Bringing your own lunch to work is a great way to save money, give you more time during your break, be healthier, stay within any dietary restrictions you may have at the time, and a wide range of other benefits.
Unfortunately, while many get themselves pumped up about packing their own lunch to work, the well-intentioned idea can quickly devolve into bringing boring old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead, which eventually gives way to not bringing your lunch at all.
The best solution to this is to equip yourself with a handful of easy recipes that are not only quick and simple to prepare but offer something a little different as well, keeping things interesting, accessible, and most importantly, keeping your motivation up.
These 7 easy to make lunch recipes below are a great place to start.
Southwest Hummus Wraps
It really doesn’t get any easier than hummus dishes. Not only is hummus versatile and simple, it’s healthy, low in fat, and helps you get full without loading up on calories.
Making these wraps is easy. Just spoon the hummus onto the tortilla, spread it around, and top it with the rest of the ingredients.
Once you’re done, roll the torilla up like you would with a burrito, cut into two at an angle, and place them in a container. Make as many as you’d like, and store with an ice pack in your bag.
Three Bean Salad
Salads are always a great idea for lunch, but they can sometimes be inadequate on their own.
This three bean salad is very filling, healthy, and takes very little preparation time. You can throw it together the night before, and just make a container of it to place in your lunch bag on the way out the door the next day.
Start by whisking the sugar, oil, salt, pepper, garlic and shallots, then set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together green beans, Garbonzo beans, and kidney beans. Pour the sauce over the top and fold together to combine until all vegetables are coated in sauce.
Cover and place in the fridge to chill. This will let the flavors blend better. Serve cold and stir before serving.
Sandwiches don’t always require bread. These apple sandwiches use only three ingredients, and are a quick and easy way to load up on some protein and energy for the rest of the day.
Have these for lunch on their own, or even as a sort of dessert or side item. Whatever works for you.
The process is fast. Just spread almond butter on one apple slice, sprinkle granola over almond butter and top with another apple slice.
Repeat using remaining apple slices and almond butter, and make as many as you’d like.
Bacon Ranch Turkey Wrap
We had to fit one more wrap idea into this list, this time with meat. The concept remains the same: wraps are easy to make, easy to eat, and don’t make much of a mess.
Start by spreading ranch dressing all over the center of the flatbread, and then top with turkey, bacon, lettuce, cheese, onion, and tomatoes. Fold the sides in, and then roll them up. Cut the wraps into two portions at an angle, and you’re all set.
Black Bean Pasta Salad
This black bean salad is another example of a healthy, easy, and filling salad that is a great way to feel full after lunch at work, without feeling weighed down.
Start off by cooking pasta according to package instructions. Drain, and then set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise (or olive oil,) lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt.
Add cooked pasta and remaining ingredients; toss to combine and coat pasta. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve or take to work.
Peanut Butter Banana Quesadillas
These quesadillas can be your breakfast, lunch, or dessert, it’s all up to you. Whatever you use them for, they’re always easy, and always delicious.
Begin by spreading the peanut butter over the surface of the tortilla. Slice the banana very thinly, and then arrange the slices over half of the tortilla.
Sprinkle your chocolate chips over the banana slices, and then fold the tortilla in half.
Cook the quesadilla in a skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Pack it up, and put it in your lunch bag. To keep them crispy, don’t seal your container all the way, or simply place them in foil, and put into your bag before closing.
Broccoli Beef Stir-Fry
Everyone loves stir-fry. If you don’t you will after this.
This recipe is easier than it looks. And once you’re done, you can either take it to work, or store it in the fridge for the next day, where you can either take it cold, or heat it up beforehand, place it in a container, and put it in an insulated lunch bag to keep it hot until lunch time.
In a small bowl, combine steak, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Cover and let marinate for several minutes. If you have time, refrigerate and marinate 4-8 hours. If not, that’s fine.
Heat a large wok over medium-high heat for several minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and heat for several minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and cook for 1 minute more. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to create a steaming effect.
Cook for 2-3 minutes more, until water is absorbed and broccoli is bright green and tender. Remove from heat and pour broccoli into a large serving dish. Set aside.
Return wok to stove. Add 1/2 tablespoon of peanut oil and heat for several minutes. Add marinated steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until steak is brown and no pink remains on the outside. For a well-done steak, cook for about 3-4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and pour steak and sauce on top of dish with broccoli. Serve or store immediately.