Everybody we know is trying to eat healthier, and for a lot of us, that means starting with revamping what we eat for lunch. It makes sense, after all; of all three main meals, it’s the one we’re most likely to be eating alone, especially when we’re eating at work. That means no picky children or non-dieting family members to please! Unfortunately, a healthy, quick lunch also seems to usually mean salad— and that gets really boring really fast. Whether you just don’t like a lettuce-based meal or you’re simply tired of a daily salad, chances are you, like us, need some alternatives. Luckily for all of us, there are plenty out there! Check out all the healthy, easy lunches we found. Not one is a salad!
- DIY Instant Noodle CupSerious Eats
Ramen noodles are an easy, affordable lunch, but goodness are they unhealthy. Get all of the convenience without all of the sodium and artificial ingredients by making your own custom instant noodle cups! The potential combinations are endless, and by using a resealable, reusable glass jar, it’s also better for the environment.
- Vegan Bento BoxesMind Over Munch
Bento boxes are all the rage for lunch right now. We like them because getting organized is an easy way to get healthy, like with these THREE options that even include a dessert: black bean brownies! Pick and choose from sweet potato quinoa salad, falafel balls, beans and rice, and sushi sammies.
- Cucumber RollsTipHero
These cucumber rolls don’t even require you to cook, but they’ll make your lunch feel special and maybe even a little fancy. They also make a great afternoon snack, but since there’s no way you’ll be able to stop at just one hummus-and-feta-stuffed roll, we think they’re a perfect vegetarian lunch!
- 1-Carb Rosemary Cloud BreadTipHero
Sometimes, the best lunch is the same one you always make, with just one incredible healthy substitution! Try making sandwiches with this guilt-free rosemary cloud bread . . .
- Cauliflower TortillasTip Hero
. . . and roll-ups, burritos, tacos and the like with these cauliflower tortillas!
- Portabella Mushroom Bruschetta PizzaFood Done Light via Buzzfeed
Of all the substitutes for unhealthy pizza crust out there, a portabella mushroom cap is one of the most exciting and delicious one we’ve ever seen . . .
- Eggplant PizzaTip Hero
. . . and so is this eggplant version, based on a classic Julia Child recipe!
- Cauliflower Pizza CrustDanguole Lekaviciute
Still can’t get enough of pizza? Would you eat it every day if you could? Good thing we’ve got even more variations! Make the closest thing to a classic version while – while still staying healthy! – with this cauliflower crust . . .
- Zucchini Pizza Slices
. . . or get more vegetables involved with some zucchini, with a dish that’s also similar to stuffed manicotti.
- Portabella Veggie BurgersTipHero
Don’t run to a fast food chain for a lunchtime burger fix. Make these healthier, vegetarian burgers instead, and save that red meat for a “cheat day.” Plus, you can make a bunch of these burgers ahead of time and reheat them for lunch throughout the week. Your coworkers will be jealous!
- Wonton Burger BitesMind Over Munch
Another fantastic burger alternative? These diet-friendly burger bites made with wonton wrappers, lean turkey, and a special, Greek-yogurt-based sauce.
- Baked Avocado RollsTip Hero
Avocado rolls might seem like a healthy option when you’re eating lunch out, but they’re often fried and zapped of nutritional value. Solve that problem and save your dollars by baking some at home.
- Ahi PokeTipHero
Even if you can do the cooking ahead of time, sometimes heating lunch up in the break room microwave is a little . . . unappetizing. Solve that problem and add some dreaming-of-vacation flair with this no-cook, classic Hawaiian dish.
- Vegan MeatballsFablunch
Lunch doesn’t get more classic than leftover spaghetti or a meatball sub, but those meatballs are rarely close to anything like healthy. Fix that the easy way with alternative meatballs, like these vegan versions made with potatoes and buckwheat . . .
- Zucchini Meatballs
. . . or these ones made out of shredded zucchini and panko breadcrumbs.
- Tomato and Eggplant Zucchini BakeTip Hero
What could be better for a summer lunch than a bake made from fresh summer vegetables? This one’s so simple to prep, so make a big batch for the week and have plenty of leftovers to look forward to enjoying.
- Spinach and Artichoke Grilled CheeseFoodie Crush
Lunch sandwiches don’t get more classic than grilled cheese. Make yours a little more guilt-free by making it with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and spinach.
- Lentil and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus WrapThe Simple Veganista via Buzzfeed
A lot of people associate lentils with deprivation, but you won’t after you try this wrap. When they’re combined with sun-dried tomatoes and homemade hummus, they’re absolutely delicious and guilt-free.
- Protein Bistro BoxThe Skinny Fork via Buzzfeed
Are you in the habit of grabbing a “bistro box” when you go on a Starbucks run? Save your money and make your own, packed full of more fruit, cheese, and health than anything you can get wrapped in plastic.
- Grilled Chicken Veggie BowlsPicky Palate via Buzzfeed
Not only is this recipe packed full of taco and lime chicken, quinoa, brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus and brussels sprouts, it makes enough for four days of meals for two people!
- Zucchini Noodles with Kale PestoBuzzfeed
Got a craving for pasta? Fulfill it without giving into too many carbs by making the noodles out of zucchini and making your own delicious pesto.
So many good options! We can go all year without having to eat salad for lunch once. If you want even more options to add to your rotation, check out this list from Buzzfeed. Now tell us: is your healthy lunch usually a salad? How do you get some variation in your midday meal without resorting to lettuce?