If you’re tired of eating limp salads and cold leftovers at work, you probably need some lunchbox inspiration to help you improve your meals.
From classic sandwiches to noodle salads and savory muffins, below are nine quick and easy lunchbox ideas to brighten up your day at work.
1. Mayo, Egg, and Ham Sandwich
The mayo, egg, and ham sandwich is an old-school lunchbox classic for a reason. Simple, convenient, and delicious, this sandwich is super easy to make and will keep you full till your next meal.
All you need is some creamy mayo, a single boiled egg, two slices of bread, and a couple of pieces of your favorite cured ham. Grate your egg, add in a dollop of light mayo, season with salt and pepper (or a splash of hot sauce for a spicy kick), add on the ham, and put your sandwich together.
If you find yourself running short of time in the morning, you can pre-prepare your sandwich the night before, wrap it in some cling foil, and store it in your fridge for the next day. This sandwich can easily be paired with any sides of your choice — from sliced apples to crackers, grapes, cucumber, or raspberries — for a well-rounded and nutritious meal. For something a little more decadent, why not try popping into your local bakery for some fresh bread?
2. Simple Greek Salad
If you’re looking for a clean, healthy lunchbox recipe with minimal prep time, it doesn’t get simpler than this 5-minute greek salad.
All you need to do is chop up your vegetables and prepare the dressing ahead of time. You can take your pick of veggies from fresh lettuce, cucumbers, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, celery, carrots, bell peppers, olives, and beyond.
If you’re concerned the leafy greens won’t be filling enough, you can toss in a combination of dried fruits, pistachios, or cashews and mix in blueberries, pineapple, apples, or any fruits of your choice. You can also try roasting your veggies beforehand with some olive oil and salt to add an additional layer of flavor to your lunchbox.
Other optional add-ons like a boiled egg, chopped-up ham, or freshly grated cheese can help amp up the taste and add more substance to your meal (browse the catalog from IGA for more ideas).
To top it off, toss your salad with a pre-prepared dress, or try a homemade dressing and a sprinkling of crushed crackers for additional crunch and texture.
If lunchtime is several hours away, don’t dress up your salad immediately after you make it. To avoid eating a soggy mix of limp lettuce and watery cucumbers, we recommend taking your dressing in a separate container. Mix it right when it’s time to eat, crush in some fresh crackers, and enjoy!
3. Cold Thai Noodle Salad
Full of crunchy vegetables, springy rice noodles, rich soy sauce, and sesame flavorings, this cold Thai noodle salad is the best way to step up your lunchbox game.
To put together this delectable summer salad, you’ll need about 20 minutes to boil and cool your noodles, mix in the dressing, and prepare your veggies. The salad includes a base of Thai rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion, with a flavourful Asian-inspired dressing to bind it together.
This salad can also hold up well in the fridge, so you can prepare it the night before and just grab it on your way to work. Simply toss in the rich ginger-soy dressing at lunchtime, and tuck in!
4. Savory Spinach and Cheese Muffins
You might not think savory muffins are the best lunchbox idea, but these flavorful spinach and cheese muffins will change your mind.
Packed with delicious cheese, spinach, red peppers, and seasonings, these muffins only require 5 minutes of prep time. All you need to do is hand mix the ingredients in one bowl, pour them into the molds, and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.
They make for a great piping-hot breakfast when fresh out of the oven but taste equally good when cold. You can also prepare these in large batches and store them in your freezer. Simply leave them to defrost overnight and toss them in your lunchbox to snack on at work.
5. Crispy Chicken Ranch Bowl
While simple sandwiches and salads can be great for a quick lunch, sometimes you might want a more hefty meal to keep you energetic and focused at work.
If you’ve got a long work day and need something substantial for lunch, this delicious crispy chicken ranch-and-gochujang bowl will keep you full for hours. This lunchbox idea requires a bit of meal prep beforehand, but if you’ve got time to spare, the final meal will be well worth the effort.
A combination of perfectly crispy chicken, toasted cashews, sliced avocados, rice, and spicy ranch dressing, follow this recipe by Bon Appetit for the most delectable and substantial lunch you’ve ever had. If you put in the work to prepare this meal earlier, you’ll be thanking your past self when lunchtime rolls around.
6. Banana Bread Muffins
On busy days, it’s a good idea to pack 3-4 banana bread muffins for your lunch. They are quick and easy to eat. Plus, they’re full of nutrition — you get about 175 calories from an average banana bread muffin.
This means you get a total of about 525 -700 calories for every 3-4 muffins you eat. And that’s an ideal intake, according to health experts.
What’s more, they’re super easy to prepare. Everything required to make these delicious muffins comes right from your kitchen. And the total prep and baking time is about only 40 minutes. Check out this recipe for more information.
You can also store the muffins in your freezer for up to three months. When taking them to the office, just microwave them for a minute or two and pack them in your lunchbox. Or better, microwave them at the office.
Plus, you can pair them with slices of citrus fruits, crackers, or biscuits to balance the sweet edge.
7. Pizza Stuffed Crescent Rolls
Here comes the most exciting lunch box idea on this list — pizza stuffed crescent rolls. It’s pizza with a different look!
All the cheese, marinara sauce, pepperoni, and other toppings are stuffed inside the roll. So, it has a neat, compact look and is super easy to eat. Just grab one and gobble it up. You don’t need fancy cutlery or a dedicated dining space to eat these.
The best part is it takes only 25-30 minutes to prepare these if you’re using prepared crescent rolls. You can prepare these as you cook lunch, do the laundry, or watch TV.
Once you’ve prepared, snack on warm and fresh ones and let the rest cool down. As soon as they cool, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them. They’ll last up to a week in the fridge.
When taking pizza-stuffed crescent rolls to work, you can microwave them. But we don’t recommend doing so. That’s because they may get soggy by lunchtime.
You can take them cold, and they’ll get to normal room temperature by the time you eat them. We recommend pairing them with a refreshing flavored seltzer or coffee. Here’s the complete recipe.
8. Stuffed Bagel Sandwich
Stuffed bagel sandwiches are also a 30-minute recipe. You can prepare these a day before or perhaps right before you leave for office.
Unlike stuffed pizza crescent rolls, this recipe does not involve any wait-time or baking time. Simply cut the bagels in half, stuff them with what you like, place them back together, and viola! They’re ready to eat.
But since you’re here, we won’t let you stuff the bagels with just about anything. Here’s the stuffing that we find super delicious:
Quarter cup of whipped cream cheese
Two large slices of salami
Four diced baby carrots
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of garlic powder
Two tablespoons dill relish
If you like, you can go for a different stuffing too, such as this one (but it involves baking for about 20 minutes).
Also, you can refrigerate this overnight and microwave when need be. The stuffed bagel sandwich will be fulfilling on its own. But we recommend taking a few sliced and chopped fruits along or some juice. It’ll improve your lunch experience by 3x!
9. Chicken Caesar Pita Pockets
Chicken Caesar Pita Pockets are a great recipe to prepare in the morning. You must have the following ingredients in your kitchen:
One cup diced & cooked chicken
Quarter cup shredded parmesan chicken
Half cup Marzetti Simply Dressed Caesar dressing
Three round pita pockets
Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl to prepare the stuffing mixture. Next, cut pita bread in half, open it into a pocket, and stuff the mixture. That’s it!