10 Creative Lunch Recipes to Pack for Work or School

All recipes courtesy of Guiding Stars.

Millions of students, from kindergarten through college-age, are heading or have already headed back to school, and parents are getting back to regular office life. This means in just a couple weeks, millions of Americans will already be sick of plain turkey or PB&J sandwiches in their pre-packed lunches. Whether you’re packing a lunch for yourself or your child, our healthy eating experts at Guiding Stars compiled their favorite box lunch recipes for the more creative school- or office-goer this fall.


Edamame Salad Wrap

Number of Servings: 4 (223 G)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Make your lunch vegetarian, delicious, and filling with this bean salad as a sandwich filling. If you don’t have fresh pitas on hand, you can use any whole grain bread.


• 1 (15 oz.) can no-salt-added chickpeas, smashed
• 1/2 c. nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
• 1/2 t. garlic powder
• 1/4 t. salt
• 2 t. Sriracha sauce
• 1 T. lemon juice
• 2/3 c. shelled edamame
• 1 green onion, chopped
• 1 lg. celery stalk, chopped
• 2 T. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 2 c. lettuce, torn
• 4 whole wheat pitas

1. Combine all ingredients except for lettuce and pitas. Stir to combine.
2. Divide lettuce and salad between pitas.


Colorful Veggie Slaw

Number of Servings: 12 (75 G)

Prep Time: 10 min.

There’s nothing quite like a bright burst of color to make a plate more appealing and make veggies look enticing. This slaw is a minor variation on a cookout classic. Test it in place of your old family recipe at your next summer shindig.


• 1 (11 oz.) bag coleslaw mix
• ⅔ cup grated carrots
• 1 cup chopped broccoli
• ¼ cup sunflower seeds
• ¼ cup chia seeds
• ¼ cup raisins
• ½ cup shredded light sharp cheddar
• ½ cup mayonnaise dressing with olive oil
• ½ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
• 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
• 1 Tbsp. dill
• ½ Tbsp. pepper

1. In a bowl, mix all vegetables, sunflower and chia seeds, raisins and cheese.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together dressing ingredients.
3. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture and toss to coat.


Mediterranean Chicken Pita

Number of Servings: 4 (346 G)

Prep Time: 15 min.

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min.

Homemade tzatziki elevates this recipe from basic good sandwich to a basic great sandwich, but if you’re in a hurry, store-bought will do the job.


• ¾ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• ½ European cucumber, grated
• ¼ tsp. garlic powder
• 2 tsp. dill
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• ⅛ tsp. salt
• ⅛ tsp. pepper
• 4 whole wheat pita pockets
• ½ cup hummus
• 1 container spinach & arugula mix
• 16 grape tomatoes, halved
• ½ lb. cooked chicken, diced or shredded
• ½ cup tzatziki
• ¼ cup shredded light sharp cheddar cheese

1. Mix all tzatziki ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
2. Slice pita pockets in half, and pull sides apart to create a pocket. Spread hummus in each and fill with greens and tomatoes.
3. Mix chicken with tzatziki. Divide chicken-tzatziki mixture evenly between all pita halves. Top with shredded cheese.


Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pinwheels
Number of Servings: 4 (278 G)

Prep Time: 10 min.

These pinwheels are a fantastic way to serve wraps for kids or to create a nice appetizer at a party. If what you’re after is a simple, delicious wrap for your own lunch, just skip the slicing and tuck the wrap into a sandwich container to go.


• 1 (10 oz.) container original or artichoke kalamata hummus
• 8 oz chicken, cooked and shredded
• ¼ medium onion, minced
• ½ red bell pepper, diced
• 2 stalks celery, sliced
• ⅛ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. paprika
• ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 (5 oz.) bag baby spinach
• 4 whole wheat wraps or lavash

1. In a bowl, stir together all ingredients except for spinach and wraps.
2. Divide chicken mix and spinach between wraps and roll tightly. Slice each roll into six pinwheels to serve.


Quinoa Granola
Number of Servings: 4 (35 G)

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Many granolas are packed with sugar and fat, but this lightly sweetened, high-protein variety is a treat you can enjoy without fear. Eat alone or with non-fat, plain yogurt and fresh fruit.


• 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
• 2 tablespoons whole flaxseed
• 1 tablespoon chia seed
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
• 1 tablespoon agave nectar
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• dash cardamom

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
2. Spread on a non-stick baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes.


Blt Pasta Salad
Number of Servings: 4 (271 G)

Prep Time: 5 min.

Made for a school lunch program, this pasta salad will please picky eaters of all ages.


• 1 lb. whole wheat pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
• 2 c. baby spinach leaves
• 1 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• ½ c. low-fat shredded cheese
• 2 T. bacon bits
• ½ cup lowfat buttermilk
• ¼ cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
• ½ Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
• ½ tsp. fresh chives, chopped
• ½ tsp. lemon juice
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ⅛ tsp. dill
• ⅛ tsp. mustard powder
• ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
• ⅛ tsp. black pepper
• ⅛ tsp. paprika

1. Combine all salad ingredients, except dressing, in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Chill up to 24 hours before serving.
2. Mix dressing ingredients thoroughly.
3. Toss salad with dressing and mix to coat thoroughly.


10 Creative Lunch Recipes
Number of Servings: 4 (187 G)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Traditional tabbouleh uses tomatoes instead of plums, and while we love that combination, swapping in sweet and tart plums is a brilliant idea. When they’re in season, their perfectly sweet flesh is a wonderful match for the mint and lemon used to flavor tabbouleh. Make a double batch and send it off for lunches all week long. Your family will love the delicious variety.


• 1 c. fine bulgur
• Boiling water
• 6 scallions, trimmed of root and tougher green ends, finely sliced
• 6 ripe plums, halved, pitted and coarsely chopped
• 1 fresno chile (or other hot red chile), seeded and finely chopped
• 8 mint sprigs, coarsely chopped
• 8 Italian parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 T. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1/8 t. Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place bulgur in a bowl. Add boiling water until the bulgur is just covered, then set aside for 15 minutes.
2. To a large bowl, add scallions, ripe plums, fresno chile, mint, parsley, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and several turns of black pepper.
3. Fluff bulgar up with a fork. If you notice any water remaining at the bottom of the bowl, drain. Add bulgur to the bowl with the plum-herb mixture, crumbling up any large pieces. Gently toss to combine.


10 Creative Lunch Recipes
Number of Servings: 6 (95 G)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 0 Minutes

Ditch the classic mayo-heavy chicken salad in favor of this more flavorful option. Serve either centered on a bed of greens or in a sandwich made from whole-grain bread.


• 3 c. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
• 1/2 c. plain, non-fat yogurt
• 1 t. yellow curry powder
• 1/4 t. salt
• 1/3 c. cilantro
• 3 T. sliced almonds, toasted

1. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Chill 1-2 hours before serving for best taste.


10 Creative Lunch Recipes
Number of Servings: 4 (183 G)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

This isn’t your run of the mill chicken salad. Tangy lime and smooth avocado bring moisture and flavor to simple, lean chicken meat on a whole-grain wrap.


• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 ripe peeled avocado
• 1/2 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
• 4 green leaf lettuce leaves
• 4 (8-inch) whole grain tortillas
• 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless Grilled Chicken breast (about 8 ounces)

1. Place first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in tomato.
2. Place 1 lettuce leaf on each tortilla; spread about 1/4 cup avocado mixture on each lettuce leaf.
3. Top each serving with 1/2 cup Grilled Chicken.
4. Roll up.
5. Wrap in foil or parchment paper; chill.


10 Creative Lunch Recipes
Number of Servings: 6 (135 G)

Prep Time: 15 min.

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min.

If you can cook pasta, you can make this delicious salad! To turn it into a complete meal, add a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas or beans. Perfect to send along for a packed lunch!


• 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ¾ tsp. garlic cloves, minced
• ¾ tsp. chopped fresh oregano
• ¾ tsp. fresh mint, chopped
• ¼ tsp. pepper
• ½ lb. gemelli pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked and cooled
• 12 cherry tomatoes, cut and quartered
• ½ red onion, sliced
• ½ seedless cucumber, diced
• ¼ cup pitted Greek olives

1. In a small bowl, add the balsamic vinegar. Whisk the olive oil in slowly until it is thoroughly combined. Add the garlic, oregano, mint, and pepper.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the pasta with the remaining ingredients. Pour the vinegar mix over the pasta and toss until well coated. You can refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to develop flavor, if desired.

For more lunch options check out Packing Healthy Lunches for Your Kids.

10 Creative Lunch Recipes To Pack For Lunch Or School

Source: Guiding Stars

Picture Credit: Guiding Stars



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