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6 Easy to Prepare & Healthy Packed Lunches for Work

Failing to eat a filling and nutritious lunch is the best way to invite afternoon slumps, sugar cravings, and overeating later in the day. These six recipes are healthy, easy to prepare and can be made the night before. These reciepes contain contain a healthy mix of good carbs, good fats, protein, fiber, and lots of flavor. Most of these recipes are gluten free and all of them are incredibly yummy.

Don’t let the fact that you have to fire-up the oven put you off, you can multitask and get the whole dish done and dusted in no time. All of these recipes make enough for lunch for two people (or lunch for two days all for you!).

1.) Chicken Breast, Bulgur Wheat, and Long Beans Bowl

Bulgur wheat is full of protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied throughout the afternoon. Spiced chicken breast adds even more protein, making this the perfect lunch for strength-training days. Complete all the components at the same time for a fast and easy preparation.

Serves: 2
Ingredients:
1 large chicken breast
Olive oil
½ tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground paprika
¾ cup bulgur wheat
1 ½ cups water
Salt
2 cups long beans
1 lemon, cut in half

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Rub the chicken breast with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and chilli and place into the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes
  • While the chicken cooks, prepare the bulgur wheat by placing the wheat, water, and a pinch of salt into a pot. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer (covered) for 10-12 minutes until soft
  • While the bulgur is simmering and the chicken is baking, place the broccoli florets into a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of water. Place a lid (or plate) over the bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes (they should still have a good “crunch” to them)
  • Once the chicken breast has cooked through, leave it to rest for a few minutes before slicing into thin slices
  • Drain any excess liquid from the bulgur wheat and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Get your lunchbox ready and lay half of the cooked bulgur wheat in the bottom, add half of the sliced chicken breast, and half of the long beans. Place one lemon halve into the container so you can squeeze it over the chicken before you eat!
  • Place your packed lunch into the fridge until needed 

2.) Roasted Veggie and Feta Salad with Homemade Hummus (gluten free, vegetarian)

 If you’ve never made homemade hummus you must try it! It’s really quick to make and you can tweak the recipe to suit your personal tastes.

It’s a fantastic snack to keep in the fridge to dip veggie sticks into for a quick bite, or to dollop on the side of your pre-packed lunch like this roasted veggie and feta salad. Full of fiber and good fats, this lunch will keep you full and alert until dinnertime.

Serves: 2
Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, cubed (leave the skin on)
2 carrots, cut into chunks (skin on)
1 cup broccoli florets
1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 red capsicum, sliced (seeds removed)
3oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups baby spinach (1 cup per person)

Hummus:
1 tin chickpeas, drained (about 1 ½ – 2 cups once drained but it doesn’t have to be exact)
1 lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled
2tbsp tahini (optional, if you don’t have it, don’t worry)
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Place the sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, capsicum, and red onion onto the lined tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • Place the tray into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes
  • While the veggies are cooking, prepare the hummus by placing the chickpeas, juice of one lemon, garlic clove, tahini, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper into a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth, you may need to add a drizzle of water to loosen the hummus if it’s too thick
  • Store the hummus in an airtight container in the fridge
  • Once the veggies are cooked through (they should be golden and soft) remove from the oven and leave them to cool for a few minutes
  • Place 1 cup of baby spinach leaves into the bottom of your lunchbox then place half of the roasted veggies on top, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the veggies, and add a big dollop of fresh hummus on top
  • Store in the fridge until needed 

3.) Chickpea, Bacon, Apple, and Roasted Pumpkin Salad (gluten-free) 

Chickpeas and pumpkin provide energy-giving bulk to this salad, while bacon adds little bites of salty flavor.

The addition of fresh apple might seem odd at first, but it really is tasty with its sweetness and crunchy texture.

Serves: 2
Ingredients:
1 tin chickpeas, drained
3 streaky bacon rashers, cut into small pieces
1 crisp apple, core removed, sliced into thin slices
2 cups cubed pumpkin, (skin removed)
2tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 cups chopped fresh kale
Olive oil

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Place the pumpkin cubes, bacon, and pumpkin seeds onto the tray and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt & pepper
  • Place the tray into the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and the bacon is crispy
  • Place one cup of chopped kale into your lunchbox, then add half of the drained chickpeas, half of the sliced apple, and finally half of the roasted pumpkin, bacon, and pumpkin seeds
  • Drizzle with a final dash of olive oil and store in the fridge until needed!
  • You could also add a dash of balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a touch of acidity

 4.) Brown Rice Sushi Bowls with Tofu and Avocado (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free)

Deconstructed sushi made with brown rice, tofu, avocado, and sesame seeds.

Brown rice releases energy slowly throughout the afternoon so you can keep powering through that notoriously sleepy period around 3 o’clock. You could swap the tofu for chicken or salmon.

Serves: 2
Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice
2 ½ cups water
Salt
7oz firm tofu, sliced
2tbsp tamari (or any other gluten free soy sauce)
½ tsp sesame oil
1 avocado, sliced
1tbsp sesame seeds
Wasabi, pickled ginger, and tamari soy sauce (to serve)

Instructions:

  • Place the brown rice, water, and a pinch of salt in a pot, place the lid on top and heat over a high heat until boiling. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, until the water has evaporated and the rice is soft
  • While the rice cooks, prepare the tofu by drizzling the sesame oil and tamari soy sauce into a frying pan over a medium heat, add the tofu slices and fry on both sides until cooked through (only a minute or two each side)
  • Assemble your sushi “bowl” by placing half of the cooked brown rice into your lunchbox, top with half of the cooked tofu, then place half of the sliced avocado on top
  • If using wasabi and ginger, place a dollop of wasabi and a little pile of ginger at the side of the dish, or in your container’s lid compartment if you have one
  • Store in the fridge till needed

 5.) Baked Sweet Potato Stuffed with Black Beans and Greek Yoghurt (gluten free)

Credit to peasandcrayons.com

Black beans are filling, full of fiber, and cheap to buy. With a touch of spices and fresh cilantro, this loaded sweet potato is ideal for lovers of spicy, Mexican-inspired flavours.

Plain Greek yogurt provides protein and a cooling, refreshing contrast to the hot beans and chilli.

Serves: 2
Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
1 tin black beans, drained
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cilantro
½ cup plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt in a secure container, or 1 small pottle of Greek yoghurt
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Fresh red chilli, finely chopped

Instructions:

  • Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and place into the microwave, cook on high for two 4-minute increments, turning over in between, until the sweet potato is soft
  • In a small bowl, mix the black beans, ground cumin, ground cilantro, and a pinch of salt & pepper, stir to combine
  • Slice the cooked sweet potato in half and place it in your lunchbox, spoon half of the black bean mixture over the sweet potato and sprinkle with fresh cilantro and chilli
  • When it’s time to eat, simply heat in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes until the sweet potato and beans are heated through, top with your Greek yoghurt right before eating

 6.) Chicken, Tomato, and Asparagus Tray Bake (gluten-free)

 All you need to do to prepare this tray-bake is simply throw the ingredients on a tray and bake them in the oven until done – easy.  A small addition of potato adds bulk and some carbs for energy. Chicken and veggies – what could be healthier and tastier?

Serves: 2
Ingredients:
3 chicken thighs, (boneless and skinless)
4 medium-sized tomatoes, or about 16 cherry tomatoes
10 spears of asparagus
1 large potato, washed and cubed
3 garlic cloves, skin removed, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Place the chicken thighs, tomatoes, asparagus, potato, garlic, chili flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper onto the tray and drizzle with olive oil, give the mixture a good stir or combine with your hands to make sure everything is coated in oil and seasoning
  • Cook for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes and asparagus are soft
  • Pack away into your lunchbox and store in the fridge until needed

Conclusion

Keep in mind that you can switch and change any of the ingredients in these recipes according to what’s in season and what you feel like eating. As long as you’ve got a good dose of veggies, some lean protein, and good fats, you’re good to go! Having a balanced meal is key here as opposed to going full vegan which might not be the best way if your aim is to lose weight.

Invest in some good-quality Tupperware, and get into the habit of preparing your lunch every night so you can simply throw it into your bag the next morning before you leave the house.