50 Easy Lunch Ideas for Stressed-Out People

Let’s face it, we’re all busy. We barely have time to get everything done in the day, let alone meal prep healthy lunches for the week. But you know what we also don’t have time (or budget) for? Trekking outside for a $12 lunch salad that’s not even that good. […]

Let’s face it, we’re all busy. We barely have time to get everything done in the day, let alone meal prep healthy lunches for the week. But you know what we also don’t have time (or budget) for? Trekking outside for a $12 lunch salad that’s not even that good.

Luckily, we have a solution: Presenting 50 easy lunch ideas that require basically zero effort to whip up (and taste delicious). With everything from chicken salad stuffed peppers to radish barbecue bowls with honey-mustard dressing, this handy list of recipes should keep you going for months to come. Finally, a brown bag lunch that you can get excited about. Bon appétit.

It’s as easy to make as it is to slice a tomato. If you have 25 minutes, you can make four days’ worth of lunches.

This dish takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and we give you permission to eat it cold. It tastes just as good—if not better—that way.

You had us at 15-minute lunch, and again at no oven required. Double the recipe to make enough for the entire week.

Rotisserie chicken, we salute you. (How else could we have a mouthwatering lunch ready to go in a mere 20 minutes?)

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It’s impossible to beat a ten-minute salad. This one has halloumi cheese, so it’s even better.

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The sandwich equivalent of icebox cookies. And by that we mean easy, delicious and impossible to eat just one.

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RELATED: 10 Easy Brown Bag Lunches That Aren’t a Turkey Sandwich

When it comes to low-fuss, healthy lunches, it turns out our design crush knows best.

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It sounds time-consuming, but we promise it’s a breeze. (Only ten minutes of prepping!) Just chop everything up and toss it on a tray.

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Tender and flavorful, this pretty lunch keeps in the fridge for up to four days. (It’s also vegetarian and ready in 30 minutes, but we didn’t want to brag  too   much.)

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Bowties beat sad wilty salads any day of the week. Would you believe us if we told you it takes 40 minutes and makes a whopping eight servings?

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RELATED: 18 Healthy and Filling Work Lunches That Aren’t Salad

Ready in half an hour is just the beginning. These meatballs are tender, rich and juicy, plus they’re baked instead of fried for easy cleanup.

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Psst: This is the easiest way to prepare Brussels sprouts. All you have to do is trim, separate and toss them with the farro before serving.

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Aside from being a delicious lunch for you or your kids, they’re so darn fun to eat. Customize to your heart’s content.

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The answer to your lunchtime prayers? Spicy, nourishing burrito bowls portioned out for the entire week.

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Bye, lunch rut. We’ll see you never, thanks to these adorable pepper boats of healthy chicken salad.

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You can make them two days in advance, they take 30 minutes and they won’t get soggy. Plus, there’s peanut sauce. Need we say more?

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Kick that sad lunch salad to the curb and replace it with this satisfying meal. The sides are swappable, but the sticky-sweet glaze is mandatory.

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You can’t go wrong with these two-bite pockets. Thanks to a quick marinade, they’re as flavorful as if you spent all day in the kitchen (but they’re actually very simple to make).

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It’s basically a giant bowl of guac masquerading as a salad, and we’re not complaining at all. In fact, that’s the definition of our dream lunch.

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Low-maintenance is the name of the game. Make this spicy-sweet number the night before (it takes just 35 minutes) and reap the rewards when your stomach growls at lunch the next day.

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Tip: Don’t skimp on the good stuff. And by good stuff, we mean all that creamy burrata.

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One-pan lunches are the way to go. This one tastes super decadent, but it’s surprisingly healthy and low-carb.

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Dishes, what dishes? We’re making only sheet-pan lunches from now on.

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We’re ditching the greasy egg roll wrappers because everyone knows it’s what’s inside that counts.

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These chewy, sticky rice cakes are about to win the lunch game. Grab the flavor-packed XO sauce from your local Asian market. 

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What looks fancy but takes virtually no effort? This guy. What can we say, we’re suckers for a can of tuna.

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This is our new favorite way to eat veggies, hands down. It must have something to do with those briny, charred radishes.

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The secret ingredient? Store-bought marinated tofu. It’s a time-saving and easy way to add a ton of flavor (not to mention protein).

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Finger food is the best food. The second best? It’s a tie between charcuterie, olives, toasted pita and yogurt sauce.

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The prettiest salad you’ll ever make. Just look at all those colors!

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RELATED: 21 Non-Boring Work Lunches You Can Make in 15 Minutes or Less

The beauty of shrimp? It’s done in five minutes and goes with just about everything—a lunchtime blessing.

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Not only is stir-fry easy to make in the first place, it’s also the most acceptable meal to microwave the next day. (We might even venture to say it tastes better as leftovers.)

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It’s even faster than ordering takeout, and so much healthier. You can even swap the ground pork for turkey or chicken, if you’re so inclined.

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Doctor up a box of noodles with store-bought (or homemade!) broth, aromatics and our old standby, rotisserie chicken.

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Who says eating healthy has to be boring? This fresh legume-veggie-yogurt combo will fill you up without weighing you down.

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Nothing against jarred marinara sauce, but we need a break. And good news, you can totally swap the pine nuts for almonds in a pinch.

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Two things we love: hands-off meals and zero dishes. This easy lunch happens to offer both and then some.

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Juicy, sweet and totally irresistible. And we should mention it comes together in a single skillet, so cleanup is easy-peasy.

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This is a brand new way to use goat cheese and it’s the opposite of that ’90s salad with dried cranberries you used to know and love.

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Thanks to Coterie member Monique Volz for keeping us warm with this guy, which is simple, flavorful, healthy and ready in 35 minutes.

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Light enough to eat all year long. Even better, it freezes like a dream, so you can stash some away for the busiest days.

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Mixing and matching is the name of the game. With all these fresh, filling ingredients, you’ll avoid an afternoon slump like nobody’s business.

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So much more fun than avocado toast, but just as easy to make. File this one under “genius.”

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Real talk: This recipe’s got us excited about greens. About that homemade green-goddess dressing: It comes together with just a few spins in your blender.

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Grilled zucchini is a major upgrade to everyone’s favorite seasonal salad. Drizzle on some extra balsamic for us, would you?

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The healthiest way to get your takeout fix is to ditch the carb-heavy wrappers for chewy rice noodles. Swoon.

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Finally, the best way to use up a boatload of produce. Feel free to swap these veggies for whatever looks good (or is available in your fridge).

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Light, tangy and irresistible. Let’s eat every meal on a stick from now on.

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RELATED: 21 Meal Prep Lunch Recipes That Are Better Than an Expensive Salad

No grapes or walnuts in sight, just how we like it. The addition of avocado, on the other hand, is *chef’s kiss*

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We like the sound of zero prep even more than we like that cheesy toasted baguette.

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RELATED: 30 Soups You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less

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