In a takeout habit for lunch? We totally get it. Bringing you own lunch to work can be so, well, hard.
Here at Well+Good, we’ve opened up our Tupperware containers to share the healthy lunches we bring to work. (That is, when we’ve been good about planning and saving our leftovers. When that fails, we’re foraging the Financial District for lunch at Dig Inn and Juice Press, too.)
But back to our pretty killer healthy lunches. You’ll see they cross all sorts of dietary divides—Paleo-roasted chicken and vegan quinoa salads to spiralized “Pad Thai” (above). And all of them are super easy to make.
Take a look at what we’re eating at our desks, and let us know what easy, awesome things you make for lunch in the Comments, below!
(Photo: Molly Gallagher for Well+Good)
Roasted Chicken with Brussel Sprouts and Carrots
On Sunday nights, I cook my lunch for the week. The week gets hectic and I know if I don’t prep it beforehand, I’ll end up waiting on line at the nearest lunch spot for a $15 semi-healthy meal (which still does happen on occasion). So, on Sundays, I’ll throw a ton of Brussels sprouts, carrots, and some chicken thighs on a baking sheet and roast them, then pack five Pyrex containers, so that they are ready to go for each day of the week. Sometimes I’ll even get a lunch note from my husband thrown in my lunch bag, which always puts a smile on my face—I love a sweet surprise in the middle of the day. And when I need to do lunch on the go, it’s a Doctor Green Juice from Juice Press.
(Photo: Jill Cromwell Wang for Well+Good)
Quinoa Curry Stir-Fry
If I bring my lunch, it tends to be leftovers from the night before. I’m a creature of habit (and whatever’s easiest!), so dinner is usually some variation of a quinoa vegetable stir-fry. For this one, I boiled quinoa in vegetable broth for extra flavor, browned some pumpkin seeds and garlic in olive oil, then threw in broccoli, mushrooms, and peas before finishing the stir-fry off with red curry paste and coconut milk. And of course, no meal is complete without an avocado on top.
(Photo: Molly Gallagher for Well+Good)
“Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Salad
I typically end up packing my lunch at midnight the night before, so I need something that requires little-to-no prep (and minimal energy). Lately, I’ve been throwing together what I like to call the “everything but the kitchen sink” salad. I typically use kale for the base and then toss in whatever veggies and vegan protein source I have in my fridge. On this particular day it was broccoli, baby carrots, tempeh, and sunflower seeds. I also normally use hummus as a dressing replacement to avoid soggy, wilted greens.
(Photo: Kate Citron for Well+Good)
Inspiralized Zucchini and Carrot Noodle Pad Thai
I have a bit of a healthy obsession with Ali Mafucci’s site, Inspiralized. On a few recent Sundays I’ve made one of her recipes—and then had leftovers for a few lunches during the week. This one was spiralized zucchini and carrots with chicken and a homemade peanut sauce (you can get the recipe, here). Other days, I’ll pack leftover crock-pot meals, like turkey chili, or bring some whole-grain bread, avocado, and cherry tomatoes, and made avocado toast in the kitchen at our office.
(Photo: Jamie McKillop for Well+Good)
Vegetable Quinoa Salad
I don’t always remember to bring lunch (a bad habit, I know!), but when I do it’s usually whatever vegan protein is leftover from dinner the night before. This salad has red quinoa, roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and walnuts with fresh apples, and cranberries. I added some roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli for good measure.
(Photo: Sarah Sarway for Well+Good)
Fall Kale Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Avocado, and Hemp Seeds
On this day, I’d made kale salad as part of a bigger dinner the night before and brought in the leftovers. It was Tuscan kale dressed with lemon, olive oil, sea salt, and Parmesan, with apples, cranberries, and walnuts. I added hemp seeds for protein and threw in half an avocado for the lunch version. This is slightly lighter and more put-together than my usual lunch, though. It’s usually greens, quinoa, or chickpeas or occasionally organic chicken, and whatever vegetables from my CSA are in my fridge thrown together in Tupperware. Leftovers are also always big, too, and I’m not gonna lie, on busier days, Dig Inn is my saving grace.
(Photo: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil
I love kale or spinach salads for lunch, but recently I’ve wanted warmer dishes, so this pasta-substitute is totally hitting the spot. I roast the squash the night before and toss it with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. I keep sliced almonds at my desk, so I’ll sprinkle those on for a protein crunch.
(Photo: Melisse Gelula for Well+Good)
Brown Rice with Veggies and Meatballs
I try to do my grocery shopping and cooking for the week on Sundays (although somehow what seems like enough for the week often turns out to be enough for three days…) Most weeks, it’s brown rice with some combination of veggies and a protein, thrown together in a stir-fry. This week I did zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and ready-made turkey meatballs. I’m usually laziest about the protein, which means it’s something that doesn’t require cooking (tofu, canned beans, etc.), but if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll cook up some ground turkey or chicken.
(Photo: Kimie Bunyasaranand for Well+Good)
When I’m making dinner during the week, I usually make enough food to have leftovers for lunch. Lunch today is a veggie burrito. My friend gave me this go-to recipe last year. It’s simple to make, healthy and delicious—chopped peppers, onions, mushrooms, and kale sauteed in olive oil, wrapped up with goat cheese and hot sauce on top.
(Photo: Stephanie Kline for Well+Good)