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Healthy Lunch Recipes & Ideas

Healthy lunch recipes have become the unsung heroes among our better eating habits. Lunchtime often takes a backseat to the importance that a healthy breakfast gets, but the reality is that lunches can become a real sink hole for our nutrition, money and energy. Whether going out to lunch, grabbing something on the go, working through lunch or heating up boxed food in the microwave, these are all prime opportunities to reclaim this mid day meal.

The first step? Start making lunches again, at home. Simply making the time to plan, create and enjoy homemade lunches carries an immediate boost to the quality of our time, energy and budget. Preparing lunch injects a needed time-out from work and other daily activities. It's an excellent time for practicing a very simple and concrete exercise in mindfulness: sans TV, music, work, etc. just rinse, just chop, just stir. Sitting around the table with family and friends can ground and reinvigorate us for the rest of the day. And healthy lunch recipes can help make up for a quickie breakfast or allow for a nice splurge at other times.

Next step? Start packing as many healthy foods into lunchtime as possible. Choose better foods for your healthy lunch recipes then bundle in even more healthy extras like these to complete the plate. Enjoy!

SANDWICH RECIPES & WRAPS

SALAD RECIPES

LIGHT SOUP RECIPES


Healthy Sandwich Recipes & Wraps

Homemade salads are typically our mainstay for healthier lunches, but these healthy lunch recipes below help offset the monotony that daily salads can become and still satisfy that "sandwich" craving every now and again. These wraps and sandwich recipes can easily be made with gluten or gluten free products, and these breadless wonders make good sense too.

Smashed Avocado Sandwich

Recipe Variation
For some added protein, layer on a few slices of smoked salmon, a poached egg or a strip of bacon like Applegate's Organic Sunday Bacon or from your local meat source (find yours here).


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Smashed Avocado Sandwich

Recipe Variation
For some added protein, layer on a few slices of smoked salmon, a poached egg or a strip of bacon like Applegate's Organic Sunday Bacon or from your local meat source (find yours here).

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
Sriracha, hot chili sauce
Salt
Fresh lime juice (optional)
Organic sprouts (e.g. alfalfa, bean, broccoli)
Organic tomato, sliced
Organic sharp cheddar cheese, grated (like Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar or a local source)
4 slices of bread, lightly toasted

Preparation
Mash avocado in small bowl (a mini food processor works well too) with a few drops of Sriracha to taste, a little salt and a squeeze or two of fresh lime -- leave a little chunky. Spread avocado mixture on two pieces of lightly toasted bread and top with sprouts, tomato, cheese and remaining toast.
Servings: 2

Nut Pimento Cheese Toast

This combo is a lighter but more satisfying alternative to pimento cheese. The nuts are the star and make up the bulk of the recipe, adding just enough cheese and mayo to bind and flavor the raw nuts. Less is also more for the olives, onion and seasonings too -- just to flavor. Using a mini food processor to chop nuts and olives makes for speedy prep. So much more satiating without that cheesy heaviness that traditional pimento can give. Makes a great spread or dip recipe too.

Mavenjoy Tip
Mix in a bit of chèvre or feta with mayo; you 
could also substitute chèvre or a little olive oil for mayo too.


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Nut Pimento Cheese Toast

  Mavenjoy Tip
Mix in a bit of chèvre or feta with mayo; you 
could also substitute chèvre or a little olive oil for mayo too.

Ingredients
Organic raw nuts, chopped (good picks: almonds and cashews or walnuts)
Organic cheese, grated (good picks: cheddar, aged manchego or Romano)
Organic mayonnaise
Black and green olives with or without pimentos, chopped
Onion, grated 
Black pepper 
Cayenne Pepper 
Organic bread, toasted or lettuce/cabbage leaf, raw vegetables, crackers

Preparation 
Combine first 7 ingredients in amounts according to taste and in proportions from more to less in order listed. (See notes above recipe too) Spread on toast, lettuce leaf, crackers or raw vegetables.

the Burrito Nacho

Mavenjoy Pick & Tip
 
Amy's Bean Burritos (gluten free and dairy free choices too!)
Why Amy's?
 
Using a microplane grater gives a lot of taste without using a lot of cheese -- try it!


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the Burrito Nacho

Mavenjoy Pick & Tip 
Amy's Bean Burritos (gluten free and dairy free choices too!) 
Why Amy's
 Using a microplane grater gives a lot of taste without using a lot of cheese -- try it!

Ingredients
1 frozen organic burrito
10 organic corn chips
4 tablespoons organic salsa, divided
Organic cheddar cheese
Handful of organic salad greens
1 tablespoon sliced organic green onions
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped

Preparation
Cook burrito according to package directions. While burrito is cooking, make a single layer of chips in center of plate. Scatter 2 tablespoons of salsa over chips. Grate a fine layer of cheese just to lightly cover chips. Top with greens, onions and avocado. Place cooked burrito on top of greens and drizzle with remaining salsa. Top with additional cheese if desired. Eat with knife and fork.
Servings: 1 

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Wild Salmon Salad Wrap

Mavenjoy Ingredient Picks
Vital Choice Wild Red Sockeye Salmon ~
Organic Valley Plain Yogurt ~
RedwoodHill Farm Plain Goat Milk Yogurt ~
Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas or 
this gluten free recipe ~ 


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Kicked-Up Wild Salmon Salad Wrap

Mavenjoy Ingredient Picks
Vital Choice Wild Red Sockeye Salmon ~
Organic Valley Plain Yogurt ~
RedwoodHill Farm Plain Goat Milk Yogurt ~
Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas or 
this gluten free recipe ~ 

Ingredients
1 can wild salmon (see sidebar)
1 rounded tablespoon organic mayonnaise 
1 rounded tablespoon plain organic yogurt 
1 tablespoon sliced organic green onions (green part only) 
2 tablespoons chopped organic sweet pickles 
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh organic basil 
Drizzle of Sriracha
2 organic tortillas 
1/2 avocado, pitted and peeled 
1 organic cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced vertically in long strips 
1 organic roma or plum tomato, sliced vertically in strips

Preparation
Warm tortillas according to package directions or in medium hot skillet.
Gently combine salmon and next 6 ingredients, set aside. Mash avocado with a tiny bit of salt to taste (and a couple of drops of Sriracha if you like) and lightly schmear on one whole side of each tortilla. Line up cucumbers and tomatoes on first 1/3 of each tortilla. Scoop and spread salmon salad in a heaping line just to the side of the half-way point of each tortilla. Roll up and slice in half on a diagonal.
Servings: 2 

Healthy Lunch Lagniappe

Lunch Tips & Tricks


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Breadless Wonders

  • Wrap your sandwich in broad leaf lettuce and cabbage leaves in lieu of bread or tortillas (romaine and Napa work well)
  • Rice papers make amazing wraps. Also called spring roll skins or banh trang, they're a super light and refreshing change from salads and sandwiches. Filling Ideas: shredded cabbage, carrot/celery sticks, greens, avocado, radishes, cucumbers, tamago/egg, shrimp, toasted sesame seeds and top with or dip in sriracha, tamari, fish sauce, oil and vinegar. - Save a slice, go for an open-face sandwich
  • Go open-face and save a slice. Duh!
  • Check out our healthy salad ideas too
  • How about some savory waffle ideas or egg recipes for lunch?  

Better Spreads & Toppings for Sandwiches & Wraps

  • Add better nutrition by spreading on hummus, mashed avocado and salsas instead of mayo
  • Grate raw carrots, squashes, cucumbers, radishes or daikons and generously sprinkle onto sandwiches, wraps and soups
  • Use a a microplane grater when adding cheese--gives lots of flavor using less product 
  • Pile on extra heaping mounds of salad greens and fresh tender greens like spinach and baby kale to sandwiches, wraps and smoothies too
  • Cucumbers, zucchini, squashes, avocados and peppers thinly sliced laterally for sandwiches and strips for wraps
  • Roasted sliced mushrooms, eggplant, squashes, onions and peppers
  • Give a generous sprinkle of chia seeds to sandwiches, salads, soups and smoothies
  • Try topping sandwiches and salads with toasted seaweed or a seafood salad like this 

Super(food) Sides for Your Healthy Lunch Recipes

  • Gobs of fresh fruit like grapefruit halves sprinkled with cinnamon, a bowl of watermelon and berries, apples and pears with nut butter or sliced tomatoes with fresh basil 
  • Dried fruit and mixed raw nut combinations like these
  • Celery stuffed with nut butter & slivered dates or with goat cheese & olives
  • Veggie Bites: steamed fresh edamame, roasted chickpeas or kale chips
  • Protein-rich Falafel Chips, this super-spiced, fiber-packed popcorn or roasted chickpeas (great in lieu of crouons on salads too).


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