recipes on this "Master Lunch List" template.
  3. Hang your Master List on the fridge or tape it in a cabinet.
  4. On Saturday or Sunday, pick 2-3 lunches to rotate between over the upcoming week.
  5. Purchase the necessary ingredients.
  6. Follow up the next week by picking 2-3 different healthy lunch ideas to rotate between.
  7. Repeat.

Healthy Lunch Ideas: Sandwiches

  • Turkey + hummus + roasted red bell peppers (jarred) + baby spinach. Roll in whole wheat tortilla.
  • Turkey + lowfat cheese + roasted red bell peppers (jarred) + avocado slices
  • Turkey pocket: Stuff a whole wheat pita pocket with turkey + cranberry sauce + diced celery.
  • BBQ Chicken Wrap: Fill whole wheat tortilla/wrap with chicken leftover from previous dinner (sliced) + BBQ sauce + (canned, no sugar added, drained) pineapple chunks. Roll up.
  • Lean roast beef + lowfat coleslaw (make with plain nonfat yogurt or fat free mayo) on rye bread.
  • Lean roast beef + grilled onions + horseradish on sourdough bread.
  • Lean roast beef + horseradish + sliced tomatoes + sliced cucumber on sourdough bread.
  • Black beans (canned, rinsed, drained) + salsa + diced mango (Tip: buy frozen mango cubes and thaw slightly before dicing). Serve rolled in whole wheat tortilla or stuffed in whole wheat pita pocket.
  • Hummus pocket: spread hummus in whole wheat pita pocket. Stuff with grilled vegetables (zucchini, onions, bell peppers, eggplant, etc.)
  • Lentils + reduced fat goat cheese + diced mango + baby spinach leaves. Serve wrapped in whole wheat tortilla.
  • English Muffin Veggie Sandwich: English muffin + cheese + avocado slices + cucumber slices + spinach leaves.
  • Tofu wrap: Prepared flavored tofu (Nasoya or White Wave are good brands) + shredded carrots + sprouts + cucumber. Roll in sprouted grain wrap (Ezekiel is a good brand).
  • Lowfat cheese + sliced avocado + sprouts + sliced tomato on multigrain bread.
  • Almond butter + sliced banana + honey on whole wheat bread.
  • Peanut butter + sliced apple on cinnamon raisin bread.
  • Peanut butter + sliced bananas + raisins + sunflower seeds on whole wheat bread (Note: mix the sunflower seeds and raisins with the p.b. before spreading on bread so they don't fall off!)
  • Bagel + lowfat cream cheese + smoked salmon + tomato + red onion.
  • Lowfat cheese + avocado slices + sprouts on multigrain bread.
  • Tuna/salmon wrap: Prepare tuna salad or salmon salad. Serve rolled in a whole wheat tortilla/wrap with baby spinach leaves.
  • Tuna/salmon pocket: Prepare tuna salad or salmon salad. Serve stuffed in a whole wheat pita pocket with diced tomatoes.
  • Tuna/salmon lettuce wrap: Prepare tuna salad or salmon salad. Serve rolled in a romaine lettuce leaf with shredded carrots.
  • Tuna/ need for mayo: Stuff a whole wheat pita pocket with water packed tuna or salmon (rinsed, drained) + mandarin oranges (canned, drained) + baby spinach leaves. Drizzle with a bit of the mandarin orange juice.
  • Cottage cheese pocket: Stuff a whole wheat pita pocket with nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese + fruit cocktail (drained) + shredded lowfat cheese.

Require Grilling/Toasting
Note: Use nonstick spray instead of butter to make grilled cheese.

  • Grilled lowfat Gouda cheese + thinly sliced pear.
  • Grilled lowfat cheddar cheese or mozzarella + thinly sliced apple.

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Healthy Lunch Ideas: Cold Salads

  • Tuna Salad/Salmon Salad: light canned tuna or salmon in water (rinsed, drained) + plain nonfat yogurt + mustard (instead of mayo!) Serve over (bagged) salad greens.
  • Salmon Salad: canned salmon (rinsed, drained) + plain nonfat yogurt + scallions + dill. Serve over salad greens.
  • Chicken Salad: diced chicken + chopped apples + celery + raisins. Mix with plain nonfat yogurt + mustard.
  • Egg white salad: Hard boil eggs. Remove yolks. Chop. Mix with plain nonfat yogurt + Dijon mustard + dill.
  • Nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese + mandarin oranges (canned, drained) + chopped dates + sunflower seeds
  • Nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese + chopped cucumber + diced tomatoes + scallions + dill
  • Nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese + chopped dates + sliced banana + crushed pineapple + cinnamon
  • Nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese + nonfat/lowfat flavored yogurt + slivered almonds/chopped pecans
  • Nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese + all fruit preserves + walnuts

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Healthy Lunch Ideas: Lettuce Salads

  • Taco Salad: Serve canned vegetarian chili over (bagged) salad. Top with crushed baked corn chips and salsa for dressing.
  • Romaine + tomato + cucumber + feta (+ sliced chicken). Drizzle with olive oil + lemon juice. Sprinkle with pepper.
  • Baby spinach + hard boiled egg, sliced + red onion, sliced + diced tomato. Drizzle with olive oil + lemon juice.
  • Baby spinach + canned salmon + grapefruit segments. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  • Baby spinach + reduced fat feta + sliced strawberries + walnuts. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar + olive oil.

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Healthy Lunch Ideas: Other

  • Bean and cheese burrito: Fill whole wheat burrito with canned fat free refried beans + lowfat cheese + salsa.
  • Sloppy Joe: Heat canned vegetarian chili. (Amy's is my favorite brand). Serve over whole wheat bun.
  • Another Sloppy Joe: Mix ground turkey breast with a can of vegetarian chili. Serve over a whole wheat bun.
  • Chili potato: Heat canned vegetarian chili. Serve over baked sweet potato. Sprinkle with lowfat shredded cheese.
  • Heat a veggie burger or turkey burger. Top with vegetarian chili.

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Healthy Lunch Ideas: Kid Friendly

  • Banana Dog: Peanut butter and banana served up in a whole wheat hot dog bun!
  • Whole grain lowfat toaster waffle + peanut butter + banana.
  • Whole grain lowfat toaster waffle. Top with nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese mixed with all-fruit preserves. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Almond butter + sliced apple + cinnamon on raisin bread.
  • Cottage cheese man: Scoop cottage cheese with a small ice cream scooper to make a head and body. Dot with raisin eyes and mouth and sliced banana arms and legs.

Keep track of what you eat with a free food diary.

More healthy lunch ideas here.

More Quick Meals

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