6 Lunch Ideas to Get You Through That Dreaded Midday Rut

Brown bagging it never looked so good!

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Food Network's Veggie Lover's Club Sandwich

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes, when it comes to lunch, I find myself completely and utterly uninspired. You know what I’m talking about — you’re wandering up and down the aisles of Trader Joe’s determined to buy some new ingredients, and a few minutes later, the same six things you’ve been buying all summer are sitting in your cart.

If you, too, are struggling to step up your lunch game, these quick and easy (not to mention healthy!) recipes are the inspo you’ve been searching for. Whether you follow them exactly, or riff off of them, you’re sure to create the best lunches to satisfy all of your midday cravings.

Trade in that deli meat sub for this Veggie Lover’s Club Sandwich. Layered with avocado, baby arugula, smoked tofu or mozzarella, red onion, sundried tomatoes, cucumbers, pepperoncini and bell pepper, this sandwich is jam-packed with fresh produce and whole ingredients that are not only good for you, but that also make you feel good. You can play around with the recipe, too! Throw some hummus on there for a bit more protein or add additional arugula for an even fresher bite.

Grain bowls are all the rage right now and it makes sense because of how easy to prepare, and healthy to eat, they are. This Buddha Bowl recipe is balanced in flavors and colors, incorporating fresh ingredients like sweet potatoes, microgreens, oranges, watermelon radishes and pickled red onions that also happen to create a rainbow on your plate. Served over a bed of freshly cooked wheatberries and topped with a homemade green goddess dressing, this bowl will add excitement to your lunch hour, while also inspiring your coworkers to step up their lunchtime game!

Lightened Up Stuffed Peppers

Lightened Up Stuffed Peppers

Lightened Up Stuffed Peppers

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Prepped in just 10 short minutes, these Lightened-Up Stuffed Peppers are full of hearty ingredients, like dried oregano, cinnamon, cumin, tomato paste and garlic. Each of these unique flavors is married together through the long-grain white rice, lentils and lean ground beef that make up the body of the dish. Pack each pepper individually, then grab and go every morning for a quick, well-rounded lunch.

As vegetarianism and veganism rise in popularity, alternatives for classic meat-centric dishes are also becoming the norm. If you’re looking for sandwich options outside of the chicken or tuna salad variety, turn to these Chickpea Salad Sandwiches. Utilizing chickpeas as the bulk of the dish, this recipe mimics the creamy goodness of other salads with the incorporation of avocado instead of mayo. You'll get earthiness and bit of sweetness from the chickpeas, which is only accentuated by the salad's green onion, garlic and yellow mustard. After you try this recipe, you’ll always opt for chickpeas — mark my words!

CRAB_AVOCADO_SALAD_23.tif

CRAB_AVOCADO_SALAD_23.tif

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop stylist: Marina Malchin,Food stylist: Jamie KimmProp stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

If you’re a salad person but have exhausted all of your resources for exciting combinations, try this Crab and Avocado Salad. Packed full of fresh ingredients like haricots vert, lemon, chives, basil, avocado and romaine lettuce, this veggie explosion is only elevated by the umami flavor of anchovies and the summery lump crab meat. Another perk of this recipe is how easy it is! Just prep all of your ingredients, toss them together and pack the dressing on the side. Once you’re ready to enjoy, dress the salad and voila!

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Swap bread for sweet potatoes in this open-face sandwich alternative. Roast the sweet potato planks, then top with thinly sliced steak, a bit of dressed arugula and some roasted red peppers. If you’re looking to cut grocery costs and save a bit of time, skip the steak and opt for a deli meat substitute. If you want to make it vegetarian, swap the meat for a mash-up of black beans and a bit of salt and pepper. The possibilities are truly endless! Plus, this pseudo-sandwich transports easily so it's the perfect pick-me-up during a day that seems to be moving a lot slower than you expected (what do you mean it’s only 11:30!?)

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