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Lunch Ideas: Quick and Easy Recipes for Busy Weekdays

Are you tired of the same old lunch every day? Do you find yourself struggling to come up with new and exciting lunch ideas? Look no further! Here some delicious and easy lunch ideas that will spice up your lunch routine and keep you satisfied throughout the day.

mexican macaroni pasta salad in a large bowl with limes.

Whether you’re packing lunch for work or school, or just looking for something different to enjoy at home, these lunch ideas are sure to please.

From salads to sandwiches, wraps to bowls, there’s something for everyone. Plus, many of these recipes can be made ahead of time, making your mornings a little less hectic.

So, grab your lunch bag and get ready to try some new and tasty lunch ideas. With these recipes, you’ll never have to settle for a boring lunch again.

grilled chicken sandwich with pickles and tomato

Easy Lunch Ideas

When it comes to lunch, it can be tough to come up with ideas that are both tasty and easy.

Luckily, there are plenty of options out there that fit the bill!

Here are some easy lunch ideas that you can try out.

  • Cold Sandwiches
  • Hot Sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Pasta Salads
  • Wraps
  • Soups
  • Casseroles

Meal Prep

Meal prepping is a great way to ensure that you have healthy and tasty meals ready to go throughout the week.

Here are some meal prep lunch ideas that you can try:

  • Mason jar salads: Layer your favorite veggies, protein, and dressing in a mason jar for a delicious and easy-to-grab lunch.
  • Chicken and veggie bowls: Cook up some chicken and your favorite veggies, and portion them out into containers for an easy and filling lunch. Add some quinoa and get even more nutrients!
  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups: These roll ups are great to pack for cold lunches. Roll up some turkey and cheese, and pack them with some crunchy veggies and dip for a quick and easy lunch. Add some extra oomf by spreading cream cheese on the tortilla or wrap before rolling up! Be sure the cream cheese is at room temperature so that it will spread easier. There are also flavored cream cheeses that have delicious savory notes to them that are great in wraps!

Quick and Easy Lunches

If you don’t have time to meal prep, there are still plenty of quick and easy lunch ideas that you can try. Here are a few:

  • Hummus and veggie wrap: Spread some hummus on a tortilla, add your favorite veggies, and wrap it up for a tasty and easy lunch.
  • Tuna salad: Mix together some canned tuna, mayo, and your favorite veggies for a quick and protein-packed lunch.
  • PB&J: Don’t underestimate the power of a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Add some fruit and veggies on the side for a balanced meal.
Turkey pesto panini on ciabatta bread with chips.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

When it comes to healthy lunch ideas, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for something low-calorie or protein-packed, there are plenty of ways to make your lunch both delicious and nutritious.

Low-Calorie Options

If you’re watching your calories, there are plenty of options for healthy, low-calorie lunches.

Some ideas include:

  • Salad with grilled chicken or seared steak
  • Veggie wrap with hummus and avocado
  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups with veggies on the side
  • Greek yogurt with berries and granola
  • Quinoa and black bean salad

Protein-Packed Lunches

If you’re looking to increase your protein intake, there are plenty of ways to do so while still keeping your lunch healthy.

Some ideas include:

  • Grilled chicken or salmon with roasted veggies
  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups with a hard-boiled egg on the side
  • Tuna salad with whole-grain crackers
  • Lentil soup with a side salad
  • Greek yogurt with nuts and seeds

Overall, there are plenty of healthy lunch ideas to choose from.

delicious spaghetti pasta salad in a white bowl.

Easy Sandwich Ideas for Lunch

Sandwiches are a classic and easy lunch option that can be prepared quickly and customized to your liking.

Here are some easy sandwich ideas for your next lunch break.

Cold Sandwiches

Cold sandwiches are a refreshing and easy option for lunch. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turkey and cheese: Layer sliced turkey and your favorite cheese on whole wheat bread. Add lettuce, tomato, and mayo for a classic sandwich.
  • Veggie wrap: Spread hummus on a tortilla and add sliced cucumber, bell pepper, and avocado. Roll up the tortilla and enjoy.
  • Tuna salad: Mix canned tuna with mayo, celery, and onion. Spread on bread and add lettuce and tomato for a classic tuna salad sandwich.
  • Caprese: Slice fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil and layer on a baguette. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a delicious caprese sandwich.
  • Chicken Salad Sandwich: Make a simple chicken salad using leftover rotisserie chicken and pack it with a few slices of bread, crackers, or croissant roll.

Hot Sandwiches

Hot sandwiches are a comforting and satisfying option for lunch. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Grilled cheese: Spread butter on two slices of bread and add your favorite cheese. Grill in a pan until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.
  • BBQ chicken: Shred leftover chicken and mix with BBQ sauce. Toast a bun and add the chicken for a tasty BBQ chicken sandwich.
  • Meatball sub: Heat up frozen meatballs and add to a sub roll with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Toast in the oven until the cheese is melted.
  • Philly cheesesteak: Cook thinly sliced steak with onions and peppers. Add to a hoagie roll with provolone cheese for a classic Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Mix and match ingredients to create your own customized sandwich.

blt wraps on a cutting board

Delicious Wraps for Lunch

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy-to-make lunch idea, wraps are a great option. They’re versatile, filling, and can be customized to suit your taste preferences.

Here are some ideas for delicious wraps you can make for your next lunch:

Salad Ideas

Wraps are a great way to pack in some greens and veggies into your lunch. Here are some salad-inspired wrap ideas:

  • Greek Wrap: Fill your wrap with some romaine lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, and some grilled chicken. Drizzle some tzatziki sauce on top for some extra flavor.
  • Caesar Wrap: Fill your wrap with some romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, croutons, and some Caesar dressing. You can also add some Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.
  • Southwest Wrap: Fill your wrap with some black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, avocado, and some grilled chicken. Drizzle some ranch dressing on top for some extra flavor.

Sandwich Ideas

If you’re in the mood for something a little heartier, try these sandwich-inspired wrap ideas:

  • BLT Wrap: Fill your wrap with some crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and some mayo. You can also add some sliced avocado for some extra flavor.
  • Turkey Club Wrap: Fill your turkey wraps with some sliced turkey, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and some mayo. You can also add some sliced avocado for some extra flavor.
  • Veggie Wrap: Fill your wrap with some hummus, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, and some feta cheese. You can also add some sliced avocado for some extra flavor.

Wraps are a great cold lunch idea and can be packed with an ice pack to keep them fresh.

They’re also a great option if you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch that you can take on-the-go.

They’re versatile, easy to make, and can be customized to suit your taste preferences.

green salad with croutons and peppers on a wooden table

Salad Ideas for Lunches

Looking for a healthy and tasty lunch option? Salads are a great choice!

They are easy to make, packed with nutrients, and can be customized to your liking.

Here are some salad ideas that you can try for your next lunch:

Lettuce Salad Ideas

Lettuce salads are a classic choice for lunch.

They are light, refreshing, and can be made in a variety of ways.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Greek salad: Combine chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese. Top with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Caesar salad: Toss chopped lettuce with croutons, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing. Add grilled chicken or shrimp for some extra protein.
  • Cobb salad: Arrange lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, bacon, and chicken on a plate. Drizzle with a creamy dressing of your choice.

Pasta Salad Ideas

Pasta salads are a great way to incorporate some carbs into your lunch. They are also very versatile and can be made with a variety of ingredients. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Caprese pasta salad: Combine cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Greek pasta salad: Mix cooked pasta with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese. Toss with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Chicken pesto pasta salad: Toss cooked pasta with grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, and pesto sauce. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.
  • BLT pasta salad: Take your al dent√© pasta and mix it with chopped bacon, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and a delicious, creamy dressing for a perfect cold lunch idea. 
  • Chickpea Salad: Chickpea pasta salad is a great option if you are wanting lower carbs and higher protein.

Chicken Salad Ideas

Chicken salads are a great way to incorporate some protein into your lunch and they are perfect for a make-ahead cold lunch. They can be made with a variety of ingredients and dressings. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Classic chicken salad: Mix cooked chicken with mayonnaise, celery, and green onions. Serve on a bed of lettuce or in a sandwich.
  • Waldorf chicken salad: Combine cooked chicken with chopped apples, celery, walnuts, and raisins. Toss with a creamy dressing of your choice.
  • Buffalo chicken salad: Toss cooked chicken with buffalo sauce, chopped celery, and blue cheese dressing. Serve on a bed of lettuce or in a wrap.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and dressings to find your perfect lunch salad.

hand holding a spoon full of cheeseburger soup

Hot Lunch Ideas

When you’re looking for a warm and satisfying lunch, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some hot lunch ideas that are sure to hit the spot.

Kid-Friendly Options

If you’re packing school lunches for your little ones for, consider these kid-friendly options:

  • Grilled cheese sandwich: This classic sandwich is always a hit with kids. Use whole wheat bread and add some sliced tomato or avocado for extra nutrition.
  • Mac and cheese: Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Make it healthier by using whole wheat pasta and adding some veggies like broccoli or peas.
  • Chicken nuggets: Skip the fast food and make your own chicken nuggets using baked chicken breast and whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Casseroles that are great for lunch

Casseroles are a great option for lunch because they’re easy to make ahead of time and can be reheated quickly. Here are some casseroles to try:

  • Shepherd’s pie: This classic dish is made with ground beef or lamb, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. It’s hearty and filling, perfect for a cold day.
  • Tuna casserole: This casserole is made with tuna, noodles, and a creamy sauce. Add some peas and breadcrumbs on top for extra flavor and texture.
  • Chicken and rice casserole: This casserole is made with chicken, rice, and vegetables like carrots and celery. It’s a complete meal in one dish.

Hearty Soups for Lunch

Soup is a great option for lunch because it’s easy to pack and can be reheated quickly. Here are some hearty soups to try:

  • Tomato soup: This classic soup is made with tomatoes, broth, and cream. Add some croutons on top for extra crunch.
  • Chicken noodle soup: This soup is made with chicken, noodles, and vegetables like carrots and celery. It’s comforting and satisfying.
  • Lentil soup: This soup is made with lentils, vegetables, and spices like cumin and coriander. It’s hearty and filling, perfect for a cold day.
  • Cheeseburger Soup: A delicious and creamy soup everyone loves.
  • Beef Stew: Tons of protein and tastes great as leftovers.

Whether you’re packing lunch for school or work, these hot lunch ideas are sure to satisfy. Try them out and see which ones become your favorites!

cropped-easy-lunch-ideas-for-kids.jpg

Lunch Ideas for School

When it comes to packing lunches for school, you want to make sure your child is getting a meal that is not only tasty but also nutritious. Here are some lunch ideas that are perfect for school:

Kid-Friendly Options

Kids can be picky eaters, but there are plenty of lunch options that are sure to please even the most finicky of eaters. Here are some ideas:

  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups: Roll up some sliced turkey and cheese in a whole wheat tortilla for a delicious and easy-to-eat lunch.
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich: This classic sandwich is always a hit with kids. If you have allergies in your house, use almond butter or a sunflower seed butter.
  • Mini pizzas: Top English muffins with tomato sauce, cheese, and your child’s favorite toppings for a tasty and fun lunch.
  • Pasta salad: Toss some cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and Italian dressing for a refreshing and filling lunch.

Nutritionally Balanced Lunches

It’s important to make sure your child is getting a lunch that is not only tasty but also balanced and nutritious. Here are some ideas for lunches that are both delicious and healthy:

  • Grilled chicken wrap: Fill a whole wheat wrap with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, and avocado for a protein-packed lunch.
  • Veggie and hummus wrap: Spread hummus on a whole wheat wrap and fill it with sliced veggies like cucumber, bell pepper, and carrot for a healthy and delicious lunch.
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread: Add some lettuce, tomato, and mustard for a tasty and balanced lunch.
  • Quinoa salad: Toss some cooked quinoa with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil for a filling and nutritious lunch.

Remember to pack your child’s lunch in a lunch box or bag with an ice pack to keep it fresh until lunchtime.

Lunch Ideas for Work

When you’re at work, it can be tough to come up with lunch ideas that are both tasty and healthy.

But with a little planning, you can enjoy a delicious lunch that will keep you energized throughout the day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Well-Balanced Lunches

A well-balanced lunch should include a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Here are some ideas:

  • Grilled chicken or turkey breast with a side of brown rice and steamed veggies
  • A salad with mixed greens, grilled shrimp, avocado, and a vinaigrette dressing
  • A wrap with turkey, cheese, lettuce, and tomato served with a side of fruit

Lunches for Busy Days

If you’re short on time, these lunch ideas are quick and easy to prepare:

  • A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread with a side of baby carrots and hummus
  • A Greek yogurt parfait with granola, berries, and honey
  • A turkey and cheese roll-up with a side of apple slices

To-Go Side Dishes for Lunch

When packing your lunch for work or school, it’s important to have a variety of side dishes to keep things interesting.

Here are some easy and delicious to-go side dishes to add to your lunch box:

1. Veggie Sticks with Hummus

Cut up some carrots, celery, and cucumber and pack them in a container with a side of hummus. Hummus is a great source of protein and fiber, and the veggies add some crunch and freshness to your lunch.

2. Quinoa Salad

Cook up a batch of quinoa and mix in some chopped veggies, such as bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Drizzle with a simple vinaigrette and pack in a container for a filling and nutritious side dish.

3. Fruit Salad

Cut up a variety of fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and pineapple, and mix together in a container. This sweet and refreshing side dish is perfect for a hot summer day.

4. Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Cut a sweet potato into wedges and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until crispy and pack in a container for a tasty and healthy side dish.

5. Greek Yogurt with Berries

Mix some Greek yogurt with a handful of fresh berries, such as raspberries or blackberries. This creamy and fruity side dish is a great source of protein and antioxidants.

These to-go side dishes are easy to prepare and pack, and will add some variety and nutrition to your lunch.

Meal Planning for Lunch

When it comes to lunch, meal planning is key to ensuring you have a delicious and satisfying meal that fits within your budget and dietary needs.

Here are some tips to help you plan your lunches for the week.

Budget-Friendly Lunches

If you’re looking to save money on lunch, meal prepping is the way to go. By planning and preparing your meals ahead of time, you can avoid the temptation to eat out or grab something quick from the vending machine. Here are some budget-friendly lunch ideas:

  • Mason jar salads: These are easy to make and can be customized to your liking. Simply layer your favorite veggies, protein, and dressing in a mason jar and you’re good to go.
  • Wraps: Use whole wheat tortillas and fill them with turkey, cheese, lettuce, and any other veggies you like.
  • Soup: Make a big batch of soup on the weekend and portion it out for the week. You can also freeze any leftovers for later.

When grocery shopping, look for sales on items like canned goods, frozen veggies, and whole grains. These items are often cheaper and can be used in a variety of different meals.

Lunches for the Whole Week

If you’re someone who likes to plan out their meals for the entire week, here are some lunch ideas to get you started:

  • Monday: Turkey and cheese wrap with baby carrots and hummus
  • Tuesday: Veggie stir-fry with brown rice
  • Wednesday: Chicken salad with whole wheat crackers
  • Thursday: Leftover soup from the weekend
  • Friday: Tuna salad with whole wheat pita bread and fruit

When making your grocery list, be sure to include ingredients for each meal you plan to make. This will help you stay on track and avoid any last-minute trips to the grocery store.

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