2016 Lunchbox Resolutions

Start the year with a week of quick, convenient and wholesome meals.
By: Emily Lee
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Winter break is just long enough to fall out of good eating habits, so seize the first weekend of 2016 as a chance to prepare a batch of healthy lunches to usher in the new year. When mapping out a meal plan, look for recipes that are quick but balanced — preferably ones that freeze well and yield large batches. If you're making lunch for the whole family, it can be tricky finding dishes that pique everyone's interest. With that in mind, we've got a versatile lineup of soups, wraps and more that will carry you through a week of wholesome eating, whether you're packing a lunchbox for your elementary school-aged kid or your own office lunch hour.

Satisfying Salads

This Southwestern Fajita Mason Jar Salad (pictured at top) is the perfect grab-and-go lunch that requires minimal effort. Simply toss all of the ingredients together in a baking pan, then put it in the oven, set the timer and walk away. You can enjoy the fajita mixture warm with a tortilla and rice, or, in this case, cold by incorporating it into a salad.

More Hearty Salads:

Food Network Kitchen's Vegetable Noodle Soup as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Freezer-Friendly Soups

What's the point of winter if you can't indulge in a comforting noodle soup? Packed with carrots, celery and orzo, this Vegetable Noodle Soup is just like stuff Mom would make on a cold day, but with a bright flavor boost from lemon juice and fresh parsley. It freezes well, so pop any leftovers in the freezer, or make a double batch to have plenty on hand throughout the week.

More Comforting Soups:


Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Make-Ahead Wraps

Use leftover roast chicken to whip up Jeff Mauro's Lemon-Roasted Chicken Salad Wrap studded with sweet cranberries and crunchy celery. Prepare the chicken salad the night before to let the flavors deepen, then wrap it up in soft tortillas before you leave for work or school in the morning.

More Protein-Packed Wraps:


Photo by: Charles Masters

Charles Masters

Balanced Bowls

This  Chinese Noodle-Vegetable Bowl packs an impressive 23 grams of protein per serving. The tender chunks of pan-seared tofu and crisp vegetables more than make up for the absence of meat. Enjoy it for dinner one night, then pack up the leftovers for lunch the next day.

More Invigorating Lunch Bowls:


Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Slimmed-Down Sweets

Whether your first week of the new year will involve board meetings or pop quizzes, you'll probably want something sweet to look forward to at lunchtime. These Strawberry-Oatmeal Bars will satisfy a dessert craving for any age group. And with a reasonable 177 calories per serving, they're a great way to wean off of holiday sweets without going cold turkey.

More Calorie-Conscious Treats:

Packing lunch for picky eaters? See more of our quick, nutritious and kid-approved lunches here.

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