17 Healthy Lunch Ideas That Will Inspire You to Ditch Takeout

blue bowl of asparagus-pistachio quinoa bowl with side of dressing
Photo: Adam Albright

A healthy, filling lunch is almost always more affordable if you DIY compared to if you order delivery or hit the drive-through. But we know it can be a challenge to come up with healthy lunch ideas day in and day out, so we've rounded up some easy healthy lunch ideas for inspiration. Whether you're looking for options for a healthy lunch at home, work, or school, these soups, sandwiches, casseroles, and more will satisfy.

01 of 17

Air-Fryer Jerk Pork Skewers with Black Bean Mango Salsa

Jerk Pork Skewers Black Bean Mango Salsa
Greg DuPree

An air fryer is our go-to tool to whip up a healthy lunch at home that tastes just like a restaurant dish—with far fewer calories. Along with the air fryer's convection cooking that ensures juicy and tender results, a coating of Jamaican jerk seasoning and shredded coconut helps the pork tenderloin go from "meh" to "must make this again" territory. This is especially true once you pair the pork skewers with the refreshing, citrus-tinged black bean, mango, and cilantro salsa.

02 of 17

Beans and Pasta Sauté

Beans and Pasta Sauté on serving platter with lemon wedges
Carson Downing

Beans and greens team up in a classic Italian soup, minestra. We give a nod to that cozy dish in this easy, healthy lunch idea that will leave you full, thanks to plenty of energy-boosting pasta. Choose your own adventure by opting for your choice of pasta, sizzle up broccoli or broccoli rabe, and begin with fresh shelled beans, rinsed canned beans, or soaked dried beans.

03 of 17

Shawarma Casserole

Shawarma Casserole
Carson Downing

If you work from home or you're in need of an easy weekend lunch, casserole recipes can absolutely be on the midday menu. This nicely-spiced healthy lunch idea is far too tasty to reserve for dinner alone. Ground turkey, pita, rice, and shawarma spices join forces so you can enjoy the full range of flavors in each scoop. Don't forget the drizzle of tahini sauce on top.

04 of 17

Italian White Beans with Cauliflower

white bowl of Italian White Beans with Cauliflower soup
Brie Passano

Whether you're plant-based or a self-proclaimed meat-eater, this vegan, gluten-free healthy lunch will amaze everyone, no matter their food allergies or preferences. The hearty cauliflower and bean stew also earns bonus points for practically cooking itself in a slow cooker. While it might sound more natural to garnish with croutons or bread crumbs, we're wild about using chopped hazelnuts for a salty, nutty punch.

05 of 17

Vegetarian Hoppin' John

overhead view of Vegetarian Hoppin' John in skillet
Jason Donnelly

It can be your lucky day any day with this healthy lunch option. Black-eyed peas, one of the prosperous new year's foods, lend satisfying texture and plenty of protein to this easy meatless meal. As the brown rice steams, simply sauté the beans and veggies with punchy herbs and spices, including thyme and chipotle pepper, to round out the crowd-pleasing, fiber-packed lunch.

Buy It: Calphalon Deep Skillet ($110, Williams Sonoma)

06 of 17

Asparagus-Pistachio Quinoa Bowls

blue bowl of asparagus-pistachio quinoa bowl with side of dressing
Adam Albright

"This was a light, but very tasty lunch meal," one BH&G fan says of this vegetarian grain bowl. (She added that pairing it with a piece of naan and a beer would make for an ideal healthy filling lunch for a weekend...and we like the way she thinks.) Cooking the quinoa in vegetable broth infuses each grain with more flavor, but the real star of the show here is the curry-spiced Greek yogurt sauce.

07 of 17

Shrimp and Broccoli Noodle Bowl

Shrimp and Broccoli Noodle Bowl
Blaine Moats

Tossed salads are so last year. Instead, try a Mason jar noodle bowl that's the perfect healthy lunch to tote to work, school, or wherever the day takes you. To assemble it, simply layer on the snap peas, shrimp, and noodles, and drizzle with a sesame-ginger dressing.

08 of 17

Greek Lamb Wraps

Greek Lamb Wraps
Jacob Fox

Skip the food truck and opt for a healthy sandwich for lunch that satisfies your gyro craving. Slow-cook and shred a lamb roast ahead of time, and pack it up to wrap in a tortilla with feta, cucumber, tomato, and a simple garlic mayo.

09 of 17

Turkey Meatball Grinder

Turkey Meatball Grinder
Karla Conrad

A healthy sandwich for lunch that comes fully loaded with meatballs? Sign us up! A few smart updates like turkey meatballs, whole wheat buns, and red bell pepper help this tasty sub check the boxes as nutritious, comforting, and filling.

10 of 17

Cauliflower-Crusted Pizza

Cauliflower-Crusted Pizza
Andy Lyons

If you haven't already, it's time to get aboard the cauliflower crust train. Lower in carbs and calories yet packed with Italian seasoning and just enough cheese, this is one of the best healthy lunches for kids and kids at heart. The sneaky swap turns a fully-loaded pizza into a healthy lunch recipe lickety-split, and you can crown it with any sauce, toppings, and cheeses you crave.

11 of 17

Hoisin-Glazed Tofu and Green Beans

Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Blaine Moats

Meet your new favorite protein-packed healthy lunch idea. The perfect dish if you're new to tofu, this easy recipe elevates steaming noodles with a simple hoisin-ginger sauce, green beans, and a touch of lime. "This was delicious and relatively simple to make," one BH&G home cook says. "I used frozen, whole green beans with excellent results. I will do this again—probably for guests!"

12 of 17

Chickpea, Leek, and Spinach Soup

Chickpea, Leek, and Spinach Soup
Blaine Moats

You'll be ready to say "ciao" to the canned kind once you see how easy—and fast—it can be to make homemade soup. This 25-minute formula shows how to step up your soup game with chickpeas, garlic, and the leafy green of your choice. Lemon juice balances the savory leeks for a vegan recipe that makes the perfect comforting healthy lunch option.

13 of 17

Gluten-Free Asian Beef and Noodle Bowl

Gluten-Free Asian Beef and Noodle Bowl
Andy Lyons

Gluten-free need not be boring (or noodle-free). This easy, healthy lunch recipe packs a punch with anise, garlic, and serrano pepper. Thick-cut beef chuck and mushrooms provide the tasty broth base in one of our favorite takeout-inspired healthy lunch recipes.

14 of 17

Salmon Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Salmon Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
Jason Donnelly

Think salad is basic? Allow us to introduce you to a truly unique salmon-and-greens salad that's studded with juicy strawberries and fresh basil and dressed to the nines with a balsamic-ginger-strawberry vinaigrette. (Psst...don't be intimidated by the concept of cooking salmon. We call for the kind from a pouch here, or you could opt for canned salmon or tuna.)

15 of 17

Salmon and Asparagus Wraps

Salmon Asparagus Wraps
Jason Donnelly

Move over, bagel and lox or ham and Swiss—there's a new healthy sandwich for lunch. We've kept the cream cheese and smoked salmon, but added in asparagus and red pepper for satisfying crunch and zippy, fresh flavor. Since this easy wrap recipe is designed to (and gets better) chilling overnight, it's a brilliant choice for a grab-and-go lunch.

16 of 17

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken
Peter Krumhardt

Slow-cooked ginger-, soy-, and sesame-glazed chicken paired with bok choy proves that a healthy lunch can be filling, too. On low, it takes 5 to 6 hours; ideal to set and forget just after you wake up to dive into come noon. At just over 250 calories per serving, it's a healthy lunch idea you'll want to make again and again.

17 of 17

Muenster, Cabbage, and Apple Sandwiches

Muenster, Cabbage, and Apple Sandwiches
Kritsada Panichgul

This warm sandwich recipe gives the classic Reuben sandwich a run for its money. Melty Muenster cheese, quick-pickled cabbage, and sweet apples get a touch of stone-ground mustard before piling atop sharp caraway rye bread. The result? A hearty yet healthy lunch option that's the perfect partner for a side of potato chips and coleslaw.

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