Hello September, my favourite month! Whether you’re returning to work or school after the summer holidays, or even if you were stuck in an office all summer… many of us may need some packed lunch inspiration at this time of the year. Today, I’ve rounded up 10 of my favourite healthy lunch ideas from the blog to help you decide what to make!
To make it on this Healthy Lunch Ideas List, the meals had to meet certain requirements for a good packed lunch:
- They can be packed and carried on your commute without getting soggy/making a mess.
- They can be enjoyed cold, so no need to reheat them if you don’t have access to a microwave.
- They can be made in advance, so no scrambling in the morning to get something together. You can make these dishes the night before and keep them in the fridge to grab and go. TIP: try to make some larger batches of these meals, so you can cook once and eat multiple times!
- They are nutritionally balanced, giving you some protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and lots of veggies. These types of foods and meal combinations will keep you energized and able to focus through your busy workday!
1. 20-Minute Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad
This tuna salad recipe is a lighter take on a traditional mayo-filled version. It’s filled with plenty of fresh delicious veggies (like cherry tomatoes, olives, and arugula), tons of herbs (parsley + basil), complete protein (canned tuna), and a heart-healthy olive-oil based dressing. Bonus – it only takes 20 minutes to make!
2. Strawberry Quinoa Tabbouleh With Feta
You need to make this one before strawberries are out of season! It’s such a great twist on a tabbouleh salad. It’s packed with fibre- and protein-rich quinoa, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, sweet strawberries, savoury feta, and tons of fresh herbs – hello FLAVOUR!!
3. Shrimp Taco Salad Bowl
While tacos may not be a desk-friendly meal, this shrimp taco salad bowl is totally packed lunch appropriate! It’s loaded with tons of nutritious ingredients like romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, quinoa, salsa, lime, cilantro, and taco shrimp. The salad can be packed in advance – just mix all the ingredients together before eating!
4. Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad With Shrimp
Quite possibly my favourite pasta salad I’ve made all year. This one combines roasted corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers with arugula, shrimp, and pasta. Roasting the veggies brings out so much of their natural sweetness, and they still taste absolutely delicious when eaten cold.
5. Cold Soba Noodle Salad With Tempeh
For my plant-based peeps, this delicious dish is 100% vegan but still packed with plenty of protein from the tempeh. This recipe combines cold soba noodles with fresh veggies (like romaine, cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, and radishes), tamari tempeh, crunchy cashews, and a tasty ginger-lime dressing. If you’re a fan of Asian-inspired flavours, you will love this one!
6. No-Mayo Tuna Salad
This healthy tuna salad recipe swaps traditional mayo with protein-rich greek yogurt and heart-healthy avocados. Plus, it’s filled with other delicious ingredients like fresh dill, chopped cucumbers, olives, and lemon juice. Because it’s higher in protein, healthy fats, and fibre compared to regular tuna salads, it’ll keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer. Add this tuna salad to a whole wheat sandwich, pita wrap, or enjoy it topped over some simple greens!
7. Massaged Kale Salad With Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese
I can’t help but get excited for cooler weather and fall veggies, and his salad is one of my all-time favourites for this time of the year. If you’ve never tried massaged kale, you are in for a serious treat! Massaged kale salads don’t ever get soggy, and only get better with time. This one is paired with fibre-rich sweet potatoes, heart-healthy avocado, pecans, pomegranates and goat cheese. If you want a little extra protein boost, feel free to add a hard-boiled egg!
8. Easy Caprese Pasta Salad
There’s just something about pasta salads that make them perfect for a packed lunch. This one is BEYOND easy to make, too! All you need to do is chop up cucumber, cherry tomatoes, boconccini cheese, plenty of fresh basil, cook some pasta, and top everything with olive oil. Simple, fast, and so delish.
9. Cucumber Salad With Avocado, Nutritional Yeast & Sauerkraut
When I lived in NYC, I went through a serious moment with cucumber salads. They’re super refreshing, and a great way to switch up your salad base from leafy greens. I love pairing the thinly sliced cucumbers with quinoa, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, sauerkraut, and nutritional yeast for a delicious and balanced packed lunch!
10. Healthy No-Mayo Egg Salad Sandwich
Last but not least, this healthy no-mayo egg salad recipe is a great sandwich option if tuna is not for you! Mashing hard-boiled eggs with creamy avocado is a delicious swap from traditional mayo. Plus, the avocado adds tons of heart-healthy fats and fibre, to help stabilize blood sugar and keep you full all afternoon. Add this one to sandwiches, wraps, or salads!
And there you have it – 10 Easy, Healthy Lunch Ideas to pack with you to work (or school)! I hope you guys find some inspiration from this list, and I hope that it saves you some time, energy, and stress when deciding what to make.