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65 Healthy, Tasty Lunch Ideas That Will Power You Through Any Afternoon

Further proof that delicious, nutritious and easy-to-make lunches are possible.

healthy lunch ideas  65 healthy lunch recipes
Mike Garten

The healthiest lunches don't always involve salad, though inspiration can certainly revolutionize any bowl of lettuce, sandwiches, grain bowls or pasta mixes you may already love. Try mixing up your midday meal routine by pairing beloved lunches you know how to make at home with easy recipes you've yet to enjoy.

These crazy delicious soup, sandwich and pasta recipes are proof that diet-friendly lunches are much more than just a bed of greens. Not only are these lunches effortless, they're also super quick — you can throw them together in a few spare minutes in the morning, or set aside a little bit of meal prep time the night before. Many of our favorite healthy lunch ideas are make-ahead friendly or reinvent leftovers you may have in the fridge already.

The heartiest items on our lunch menus are chock-full of lean protein, which can help you feel satisfied all the way up until dinner. Think staples like chicken and salmon, rich dairy sources including cottage cheese and yogurt, and nutrient-packed add-ons like seeds (i.e. sunflower seeds!) and legumes. And don't be surprised if you see a lot of ingredients with lots of fiber, like avocado and chickpeas, as they're low in calories and also aid in helping you feel wholly satisfied.

These easy-to-prep recipes are also seriously affordable, which means you'll have more money to spend when the weekend rolls around. Of course, healthy eating doesn't stop at noon: Start your day off with a healthy breakfast recipe and then keep it going with one of these low-calorie dinners.

roasted cauliflower tacos
Mike Garten
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Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Inspired by the classic Mexican dish, these roasted cauliflower tacos paired with a colorful, crunchy taco slaw might be our new favorite taco recipe. Perfect for lunch!

Get the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Tacos »

best healthy lunch recipes open face steak sandwich
Mike Garten
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Steak Sandwich With Arugula

Keep carbs on the menu with this open-faced powerhouse sandwich that makes use of leftover dinner proteins.

Get the recipe for Steak Sandwich With Arugula »

healthy lunch ideas
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Shaved Carrot and Radish Salad

Who says salads need lettuce? The carrot ribbons and thinly sliced radishes are an amazing and unexpected substitute.

Get the recipe for Shaved Carrot and Radish Salad »

salmon nicoise salad
Mike Garten
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Salmon Niçoise Salad

With olives, hard-boiled egg, potatoes and green beans, this is a great make-ahead lunch you can pack on the go.

Get the recipe for Salmon Niçoise Salad »

healthy lunch ideas
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Supergreen Mushroom & Orzo Soup

Ditch your heavy, cream-based winter soups for a light and refreshing supergreen soup.

Get the recipe for the Supergreen Mushroom & Orzo Soup »

RELATED: What to Eat to Boost Your Immune System, According to a Registered Dietitian

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Good Housekeeping's Low Calorie, Big Flavor Cookbook

150+ recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks—all 500 calories or less per serving!

best healthy lunch recipes lemon pepper chicken linguine
Mike Garten
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Lemon-Pepper Linguine With Creamy Chicken and Broccoli

The sauce base in this citrus-packed noodle dish only takes about 20 minutes to whip up to perfection. Chicken and broccoli also hold up marvelously in the fridge throughout the week!

Get the recipe for Lemon-Pepper Linguine With Creamy Chicken and Broccoli »

best healthy lunch recipes butternut squash curry
Mike Garten
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Butternut Squash Curry

We love how you can plop a bunch of fresh veg into a dutch oven and end up with this intensely delicious, aromatic curry for colder days. You can make a single batch to enjoy all week, and serve it with rice, noodles and other vegetarian staples as you go.

Get the recipe for the Butternut Squash Curry »

healthy lunch ideas
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Tomato Panzanella

In our humble opinion, every salad should have marinated sour dough bread.

Get the recipe for Tomato Panzanella »

greek chicken grain bowl
Mike Garten
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Greek Chicken Grain Bowl

Put together this healthy, delicious meal in advance, then just grab and go when you need to head out the door.

Get the recipe for Greek Chicken Grain Bowl »

best healthy lunch recipes fish tacos
Danielle Occhigrosso Daly
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Fish Tacos With Pico de Gallo

This 25-minute entreé makes use of tender mahi-mahi and plenty of citrus, but the quick pico you'll make pairs well with most other seafood. Try swapping in different filets of white fish seasonally!

Get the recipe for Fish Tacos With Pico de Gallo »

vegan caesar salad
Mike Garten
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Vegan Caesar Salad

This is a crowd-pleasing lunch that anyone can enjoy, no matter their dietary preferences (meat lovers, you’ll love this too!).

Get the recipe for Vegan Caesar Salad »

egg salad served on a piece of toasted bread
Sandy Carmo
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Egg Salad Sandwich

An egg salad sandwich is the best lunch to make if you don't have a ton of ingredients on hand. Your pantry to the rescue!

Get the recipe for Egg Salad Sandwich »

healthy lunch recipes   stuffed avocados with shrimps
Mike Garten
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Citrusy Shrimp-Stuffed Avocados

Ditching bread and your lunch sandwich for a stuffed avocado is a delicious (and healthy!) way to enjoy protein at lunch. At under 500 calories, you'll have room for an afternoon snack.

Get the recipe for Citrusy Shrimp-Stuffed Avocados »

Rice Recipes
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Sweet Pea Risotto

This pea-packed recipe offers a greener spin on your favorite comfort food.

Get the recipe for Sweet Pea Risotto »

healthy lunch ideas
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Grilled Leek Potato Salad

This buttery dish really gives root vegetables their time to shine.

Get the recipe for Grilled Leek Potato Salad »

tex mex chicken salad
Mike Garten
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Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

Brighten up any day and try this colorful, filling salad for lunch.

Get the recipe for Tex-Mex Chicken Salad »

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Easy Meal Prep: The Ultimate Playbook for Make-Ahead Meals
Good Housekeeping
Now 34% off

If you're looking to become a meal prepping pro, check out  Good Housekeeping's Easy Meal Prep cookbook. Not only has each recipe been vetted and approved by the experts in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, but we're also offering tips and techniques to help you flawlessly execute batch-cooking, freeze-ahead meals, ready-to-serve dinners, and healthy lunches. 

best healthy lunch recipes grilled peach and mozzarella salad
Mike Garten
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Peach Caprese Salad

If they're in season, swapping out tomatoes for fresh peaches can add an umph to a salad you already know and love. These stacked bites also make for an exciting side for any leftovers in the fridge.

Get the recipe for Peach Caprese Salad »

healthy lunch ideas
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Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

This five-ingredient recipe is much healthier than a greasy slice from your local takeout joint.

Get the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Pizza »

spice grilled steak salad
Mike Garten
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Spice-Grilled Steak Salad

Rub skirt steak with hot paprika before grilling to add some heat to this healthy lunch.

Get the recipe for Spice-Grilled Steak Salad »

healthy lunch ideas
Mike Garten
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Spinach and Gruyere Potato Casserole

This cheesy bake is the perfect make ahead meal. Instead of saving it for your next dinner party, enjoy it for lunch over a week!

Get the recipe for Spinach and Gruyere Potato Casserole »

healthy lunch ideas
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Tomato, Peach, and Basil Salad

You can make this sweet and savory veggie combo in just 10 minutes.

Get the recipe for Tomato, Peach, and Basil Salad »

healthy lunch ideas   sausage and broccoli quinoa bowl
Danielle Occhigrosso
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Sausage and Broccoli Quinoa Bowl

Have your sausage and eat it, too — as long as it's nestled into a bed of quinoa and hearty broccoli. Mint, lemon juice, and fresh scallions transform yogurt into the ultimate quick sauce, too.

Get the recipe for Sausage and Broccoli Quinoa Bowl »

healthy lunch ideas
Mike Garten
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Soy-Glazed Cod and Bok Choy

Bok choy is the perfect light and fresh base for a soy-glazed cod.

Get the recipe for the Soy-Glazed Cod and Bok Choy »

healthy lunch ideas
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Instant Pot Chicken Pho

This traditional Vietnamese soup is just one of many wonders your Instant Pot is capable of.

Get the recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Pho »

RELATED: 22 Best Instant Pot Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners

healthy lunch ideas
Con Poulos
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Kung Pao Shrimp

Greens, proteins, grains —you've got all your bases covered with this well-balanced meal.

Get the recipe for Kung Pao Shrimp »

healthy lunch ideas
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Mediterranean Cod

If you're out of cod, swap the fish for tilapia or salmon for another variation of this easy-to-make meal.

Get the recipe for Mediterranean Cod »

healthy lunch ideas
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Tomato-Quinoa Soup

If you're going vegetarian, protein-packed quinoa is the perfect meat-substitute in this light tomato soup.

Get the recipe for Tomato-Quinoa Soup »

tex mex pizzetas   cinco de mayo recipes
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly
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Tex-Mex Pizzettas

Ditch carb-heavy dough for these taco-sized tortillas that can be transformed into zesty "personal" pizza at lunch.

Get the recipe for Tex-Mex Pizzettas »

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