While breakfast is often touted as the most important meal of the day, these healthy lunch ideas will change the way you think about your midday meal. Packed with greens, proteins and complex carbs, these easy-to-make bites will help you power through that afternoon slump and keep you away from your snack drawer until dinner. Whip these up to feel full and satisfied. Not a peanut butter sandwich in sight.
A Week of Healthy Lunch Ideas
1. Grilled Eggplant and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich Recipe (247 calories per half)
Packed with veggies, a dash of balsamic and a slice of savory mozzarella cheese, this Italian-inspired meal is sure to hit the spot. Pair half of the sandwich with soup or a salad, or chow down on the full thing for just about 500 calories. Buon appetito.
2. Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers Recipe (115 calories per patty)
Craving a big, juicy burger? This patty makes a great meat-free alternative to your traditional beef filling. While a McDonald’s Big Mac might carry up to 27 grams of fat, this black bean mixture contains just one gram per three-ounce patty. We’re loving that.
3. Healthier Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe (340 calories per sandwich)
Believe it: There is a guilt-free way to satisfy your grilled cheese craving. Packed with tomatoes, spinach and, of course, gooey cheese, this sandwich is stuffed with a surprising 19.3 grams of protein per serving. Plus, we can pretty much guarantee this will only take about 10 minutes to make.
4. Healthy Low-Carb BLT Recipe (286 calories per two wraps)
The best part of a BLT sandwich is clearly the bacon — so why not save yourself some calories and leave the bread behind? Wrapped in lettuce, this egg, avocado, bacon and tomato combo is every bit as savory as the traditional dish — and we bet you won’t even miss those carbs.
5. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Recipe (220 calories per burrito)
This healthier take on a Mexican lunch staple might just convince you to opt for a homemade burrito over Chipotle. Full of kale, sweet potatoes and beans, and flavored with just enough cumin and spice, this dish comes in at just 220 calories per wrap. Healthy enough to justify a margarita later in the day? We think so.
6. Arugula Salad with Avocado and Tomato Recipe (251 calories per cup)
Whether you’re salivating for something crunchy, savory or even slightly cheesy, this salad has the potential to fulfill all your lunchtime needs. Top off your avocado, tomato and arugula with crispy pita, some feta cheese, or throw some chicken or tofu in if you’re craving a taste of protein. Thankfully, this recipe yields six to eight servings. Because you’ll probably want it for lunch tomorrow, too.
7. Tuscan Orzo Salad Recipe (283 calories per cup)
The beauty of pasta salad: Make it Sunday night, stick it in the fridge and eat it all week long. If you’re not into orzo, feel free to swap in quinoa or barley — it will taste just as good. And if you want a little extra something on the side, pair this dish with these savory spinach and quinoa stuffed tomatoes.