Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas

Quick-LunchWhether you’re packing a meal for the kids, brown-bagging it to the office or looking for something tasty to make at home, lunch doesn’t have to be a big production to be delicious. Too often, you might skip lunch to save time or money, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired by mid-afternoon. Your body needs fuel for the latter half of the day, and a wholesome lunch is essential. With some planning, you can enjoy varied, healthful and delicious lunches that won’t take a big bite out of your budget or your busy day.

If you think of the typical brown bag lunch as a soggy sandwich and a limp salad, think again. New ideas in portability and temperature control keep foods separate until you assemble your fresh sandwich or salad at your desk. Crisp lettuce, juicy tomato slices and crunchy bacon are perfect on a couple of thick-cut slices of bread, and with the Lunch Cube, you can enjoy a fresher BLT. Each cube has a larger compartment for bread and three smaller sections for toppings and sides. Store the container in the refrigerator or in an insulated tote until it’s time for lunch; then, relish a sandwich as fresh as one you’d make at home.

When making sandwiches, get creative with your fillings, spreads and breads to keep them from becoming ho-hum. Mustard and mayonnaise always work, but if you’re ready for a healthy change, try spreading your bread with hummus or Greek tzatziki. Sweet flavors go well with some sandwich fillings, too; a few slices of last night’s roast pork, for example, take on new depth with a thin layer of tangy mango chutney or cranberry relish. Pita bread, focaccia rounds or sandwich wraps also give your lunches more range without costing you extra effort.Sandwiches offer great convenience, but they aren’t the only option for lunch.

Salads are another delicious choice, and they can be as light or as hearty as you like. A fully loaded chef’s salad with eggs and sliced cold cuts is substantial; a green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing is refreshing. Keeping ingredients separate until just before eating is key to making a great lunch salad. Pack everything the night before and store it in the tote you’ll be taking to work or school for an easy, rush-free morning. An insulated lunch totewith divided compartments is a perfect travel companion.

The best salads have a range of textures and tastes, so think about how flavors will play off one another in the finished salad. If you use a creamy dressing, choose crunchy toppings that will stand up to it. A salad with salty cheese benefits from a few sweet bites such as slivers of pear or dried berries. Did you recently enjoy a taco night? Save some of the meat for a lunch salad the next day. These tortilla bowl bakers give it an authentic touch.Great lunches start with creativity. By using what you already have in your kitchen in novel ways and storing everything properly so that it remains fresh by noon, you can be the envy of your lunchroom.

Image Credit: homemadesimple.com