Food & Nutrition

35 Healthy Lunch Recipes and Ideas to Spice Up Your Lunch Hour

Working from home and feeding myself three meals can feel like a huge pain in the butt on some days—and an opportunity to try delicious new healthy lunch recipes on others. While I’ve discovered that PB&J and frozen meals are always a win, I’ve also figured out that making your homebound lunch hour more ooh! than ugh is a lot easier if you’ve got a rotation of tasty and satisfying recipes at the ready. So we rounded up a yummy and diverse selection of healthy lunch recipes with that in mind for anyone feeling a bit uninspired on the homemade-lunch front lately.

When considering healthy lunch options, go for something that will be both filling and enjoyable. Generally speaking, a satisfying meal usually has three or four food different groups (fat, protein, starch, and fruits/vegetables), SELF columnist Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., certified diabetes educator and cofounder of Food Heaven, tells SELF. That way, you get a variety of textures and flavors to satisfy your palate, along with different nutrients to provide you with a steady stream of energy, Jones says.

One cooking tip to keep in mind that is helpful always, but especially at the moment: Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients and tweak recipes to suit what’s available to you (as well as your taste preferences, budget, and time constraints). “I think of recipes as a guide or inspiration,” Cara Harbstreet, M.S., R.D., L.D., of Street Smart Nutrition, tells SELF. “There are many ways to adjust recipes that still preserve the essence of the dish.” Now, go forth and have a lovely lunch hour.

A note about the word healthy here: We know that healthy is a complicated concept. Not only can it mean different things to different people, it’s a word that’s pretty loaded (and sometimes fraught), thanks to the diet industry’s influence on the way we think about food. At SELF, when we talk about food being healthy, we’re primarily talking about foods that are nutritious, filling, and satisfying. But it also depends on your preferences, your culture, what’s accessible to you, and so much more. We selected these recipes with those basic criteria in mind, while also trying to appeal to a wide variety of nutritional needs and taste buds.

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