Healthy lunch ideas

Many people eat healthily "most of the time" which is fine. The problem for others however is that they grab something in between meals and when the sugar craving starts (the afternoon sugar craving") they grab a chocolate biscuit or a sweet. You know the feeling, you get a little peckish in the afternoon but you can't quite last until dinner and it's too early to eat something substantial so you grab whatever is lying around. Often that is something that should not be lying around, something unhealthy. This was the reality for me for many years and I couldn't understand why my blood sugar lever was so low (with me even shaking at times) and then I didn't feel like eating dinner and I got a headache and was tired. The solution for me was to make my lunch healthy and filling and make healthy snacks to enjoy between meals.

I have for a long time received enquires from people asking me about what they can do about the cravings, about the blood sugar level dropping and spiking and how to solve these problems. They always report the same problem: Sugar craving in the afternoon and grabbing something unhealthy. The ideas I have put together below are what me and my husband have used for several years and never fail us. We often bring along tons of lunchboxes for work or school and often receive glances from colleagues but it's always worth it. It is worth it to be the 'weird one' when you are enjoying the benefits of your healthy food. It does require some organising and effort to make your own lunch but if you plan ahead it will be a doodle. Also, if you have time to watch TV you certainly have the time to make your own lunch. There is no excuse really (not even kids because I have two of those, and at the time of writing both under two years old). We always have a choice. One tip that is handy to keep in mind is that every time you cook dinner, make some extra so that you can have the leftovers for lunch (or dinner the next day). It saves so much time. There are lots of things that you can do to make your life easier and healthier during lunch hours:

  • If you have your lunch in a canteen or if your lunch is catered for, you might be able to ask for vegetarian/healthier options at least once a week. Speak with the person in charge.
  • Ask that the canteen/catering provides wholewheat bread or spelt bread, brown rice, spelt pasta, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, light cheese and more. It's essentially you that are paying for the food you eat so ask for healthier options.
  • Check with your Human Resources department (or the people you can think would be in charge of this) if they are willing to organise an event to promote a healthier lifestyle amongst their staff. Events might include seminars on how to begin training for marathon, yoga sessions, a nutritionist explaining a healthy diet, a cooking class and more. These events are always inspiring.
  • Bring fresh fruit with you and keep on your desk at all times. The nice looking biscuits in the jar on the counter might be a little less tempting if you can reach out and grab a banana instead. Your brain is not asking for a chocolate biscuit but some energy and it is better to give it healthy energy rather than rubbish.

Often, a healthier lifestyle calls for changes that some people are not willing to go through. But for those that are ready, you can find lots of ideas on this website. The '(healthy) icing on the cake' is that not only are you eating lovely and healthy food that you make yourself, you can actually save a whole lot of money by preparing it yourself as junk food is often expensive in the long run. The money you save you can use for something nice instead. Just remember to start your day with a healthy and substantial breakfast (such as porridge, wholewheat toast, muesli, yoghurt).

Below I have put together lunch ideas for those who bring their own lunch for work, school or if they are enjoying it at home. Some people have the facilities to reheat food from the previous day (in a canteen) but some don't. I have put down ideas for both scenarios (with reheating options and without). The lunch ideas are aimed at adults although many teenagers and children will love them as well. It is a good life lesson to learn how to make your own food so make your kids help you prepare their lunches if possible. Note that if you are making your own lunch and bringing it with you to school or work (or the park or whatever) you will need to purchase a whole lot of containers in all shapes and sizes.

Things you will need if you are preparing your own lunch:

  • Small containers (for dried fruits, nuts and more)
  • Containers with screwed lids (for soups, casseroles and anything containing sauces). It is a good idea to wrap these containers in cling film
  • Thin, flat containers for wraps and sandwiches
  • Medium, deep containers for food that won't drip (such as nut cutlets, nut roast and more)
  • Very small containers ideal for one egg or protein powder (for smoothies)
  • Plastic bags (small)
  • Cling film
  • Elastic bands


If the facility is well stocked and provides a microwave, sandwich grill or blender

If the facility is poorly stocked

In between meals and when the pm sugar craving hits

  • Trail mix
  • Fruits
  • Dried fruits such as apples, mango, apricots, prunes, dates and figs
  • Hard boiled eggs (I mainly eat the egg white but the occasional yolk is good for you)
  • Fruit juices (100% pure)

When you most deserve it

When your boss is difficult, the exam didn't go well or if you are just plain peckish and want something sweet (and feel like you deserve a treat). These are a lot better for you than sweets!