Forget peanut butter and jelly—these healthy lunch ideas will brighten your workday, help you save cash and boost your health, too!

20 healthy lunch ideas

You need to eat lunch. But sometimes, the prospect of coming up with creative, healthy ideas for homemade lunches is far less appealing than taking the easy way out and grabbing something quick around the corner—often at the expense of your wallet and your waistline. Instead of struggling, try some of these healthy lunch ideas to refresh your meals. Many of them can be made for dinner and the leftovers saved for lunch. (Just be careful to hide them from your coworkers.)

Tangy Noodle Salad
This light and refreshing salad makes a great lunch. Double the recipe and serve it for dinner alongside barbecued chicken, as well.

Sushi Pockets
This quick and healthy lunch idea also makes an excellent appetizer or party canapé.

Guacamole, Egg & Arugula on Crackers
The simple combination of ingredients and diverse textures in this lunch offer a twist to the traditional sandwich.

Almond-Currant Couscous
Crunchy toasted almonds add flavour and nutrition to this simple couscous dish. Top with grilled chicken or tofu to make it more filling.

Squash and Chickpea Stew
The orange colour of squash signals beta carotene, a plant pigment that’s a potent disease-fighter. And this is a meatless stew, so the total fat content is minimal. Like all good stews, this is a fine make-ahead recipe.

Grilled Chicken, Aged Cheddar & Chutney Sandwich
This stuffed whole-wheat pita is an excellent addition to any summer picnic outing, as well as a great meal at home any time of year.

Bulgur Wheat and Shrimp Salad
A coarsely ground wheat grain, bulgur has already been parboiled, so it’s quick to prepare and makes an ideal pantry standby to use in salads, as well as in hot dishes. This nutty-textured, colourful salad is full of goodness, and is very attractive to the eye.

Millet with Spinach and Pine Nuts
Bright green spinach and orange apricots add rich colour and flavour to this healthy, easy-to-make grain and vegetable dish.

Fruity Pasta Salad
Pineapple and pear give this salad a sweet accent, while balsamic vinegar adds a delightful piquancy. With lean ham, cheese, fruit and vegetables all adding their own nutrients to balance the pasta, the result is a marvellous dish.

Coronation Chicken
Specially created for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, this curry-flavoured salad with a fruity pilaf makes a lovely summer dish. Often made with cream and mayonnaise, this version cuts the fat content down significantly.

Fried Rice with Tofu and Vegetables
If you’ve been looking for a tasty tofu recipe, your search is over. Here, tofu is marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce and stir-fried with plenty of vegetables.

Hot and Spicy Black Bean Dip
Update your party menu with a chili-laced bean dip that’s practically fat-free and an excellent source of fibre. The dip can also be spooned onto plates and served as a light lunch, accompanied by warm whole-wheat pita bread.

Roasted Vegetable and Pasta Bake
A hearty vegetarian dish packed with flavour, this selection of vegetables—butternut squash, asparagus and leeks—is roasted in garlicky olive oil, then tossed with chunky pasta shapes and a cheese sauce.

Vegetable Tart Provencale
Brimming with the sunny flavours typical of southern France, this delectable tart is perfect for a lunch or light dinner. An easy-to-assemble, herb-scented crust is the perfect partner for heart-healthy fresh vegetables.

Lentil-Tomato Stew with Browned Onions
This hearty vegetarian main course is rich in dietary fibre and also offers more than 300 percent of the daily recommended intake for beta-carotene.

Rustic Broiled Vegetable and Rigatoni Salad
Broiled vegetables are delicious with chunky pasta in a tangy dressing. Serve this salad as a light lunch or as an accompaniment to broiled poultry or meat, when it will serve 6 or 8 people.

Sesame Pork and Noodle Salad
With its typical Chinese flavours—ginger, sesame, soy sauce and rice vinegar—this salad makes a delectable dish for either lunch or dinner. It is particularly nutritious as most of the vegetables are raw.

French Tuna and Bell Pepper Salad
This colourful salad is full of varied flavours and textures. Chunks of tuna, wedges of potato, crisp beans and tangy tomatoes make for a quick and easy summery meal. Serve with crusty whole-wheat baguettes.

Asian-Style Chicken and Pasta Salad
Pasta bows taste deliciously different when combined with an exotic dressing of fish sauce, fresh red chili and rice vinegar in a moist chicken salad. Fresh crunchy vegetables complete this well-balanced main-course dish.

Creamy Turkey Salad with Grapes and Pecans
With its wonderfully contrasting tastes and textures, this salad makes a satisfying main course that is luxurious without containing a lot of saturated fat. It is the perfect recipe for roast turkey leftovers.

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Web exclusive: August 2008

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