Easy Lunch Ideas To Put the ‘Break’ Into Your Lunch Break
Whether you are working from home, getting back to the office, or juggling a busy household, easy lunch ideas make life so much sweeter. Lunchtime should be a chance to take a break as well as refuel. We have all experienced the mid-afternoon energy slump that leaves us feeling drained and tempted to reach for a calorie-laden snack.
Opting for a lunch that delivers a broader range of nutrition can boost your energy levels and help you avoid that post-lunch fatigue. Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be!
There are plenty of easy lunch ideas that can be prepared quickly or made ahead of time so that you can take a break, enjoy a delicious meal, and feel good. From salads to smoothies, sandwiches to hot meals, we have collected the best lunch ideas to shake up your routine and put the ‘break’ back into your lunch break.
50+ Easy Lunch Ideas
Salads are a classic lunchtime choice. Light but tasty and infinitely versatile, a great salad can provide you with a large proportion of your daily nutrition. Pack out fresh ingredients with healthy whole grains for a satisfying lunch that doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish.
Simple Chickpea Salad
This super-fast lunch only requires a can of chickpeas, bell pepper, cucumber, and some inspired seasonings for incredible flavor. It is excellent for preparing the night before, toss the ingredients in a food bag and refrigerate.
Salmon Caesar Salad Grain Bowl
Salmon is an excellent replacement for the more traditional chicken in a caesar salad. This oily fish is incredibly nutritious, providing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids as well as a range of vitamins and minerals.
5-Minute Salmon Salad
Sticking with salmon, this is a 5-minute recipe with just five ingredients. Perfect for when you are short of time but want a delicious lunch that delivers lots of flavors, this is also a great option if you are on a paleo diet or desire a satisfying gluten-free meal.
Lentils are incredibly versatile; they make great soups, stews, and patties, and they are an excellent addition to a salad. This salad is packed with fresh, Mediterranean flavor that might add some sunshine to your lunchtime.
Avocado Chicken Salad
This salad is a simple but classic recipe that you will revisit time after time for avocado-lovers. It is perfect alone or stuffed into a sandwich, pita pocket, or lettuce wrap with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
Everyday Salad Recipe
In less than 10 minutes, you can whip up this fresh green salad. Use the ingredients you like best (or whatever you have in the refrigerator) and consider adding some meat or cheese for a more filling meal if you prefer.
Caribbean Black Bean Salad
As colorful as it is delicious, this Caribbean-inspired salad mixes rice and black beans with colorful fresh vegetables with a tangy dressing for a more-ish lunch or side dish. It keeps well too, so it’s ideal for making a big batch to keep you going for a few days.
Easy Tuna Salad
Tuna salad is a lunchtime favorite, whether served with fresh salad leaves or a sandwich. This recipe claims to be the best, and it’s easy to see why; the Greek yogurt makes for a fresh taste that is lighter than mayo, while the relish adds some zing.
Blackened Shrimp Salad
Full of classic Hispanic flavors, this shrimp salad is the perfect summer lunch idea – or ideal for bringing some summer vibes to a grey day. Save time by prepping ingredients beforehand, and the shrimp only takes 3-4 minutes to sauté, a real treat on a busy day.
Meal Replacement Smoothies
If you want a fast lunch that delivers all the nutrition you need, then why not try a meal replacement smoothie? All you need are some simple ingredients and a blender to whizz up the perfect lunchtime boost that will see you through the afternoon. Great if you are trying to monitor your nutritional intake or reduce your calories, and delicious too!
Chocolate Protein Shake
Who can resist a chocolate shake? This recipe delivers protein to keep you fuller for longer. You can whip this chocolate shake in a blender in minutes. Ideal for when you feel like something sweet in the middle of the day.
Vanilla Protein Shake
This smoothie is a great plant-based vanilla shake, creamy and nourishing to help you feel full up and restore your energy levels. This easy vanilla protein shake is ideal for post-workout lunchtimes.
Almond Butter Smoothie
A popular childhood favorite inspires this smoothie; the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, it is a lot healthier than the classic PBJ, but it is just as quick to prepare in the blender.
Green Vegan Protein Smoothie
If you are looking for a vegan meal replacement smoothie that is delicious as well as nutritious, then get your blender ready because this one ticks all the boxes. An ideal lunch if you are on the go.
Blueberry Acai Green Smoothie
Great dairy-free smoothies can be hard to find, but this one is a beautiful blend of flavors that come together in the blender to make a meal replacement smoothie that has just the right combination of sweetness and freshness.
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
This peanut butter banana smoothie requires just five ingredients. Add them to the blender and blitz until it’s smooth. Enjoy as a quick lunch or a post-workout pick-me-up.
St. Patty’s Day Mint Chocolate Green Protein Smoothie
This recipe brings a whole new meaning to the idea of a green smoothie! Mint and chocolate is a classic flavor pairing, and the St Patty’s day mint chocolate green protein smoothie is ideal for any day of the year.
Wraps & Crepes
Wraps and crepes are a relatively light option compared to sandwiches. They can often be made in advance so that you can pack them up to take with you or keep them in the refrigerator until lunchtime. From coconut wraps to savory crepes, these lunch recipes are sure to shake up your lunchtime routine.
Veggie Coconut Wraps
Ready in under 5 minutes, these veggie coconut wraps are filled with fresh veg and delicious creamy hummus. Filling but light, this is a recipe that you could easily adapt according to what you have in stock.
Salmon Savoury Crepes
Savory crepes should be on everyone’s lunchtime menu; they are so quick and easy to prepare, especially if you have a blender for speedy batter blitzing. Stuffed with salmon and creamy fillings, these are a must.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Fajitas might seem too involved for lunchtime, but this recipe proves that they can be a fast and delicious option for the middle of the day. As if that wasn’t enough, clean-up is a breeze with this technique.
Easy Greek Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki
Bring a touch of sunny Grecian skies to your lunchtime. These gyros are pita bread with chicken, veg, and tzatziki that taste like a touch of summer. Make your pitta and tzatziki in advance, or opt for store-bought, and you can assemble them in minutes.
Beef and Bean Burritos
These flavorsome burritos can be whipped up from scratch in half an hour, or you can prep ahead of time and save yourself time. Warming spices and fresh salad make a winning combination for a satisfying midday meal.
Turkey Strawberry Wraps
These wraps would be pretty ordinary, but for the surprise ingredient that transforms them into a different lunchtime option, the combination of strawberries and turkey with pecans is incredible and must be tasted to be believed.
Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Wraps
The savory taste of chicken and bacon with the creamy freshness of avocado is a classic flavor combination. These wraps are perfect for a packed lunch to take on the go. Ideal for lunch boxes for kids and adults alike.
Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Wraps
These wraps are easy to prepare as the shrimp takes very little time to cook, but they also deliver real depth of flavor thanks to the pairing of cilantro and lime. Served in lettuce wraps, they are also an excellent lower-carb option.
Creamy Spinach and Feta Cheese Tortilla Wraps
Spinach and feta cheese complement one another perfectly; the cheese’s crumbly tang and the spinach’s mild fresh flavor work so well. These tortilla wraps can also be made in advance and frozen to save you time.
Portobello Mushroom Gyros
A vegetarian twist on the classic gyros, this recipe uses seasoned portobello mushrooms to deliver a filling alternative to meat. The resulting meal is an ideal lunchtime treat combined with a fresh, tangy drizzle of tzatziki.
What could be quicker or more satisfying than a stir-fry for lunch? Choose the freshest ingredients you can find and prep your vegetables in advance, and you have a healthy and delicious lunch idea that is ready in a flash. You can adapt these stir-fry recipes to make a great midweek family dinner.
Beef and Broccoli
This one-pan meal is ready in less than 30 minutes and claims to have the best stir fry sauce ever by striking the ideal balance between sweet and savory. There’s only one way to find out!
Teriyaki Shrimp Stir-fry
Teriyaki shrimp makes for a stir-fry that is bursting with flavor. This one is ready in just a few minutes, and the homemade teriyaki sauce can even be prepared up to five days before use so that you can get organized and enjoy a super quick lunch.
With garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, this zucchini stir-fry is delicious as it is or with added meat for a more protein-rich lunch. Zucchini cooks quickly and readily take up the flavors of the garlic and ginger, so you get a fast, tasty meal in no time.
Chicken and Green Bean Stir-fry
Are you looking for something more exciting to do with those green beans? You have found it. This stir-fry recipe is fun to make, ready in under 30 minutes, and is a sweet and spicy joy for lunch or dinner.
Orange Beef Stir-fry
If you have never paired orange with beef, then now is the time to try it out. This recipe is simple with just four ingredients and thinly sliced beef that cooks quickly, yet the finished result is a complex blend of flavors.
Moo Goo Gai Pan
This recipe utilizes a classic Chinese white sauce with chicken, mushrooms, and Chinese vegetables; this stir-fry is an ideal recipe to introduce some new flavors to your lunchtime. Chop your vegetables while the meat marinades to save time.
Tofu stir-fry is a genuinely versatile recipe as you can easily substitute any vegetables you might have lingering unused in the refrigerator. The sauce only requires two ingredients, and it is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Chilli, Curry, and Soups
If you want a warming midday meal that doesn’t take hours to prepare, then why not opt for a hearty chili, a spicy curry, or a comforting soup? These are ideal for preparing beforehand and then heating up when required at lunchtime, or if you have a little more time, they can also be made from scratch relatively quickly.
5 Ingredient Sweet Potato Black Bean Chilli
Just five ingredients make up this hearty lunchtime staple. There is nothing unusual; just onion, black beans, sweet potato, vegetable stock, and salsa, the resulting dish is delicious comfort in a bowl.
Easy Chicken Chilli
Easy to make, gluten-free, rich in protein, and great for making in advance, this is a chili recipe that could quickly become your go-to lunch favorite. It is also a delicious cozy supper option when you want a quick, comforting meal.
This quick chili is ready in just 25 minutes, and the recipe promises that all you have to do is chop an onion, and the rest of the recipe requires you to ‘dump and stir.’ Choose whether you prefer minced beef or a vegan alternative; both work well.
Easy Potato Soup
This rich and creamy potato soup is surprisingly easy to make. It calls for russet potatoes, which are starchy enough to provide that creamy texture, but you can use other varieties if you prefer. Garnish with your favorite cheese to make this soup even more delicious.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
This soup is a rare thing – a creamy dairy-free soup packed with veggies and super easy to make. The recipe promises that even those who aren’t huge fans of cauliflower will love this creamy cauliflower soup.
Italian Sausage Soup
Rich in color and taste, this Italian sausage soup is ready in just half an hour from start to finish. It makes a satisfying and unusual lunchtime feast with bite-sized pieces of slightly spicy Italian sausage.
Red Lentil Soup
Lentils are an excellent store cupboard staple, and they cook up quickly compared to other legumes, making them the perfect choice for a healthy lunchtime soup. This version stays good for five days in the refrigerator, so one batch can last for many lunchtimes.
Cream of Zucchini Soup
A large bowl of this cream of zucchini soup is just 60 calories, making it the ideal choice for a quick and easy lunchtime meal that delivers lots of flavors plenty of nutrition and still satisfies your hunger on a busy day.
Coconut Curried Lentils
Coconut curried lentils might sound like a dish that requires lots of time for flavors to come together, so it may come as a surprise that this creamy coconut dish only takes 15 minutes from start to finish. This beautiful golden dish works as a quick lunch or a tasty side dish.
Bowl meals are simple, versatile, and easy to prepare. Choose healthy grains, fresh vegetables, and exciting flavors to create a bowl that transforms your lunchtime. The following lunch recipes are designed to be quick, easy, and delicious. A great way to refuel so you are ready for the rest of your day.
Easy Superfood Quinoa Bowl
Quinoa is a great grain choice; it is quick to prepare, has a delicious nutty flavor, and delivers all-important nutrition. This superfood quinoa bowl is a winning combination of healthy ingredients, with the added impact of spicy almonds.
Steak Fajita Power Bowl
For a filling meal in the middle of the day that doesn’t take hours to prepare, this steak fajita bowl takes just 30 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking. If you do your prep beforehand or store chopped ingredients in the refrigerator, you can whip this up in a very short time.
All you need to create this colorful feast is hummus and fresh veggies. Layer your favorite ingredients in a bowl, and in just 5 minutes, you have a healthy casual meal that is infinitely versatile.
Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Glow Bowl
This meat-free lunchtime option is a great healthy option designed to feel filling and comforting. Couscous and chickpeas are a perfect flavor combination and form the basis for many Moroccan-inspired dishes. Pair with hummus and pitta to transform it into dinner.
Barbacoa Beef Bowl
These barbacoa beef bowls are like an edible rainbow! If you have ever received the advice that you should eat as many colors as possible throughout the day, these barbacoa bowls are the perfect lunch choice. Layer your fresh ingredients for a delicious and impactful meal.
Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls
Creamy hummus, bitter olives, tangy feta cheese, and warm roasted pepper sauce combine on a base of nutty quinoa to create a rich blend of flavors. This Mediterranean-inspired quinoa bowl can be assembled quickly and adapted according to what you have in store.
20-Minute Chicken Enchilada Bowl
You will be looking forward to this chicken enchilada bowl for lunch all morning; why not try this enchilada in a bowl? Ready in just 20 minutes and using store cupboard staples, the recipe adds a garnish of cheese at the end to make this meal even more tempting.
Black Bean Burrito Bowl
Black beans are rich in nutrients, including protein, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. Black beans also make for a delicious burrito bowl. One can assemble this recipe from premade components, including frozen rice, canned black beans, and store-bought salsa.
Sandwiches, Paninis and Quesadillas
Lunchtime wouldn’t be lunchtime without the option of a sandwich. Sandwiches, paninis, and quesadillas are the classic go-to lunchtime meal because they are so easy to make and so satisfying to eat. Why not try out some of these inspiring recipes and change the way you think about sandwiches? There are sure to be some options here that will transform your lunchbox from bland to beautiful.
Pesto Caprese Panini
Caprese is a traditional Italian combination of ingredients featuring the classic flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. This panini is a melty, herby sandwich that will satisfy any appetite.
You may have to prepare the tzatziki in advance to keep this recipe quick and easy at lunchtime, but it is so worth it. The melty cheese combined with the tang of tzatziki makes this so moreish.
Tarragon Tuna Melt
The tarragon tuna melt is a great go-to lunchtime favorite, but this recipe elevates the humble tuna melt with the addition of tarragon. This herb adds a depth of flavor and complexity that makes this recipe a winner.
Best Ham Sandwich Recipe
This recipe claims to be the best ham sandwich ever, and who are we to disagree! French baguette piled with ham, goat’s cheese, spicy jam, and arugula make this anything but ordinary.
Just take a look at the picture of this Philly cheesesteak sandwich! Peppers, onions, provolone cheese, and marinated beef piled into a super soft roll make this a true lunchtime feast that is quick and easy to prepare.
Chicken Avocado Ranch Club Sandwich
Lemony chicken, fresh avocado, and microgreens make this a fresh, light meal that comes together quickly. As if that wasn’t enough, this recipe comes with a superb cucumber mango salad on the side. Make this in advance.
Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato Sandwich
The BLT is one of the most popular sandwiches around. This recipe takes it extremely seriously, giving you all the pointers you need to help you create the perfect BLT (or BLAT when you add the avocado). Lunchtime perfection.
Slow Cooker Meatball Subs
The slow cooker is your best friend for easy meal prep. Throw the ingredients in and let it do its thing while you get on with your day. This recipe shows you how to create a deli-worthy meatball sub with zero hassle.
Whether you choose a spicy chili bowl, a fresh salad, a melty sandwich, or a quick smoothie, keeping lunchtime interesting doesn’t take much time and effort. It could, however, keep you on track with your eating plan and prevent you from reaching for a snack in the afternoon. Give yourself a proper lunch break and enjoy a relaxed meal to prepare you for whatever the day throws at you.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Charmaine is the blogger behind LuvMeKitchen. She is extremely passionate about health and wellness. She writes about healthy eating and hopes to inspire others via her blog. When she is not tinkering around in the kitchen, she loves working out, hiking, and being anywhere near the water.