More than a Sandwich: Summer Tips for Healthy Lunches

Healthy Recipes Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Written by

Are you stuck in a lunchtime rut? It’s easy to stick with what we know –  reaching for a turkey sandwich, throwing together a salad you’ve had a thousand times, or even just grabbing a granola bar on the way out the door.

This summer, we challenge you to be creative and to think outside the box. Lunchtime meals don’t need to be boring. It’s easier than you think to whip up a quick and healthy lunch. And if you aren’t paying attention to your midday meal, you may be suffering the health effects. Making poor food choices or skipping lunch altogether will make you irritable and fatigued – and reaching for an afternoon coffee or soda for a pick-me-up will only make the situation worse.

To help bring some life (and healthy vegetables) back to your lunches, we’ve outlined a few ideas to supercharge your midday meal.

Quinoa Salad

If you haven’t tried quinoa, it’s time to add this superfood to your diet. Easier to cook (and healthier) than rice, this grain is loaded with protein, fiber and vitamins. Quinoa is great hot or cold and incredibly versatile, so you can try it with your healthy lunches and dinners.

Start with a heaping pile of quinoa as your base and load up with veggies, your favorite nuts and a small amount of your favorite cheese (feta and goat cheese blend well). For a dressing, all you really need is a small amount of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt and pepper. The ingredient and taste combinations of this quinoa salad are endless, and adding the grain will help you feel fuller longer than a traditional salad. If you’re stretched for time in the morning, you can prepare the quinoa and chop the veggies the night before, taking a few minutes to mix before you head out the door.

Recipe idea: This quinoa recipe from Love and Lemons features crunchy green veggies, hearty nuts and spring time mint.

Veggie Wraps

We aren’t talking about your traditional wrap here, so don’t reach for the cheddar cheese and   white flour tortillas. Instead, start with a whole wheat tortilla. For a spread, skip the mayonnaise and try hummus, avocado or Dijon mustard for a healthier alternative. Then, load on the veggies. Mixed greens, sliced bell peppers and even small bits of broccoli are fantastic additions to ensure you’re getting a healthy lunch. For protein lovers out there, add black beans, marinated tofu or roasted chicken. You can’t really go wrong – just make sure you pick healthy and fiber-rich foods.

Recipe idea: This spicy black bean wrap recipe from This Homemade Life offers a healthy twist to the normal wrap by adding avocado, sprouts and veggies.

What healthy lunches are you whipping up in the kitchen? We’ve love to hear your ideas in the comments below.