A healthy lunch doesn't need to be a salad, as inspiration can definitely revolutionize any bowl of lettuce, sandwiches, grain bowls or pasta mixes you may already love. These crazy delicious soup, sandwich and pasta recipes are proof that health-friendly lunches are much more than just a bed of greens. Not only are these lunches effortless, they're also super quick — you can throw them together in a few spare minutes in the morning, or set aside a little bit of meal prep time the night before. Many of our favorite healthy lunch ideas are make-ahead friendly or reinvent leftovers you may have in the fridge already.
The heartiest items on our lunch menus are chock-full of lean protein, which can help you feel satisfied all the way up until dinner. Think staples like chicken and salmon, rich dairy sources including cottage cheese and yogurt, and nutrient-packed add-ons like seeds (i.e. sunflower seeds!) and legumes. And don't be surprised if you see a lot of ingredients with lots of fiber, like avocado and chickpeas, as they're low in calories and also aid in helping you feel wholly satisfied.
These easy-to-prep recipes are also seriously affordable, which means you'll have more money to spend when the weekend rolls around. Of course, healthy eating doesn't stop at noon: Start your day off with a healthy breakfast recipe and then keep it going with one of these low-calorie dinners.
Who says salads need lettuce? The carrot ribbons and thinly sliced radishes are an amazing and unexpected substitute.
Keep carbs on the menu with this open-faced powerhouse sandwich that makes use of leftover dinner proteins.
You wouldn't believe this hearty, filling lunch bowl requires just 15 minutes of prep time — and you'll do a double take when you hear it requires just five ingredients total.
With olives, hard-boiled egg, potatoes and green beans, this is a great make-ahead lunch you can pack on the go.
Ditch your heavy, cream-based winter soups for a light and refreshing supergreen soup.
Put together this healthy, delicious meal in advance, then just grab and go when you need to head out the door.
Lentils and mushrooms make for a velvety smooth swap in this traditional ground-beef dish — it's a plant-based protein punch amid a generous serving of comforting pasta.
We love how you can plop a bunch of fresh veg into a dutch oven and end up with this intensely delicious, aromatic curry for colder days. You can make a single batch to enjoy all week, and serve it with rice, noodles and other vegetarian staples as you go.
This 25-minute entreé makes use of tender mahi-mahi and plenty of citrus, but the quick pico you'll make pairs well with most other seafood. Try swapping in different filets of white fish seasonally!
In our humble opinion, every salad should have marinated sour dough bread.
A big batch of our classic DIY pesto stored in your fridge is an effortless way to dress up quick lunches like this one, all while avoiding the sugar and sodium hiding in pre-made sandwich condiments.
150+ recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks—all 500 calories or less per serving!
This is a crowd-pleasing lunch that anyone can enjoy, no matter their dietary preferences (meat lovers, you’ll love this too!).
It's all of your favorite elements of the popular Japanese-American favorite made into a lunch bowl you soon won't forget.
An egg salad sandwich is the best lunch to make if you don't have a ton of ingredients on hand. Your pantry to the rescue!
Mastering this ultra-fast salad recipe can allow you to quickly riff on it during a hectic WFH weekday — top it with freshly boiled eggs, leftover chicken, a medley of fresh veg, or a mix of whatever you'd like.
Ditching bread and your lunch sandwich for a stuffed avocado is a delicious (and healthy!) way to enjoy protein at lunch. At under 500 calories, you'll have room for an afternoon snack.
This pea-packed recipe offers a greener spin on your favorite comfort food.
Brighten up any day and try this colorful, filling salad for lunch.
If they're in season, swapping out tomatoes for fresh peaches can add an umph to a salad you already know and love. These stacked bites also make for an exciting side for any leftovers in the fridge.
This five-ingredient recipe is much healthier than a greasy slice from your local takeout joint.
Rub skirt steak with hot paprika before grilling to add some heat to this healthy lunch.
This cheesy bake is the perfect make ahead meal. Instead of saving it for your next dinner party, enjoy it for lunch over a week!
You can make this sweet and savory veggie combo in just 10 minutes.
The sauce base in this citrus-packed noodle dish only takes about 20 minutes to whip up to perfection. Chicken and broccoli also hold up marvelously in the fridge throughout the week!
Have your sausage and eat it, too — as long as it's nestled into a bed of quinoa and hearty broccoli. Mint, lemon juice, and fresh scallions transform yogurt into the ultimate quick sauce, too.