Think outside the (lunch) box

 When most people hear the words “quick lunch”, they think of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple—but there are many more quick lunch box ideas for adults to try. Filling up a Bento slimline lunchbox with healthy, quick lunches is easy and inexpensive, and it doesn’t have to be boring. The other main thing that comes to mind around quick lunches is the drive-through lane, but we won’t go into how unhealthy, cost ineffective, and depressing that experience is.

Remember the food groups, have more energy

When putting together a quick lunch for an adult, you don’t have to skimp on flavor or scramble to arrange it in the morning; many lunch box ideas can be prepared the night before, or even the weekend before and stored in the refrigerator.

Try simple pairings of Protein, Carbohydrates, Dairy, and a Vegetable:

  • a hardboiled egg (time involved, 4 minutes)
  • and whole-wheat toast with cream cheese
  • kale leaf or kale Juice.
Not the first thing that comes to most people’s minds for lunch, but this compliment covers four food groups and will satisfy hunger long into the afternoon.

 

Salads can easily cover several food groups too; add almond slices to arugula, dried cranberries, and feta cheese, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and call it lunch. Though they often take a backseat to protein, fruits and vegetables are filling, and their natural sugars will keep you lively and focused for several hours.

Quick lunch ideas that won’t set you back much in time or money

A perpetual crowd pleaser, Greek salad will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, thanks to the preserving powers of vinegar and olive oil. This recipe makes four servings of two cups apiece, and you can add or subtract veggies as you like—some folks add olives or cucumbers to Greek salad. The prep time on this salad is about half an hour.

Greek salad you’ll need:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped;
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced (when chopping garlic, let it sit out for 15 minutes before using it in a recipe or sautéing it—this allows time for the main heart-helping phytochemical, allicin, to activate);
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil;
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar; 8 ounces whole-wheat farfalle or similar-size pasta (penne works well too);
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed;
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces;
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese;
  • 1/3 cup quartered pitted Kalamata olives;
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried oregano).

 Put a large pot of water on to boil (salt it if you like), and combine the tomatoes, garlic, oil and vinegar in a large bowl; let these stand while you cook the pasta. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water, and drain again. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture along with chickpeas, cucumber, feta, olives and oregano; gently toss to combine. Cover the salad; keep it in the fridge until serving. This quick lunch box idea fits perfectly in a leak-proof Bento Slimline Lunch Box

Delicious wraps with dolmas

Thanks to eatingwell.com for the next recipe, delicious wraps with dolmas (rice wrapped in grape leaves with olive oil, very healthy). A Middle Eastern dish, this wrap can be made in 15 minutes, so it definitely qualifies for the quick lunch box for adults category.

The recipe calls for:

  • 1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce;
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber;
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato;
  • 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt;
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese;
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder;
  • 1 whole-wheat lavash (thin, Middle eastern flat bread, a good choice instead of flour tortillas), or whole-wheat wrap; and 3 prepared dolmas.

To make the wrap, combine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, yogurt, feta and garlic powder in a small bowl; spread all this on the lavash, top with the dolmas, roll it all up. The lettuce-yogurt mix can be made up to a day ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator.

It can be hard to keep a wrap together until lunch time; unless you have a Bento Slimline Lunch Box, which will keep your wrap tight and crisp all day. We invite to browse our lunch boxes here, and stay tuned for more easy, quick lunch box ideas for adults.