Finding healthy recipes to take with you to work or school can be a challenge. While most recipes are fine for leftovers, some recipes are better lunch options than others. For this post, we’re giving you 40 healthy lunch ideas for work or school along with some meal prep tips and tricks.
Meal prep is the best option for easy lunches during the week
If you haven’t heard, we are huge advocates for meal prep! We even wrote a full how to meal prep blog post, where we outline some tips and strategies for successful meal prep. We think that prepping healthy food for lunches to take to work or send with the kiddos to school can be a game changer for you!
Some suggestions for prepping healthy lunches
When looking for healthy lunch ideas for work, it’s a good idea to consider the following:
- Do you have an option to heat up your lunch, or will you be eating it cold? (Cold lunch options below)
- Can you eat the same thing 5 days in a row, or do you like to mix it up?
- What sounds good right now? Soups and casseroles might not be appealing in the heat of summer.
- How much prep time do you have? Can you save time by making a Crockpot, Instant Pot or one pan/sheet pan meal?
If you don’t want to eat the same thing every day, here is what we suggest
Make up a batch of protein that you can pair with different vegetables/sides to make a completely new meal each day. See the protein recipes in the crockpot/instant pot section below for some ideas or roast up some chicken breasts or thighs in the oven with some simple seasonings.
Some ideas for making a different lunch with the same protein:
- Salads or bowl meals (can use different dressings/toppings to make add some variety)
- Pair it with leftover roasted veggies
- Serve over cauliflower rice
- Tacos anyone?
Full meal recipes can make easy, healthy lunches
Another idea for easy lunch meal prep is to make recipes that include everything you need to make a full meal (protein, veggies, healthy fats). Think casseroles, one pan meals, sheet pan meals and soups. This way, you simply prep one or two recipes and use that for lunch during the week.
How do I store everything?
Storing the lunches you meal prep is important, because you want to be able to just pack your lunch in the morning (or night before), grab it, and go. We recommend getting Glasslock Containers (or similar) in different sizes for this. The lids are leak-proof and you can safely use them to re-heat food in the oven or microwave.
Don’t forget your lunch box!
A small, soft lunch box is ideal for transporting your healthy lunch to work or school and keeping it cool until noon. Sometimes fridge space in the office is limited and the kids don’t have that option. We suggest getting an insulated bag that’s large enough to fit your containers and an ice packet. Some good options are:
- Built brand – Very practical with several different style options for adults and kids.
- Packit brand – This bag has the freezable gel built in, so you don’t need a separate ice pack. Tons of style options for adults and kids.
- Mokaloo – A larger and more stylish option for adults.
On to the listing of healthy lunch ideas for work or school
The listing is organized into sections. Click any of the links below to jump directly to the section you are interested in:
- Cold – Recipes for full meals that can be eaten cold.
- Instant Pot or Crockpot – Recipes that utilize these tools for easy prep and provide large batches of food that can be made into a variety of different lunches.
- Sheet Pan and One Pan – Full meals that can be prepared in a sheet pan and packaged up for an easy lunch.
- Soups – Make ahead soups for easy lunch reheating.
- Casseroles – Full meals with large servings to make several lunches that reheat easily.
COLD LUNCH RECIPE IDEAS
1. Chicken Bacon Club Collard Green Wrap from The Wooden Skillet
2. Fajita Salad with Steak from 40 Aprons
3. Paleo and Whole30 Egg Salad from The Movement Menu
4. Taco Mason Jar Salad from Food Faith Fitness
5. Greek Chicken Salad from Real Food with Jessica
6. Italian Chicken Zoodle Salad from The Whole Cook
7. Keto Chicken Salad from Real Simple Good
8. Meal Prep Mason Jar Asian Salad from Tastythin
9. Loaded Burger Bowls with Special Sauce from 40 Aprons
10. Turkey Collard Green Wraps from Real Simple Good
INSTANT POT AND CROCKPOT LUNCH RECIPE IDEAS
11. BBQ Pulled Chicken from Real Simple Good
12. Slow Cooker Meatballs in Marinara Sauce from Paleo Running Momma
13. Slow Cooker Hawaiian Shredded Chicken from The Real Food Dieticians
14. Instant Pot Carnitas from Whole Kitchen Sink
15. Beef Barbacoa from Real Simple Good
16. Chicken Cacciatore from Wholesomelicious
17. Jamaican Jerk Pork Roast from I Breathe I’m Hungry
18. Korean Beef Stew from Food Faith Fitness
19. Sweet Potato Chicken Curry from The Real Food Dieticians
20. Crockpot Beef Roast and Veggies from Real Simple Good
SHEET PAN AND ONE PAN LUNCH RECIPE IDEAS
21. Chicken Fajita Bake from Real Simple Good
22. Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies from The Whole Cook
23. Butter Herb Steak and Veggies from Whole Kitchen Sink
24. Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Vegetable Sheet Pan from The Recipe Critic
25. One Pan Mediterranean Roast Chicken from Primavera Kitchen
26. Egg Roll in a Bowl from Real Simple Good
27. Shrimp and Butternut Squash Noodles with Curry Peanut Sauce from Eat the Gains
28. Cauliflower Risotto with Bacon and Mushrooms from Paleo Running Momma
29. Creamy Garlic Chicken from Castaway Kitchen
30. Mongolian Beef from What Great Grandma Ate
SOUP LUNCH RECIPE IDEAS
31. Creamy Ham and Potato Soup from The Real Food Dieticians
32. Creamy Taco Soup from The Movement Menu
33. Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic from Real Simple Good
34. Healthy Hamburger Soup from The Whole Cook
35. Chicken Soup with “Rice” from Paleo Running Momma
CASSEROLE LUNCH RECIPE IDEAS
36. Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole from Real Simple Good
37. Beef Taco Casserole from Eat the Gains
38. Creamy Chicken Brussels Sprouts and Bacon from Paleo Running Momma
39. Paleo Baked Spaghetti from Real Food with Jessica
40. Creamy Sausage and Potato Casserole from Whole Kitchen Sink