5-Minute Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch, fast. Two words that may mean a drive-through to you, but we have more than a dozen ways to pack your lunch box with a delicious meal in 5 minutes. Noon just got tastier.

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  • 1 of 20

    Tomato-Turkey Wraps

    Wraps are officially lunchtime's MVP. For this tasty take on the noon break, spread hummus on tomato-basil-flavor flour tortillas. Pile on sliced peppered turkey breast, romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and red onions.

  • 2 of 20

    Chicken-Broccoli Cups

    No side dishes needed with this quick-fix lunch. Mix equal amounts plain yogurt and ranch salad dressing. Toss in chopped cooked chicken, plus broccoli and shredded carrots. Craving crunch? Finish with chopped pecans.

  • 3 of 20

    Crunchy PB and A Wrap

    School days flashback! Update PB&J by wrapping peanut butter and chopped apples (with a sprinkling of crunchy granola) inside a flour tortilla.

  • 4 of 20

    Twisted Tuna Salad

    Punch up canned tuna with a splash of creamy Italian salad dressing, a few spoonfuls of finely chopped canned pineapple, and chopped red sweet pepper. Tuck it all into a pita bread round, adding a Boston lettuce leaf for crunch.

  • 5 of 20

    Row Salad

    If you spring for precut veggies (head to your grocer's salad bar for the best options), this recipe requires just the time it takes to cook the bacon. Simply toss together the veggies of your choice, such as shredded carrots, lettuce, and red onion; sliced zucchini, red pepper, and mushrooms. Add in shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Your favorite vinaigrette completes the dish.

    Editor's Tip: If you want to save money by chopping your own veggies, it's fastest to toss them in a food processor to slice.

  • 6 of 20

    DIY Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

    You pick your veggies, we provide the DIY dressing. Watch our shake-and-take method for creating a tasty, customizable vinaigrette.

  • 7 of 20

    Fruit-Granola Parfaits

    For four servings of this delicious fruit-filled parfait, prep 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt with 1/4 cup cream cheese spread, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Layer with oranges, peaches, kiwis, and/or raspberries, plus your favorite granola. To keep the granola layer crunchy, wait to assemble this masterpiece until lunchtime.

  • 8 of 20

    Shortcut Paella

    Rice-cooking time is all you need to allow for (and, we suspect, you already have some from last night's leftovers). Stir in warmed marinara sauce, cooked shrimp, peas, Parmesan cheese, and a bit of butter to hold it all together. Paella in minutes!

  • 9 of 20

    Veggie Mix with Ranch Dip

    This lunch side dish offers colorful crunch in minutes. Stir together 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing with 1/4 cup coarsely shredded cucumber and 1/8 teaspoon dried dill. Place in the bottom of a travel-ready container and, at noon, just add veggies.

  • 10 of 20

    Caprese Salad Pita Pockets

    Caprese on the go. Stuff a whole wheat pita with  mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, and basil, then add chopped cucumber for crunch. A bottled vinaigrette and large lettuce leaves finish off your favorite lunch this week.

  • 11 of 20

    Chocolate and Mango Yogurt

    You can make four servings of this incredibly satisfying sweet-tangy yogurt in just 5 minutes. In a bowl combine 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt with 1 chopped mango, 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces, 1/4 cup grated bittersweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint leaves, and 2 teaspoons honey. 

  • 12 of 20

    Quick Toast Toppings

    Got a toaster in the break room? Great! Lunch just got interesting. Clockwise from top left: Spread ricotta cheese and add fruit, nuts, and honey; match mayonnaise with a hard-cooked egg and sweet pickles; slice apples to place on nut butter, then top with honey and raisins; combine tuna, mayonnaise, carrot shreds, and red onion; fry an egg to match with pico de gallo; go savory with hummus, chopped veggies, and Sriracha sauce; slather peanut butter and pair with bacon and bananas. Center: Combine cream cheese with sliced ham and fruit jam.

  • 13 of 20

    Raspberry Croissant Sandwich

    More sophisticated than the average grab-and-go lunch, this sweet take on a sandwich embraces the light and fluffy bite of croissants. Slice a fresh bakery croissant in half and spread on cream cheese and honey. Top with fresh raspberries and half a sliced banana. Prepare to be the most popular gal at the lunch table.

  • 14 of 20

    Salmon Pita Sandwiches

    Break from the routine by looking for pouched pink salmon in the canned tuna aisle. We love lemon-pepper flavor for this lunch sandwich, but plain works just as well. In a bowl combine salmon, chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, and thinly sliced green onion. Assemble in pita, adding shredded carrot and a lettuce leaf.

  • 15 of 20

    Edamame-Avocado Dip

    Cleaning your food processor will take longer than prepping this amazing lunch dip. To make 10 servings of the 100-calorie dip, combine 12 ounces shelled edamame (available frozen, just thaw ahead), 1 chopped avocado, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons basil pesto, 3/4 teaspoons sea salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Whirl together and, when lunchtime arrives, top with chopped tomatoes.

  • 16 of 20

    Tuna Focaccia

    Thick focaccia gives this fresh lunch sandwich its full flavor, plus it won't get soggy like sliced bread. To assemble, combine 1 ounce softened cream cheese with a few spoonfuls of sweet red chili dipping sauce. Spread inside the focaccia bread, adding flaked white tuna and thawed vegetables from an edamame blend (usually with corn and peppers). Serve with additional chili pepper sauce as a dipper.

  • 17 of 20

    Bear-y Good Snack Mix

    Give in to your sweet side. A snack of bear-shape cinnamon grahams, raisins, dried tart cherries, milk chocolate pieces, and chopped dried pineapple ends any lunch on a high note.

  • 18 of 20

    Avocado Salsa

    Ever combined tangy grapefruit with creamy avocado? There's no going back after this quick noontime treat. For four servings, mix together 1 chopped avocado with 2 peeled grapefuit. Bring the sweet heat with a dressing made from half of a serrano pepper, 1 tablespoon orange juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pack your brown bag with a handful of crunchy tortilla chips.

  • 19 of 20

    Shrimp-Avocado Hoagies

    Thaw time isn't included here, so get out your frozen shrimp ASAP. Once it's ready, simply mash half of an avocado with a few spoonfuls of bottled coleslaw salad dressing. Sandwich it all together with shredded carrot and the shrimp.

  • Next Slideshow Healthy Lunch Ideas: Brown Bag Recipes

    Healthy Lunch Ideas: Brown Bag Recipes

    Brighten up your brown-bag lunch with healthy lunch recipes. With fresh salads, easy sandwiches, and simple snacks, our collection of healthy lunch ideas will save you from unhealthy choices at the drive-through or vending machine. With a close eye on calories, we made sure each and every idea is full of protein and nutrients to get you through the afternoon.
    Begin Slideshow »
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