My Quick Go-To Healthy Lunch

Since I often have a very limited amount of time to swing by our house, let Sadie out and fix myself a quick meal during my lunch break, I’ve found myself throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl and calling it lunch more often than not these days.

But I am loving it!

Quick Healthy Lunch

Salads are obviously easy and often quite healthy, but I’ve found myself veering away from a traditional salad most days. (Except for yesterday. Ha!) 

Over the course of the past month or two I’ve had a go-to checklist running through my head that I follow whenever I am hungry at lunchtime and don’t know what I want to eat. The end result is always a delicious and satisfying meal. (This meal is also really easy to prep the night before and bring to work with me when I can’t make it home at noon.)

I owe this lunchtime inspiration to Anne’s previous “How To Make a Quick Healthy Weeknight Dinner” post! 

First, I start with a base of cooked brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries or barley. (I often cook a big batch of one or two of these on Sundays to eat during the week.)

brown rice base

Top with a handful of leafy greens or chopped vegetables such as spinach or broccoli.

spinach brown rice

Add a sprinkling of cooked beans (black beans or edamame are a personal favorite). Sometimes I’ll add lentils in place of beans and I love that flavor combination, too!

edamame spinach

Then I add a source of protein. (I used a black bean veggie burger in today’s lunch but my favorite protein sources are hardboiled eggs, shrimp, veggie burgers or shredded chicken. )

DSC_0235

Top with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Brown Rice Bowl

Then finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette or Green Goddess dressing!

DSC_0243

Such an easy meal but it’s incredibly satisfying and since there are a ton of different flavor combinations, I haven’t found myself getting sick of it yet. Thank you to Anne for inspiring a large number of the lunches I’ve enjoyed so far this year!

Question of the Afternoon

  • What is your favorite go-to meal when you’re in a hurry?

In addition to the above meal, I’ve found myself eating oatmeal topped with almond butter and fresh berries at lunchtime on occasion when I need to eat something fast and don’t want to put a lot of thought into my meal.

Comments

  1. says

    Yum that looks awesome! I love the idea of putting it all together in this way. I wish I had time to get home for lunch even if it was for a quick amount of time. My problem is being organised enough to prep it the night before as unless I’ve done that I’m naughty and don’t take my lunch, oops!

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  2. says

    Yum, these salad bowls look fresh and filling. My go-to quick meal is instant oatmeal (Bakery on Main Strawberry Shortcake is my fav), with a scoop of chocolate protein powder mixed in and sliced strawberries on top. It’s like dessert for breakfast (or lunch)!

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  3. says

    Of course, your veggies also contain a lot of protein as do beans and lentils, but you already knew that.

    I very often do a veggie burrito with what I have laying around. Mostly it has zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, rice and beans (or other grain) and salsa. Plain greek yoghurt subs sour cream if I have it.

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  4. says

    Mmm that looks so delicious and filling! My go-to lunch/dinner looks a lot like yours with a healthy grain, veggies, protein, and often avocado to top!
    I also love avocado toast with sea salt and pepper and two eggs (usually sunny side up) as a quick meal. Tossing a leftover filet of salmon on some spinach with some crackers or bread is one of my favorites too!

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  5. says

    I keep oatmeal, single-serve applesauce cups, cinnamon and peanut butter at work for breakfast, so I won’t drive through anywhere. I mix one of the applesauce cups with 1/2 cup dry oatmeal, and a little hot water, microwave for 2 minutes, top with cinnamon and peanut butter. Super tasty and filling. :-)

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  6. says

    Not to mention all the protein in the edamame and black beans of lentils :) Aside from a “garbage bowl”…namely leftover roasted veg., hummus, avocado, beans…my go to meal is a sweet potato noodle skillet with 2 eggs fried in the middle; I make the noodles with a julienne peeler and cook them in the pan with chipotle paste in 5 minutes flat. Speediest way to get sweet potato in to me :) They go all nice a crispy around the edges while the eggs cook!

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  7. says

    mmmm looks delicious! Those sources of protein are my exact favorites as well.

    My go-to lunch is a “taco salad” – romaine, shredded cheese, salsa, greek yogurt, guac, beans and chicken that I make in the crockpot on Sunday nights. I eat this like 3 days a week!

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  8. Rachel says

    My boyfriend is an Accountant so now that he is in busy season, I’m left for dinners on my own. I’ve been LOVING making veggie skillets with chicken sausage. I choose ~ 3-4 veggies (always onion, green pepper and then I add squash, zucchini or spinach) and start sautéing them in olive oil with some garlic. I add some chicken sausage and top it with a bit of parmesan cheese and either Pesto or Balsalmic Vinegar for an extra kick. It fills me up because there are so many veggies but it is still a healthy meal. I love it!

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  9. says

    My quickie meals are oatmeal with fruit & peanut butter or a turkey sandwich with spicy mustard & spinach in a whole wheat wrap. Salad with grain is something I’ve never put together. I may need to give that one a whirl!

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  10. says

    That salad looks so good! I need to remember to stock up on things like frozen edamame and veggie burgers for this very reason. My go-to quick lunch is usually leftovers from the night before.

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  11. amelia says

    Yum! I love doing the same. Whenever I’m pressed for time, a giant green smoothie with protein plus a side of avocado toast or open face pbj/ on rice cakes usually works. I also like scrambled eggs with greens and avocado. The key to a satisfying meal for me is enough fats (avocados/ nuts) and substantial protein like a hardboiled egg or other favorite protein. :)

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  12. Allison says

    I do something very similar! I cook about 1 lb of chicken every week in the crock pot and a cup of brown rice. I mix that with home made salsa for some flavor and then top it with avocado or the 100 calorie guacamole packets. It’s really easy for lunches or a quick dinner.

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  13. says

    I agree with you, I love Anne’s go to recipes. She does a great way of illustrating balance. By adding a grain to my salads, I feel so much more satisfied and have more energy throughout the day then when I was just eating veggies for carbs like others have instructed. Different things work for different folks, so glad I finally found what works for me.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  14. says

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s such a simple and easy idea! I’m definitely bookmarking your post for when I can’t figure out what to eat since I always have each of these types of ingredients on hand.

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  15. says

    My go-to is a couple cups of sauteed kale topped with fried eggs. It comes together in less than 5 minutes but it has protein and leafy greens! If I have a couple extra minutes (or leftovers) I’ll add sweet potatoes. Yum.

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  16. Megan says

    Thanks so much Julie- I’m about to start a full time job and really need easy, quick to pack, delicious lunches that are nutritious (and vegetarian). This is definitely on my list.

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  17. says

    Wow. This looks really good.

    My go-to lunch meal is a veggie egg salad. It fills me up a little more than other salads, so I’m not snacking constantly after lunch…lol.

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