7 (Simple) Healthy Lunch Recipes for Busy People

Eating on the go is now the norm and, while doing so seems efficient, “mobile nutrition” can have a variety of negative consequences and repercussions when it come to our health. Commercial grab-and-go meals require foods that are portable, non-perishable, and relatively effortless to consume. As a result, we end up eating hyper-palatable, hyper-processed foods with additives and preservatives used to ensure that maximum shelf life.

7 (Simple) Healthy Lunch Recipes for Busy People

There is a better way. You can make your own food-to-go without the poor-quality ingredients. Lunch doesn’t need to be a compromise, even if you’re busy with kids, work, getting in your exercise, or other activities. The seven healthy lunch recipes below are all quick to prep, can be made well ahead of time, and pack to go in a just minute or two.

7 Healthy Lunch Recipes to Get You Started


1. Middle Eastern Turkey Meatballs

These turkey meatballs can be served for dinner or as an appetizer  — or made in bulk and kept in the freezer for an easy snack, lunch, or supper. We suggest you enjoy them with a sauce like an egg-free dump ranch,  yogurt dip, or garlic aioli.

2. Healthy Salad in a Jar

This could be prepared a few days in advance and you will have an easy lunch waiting for you in the fridge — and everyone is going to be wowed by how it looks. Not to mention how happy your belly will be. You can layer any of your favorite combinations. This particular recipe includes protein, legumes, vegetables, and healthy fat. It will fill you right up and fuel your day.7 (Simple) Healthy Lunch Recipes for Busy People

3. Egg and Veggie Breakfast Muffins

Who doesn’t love breakfast for lunch, a treat often reserved for a lazy Sunday? This is a basic recipe for what you can put in the breakfast muffins, but the beauty of these muffins is that they’ll taste amazing if you swap out or add vegetables as needed (depending on what you have in your fridge), and you can also add protein like cooked chicken, bacon, steak, or sausage.

4. Instant Pot Carnitas

What’s even better than a quick-to-prepare lunch? A quick-to-prepare dinner and delicious leftovers for lunch!

Carnitas are surprisingly simple to make. The spices and orange bring out amazingly rich flavors in the pork, and once the meat is shredded it just melts in your mouth. This carnitas recipe cooks unattended in under an hour in the Instant Pot, and comes out juicy and delicious. (If you were to cook this recipe in a slow cooker, it could take up to six hours.)

7 (Simple) Healthy Lunch Recipes for Busy People5. Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo Meatloaf

Meatloaf is great for dinner and as leftovers for lunch, can be made in advance and eaten all week long, and is a serious time saver. Meatloaf can help you clean out your fridge, as well as provide you with an easy, healthy staple dish. To make meatloaf WLC-compliant, you’ll need to take out the traditional breadcrumbs and the store-bought ketchup topping — which we show you how to do in this recipe.

6. Slow Cooker Apple Barbecue Pulled Turkey

This pulled turkey recipe is tasty, simple, and a perfect way to up-level your culinary skills with ease. Make it for dinner and use the leftovers for lunch, or make it with days of lunches in mind. It’s versatile, too — the shredded meat works well on its own, in tacos, and on salads.

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7. Curried Chicken Salad

This curried chicken salad makes a great lunch or dinner meal when served over greens. Toss the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot (right from the freezer if necessary) and use the short cook time to prep and combine the rest of the ingredients. When the chicken is ready, chop it up and add it to the mix. Portion it out into your favorite reusable containers, and you’ll have the quickest lunch around.
7 (Simple) Healthy Lunch Recipes for Busy People

Which of These Healthy Lunch Recipes Is for You?

While being busy isn’t optional for most of us, how we feed ourselves is. Stop wrestling with frustration and putting off lunch until hunger drives you to make a poor food choice. Get ahead of all that.

Try a few of these healthy lunch recipes for dinner — and bring the leftovers for lunch. You might find that making your own food ahead of time lightens your load more than you ever expected.

P.S. These aren’t the only healthy lunch recipes around. For additional recipe options, check out the Whole Life Challenge Recipes section of our blog.

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Becca Borawski Jenkins
Becca is a bit like a cat — she’s gone through a few “lives” to get to her current one (with which she’s quite pleased). She earned her MFA in Cinema-Television Production at USC’s famed film school, and her first career was as a music editor (if you’ve watched Scrubs, you’ve likely heard her work).

Becca found her way to career number two through martial arts. She began training in BJJ and muay Thai and started working with professional MMA fighters, building websites, working on fight promotions, and producing videos.

As a competitor in BJJ herself, Becca wanted to get stronger and fitter. In 2005, she became a student at CrossFit Los Angeles where she met WLC co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck. In only a couple years, she became CrossFit Level III Certified, left her entertainment career, and dedicated herself full time to coaching, serving as the Program Director of CFLA and founder of the CFLA CrossFit Kids program.

After seven years as a music editor and then eight years as fitness instructor, Becca segued to her current career — full-time editor and writer. She and her husband are full-time RVers and have a first-hand comprehension of the pros and cons of remote work.

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