10 Healthy Work-from-Home Lunches Nutritionists Love
Healthy, easy-to-make lunches you can whip up while working from home.
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Lunch Ideas for Working from Home
Getting used to working at home is no easy feat, especially when it comes to making (and eating) lunch. We asked registered dietitians from around the country what they eat for lunch when they're working from home. Here are 10 healthier work-from-home lunch ideas you can make using ingredients you probably have on-hand.
"Vegetable soup is on the daily lunch menu when I am working from home," says Dr. Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, nutrition professor, Boston University and the host of the hit nutrition and health podcast, SpotOn!. "Soup is a warm, comfort food that makes me feel as though I am dining with a friend even when I am slurping it alone in my kitchen." Salge Blake says that on weekend, she makes a big pot of "homemade" soup by combining two cans each of vegetable soup, drained black beans and diced tomatoes along with 2 tablespoon of an Italian seasoning blend from a jar. She then stores the soup in the refrigerator in a covered container and ladles a serving in a bowl that can be reheated in the microwave at lunch.
Homemade Naan Pizza
Brittany Poulson, MDA, RDN of Your Choice Nutrition and author of The Healthy Family Cookbook says, "One of my go-to favorite lunches I've been eating when I'm working from home has been a whole wheat naan bread sprinkled with mozzarella cheese, topped with sliced tomatoes and basil (I prefer to use fresh if I have it, but dried works great too)." Poulson broils the pizza for a few minutes in the oven and enjoys it for lunch. "Essentially, it's a margherita pizza on naan," she exclaims. "I love it because it's quick, easy, nutritious and fills me up."
"I typically make simple tacos for lunch a few times a week," says Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD, author of PREP: The Essential College Cookbook. "I top corn tortillas with grated cheddar and get those crispy along the bottom in a hot skillet. Then I add whatever vegetables I have, such as cooked broccoli or sauteed kale, along with black beans or an egg, plus avocado, salsa, and pickled cabbage or jalapenos. They're super nourishing and delicious!"
Kale and White Bean Salad
"My favorite work-from-home lunch takes me five minutes to prep, is bursting with flavor and loaded with fiber, micronutrients, healthy fats and plant-based protein," says registered dietitian nutritionist, Malina Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN, media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and creator of Solve Picky Eating. "I love that it’s so nutrient-dense and keeps me full and energized for hours." Malkani takes two stalks of kale, removes the stems, drizzles on a little olive oil and massage it quickly, then chop and add a large tomato, one shallot, half an avocado and 1 cup of canned cannellini beans that have been rinsed and drained. Toss with some lemon juice and salt and it’s good to go!"
"My favorite healthy lunch right now isn’t actually too dissimilar from what I normally eat!" says Sara Haas, RDN, LDN author of Taco! Taco! Taco! and Fertility Foods Cookbook. Haas starts with a whole grain wrap and tops it with hummus, crispy chickpeas, feta cheese, any leftover cooked veggies in the fridge and homemade pickled red onions. "While I’m not vegetarian, I do find that I'm more satisfied after eating a veggie-loaded lunch. I also love the contrast of flavors and textures. The pickled onions are an all-time favorite. They’re not only beautiful, but add the perfect tartness to balance out the earthiness of all of those veggies!"
Rebecca Clyde MS, RDN, owner of Nourish Nutrition Blog has been eating a variation of huevos rancheros, which includes a dry pan fried tortilla, smashed black beans, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, a fried egg and salsa. "I like this easy dish because it takes less than 10 minutes to throw together and I always have all the basic ingredients on hand (eggs, canned beans, tortilla, cheese, salsa)." Clyde explains that this lunch is especially great right now because you can raid your fridge and add whatever other veggies you have on hand such as cabbage, zucchini, corn, lettuce, onion — you get the idea. "This lunch is full of different flavors, textures and excitement to get you to look forward to taking a short break for lunch."
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN of Better is the New Perfect keeps it simple with a tuna fish sandwich on whole grain bread with tomato and a piece of fruit. "I've been working from home for more than 20 years, and I always take time out to eat lunch. I love this meal because it's delicious, and it's packed with protein, fiber and beneficial omega-3 fats," says Ward. "It's energizing and filling and it often keeps my mind off food while I'm working during the afternoon."
"During these work-at-home days, I’ve been tossing together healthy 'Garbage Salads' for lunch with goodies from my fridge and pantry," says Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, author, writer and speaker with a podcast, Nourishing Notes. "I start with whatever leafy greens I have on hand and add in roasted broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, baked marinated tofu cubes or shredded slow-cooked chicken breast, drained beans or lentils, marinated artichoke hearts with a hint of the marinade as dressing and top with shaved Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of hemp seeds." Retelny explains that not only is it jam-packed with phytonutrients, but balanced with high-quality protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep you going for hours.
Tuna Cheddar Melt
"In this new world, I am trying to minimize grocery trips as much as possible, so I am turning to lunches made with more shelf-stable ingredients," says Jenny Shea Rawn MS, MPH, RD of My Cape Cod Kitchen. "My current favorite is a protein, fiber and healthy fats packed tuna cheddar melt: a slice of whole grain bread topped with canned tuna (I prefer the kind in oil) and shredded cheddar, then toasted until golden brown. If I have lettuce (or any greens), I'll top the tuna melt with a few crisp pieces and drizzle on a vinaigrette, or have a small salad on the side."
"My work from home lunch has actually been just leftovers from dinner!" exclaims KeyVion Miller RDN, LD/N of The Miller Kitchen. "Since I have more flexibility with my time I make sure we have a healthy meal in the fridge which usually consists of a lean protein, vegetables and healthy carbs. I don't mind being in the kitchen at all, but that doesn't mean that I want to cook something every time I get ready to eat. Not to mention the fact that I have 30 minutes for lunch — not an hour — so leftovers for lunch are perfect!"