10 Quick and Healthy Lunches
In light of my weight-loss, people often want to know if I fix myself different meals from what I fix my family. For dinner, I don’t usually – I may fix some alternate side dishes, but the entrée is usually the same for everyone.
For lunch, though, I almost always fix myself something different from what the kids are having. It’s their chance to have some old, not-as-healthy favorites. For that reason, I have perfected a few quick and healthy lunches.
I’ve shared some of my favorites before, but my tastes and moods change over time and I find new meals that I enjoy, so I thought it was worth sharing again my current favorites.
1. Baked salmon and sweet potato with roasted broccoli or kale chips. How is this quick, you ask? One of two ways: I either bake the sweet potato when I’m making dinner one evening or stick it in the oven when we start school in the morning so it’s ready by lunch.
The kale chips are quicker than the broccoli, but the roasted broccoli can be made ahead. (Kale chips can not be made ahead. Yuck!)
2. Pasta bowl. My pasta bowl is probably the most time-consuming lunch I make during the week, but I’ve gotten the timing down to a science. I always make this when the kids are having pizza because if I start it when I turn the oven on to preheat for the pizza, their lunch and mine are ready at the same time.
I’ve traded the pasta in the bowl for quinoa. It’s a little bit higher in calories, but quinoa is so healthy and I like the taste of it better than the pasta. I also like that it kind of clings to the veggies in the bowl, so it mixes in with them better than the pasta.
3. Spicy Spaghetti squash. I just discovered spicy spaghetti squash last week and it’s already earned a permanent spot in my lunch menu rotation. It’s super-easy to fix ( I fix half the spaghetti squash in the microwave and save the other half and half the filling for another day), very low-calorie, and really tasty. I leave out the cilantro and lime juice and I add a tiny little pinch of cheese and diced avocado once I’ve put the filling back into the shell.
4. Turkey burger. This is one of my favorite meals. I buy a pound of lean ground turkey and split it into four ounce patties. I freeze the patties in my handy-dandy Tupperware burger set. That way, I can thaw and cook just one burger at a time.
My favorite way to eat my turkey burger is on a King’s Hawaiian hamburger bun with a little avocado and some grilled onions and mushrooms. This is, of course, served with a side of sliced peppers (red, yellow, and orange) and jicama. Yum!
5. Sandwich. The old sandwich stand-by is always a quick, easy, healthy favorite that I enjoy at least once a week. Tuna is my filling of choice.
6. Tuna-stuffed tomato. A good alternative to a sandwich is a tuna-stuffed tomato. It doesn’t get any better than when I’ve got a fresh, summer-ripe, red, juicy tomato to start with.
7. Spaghetti squash with pasta sauce and grilled chicken. Anytime Brian grills chicken, I get him to grill extra to either use later in the week or freeze for later use. Pair that with spaghetti squash cooked in the microwave and ready-made pasta sauce and you’ve got a delicious and quick lunch. A side of leftover roasted broccoli is always a welcome addition.
8. Super salad. I don’t eat my grilled chicken salad weekly like I used to, but it’s still a favorite – particularly when I have some fresh grapes and strawberries to put on it.
9. Chicken taco soup. I love chicken taco soup. I usually make it in the crock pot on the weekend so I can enjoy it for dinner one night and have leftovers for lunch once or twice during the week. It freezes well in individual serving sizes, too.
10. Leftovers. This may be the quickest and easiest of all – making extras of healthy dinners to have for lunch later in the week.
11. Greek Chicken Bowl. I had to add one more. This Low Carb Greek Chicken Salad is sooo good!
What are some of your favorite quick, healthy lunches?
All those sound fabulous! I love black beans and rice and also beans and greens or steak and greens. For this, I either open a can of white beans and saute with in olive oil with spinach and garlic, or I take an inexpensive cut of meat that is sliced thin and saute with spinach and garlic. Any of those options are packed with protein!
Thanks, Kris! These look great. I have a couple of questions, though. We got rid of our microwave a while back. Do you have any suggestions on making the spaghetti squash recipe without using the microwave? Also, is the salmon expensive? How do you cook it? Finally, where can I get the chicken taco recipe?
Finally, what really motivated you to lose weight? Was there a specific event? Did you have many starts and stops before that?
The link with the spaghetti squash recipe tells you how to fix it if you’re not using a microwave. The salmon isn’t expensive. I get a bag of frozen fillets at Walmart and just fix one for myself. It should tell you on the bag how to thaw it out, then, you just bake it for 8-10 minutes.
I haven’t found the chicken taco soup recipe online. There are many out there, but not the same recipe I use. It was given to me by a friend. I’ll have to ask her if she minds if I share it on my blog. If she doesn’t care, I’ll do that soon.
I had many starts and stops before successfully losing weight. Here is a post that explains quite a bit of that: https://weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/2010/11/one-year-anniversary/
I must try the spicy spaghetti squash….
These are yummy ideas! I’m so boring with lunch most days, I need to change things up and try a few of these!
Do you have any breakfast suggestions that are quick and healthy? Leslie
Thanks, Kris. I just found your blog this school year, so it looks like I have missed a lot of good posts. 🙂
BTW, I don’t know how you ever got used to oatmeal without sugar. I guess it is an acquired taste.
I don’t eat oatmeal without sugar. I make it with milk and a teaspoon or so of brown sugar.
At the risk of getting on your nerves, I have two more questions. One, how much sugar do you put in your sweet tea (in other words, how sweet can I make it and still lose weight), and two, do you have any special rules with regard to desserts and the holidays? Leslie
Here’s the recipe for how I used to make my tea: https://weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/2009/07/favorite-recipes/. I took the sugar down 1/4 cup each time I made it until I got to the point where I knew I didn’t want to go any less. I think I use around a cup for a gallon now.
Here are some holiday eating tips I’ve posted before: https://weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/2010/12/holiday-eating-tips/ and https://weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/2009/11/surviving-thanksgiving-dinner/. I don’t really have any “rules” as relates to food. I just try to make good choices consistently. Sometimes a good choice means enjoying some treats in moderation. For holidays, I’ll often enjoy my favorites in reasonable portions and not “waste” the calories on the healthier choices that I usually eat.
That may or may not work for you.