59 Cheap Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
A healthy lunch doesn't have to be expensive. Stick to your budget by making your lunch at home and packing it for work. With over 50 easy healthy lunch ideas to inspire you including cold sandwiches, salads and grain bowls and warm soups and burritos, there is something for everyone.
Chicken Caesar Lettuce Cups
Upgrade your work lunch with these tasty Caesar salad lettuce cups. This Caesar salad recipe gets a healthy makeover, thanks to homemade dressing made with Greek yogurt.
Southwest Black-Bean Pasta Salad Bowls
Meal-prep a week's worth of delicious and satisfying high-fiber lunches with just 5 simple ingredients and 20 minutes. In this Southwestern-style pasta salad, we're using pasta made with black beans to bump up the fiber to an impressive 14 grams per serving. Paired with seasoned chicken strips and a flavorful corn salad--shortcut ingredients you can often find at your local specialty grocery store--this meal-prep lunch is one you'll get excited for.
Chopped Veggie Grain Bowls with Turmeric Dressing
In about 10 minutes, you can prep a week's worth of lunches using 4 simple ingredients from your local specialty grocery store. To minimize prep, we're taking advantage of prechopped fresh veggie mix and frozen quinoa (which heats in the microwave in under 5 minutes). These crunchy chopped salad bowls are high in fiber but lower in calories, making them perfect for those following a reduced-calorie diet.
Chickpea "Chicken" Salad
This chickpea salad is a vegetarian version of a classic chicken salad--and can be eaten in the exact same way. Let's be clear, though: it doesn't taste like chicken, but it is a delicious (and fiber-packed) vegetarian alternative! Plus, it's easily transportable, perfect for picnics and will surely step up your sad desk lunch.
Meal-Prep Curried Chicken Bowls
Curry doesn't have to take hours to prepare. With the help of our sheet-pan meal-prep chicken (see associated recipe) and some cooked whole grains, you can make these meal-prep bowls in just a few minutes! Keep them in the fridge for an easy dinner on a busy weeknight or for healthy grab-and-go lunches throughout the week.
Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad
Avocado makes an exceptionally creamy and healthful dressing for this chicken salad. A bit of ranch dressing with pickled jalapeño adds a tangy spin to the lunchtime classic. Serve it on a slice of whole-wheat toast for an open-face sandwich or in a lettuce cup for a low-carb lunch.
This wrap is stuffed with chicken tenders and couscous with a hit of lemon and a healthy dose of fresh herbs. Save any leftovers to wrap up for an easy lunch. Serve with: Mixed green salad and a glass of crisp white wine.
Make over classic BLT sandwiches into low-carb--and company-worthy--salad cups.
Tuna, White Bean & Dill Salad
Take canned tuna to new heights by adding cannellini beans, red onion and dill, tossing it in a lemon-pepper-Dijon dressing and serving it over a spinach salad with canned beets.
Spicy Ramen Cup of Noodles
Make your own cup of instant soup at home with this vegetarian ramen recipe. Pack several jars at once to take to work for easy lunches throughout the week.
Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl
Quinoa and chickpeas pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein. Whip up a batch of these Mediterranean meals and pack in containers with lids to stash in the fridge for easy, healthy grab & go lunches all week long.
Freezer Bean & Cheese Burritos
This copycat version of store-bought frozen burritos is perfect for meal prepping. Make a big batch to store in the freezer for healthy packable lunches or a quick campsite meal.
Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.
Chopped Cobb Salad
This single-serving recipe for Cobb salad swaps chicken in for bacon, which makes it a great source of protein for lunch. If you prefer another salad dressing, feel free to use that instead of our honey-mustard vinaigrette.
Edamame & Veggie Rice Bowl
The ingredients in this vegan grain bowl recipe can be prepped ahead for an easy lunch to pack for work. The tangy citrus dressing is a refreshing flavor with the sweet caramel of the roasted sheet-pan veggies.
Chipotle Ranch Egg Salad Wraps
Put a Southwest spin on easy-to-pack egg salad sandwiches with this healthy wrap recipe.
Mediterranean Bento Lunch
Travel to the Mediterranean over your lunch break with this healthy bento box idea that combines Greek salad, hummus, pita and more for a satisfying work lunch.
A Mexican-style torta is just like a burrito, except the "wrapper" is a hollowed-out roll instead of a tortilla. Here it's filled with mashed spiced black beans and a quick guacamole. Take this vegetarian version to another level (and add calcium) by melting Monterey Jack cheese onto the bean side of the sandwich. Serve with: Grilled corn on the cob or Spanish rice.
Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas
In this cucumber, tomato, Swiss cheese and chickpea salad recipe, a healthy green goddess dressing is made from avocado, buttermilk and herbs. The extra dressing is delicious served with grilled vegetables.
Pizza Lettuce Wraps
Go light and fresh when you're craving pizza: these easy lettuce wraps have all the taste with fewer carbs and calories.
Tuna Salad Sandwich with Sweet Relish
This sweet twist on a classic tuna-salad sandwich is a healthy high-protein lunch that even your kids will love.
Vegetarian Sushi Grain Bowl
Skip the hassle of making sushi rolls at home and just go for this grain bowl. Start with a base of brown rice and add veggies, dressing and creamy avocado for a delicious and easy meal.
Cold Noodle Salad
This Asian-inspired cold noodle salad with peanut butter, snow pea pods, chicken, and bell pepper is easy to make ahead and pack for lunch.
Chicken Salad-Stuffed Avocados
Looking for a clean, packable lunch for work? This healthy homemade chicken salad served inside an avocado instead of with bread is just the ticket. Plus, this recipe makes enough for ready-made lunches for the week! If you have leftover cooked chicken on hand, skip Step 1 and use about 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken in Step 2.
Clean-Eating Bento Box Lunch
Who says bento boxes are just for kids? This healthy bento-style lunch--loaded with clean, satisfying foods--is perfect to pack for work.
Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
These decadent-tasting wraps are lightened up with fat-free Greek yogurt in place of mayo--and lettuce makes a crisp, fresh alternative to a flour wrap.
Veggie Egg Salad
Crunchy carrot, cucumber and scallions are a colorful addition to this vegetarian egg salad recipe. Pack it with some crunchy crackers and tomatoes for a healthy, light lunch.
Southwestern Salad with Black Beans
Here we top salad greens with black beans, sweet corn and grape tomatoes and bring it all together with a tangy avocado-lime dressing for a Mexican-inspired salad. Try this salad for a take-along lunch. To keep the salad greens from getting soggy, pack the greens, salad toppings and dressing in separate containers and toss them together just before eating.
Avocado, Tomato & Chicken Sandwich
In this healthy chicken sandwich recipe, the avocado is mashed to create a healthy creamy spread.
BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Toss leftover cooked chicken with barbecue sauce and crunchy carrots for a quick and healthy lunch.
Cuban Cauliflower Rice Bowl
In this riff on a healthy grain bowl recipe we use cauliflower rice instead of another whole grain like brown rice to cut back on carbs and load up on veggie servings. A simple citrusy mojo sauce drizzled on top gives this easy lunch or dinner a Cuban flair.
Deconstructed Sushi Bento Lunch
This healthy bento box idea makes it easy, healthy and affordable to have sushi for lunch as often as you'd like! Skip the rolling and place sushi ingredients like rice, shrimp and avocado in a bento for a packable lunch for work.
Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich
It only takes 5 minutes to make this healthy sandwich with whole-wheat bread and the classic combination of Cheddar cheese and apples that your kids will love.
Build-Your-Own Chicken Tacos
This kid-friendly recipe keeps every element of tacos separate so your child can decide to eat them separately or have fun building their own mini tacos with their favorite toppings. Plus, it's perfect for packing into a bento box for a healthy lunch for school.
Broccoli & Feta Pasta Salad
This vegetarian pasta salad recipe is perfect for your next potluck or as an easy side dish. The broccoli keeps it nice and crunchy and the chickpeas add protein. For the best flavor, combine the pasta salad with the dressing about 1 hour before serving.
Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Gouda
This healthy cauliflower soup recipe gets its great flavor from two smoked ingredients--paprika and Gouda. A hearty serving of crunchy croutons makes it filling.
Edamame Hummus Wrap
Made with protein-rich edamame instead of chickpeas, this easy hummus recipe is the perfect vegetarian filling for a grab-and-go wrap. Or double the recipe and use the hummus for a healthy snack with cut-up vegetables.
Hummus & Greek Salad
Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and feta top arugula in this quick Greek salad. Served with whole-wheat pita and prepared hummus, it makes a filling, yet healthy lunch.
Tomato & Provolone Sandwiches
There's something magical about a simple bread-and-tomato sandwich, but this one is even better topped with melted provolone cheese and tarragon-garlic mayo.
Spicy Tuna Wrap
These tuna wraps were inspired by spicy tuna sushi rolls. We love how they taste with peppery watercress, but other greens, such as arugula, romaine, escarole or even radish sprouts, would taste great in the filling. If you want to play on the sushi inspiration, stir some wasabi into the soy sauce for dipping and serve with pickled ginger. Serve with sliced cucumbers and slivered red onions tossed with rice vinegar, a little oil and a pinch of salt.
Spinach Salad with Beets, Beans & Feta
Salty feta, briny olives and earthy beets give a Greek feel to this vegetarian spinach dinner salad recipe. We prefer the taste and texture of freshly cooked white beans, but you can skip that step and use 2 cups rinsed canned white beans instead. If you have a special olive oil, now's the time to break it out.
Chicken Curry Cup of Noodles
Make your own cup of instant soup at home with this chicken curry zoodle (spiralized zucchini noodles) recipe. Pack several jars at once to take to work for easy lunches throughout the week.
Turkey BLT Wraps
This delicious kid-friendly twist on a classic BLT includes turkey. The extra protein makes a filling, healthy lunch to pack up for school or work.
Salmon Salad Bento Lunch
Watercress acts as a tasty divider between the salmon salad and crackers. Multicolored peppers and grapes add color to this bento and boost your daily servings of fruits and veggies.
West Coast Avocado Toast
Hummus, sprouts and avocado top sprouted whole-wheat bread in this healthy vegan lunch idea. Look for sprouted bread in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Spring Roll Salad
All the tastes, color and fun of a spring roll without all the work! This healthy salad recipe is bursting with the colors of rainbow from generous amounts of fresh vegetables, shrimp and whole grains all topped with a peanut dressing for the ultimate satisfying salad.
Green Curry Vegetable Soup
In this very easy Thai noodle soup recipe, just pour hot curry-flavored broth over pasta and veggies. The vegetables keep their crunch and you get a quick, satisfying soup. Feel free to add chicken, shrimp or tofu for an extra bit of protein, if desired.
Greek-Inspired Chicken Salad
Transform leftover chicken into a fresh Mediterranean-style salad with bottled vinaigrette, plenty of veggies, feta and olives.
Chicken Club Wraps
Whole-wheat tortillas provide a tasty twist in this quick grilled chicken breast recipe that combines all the elements of a classic club sandwich into a wrap. Serve with extra napkins.
Salmon Pita Sandwich
This quick lunch recipe is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3s thanks to the canned sockeye salmon. If you're bringing this sandwich for lunch, keep the salmon salad separate and stuff the pita just before eating.
Peanut Tofu Wrap
Baked tofu tossed with storebought Thai peanut sauce makes a quick and healthy sandwich filling. Finish the sandwich with your favorite crunchy vegetables for added nutrients and fiber.
Shrimp Cobb Salad
Cooked peeled shrimp is perfect for quick and healthy meals--here we use it in place of chicken in our simplified Cobb Salad.
Creamy Pesto Chicken Salad with Greens
For a healthy variation on creamy chicken salad, we've replaced half the mayonnaise with basil pesto. Serve over greens or make it into a sandwich for a healthy lunch.
Rather than serving this easy mock shrimp ceviche with chips or tortillas, cut some carbs and pile the citrusy seafood in fresh avocado "bowls" for a fun and healthy presentation.
Classic Cobb Mason Jar Salad
Pack classic Cobb salad "upside down" in a mason jar for a healthy lunch that won't get soggy while sitting in the fridge all morning. Or pack it up the night before for an easy grab-and-go lunch in the morning.
Turkey, Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato Wraps
Fresh corn kernels, tomatoes and lettuce fill these hearty turkey wraps. This wrap is great for picnics or when you need to have dinner on the run. Add some crumbled feta or shredded Cheddar for another layer of flavor. Serve with carrot sticks, sliced bell pepper or other crunchy vegetables plus your favorite creamy dressing.
Chicken & Apple Kale Wraps
Using kale leaves instead of bread to wrap your filling makes this healthy chicken lunch recipe low-calorie (and lower in carbs!). If you can't find lacinato (aka Tuscan) kale, try cabbage for your wrap.
Cream Cheese & Veggie Roll-Up
With sliced vegetables, a whole-wheat tortilla and baby spinach, these roll-ups make the perfect healthy lunch for your kids to take to school.
Vegan Buddha Bowl
This easy grain bowl has so much to love--sweet potatoes, protein-packed chickpeas, creamy avocado and homemade tahini dressing. Make the full recipe on the weekend and pack into individual serving containers for ready-to-go lunches for work all week.