9 Best Workday Lunches to Shake Up Your Winter Rut

Sandwiches were great for 13 years of grade school, but now, as an adult, lunches need no longer consist one menu item. Instead you need something to remind you to enjoy your mid-day break (after all, when you sit down to lunch it means that you’re half way through your day!). Lunch should be a celebration. It should be loaded with textures, colors, and flavors to catch your interest and transport you momentarily away from work.

Whatever you make it, lunch should not be a hastily thrown together mish-mash of leftovers. It may take a little extra effort to make sure that you have a healthy, appealing lunch ready to go in the morning, but the happiness you will experience when you dig into your lunch each afternoon will be so worth it.

So ban your basic lunches. With these nine recipes you are sure to not only enjoy lunch again, but look forward to your little lunchtime reprieve from the ordinary.

1. Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, and Dried Cranberry

quinoa weekday lunch salad
Food52

Just because summer is long gone, that doesn’t mean salads are. This dish is an herby, nutty answer to a summertime quinoa salad. As delicious as it is versatile, this recipe is very flexible and forgiving.

If you don’t have apples, throw in some pears. No hazelnuts? Toast some walnuts and toss them in. You’ll want to keep this recipe all season long. Get the recipe here.

2. Kale Caesar with Grilled Chicken

kale caesar workday lunch
Delish

Caesar salad is a classic lunch dish, and you’ve probably had it a million times. However, even if you’re over salad for lunch, don’t discount it as an option just yet!

Switch out lettuce for kale and mix up your own dressing so that you can control the flavor. Maybe throw in some chicken that you roasted last night for good measure. All of the sudden salad just got delicious again.

Get the recipe here.

3. Fruit at the Bottom Yogurt Cups

fruit at the bottom yogurt weekday lunch
The Kitchn

If you are more of a brunch eater or like something a little sweeter for an afternoon pick-me-up, then yogurt is the answer to all your needs.

Get the recipe here.

4. Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Verde

ChileVerde-weekday lunch
Ambitious Kitchen

Put all the ingredients into the crockpot the night before, don’t worry about a thing, and wake up to perfectly tender chicken in a richly spiced broth ready to pack up and take to work.

Absolute perfection in a bowl. Get the recipe here.

5. Lemon Chicken and Dill Soup

chicken lemon soup
Delish

Sometimes you need something to warm you up after sitting all morning in a freezing cold office. Nothing can do that better than a bowl of soup. Loaded with vegetable, orzo, and chicken and infused with citrus, this soup is a hearty one.

Eat it with a piece of garlic toast and you will think that you actually went out for lunch. Get the recipe here.

6. Crisp Tuna Cabbage Salad

tuna cabbage salad weekday lunch
The Kitchn

Use it as a dip. Use it as a sandwich. Or just eat it with a spoon. However you choose to enjoy it, this crisp tuna cabbage salad will be sure to satisfy you even on the hungriest of days.

Plus, tuna is loaded with protein and cabbage is chock full of vitamin C, so not only will this lunch keep you satisfied for your afternoon, but it will fuel you with enough energy to help you power through those late afternoon meetings.

Get the recipe here.

7. The Ultimate Fruit, Cheese, and Nut Salad

fruit, nut, cheese salad weekday lunch
Ambitious Kitchen

Fruit, cheese, and nuts – the three components of a perfect lunch time meal. With a little bit of sweet and a little bit of salty, and plenty of protein, you will have all the components for a filling and delicious meal.

Besides who can say no to a fresh salad that is loaded with fall flavors like toasty nuts, crisp apples, bright greens, and a full bodied balsamic vinaigrette. Doesn’t that sound outrageously good?

Get the recipe here.

8. Fregola with Charred Onions and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

fregola-with-charred-onions-and-roasted-cherry-tomatoes
Food & Wine

Who says last night’s leftovers are lousy lunches? There are many pasta dishes that are great leftover and even better when you eat them cold. Case in point is this fregola pasta salad with roasted tomatoes.

Get the recipe here.

9. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Bowl

SweetPotatoandBlackBeanQuinoaBowls4
Spoonful of Flavor

This meatless lunch option is so good and so good for you. Packed with protein, you won’t even notice that you’re eating a salad for lunch. Seriously, this lunch will keep you full all the way until dinnertime.

Plus with its Southwest spicy flavors and roasted veggies, it may even become a dinnertime favorite with your whole household. Get the recipe here.

Read More: 15 Delicious Ways to Make Salad Less Predictable