Healthy Lunch Ideas for Every Appetite

Do you work in a sea of office building with not a lunch counter in sight? Or maybe you’re just trying to save a buck. No matter, at FBE we know what a challenge it is to brown bag it, but taking your lunch to work is one of the best ways to take charge of your health. (Plus, you know we love a challenge!)

From slap it together and go to just a bit of prep, we’ve got some healthy lunch ideas to keep you looking forward to that noon meal.

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If You’re a Thrifty Sister

We applaud your frugal nature, but it’s not necessary to settle for half-eaten, almost-a-serving snippets from your previous dinner. Re-purpose those leftovers into a mid-day satisfier that will leave you happy, not hungry. Here’s how:

Toss leftover rice with soy sauce and a handful of frozen veggies; scramble an egg or two and mix, bam — stir fried rice.

Crumble those two lone meatballs into taco shells; load with hearty fixings like diced avocado and cheese for a new take on last night’s Italian.

That hunk of crusty bread won’t go to waste with this fresh summertime salad.

Sauté leftover rotini with pancetta until crispy; cool and toss with your favorite big-ass salad for a crunchy change of pace.

If You’re the Hands-on Type

If you can’t be bothered with silverware, the classic sammy is still your best bet.

Give the PB & J an adult upgrade with high quality nut butter and all natural jelly. Try almond butter with fig jam on whole grain bread or get funky with Chunky Monkey’s gourmet peanut butter blends like White Chocolate Pretzel drizzled with seedless raspberry jam. Tip: lightly toast bread on both sides to avoid lunchtime sog.

No bread, no problem. Toast a leftover waffle and slather with ricotta and fresh fruit or use your leftover morning pancake as a sandwich wrap.

Don’t disregard the sandwich menu just because you are on a gluten-free diet. Cucumbers and zucchini make great hoagies; scrape out the seeds and load ‘em up like usual. Layer turkey, sprouts and avocado between two halves of a bell pepper, or cut “bread” slices from a cored apple and stack with Black Forest ham and brie.

For the ultimate hands-on lunch, get yourself a bento box and enjoy a smorgasbord of your favorite finger foods. Hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky, nuts, dried fruit — you get the picture.

If You’re a Salad Queen

If you are known as the greens queen at work — good on ya! — that just means your co-workers probably don’t know what they’re missing! To keep it fresh, try some of these healthy lunch ideas

Don’t overlook your cupboards when creating that big-ass salad. Roasted red peppers, pickled onions and canned beets are great alternatives when you run out of fresh ingredients.

Any cooked leftover grain — rice, quinoa, macaroni, bulgur — make a hearty addition to your usual bed of greens.

Deconstruct your favorite sandwich and put it in a bowl. Toss sauerkraut with diced corn beef and Swiss cheese for a rye-less Rueben. Don’t forget the Thousand Island dressing and hot kosher dill.

If You’ve Got Style

If you like to make every meal an event (and your co-workers jealous) raise the bar with these healthy lunchtime ideas.

Turn store-bought, cooked shrimp into an elegant shrimp cocktail! Your gourmet lunch will have them drooling.

We don’t know why, but food on a stick looks impressive! Alternate whole dates with chunks of Brie and pear for a fiber filled lunch; or top off your meal with a skewer of seasonal fruit.

Caramelized onions make everything fancy. Make a huge batch and keep ‘em in the fridge (they can also be frozen) and pile that store bought veggie burger high. Your workmates will wonder where you picked up that great smelling burger.

Take a page from our Mediterranean friends and grab a crusty baguette, some well aged cheese and thinly sliced meat; enjoy your afternoon respite under the shade of the nearest tree and escape for a while.

Don’t forget to end your meal with a sweet kiss. Pack one decadent chocolate truffle, drizzle a fig with honey, or stuff a single date with almond butter to top off your noontime extravagance.

What’s your lunch time style? I’m definitely one of those Thrifty Sisters! —Karen

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