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3 Easy and Healthy Lunch Recipes

I would like to think I am usually on top of my meal planning as a Registered Dietitian. However, for some reason coming up with ideas for lunches always stump me. I can't tell you how many times I have come back from the grocery store and realize I forgot to grab anything to make for lunches this week. That's why I like to keep a few to-go lunch recipes in my back pocket that are easy and healthy.


Lemony Chickpea Salad

I make this chickpea salad most often. It's a hit for everyone in my family, and it works great for a dish to bring in for a potluck! The lemon and red wine vinegar add a nice acidic bite of freshness that will make you look forward to lunch time. The olives and feta add an element of salt, and you're also getting crunch from the vegetables. This lunch recipe is a winner at all angles!


Pack a bed of lettuce separately, and add 1 cup of this bean salad on top when you're ready to eat lunch, or you could pair it with a cooked protein such as chicken or fish.


Ingredients

  • Two 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained

  • 1 cucumber, diced

  • 1 bell pepper, diced

  • ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced

  • ¼ red onion, diced

  • ½ cup crumbled feta

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas

  2. Slice and dice cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, onion, parsley and feta. Combine these ingredients into a large mixing bowl

  3. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the mixing bowl.

  4. Serve on top of greens, or serve as a side dish


Baked Falafel


Mixing up my lunch meal prepping with this recipe has changed the game. I loved using Trader Joe's frozen falafel's to top my lunch time salads, however, I needed to part ways with those after I developed my gluten sensitivity. So I've always wanted to experiment with a gluten-free falafel recipe.


For some reason I kept procrastinating on this recipe, because I thought making a falafel would be complicated. Turns out, I was wrong! When you bake falafel, all you really need to do is throw everything in a food processor, form your patties, and bake! Poof! Easy peasy. The best part is these also freeze well so you can save part of your batch for when you know you have a busy week coming and may not have time to prep a lunch for the week.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked chickpeas, soaked 24 hours, drained and patted dry

  • ½ red onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • ½ tsp chili powder

  • ¾ tsp salt

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 cup fresh dill, chopped

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • ¼ tsp baking powder

  • 1 egg

  • Canola cooking spray


Preparation

  1. Soak 1 cup of raw, uncooked chickpeas overnight

  2. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil

  3. In a large food processor, combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, salt, chili powder, baking powder, parsley, dill and olive oil. Pulse until combined but not pureed

  4. Add 1 egg into the mixture and mix with a spoon

  5. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop and your hands to form your patties. If your mixture feels too wet, set your mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes

  6. Place your patties on the baking sheet and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil and bake for 14-15 minutes

  7. Add falafel on top of salads, into a pita, or serve with tzatziki!


Rosemary Chicken Salad


This lunch is perfect for the busiest of days, to a planned picnic. You can eat this chicken salad with crackers, tortilla chips, or on top of cucumbers! It works well as a snack-y lunch if you're someone who has to continue working while eating. Though ideally you'd be able to take 15-20 minutes to dedicate to just eating, I know that always doesn't always happen in the real world. This recipe is particularly kid friendly too!


This lunch recipe is an opportunity to use up left over chicken you might have from dinner the night before, or to use up the last of a rotisserie chicken. You can pick your preference for which piece of chicken (breast, thigh, tenderloin) that you use. You can even use canned chicken too (by the canned tuna at the grocery store) for a super budget-friendly meal.


You might notice that there is no mayo in this recipe. Instead, I use Greek yogurt to make it a little lighter. I recommend using the full fat yogurt so you still get an element of creaminess.


Ingredients

  • 0.5 lb cooked chicken, either shredded or finely chopped

  • 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt

  • 2 tbsp Dijion mustard

  • 3-4 springs of rosemary, chopped

  • 1/2 cup red grapes, halved

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Preparation

  1. Shred or chop your chicken, chop the rosemary, and halve the grapes

  2. Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined

  3. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, cucumbers, on a sandwich, or on top of a salad


What do you like to have for lunch? Comment below!

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