Remember back in the day when mom used to pack your lunch for school? The lunch bell would ring, you’d head to the cafeteria, you’d break out your lunch box featuring cartoon characters that perfectly defined your entire personality, and you’d pop open the latches to see what surprises mom packed inside.

Maybe it would be Fruit Roll-Ups, a bag of Gushers, or just a nice hand-written note with some XOXOs. Either way, the best part of the school day was lunchtime. And even though adulting means packing your own lunch, lunch breaks are still the highlight of the work week.

A hearty, healthy lunch is key to making sure the second half of your day goes well – giving you the boost you need to finish your to-do list. But let’s face it, planning lunches every day can get old, which is why our friends at Virtua Health whipped up four lunch recipes that are delicious and nutritious.

These four delicious lunches will be sure to help you and your family power through even the toughest days. Feel free to add any sides or make changes to suit your palette or dietary needs. If you want more inspiration check out some others from Virtua Health.

Scroll down to see 4 simple and healthy lunch recipes:

  • Light Chicken Salad 

    When it comes to chicken salad, you either love it or you hate it. And if you fall into the hate category, this may be the one to change your mind. Also, it can be prepared the night before, saving you time in the morning for some extra sleep or a moment of peace before running out the door.

    Ingredients:

    • 2/3 cup chicken stock
    • 2/3 cup water
    • 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast
    • 1/4 cup light mayo
    • 3 tbsp celery, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp dried dill
    • 1/4 cup red seedless grapes, thinly sliced

    Directions:

    1. Add chicken stock and water to a pot, bring to a boil then add chicken and boil for 12 min or until chicken reaches 165 internal.
    2. Drain chicken and cut or shred it into small pieces.
    3. Add all other ingredients, aside from chicken and grapes, into a bowl and mix until combined.
    4. Add grapes and chicken and mix lightly until combined.
    5. Enjoy now or save for the next day.

    Mom and daughter packing lunch

  • Turkey Bacon Pasta Salad 

    This is not the boring pasta salad that’s always at your family gatherings. This one is bursting with flavor and freshness. Make a large batch and enjoy it as a prepacked lunch for half the week.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 pound turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1 (12 ounce) protein pasta
    • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 package dry ranch seasoning mix
    • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 cup light sour cream
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
    • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 cup low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
    • 1 cucumber, sliced

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta and turkey bacon according to the directions on the back of the package; drain the pasta and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
    2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, dry ranch mix, garlic powder, heavy whipping cream, and light sour cream. Mix well together.
    3. Pour dressing over the drained pasta and stir. Add the peas, olives, tomatoes, turkey bacon, and cheese. Toss the salad to combine, add the cucumbers and toss one final time.
    4. Enjoy that day or keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

    mom putting a lunch box in child's backpack

  • Chicken Flatbread Pita 

    Inspired by the traditional flavors and ingredients of the Mediterranean, this recipe will make you feel like you’re visiting Myrtos Beach without ever leaving home.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 roasted chicken
    • 6 whole-grain flatbreads
    • 10 to 12 whole romaine heart leaves washed
    • 6 to 8 ounces Kalamata olives
    • 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    • ¾ cup hummus
    • ¾ cup tomato cucumber dressing of choice

    Directions:

    1. Shred chicken meat using two forks.
    2. Place remaining ingredients in their own dishes in an assembly line on the table.
    3. To assemble: hold your flatbread in your hands or on a plate. Spread hummus on pita followed by romaine leaves. Top with feta cheese, olives, and tomato-cucumber dressing.
    4. To enjoy the next day, wrap in tin foil for easy packing

    father and daughter packing a school lunch

  • Turkey Wrap 

    A school cafeteria staple, these wraps are so easy to make and have great nutritional value. And you can switch things up and add more variety by experimenting with new spices or dressings for endless possibilities!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 low carb tortilla
    • 1 chopped lettuce
    • ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
    • 2 ounces sliced deli or roasted turkey
    • 1 hard-boiled egg chopped
    • 2 tablespoons low fat shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons light ranch dressing

    Directions:

    1. Place the tortilla onto a flat surface.
    2. Top the center of the tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, turkey, chopped hard-boiled egg, cheese, and a drizzle of ranch dressing.
    3. Fold and roll burrito style. Slice the wrap in half and pack.

    mom packing a school lunch

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