Do you find lunch time to be the most difficult part of your day? If so, this blog post has some easy lunch ideas that can be made in a snap! By following the rule of 3’s and some additional planning for your grocery store trip, you’ll have quick and easy lunches all week long. We’ve even thrown in three simple lunch recipes that use whole ingredients – mix them up or make your own favorite combination!
The Simple Rule of 3’s
The Simple Rule of 3’s is an awesome system that allows you to have access to healthy meals all week long. You can also use it to come up with ideas for anything, from the best lunches, on-the-go breakfasts, busy weeknight dinners, and simple snacks! Here’s how it works:
First, pick out 3 ingredients out of each of the categories:
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle. They’re also good for maintaining a healthy metabolism and keeping your energy levels high throughout the day. There are many ways to get protein into every meal, such as by eating meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu/tempeh/seitan, beans and legumes, and even nuts and seeds.
Whole grains are a great way to fill you up and keep your energy levels high. They also provide benefits such as higher fiber, iron content or omega-3s which help with brain function. A few options include whole grain breads, bagels, tortillas, and pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, and potatoes.
Fat is essential to our diet because it has the energy required for us to function throughout a day. Omega-3 fats are great sources of this necessary nutrient, but you should also be sure not to overdo them as they can cause negative health effects such as inflammation or heart disease! Healthy oils like olive oil and flaxseed oil are great choices as well as avocados.
There’s a reason that veggies have been the star of many diets. They’re super healthy and can be delicious when prepared correctly. The basics for adding vegetables to your plate is easy – just toss them in! You can add them raw, steamed, boiled or sauteed. Each has their own flavor profile so experiment until you find what works best for you. Try some easy to make veggies like leafy greens like spinach or kale, broccoli or cauliflower
Adding fruit is a great way to not only add flavor but also nutrients! Learn how to mix and match fruits for the best combinations. Whether it’s berries, melons, and citrus fruits, you can add them all. You can also go for “naturally packaged” fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, which are all great lunch-friendly fruits to have on hand.
Now, you’re shopping list will look something like this:
Protein: tuna, chicken breast, steak
Carbohydrates: whole wheat wraps, brown rice, quinoa
Fat: avocado, hummus, peanuts
Veggies: spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber
Fruit: oranges, pomegranate, grapes
From there, you can mix and match lunch ideas for the next week! Here are some quick lunch recipes that will help inspire your meals:
1. Tuna Spinach Wrap
This easy Tuna spinach wrap recipe is quick to fix and will keep you full for hours. It’s a great lunchtime meal that can be customized with toppings depending on your grocery list.
Protein: 4 oz canned tuna in water
Carbohydrate: 1 whole wheat wrap
Fat: 2 tablespoons hummus
Veggie: ½ cup spinach and ¼ cup cherry tomatoes (sliced)
Fruit: 1 orange on the side
- In a small bowl, mix one can of tuna with hummus and mix well.
- Put some baby spinach in the wrap first. Add on top of that the mashed up tuna and hummus mixture.
- Top with cherry tomatoes and roll up your lunch burrito tightly
- Slice through to make two halves
Nutrition: 391 Calories, 53.4 g Carbohydrates, 29.3 g Protein, 8 g Fat
2. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Our Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is a lunchtime favorite! It’s stacked with nutrient-rich ingredients and is a great lunch to prepare in under an hour.
Protein: 3 oz chicken breast, 1 oz feta
Carbohydrate: ½ cup quinoa, cooked
Fat: ¼ avocado
Veggie: ¼ cup cherry tomatoes (sliced), ½ cup cucumber (diced)
Fruit: ½ cup pomegranate arils
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions
- In a large bowl, mix together cooked quinoa with chicken, feta, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and pomegranate as well as avocado
- Add some balsamic vinegar for extra flavor. This lunch is perfect whether served cold or warm!
Nutrition: 483 Calories, 42 g Carbohydrates, 37 g Protein, 19 g Fat
3. Thai Peanut Chicken Bowl
Are you a fan of Thai food? Get your Southeast Asian flavor fix with this Thai peanut chicken bowl. Not only is it simply delicious, but it also packs a high fiber, high protein punch.
Protein: 3 oz chicken breast
Carbohydrate: ½ cup brown rice
Fat: ¼ avocado + 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
Veggie: ½ cup cucumber (diced), ½ cup spinach, chopped
Fruit: 1 cup grapes on the side
- Cook brown rice according to package instructions
- In a small bowl, mix together cooked chicken with avocado and add some soy sauce for extra flavor
- Top your lunch bowls with diced cucumbers and chopped spinach as well as freshly chopped peanuts.
Nutrition: 501 Calories, 57.3 g Carbohydrates, 25.4 g Protein, 21 g Fat
Let’s not forget, these recipes don’t only have to be for lunchtime! You can use these same lunch combinations as dinner ideas. It is all up to you to find the best meal timing throughout the day that works best with your schedule. All in all, though, meals don’t need to be time-consuming or difficult. With the rule of three’s and some simple recipes like we’ve listed above, you’ll have some easy, healthy dishes in no time.
So, there you have it! The 3-step rule for simple lunch prep is one of the easiest ways to make a quick and easy meal. Now you can mix-and-match different whole ingredients on hand in order to create new combinations each time. We hope this helped inspire you for making lunches both healthy AND delicious! If you try our lunch ideas, let us know how it goes!