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September 19, 2016 / Amy Height

Healthy Portable Lunch Ideas for Work

If you’re like many people, during a busy day you’ll be lucky to scrounge up a last-minute meal or order takeout straight to your desk. But with proper planning, a healthy meal doesn’t need to be swallowed up in the craziness of work life. Instead, you can take one of these portable lunch ideas with you to work and enjoy quick, simple, healthy meals on-the-go.

Here are a few portable lunch ideas for work, so you can be happy and healthy even at your desk.

Portable Lunch Ideas That Make Eating at Work a Breeze

healthy cheese plate with salami snap peas and cashews

Mediterranean Plate

Make a personalized version of your favorite takeout platter by packing up dips and dippables: crudités (like carrots, cucumber and grape tomatoes), hummus, babaganouj, pita or crackers and a handful of olives.

Seek out a multi-compartment food storage container or use several smaller ones to tote your goodies from home (and prevent soggy pita at lunchtime).

Healthy Leftovers

We’ll take any excuse to have a warm, hearty meal midday. Use a recipe planner like PlateJoy to not only make delicious meals for dinner, but make enough for leftovers the next day with no extra prep required.

If you want to stretch your meal even further, prep a batch of rice or quinoa on the weekend and enjoy leftovers as a grain bowl, or serve over greens as a salad.

Lettuce Wraps

For a low-carb alternative to the traditional sandwich, pack up the ingredients for DIY lettuce cups. Combine shredded chicken or turkey, lentils or pinto beans with a few pinches of your favorite spices and sauce (we love peanut sauce), then pack up these fillings in a container. Pack another container with shredded veggies like carrots, kale and cabbage. Wrap your lettuce leaves in paper towel and place in a reusable storage bag. Voila! With some quick assembly, you have a portable lunch idea that’s as easy as it is delicious.

Cheese Board

Who says you can’t have a fancy French-inspired meal at the office? You can. We’ve decided.

Slice up a selection of a few cheeses, add dried fruit and nuts, crackers or sliced baguette, salami or prosciutto, and perhaps a little jam or honey to round things out. If you’re feeling extra inspired, bring along a bottle of flavored sparkling water. Filling and fancy!

Chopped Superfood Salad

Hearty salads are a great way to get your greens and feel satisfied at the same time (and by hearty, we don’t mean iceberg lettuce, tomato and a sad cucumber). Prep your favorite ingredients the night before, combine in a food storage container, and bring a dressing on the side to add just before serving.

Some of our favorite portable lunch ideas include:

Chicken Salad

Crunchy Asian chicken salad with peanuts

Not only is chicken salad easy to make, but it saves well and can be made on Sunday night and enjoyed throughout the week. Plus, this portable lunch idea is packed with protein and will keep you full through that infamous afternoon slump. We’re loving this crunchy asian chicken salad that combines roasted chicken with apples, greens, and peanuts.

Poke Bowls

homemade tuna kale poke bowls

Okay, okay, we know the shame of being the person in the office with fish, but these poke bowls are fresh and delicious and since they’re a no-heat meal, you won’t be “that person” who microwaves fish in the office. Instead, you’ll be known as the person who brings colorful, healthy lunches every day (read: all your coworkers will be jealous). Poke bowls make the perfect portable lunch idea because you can just throw everything together and enjoy.

Noodle Salad

Buckwheat Soba Noodle Red Cabbage Salad

When you think of noodles at work, you likely only think of reheated spaghetti or other traditional pasta, but this soba noodle salad is fresh, delicious, and easy to make. It also includes lots of veggies to get those greens in throughout the day.

Summer Roll Bowls

Summer roll bowls

Don’t let the name fool you, you can eat these summer roll bowls all year round! They’re made with many fresh ingredients like cucumber and fresh mint, and are complemented by a delicious peanut sauce. This portable lunch idea is sure to have you anticipating your week-day meals throughout the day. Plus, they’re light enough to not cause a sugar crash in the middle of the afternoon.

Slow Cooker Bolognese

Slow cooker bolognese meal prep

When planning out your meals, a slow cooker is your best friend. You can easily make a batch of something over the weekend and have meals prepared for the whole week. This slow cooker Bolognese recipe is a perfect example of that preparation. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles for a delicious weekday lunch.

The Takeaway

We all have a million things to do throughout the day, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your mealtime or healthy lunches. These healthy portable lunches are perfect for quickly warming up or, in some cases, you can eat them straight out of the fridge. From delicious vegetarian meals to protein packed salads, wraps, and rolls, we’re here to help you eat healthy from 9 to 5 (and beyond).

Amy Height
Holistic Nutritionist @ From the Ground Up Wellness

Amy Height is the founder of From the Ground Up Wellness, a holistic nutrition practice where she specializes in plant-based nutrition and helping her clients combat food addiction. She completed her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she received her certification in the Health Coach Training Program. She is a triathlete and CrossFitter with a passion for all things outdoors. By night, Amy stage manages Broadway musicals and she frequently travels North America seeking out the best vegan restaurants and the best run courses. Follow her on Instagram or check out her blog for recipe and wellness ideas.

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