Packing a lunch for work is a smart choice that can save you plenty of money, not to mention calories. So why do so many of us skip the brown bag lunch, in favor of the food court or office cafeteria? If you've always thought of brown bag lunch as just a sandwich or plain salad, we're here to inspire you to think outside the lunch box with creative, packed-lunch recipe ideas, that are not only healthier than the typical lunch counter options, but super-charged with awesome flavors and textures, too. Check out our round-up of healthy, flavorful lunch recipes that will transform your everyday office lunch.
01 of 19
Roasted Chicken Caprese Sandwich
This recipe takes the classic Caprese sandwich, which is already pretty healthy, and super-charges it with vitamin-packed arugula and calcium-rich fresh mozzarella cheese, plus anti-oxidant rich tomatoes. Add some rotisserie chicken for protein and replace the usual olive oil with flavorful truffle mustard and white balsamic glaze, and you've got a delicious, filling sandwich recipe that checks all the boxes for a healthful and satisfying brown bag lunch.
02 of 19
Are you trying to avoid fried foods at lunch? Here's a great way to enjoy the taste of a popular take-out favorite, without the fat and calories associated with frying. Tasty baked falafel is a healthier take on the Middle Eastern classic, made with protein-rich chickpeas, which are an excellent source of fill-you-up dietary fiber. Pack baked falafel for lunch wrapped in a pita sandwich, along with some heart-healthy hummus, shredded lettuce, and other veggies for a filling, hand-held meal.
03 of 19
White Bean Pasta With Black Olives and Feta
Enjoy the tastes of the Mediterranean when you pack this flavor-packed, healthful pasta salad recipe for lunch. Enjoyable either hot or cold, this satisfying, yummy pasta salad recipe is suitable for vegetarian diets and quick and easy to prepare. White beans and feta cheese add protein, while artichoke hearts deliver salty flavor and chopped vegetables deliver crunch. Make it with whole wheat pasta to make it even more nutritious.
04 of 19
Fresh Tomato Soup
This super-healthy tomato soup recipe tastes so rich and hearty, you won't believe there's no cream added. Sweet, fresh tomatoes are simmered with diced onions, garlic and chicken broth before being pureed into a smooth and creamy soup. A simple roux of flour and butter adds satisfying thickness with just a dash of balsamic vinegar for a tangy kick. Bring it to work in a thermos to enjoy with some crusty baguette, cornbread or crackers or with a side salad.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
05 of 19
Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burritos
If you love a burrito (and who doesn't?), try making this easy, nourishing vegan bean and rice burrito for your next office lunch. Vegetarian bean burritos are filled with leftover rice, plenty of Mexican spices and all your favorite burrito toppings for a filling and tasty lunchtime meal. It's sure to become one of your favorite healthy recipes.
06 of 19
Lentils With Sweet Potato and Kale
This yummy, nutrient-rich lentil dish is easy to prepare and makes a satisfying meat-free meal. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins, potassium and dietary fiber, while lentils deliver the protein and iron that's so important to vegetarian diets. Meanwhile, meat-lovers can amp up this stew-like recipe, by adding cooked ham or bacon.
07 of 19
Pad Thai Noodle Salad
Skip the food court take-out lines and prepare this homemade, low-carb Pad Thai salad recipe that makes a great workday lunch. Featuring bold Thai flavors and an abundance of textures, this healthier version of the classic Pad Thai Noodle dish is absolutely delicious, while also being light in calories and fat, plus naturally gluten-free. It's also (surprise) low in carbs, thanks to the use of rice noodles instead of wheat.
08 of 19
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Chock full of fresh vegetables, this flavorful pasta salad is a satisfying and healthy lunch option. Cooked pasta is tossed with arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, black olives, fresh basil, and feta cheese. The pasta salad is dressed with a vinaigrette made of lemon, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and oregano with a little bit of mayo and mustard for a touch of creaminess.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
09 of 19
Parmesan Tuna Sandwich
Canned tuna packed in water is naturally low in fat, high in protein and an excellent dietary source of calcium and magnesium. Enjoy this tasty version of the typical tuna salad sandwich that's punched up by chopped fresh peppers, green onion, Dijon mustard and shredded Parmesan cheese.
10 of 19
Avocado Egg Salad
Swapping the traditional mayonnaise for a ripe, mashed avocado makes this egg salad a healthy lunch option. Packed with healthy fat, it's still creamy and delicious like a traditional egg salad. Try serving it on whole wheat bread or with crackers and crudité.
11 of 19
Nicoise Salad Recipe
The Nicoise salad is a French bistro classic that makes an elegant lunch. You deserve to dine on this delicious, thoughtfully composed salad featuring protein-packed tuna, filling potatoes, hard boiled eggs, briny olives and crunchy green beans, all drizzled with a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing.
12 of 19
Vegetable Fried Rice
Yummy cashews add plenty of health benefits to this easy to make, vegetarian fried rice recipe that's a healthy lunch option when you're craving Chinese food. Leftover rice is tossed with vegetables, cashews, ginger and soy sauce for a homemade fried rice experience that delivers on nutrition and satisfaction, and lets you skip the take-out line.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
13 of 19
Goat Cheese, Rosemary Ham, Apple and Honey Sandwich
Looking for a way to make your brown bag lunch more exciting? Try this tasty French-style sandwich with rosemary ham, creamy goat cheese, peppery arugula, apple, honey, and lemon. Sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy, this sandwich packs plenty of protein and flavor and makes the perfect lunchtime meal. Vegetarians can skip the ham and add more apple slices and goat cheese. Or, try adding roasted vegetables for a burst of extra flavor.
14 of 19
Black Bean and Mango Salad
When a boring salad won't do for lunch, kick things up a notch with this fresh-tasting, protein-packed, lower-fat lunchtime salad that's full of flavor and color. Black beans and mangos combine with fresh bell pepper, jalapeno and cilantro in this simple recipe that's suitable for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.
15 of 19
Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich
This robust and tasty curry chicken salad sandwich recipe packs a huge amount of flavor, with more health benefits and fewer calories than your typical chicken salad. Leftover chicken is mixed together with cashews, cranberries, mint, green onion and cilantro, then blasted with flavor from a curry spice, turmeric, ginger, honey, sriracha and lime juice dressing. Greek yogurt is also mixed with the mayonnaise in this recipe, providing a nice, tangy bite and adding probiotics and live cultures that help aid digestion and speed up metabolism.
16 of 19
Vietnamese Noodle Salad With Lemongrass Beef
Fall in love with Vietnamese food when you make this delicious beef noodle salad (also known as Bun Bo Xao) for your next office lunch. This beautifully balanced, satisfying noodle salad has everything you need in a great lunch, from savory marinated and stir-fried beef, to filling rice noodles and delicious fresh and pickled vegetables. All of this is dressed with fresh herbs, crisp fried onions and roasted peanuts and served with a simple dipping sauceContinue to 17 of 19 below.
17 of 19
Lemon Pasta With Pine Nuts and Broccoli
Do you like pasta? Add this vegetarian-friendly lemon pine nut pasta recipe to your shortlist of quick and easy pasta dishes that you can toss into a container and enjoy for a filling, nutritious lunch. Thin pasta noodles are cooked and tossed with a little olive oil, lemon, garlic, pine nuts and lightly steamed broccoli for a guilt-free weekday lunch.
18 of 19
Thai Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Thai basil chicken lettuce wraps make a crunchy-delicious lunch that's brimming with taste and fun to eat. Quick and easy to prepare too, you can top these chicken and stir-fry veggie filled wraps with chopped cashews and peanuts for extra protein and crunch, before chowing down.
19 of 19
Vegan Cream Cheese Veggie Wraps
This fresh, filling and vegan lunch is packed full of veggies and vegan cream cheese and is rolled up in tasty flour tortillas. It is the perfect mess-free and healthy lunch!