Photo: Hector Sanchez Styling: Lydia Purcell

Because you deserve better than a soggy sandwich or boring salad in your brown bag. 

Arielle Weg
June 12, 2017

We’re just going to say it—packing an easy, healthy lunch is hard. Classic peanut butter and jelly isn’t keeping you full until dinner and tuna sandwiches soak through the bread by the time you have a second to take a bite. Sure, you’ve made a handful of salads, but you need variety. We get it. 

Which is why we went digging for some of our all-time best brown bag-friendly recipes that require minimal prep at home and in the office. They’re easy, they’re tasty, and they’re here so you can finally be excited to bring your lunch again. 

1. Spinach, Hummus, and Bell pepper Wraps

This high protein meal uses sog-resistant whole-grain flatbread, so no worries about popping it in the fridge the night before. Just your wrap with a piece of fruit, and it’s the perfect office-ready meal. 

2. Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches 

Chicken salad is a classic favorite for packed lunch, and for good reason. For this version of your go-to sandwich, mix in some Greek yogurt to provide a light creaminess and tang and sprinkle in some tarragon for amped up flavor. Just be sure to pack the chicken salad and your bread separately, as an assembled sandwich is prone to sogginess. 

3. Turkey and Swiss Wrap with Carrot Salad 

The dilly Dijon spread on this wrap makes it a lunchtime winner. Just roll in the veggies, cheese, and meat, pack the carrot salad on the side, and it will quickly become a favorite. Feel free to switch up the veggies and protein based on your favorites, and what you have on-hand. 

4. Thai Chicken Peanut Crunch Sandwich

Think of this as your peanut butter sandwich’s way cooler older sibling. Pile on chicken, cucumber, carrots, onion, and a drizzle of Sriracha for a Thai-inspired sandwich you’ll come back to again and again. 

5. Sweet-Spicy Chicken and vegetable Stir-Fry

Make this stir-fry over the weekend, and stash it in containers for lunching on throughout the week with rice or quinoa. It’s a colorful, microwavable meal that will keep you far from any sad desk lunch heartache. 

6. Shrimp Pad Thai

Your co-workers may think you ordered take-out, but this Shrimp Pad Thai is even better coming from your own kitchen. Prep it ahead as you would the stir-fry above and enjoy it all week long. If you’re looking for a little variety, mix up the protein in some of your lunch containers with a chicken, tofu, or beef option. 

7. Tuna and White Bean Salad

Jazz up the tuna you already pack for your kids with white beans and olives. This lighter version is mayo free, but gets a delightful creaminess from white beans. Scoop this goodness onto salad greens, into a pita, or between your favorite multi-grain bread. 

Watch: How to Make Greek Chicken Salad 2 Ways

 

8. Thai Crunch Bowl with Salmon 

Transform last night’s salmon into something spectacular with this colorful bowl. Toss all of the components of your crunch bowl into a to-go container to refrigerate over night, and all that's left to do is dig in at lunchtime. 

9. Farro Salad with Cherry Tomato, Onion, and Almonds 

Farro makes for a delicious, hearty base to any number of grain salads. Simply mix in fresh veggies and herbs and top with creamy dressing for a healthy lunch that keeps you full until dinner. 

10. Mediterranean Garden Wraps

These simple vegetable wraps are loaded with vibrant flavor. Fresh mint, chives, and cilantro give your cafeteria’s veggie wrap a serious run for its money. 

11. Picnic in a Glass

Lettuce-free salads make eating healthy every day a little less boring. Topped with pita chips, creamy yogurt dressing, and a squeeze of lemon juice, this filling and fresh lunch is as vibrant as it is easy to prep. 

12. Pasta with Prosciutto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Asiago

Pasta is always an excellent, but often overlooked option, for weekday lunches. Store this meaty, cheesy, vegetable packed dish in a to-go container and pop it into the office microwave. Pure heaven. 

13. BBQ Chicken with Peach and Feta Slaw

Pack this, and everyone in the office will be jealous of your fresh, summery salad. For an even faster bowl, repurpose leftover chicken or use rotisserie. Just toss it in a little barbecue sauce and you’re ready to go. 

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