5 healthy, satisfying, delicious and easy recipes to mix up your lunch routine, including options for on-the-go and hot-at-home!
Egg Bacon Avocado Panini, Chicken Grape Goat Cheese Salad, BBQ Turkey Sandwich, Greek Chicken Salad Wrap, Peanut Butter Banana Combo
Do you ever get stuck in a limited rotation of meals? When you know you’re tired of eating the same thing over and over, but you just can’t seem to try something new? I NEED diversity in my diet, and I’ve found the best way to avoid the rut is to find a variety of staples that you love, then continue to mix them up with variations. For me, lunchtime means cravings for sandwiches, salads, wraps, and munchy sides–which also happen to be great quick or packed options. Then the possibilities for fillings and combos are endless!
Here are some that I’ve been loving lately:
1. Egg Panini with Bacon, Avocado, Sun-dried Tomato, and Smoked Cheese
This is my FAVORITE PANINI EVER–I don’t think a flavor and texture combo can get any better than this. Honestly.
Start with hearty whole grain bread, a flat bun, or (what I usually go for) a bun shaved flat using a serrated knife. Mash on some avocado, add a sprinkle of Hawaiian rub (or sea salt/pepper/Italian herbs/dried garlic/paprika), then a torn piece of crisp turkey bacon, an over easy fried egg, thinly sliced smoked gouda (another wonderful option is smoked cheddar), sliced red onion, sun-dried tomato, and finally the top bun. Use the same pan to toast the whole sandwich on each side until crisp and melty. Then cut through the center and watch that yolk oooooooooze.
This is the only recipe on this list that I would not recommend taking to-go–the hot crispy exterior is just too good to sacrifice. Buuuuut this comes together very quickly, and is perfect for an easy lunch at home (or breakfast or dinner or snack or pre/post-workout fuel or midnight pick-me-up for an all-night studying session…It does it all.)
2. Chicken Grape Goat Cheese Salad
With maple, balsamic, thyme, grapes, and tangy goat cheese, the flavors in this salad are just heavenly. Plus it’s a perfect way to combine veggies, filling protein and cheese, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil.
Salad: chopped Romaine, chicken breast (2-3 oz cooked on the stovetop with a little salt and pepper), red grapes (halved), crumbled goat cheese, sliced avocado, sliced red onion, and toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts
Dressing (for 1-2 salads): 1/2 tsp Dijon, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp EVOO, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/8 – 1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, pinch salt and pepper
I like to pair this with a crunchy side like Beanito’s White Bean Chips.
3. BBQ Pickle Cheddar Turkey Sandwich
Turkey sandwiches have been one of my top lunch choices for as long as I can remember. Something about a big bite of hearty bread, meat, cheese, and veggies is just so satisfying. And the variations and combos for a healthy lunch are endless, so you never have to get bored! Here’s one of my favorites:
- Whole wheat bread (hearty loaf like Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat or Dave’s Killer Powerseed)
- BBQ Sauce (Stubb’s Original)
- Roasted turkey breast (Applegate Farms–love this organic brand, but still use moderate amounts because of the salt content)
- Cheddar cheese (freshly sliced, sharp or sharp white)
- Thinly sliced dill pickle
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Sliced grape tomatoes
- Chopped Romaine
- Avocado (mashed on the top slice)
For the side, I’m currently obsessed with these Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Roasted Vegetable Crackers (they’re perfectly seasoned and crunchy, and have a really impressive ingredient list/nutrition panel).
And don’t forget a side of seasonal fruit to make the meal complete! (Which would incidentally not be peach right now like in the photo.) This fall I’ve been loving on Fuji apples, red pears, and grapes.
4. Greek Chicken Salad Wrap
This chicken salad is INSANELY delicious, lightened up with Greek yogurt, and perfect for making ahead! The kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, herbs, lemon, yogurt and Dijon take the flavor profile to a whole new level, and chopped bell pepper and onion add the perfect crunch. When basil is out of season, fresh thyme works perfectly for a fall twist! Finish off the wrap with some creamy avocado and spinach, pair it with your favorite juicy fruit, and I call it an afternoon to look forward to.
5. Peanut Butter Banana Honey
You’re NEVER too old for a peanut butter sandwich; it’s actually a necessity of life. (But can easily be subbed for another nut or seed butter if needed.) I rarely go a week without one nut butter lunch, which often looks something like this:
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter + 1/3 sliced banana + 1/4 tsp honey on soft whole wheat bread (such as Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat)
- Handful of Newman’s Own Protein Pretzels
- Sliced carrots and mashed avocado with a pinch sea salt and pepper
What are some of your favorite lunches?!?