Fact: a good lunch makes your day infinitely better. Here are some fresh, nourishing ideas you can whip up at home and bring with you for delicious midday feast.
Take some wholegrain bread, slather on some mashed avocado, fill up with leafy greens, chopped capsicum, tomatoes and grilled chicken, and voila! A quick and easy lunch, just as delicious as the sandwich you pay $10 for at the café down the road.
The great thing about wraps and sandwiches is they’re so versatile, so you can have something completely different every day. Here’s a simple formula to play with: pick a protein (tuna, chicken, turkey, lean beef, tofu, falafels), choose a mix of veggies, and complete with a healthy spread (think salsa, hummus, cottage or cream cheese, mustard, relish, pesto or chutneys).
Whip up a homemade pizza for dinner and enjoy the rest for lunch the next day. It’s a great way to feel indulgent, without all the extra salt, oil and fat you’d get with pizza from the food court.
It’s easy to make your own base – check out this quick and easy pizza dough recipe by chef Adrian Richardson to get started. Then all you need to do is choose your toppings. Load up your favourite vegetables, experiment with different sauces and pastes and add some lean meat or even kidney beans for a protein hit.
Need topping inspiration? Try some of these healthy pizza recipes for some delicious ideas.
Perfect for the cooler months, a hearty soup will get you warmed up and feeling nourished – it’s comfort food you can feel good about. Fill up with a variety of colourful vegetables to get a super nutrient hit, and try adding some protein and even wholegrains to give it some more substance.
Soups are also a fantastic way to use up whatever vegetables you have left in the fridge at the end of the week – so get creative. Check out our collection of soup recipes for some inspiration.
If you’re after something light and fresh, but you’re a bit over salads, rice paper rolls are a wonderful healthy option. Even better, they’re easy to make at home.
You can buy packages of rice paper wraps from most supermarkets. Simply prep as instructed, fill with a mix of bean sprouts, shredded carrots, vermicelli rice, ribbon cucumbers, avocado, spring onion and some parsley or coriander, then parcel it all up. Check out this delicious rice paper roll recipe for more ideas and guidance.
These refreshing rolls are yummy with soy sauce, or you can even make your own dip by mixing your soy sauce with a little sweet chilli sauce, ginger, garlic and lemon juice.
Another healthy lunch classic, salads are great for whipping up big batches and taking a portion to work with you. Bored of your wilted lettuce and tomatoes? Start experimenting with different ingredients and you’ll soon discover salads are anything but boring. Add fresh herbs and toasted nuts and seeds for extra flavour, season with good quality olive oil, and try adding grains like quinoa, brown rice or barley to give it some bulk.
An easy way to make your salad seem instantly more exciting is to put it in a jar. The simple rule is to put wet ingredients (like your dressing) in first at the bottom of the jar, then stack your ingredients upwards. Salad leaves, carrots and anything else that tends to go soggy should go right at the top.
Need more ideas? Check out our huge collection of deliciously healthy salad recipes and get creative.
Light, delicious, and with so many options for different fillings, sushi is the perfect healthy lunch. If you’re feeling creative, try making your own. It’s easier than you think – promise. Try this fresh and tasty quinoa sushi rolls recipe to get started.
7. Noodles with veggies and herbs
Throw together whatever vegetables you have in the fridge in a quick and easy noodle dish. Flavour it with fresh herbs and spices, garlic, olive oil or soy sauce – super simple, and super delicious.
For a similar idea with a twist, try a Vietnamese pho packed full of bright flavour and leafy ingredients, with an aromatic fusion of chicken, bean shoots, coriander and chili. Or try spiralized vegetables for a carb free alternative.
8. Frittatas, quiches and tarts
Baking a vegetable-filled tart or frittata at the start of the week is an excellent idea, especially if you’re low on time to prepare meals each day. Portion it up, freeze some for later, and you’ve got an easy lunch ready to be heated up and enjoyed with some salad.
Try this pumpkin, tomato and beetroot frittata, asparagus, leek and pea tart, or easy Easy cheesy quiche recipe. Or, experiment with your own version using all your favourite vegetables and some legumes or meat for variety and protein.
You can’t go past a classic fish and salad combo for a perfect dose of protein, omega-3s and veggie nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish like salmon and mackerel support your brain function, so it’s a great way to break up the work day, as well as filling you up.
Grab a tin of tuna or grill up some salmon and enjoy with your favourite leafy sides. Check out some of these delicious ideas for fish and seafood recipes.
Warm and aromatic, curries are a delicious way to brighten up your lunchtime – and making it yourself lets you up the vegetable content and lower the oil content. Start with a basic recipe and mix it up with your favourite ingredients. Try this Indian lamb curry, Malaysian chicken curry or Eggplant curry with yoghurt for some tasty ideas.
MORE: Healthy Dinner Recipes