Friday Favorites: “Bring to Work” Lunch Ideas

In case you missed Tuesday’s post, I shared some reasons you should consider bringing lunch to work, at least a few times a week, as well as some tips to help you get started.

I’m checking in today to share four of my favorite “bring to work” lunches that don’t require much effort to prep.

Cottage Cheese Avocado Toast

My boyfriend’s mom is the mastermind behind this dish. It’s super simple and comes together in just a few minutes. Top a whole wheat sandwich thin or whole wheat bread with cottage cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, and a little salt and pepper. Occasionally I add red pepper flakes for a little extra zing, as well.

I prefer my bread toasted for this combo, but if you don’t have access to a toaster at work, it’ll still be delicious. I like to use the no salt added cottage cheese, but feel free to use your favorite. My boyfriend is a big fan of the whipped style. Try the individual packs of cottage cheese to save yourself even more prep time. I usually just prep everything and put into individual travel containers and assemble at lunch time to prevent sogginess.

Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

The recipe for these burgers comes from a blog I’ve enjoyed reading for several years now, Iowa Girl Eats.

A few weeks ago we did a bunch of food prep and quadrupled this recipe to have extras to store in the freezer for easy lunches (and dinners). They reheat quickly in the microwave or toaster oven for an easy lunch. One of the best parts about making four times the original recipe–I was basically able to use the entire can of chipotle peppers in adobo. If you’re anything like me and end up stashing 3/4 of the can of chipotle peppers in a tupperware with the best intentions to use it, only to find it buried in the back of the fridge several weeks later, then this will probably make you happy too. Bonus, I think they have a lot more flavor than most prepackaged veggie burgers.

If needed, these can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free panko. Also be sure to check the label of the chipotle peppers to make sure they are gluten-free.

Tuna Pesto Pasta

This is another recipe that my boyfriend shared with me when we first started dating. He used to eat it regularly growing up. This is another meal that comes together in a flash. Whenever we make it, we make a large batch to be able to eat the leftovers for several days.

To make a big batch, we mix one box of prepared whole wheat pasta, usually penne or elbows, with fresh pesto (either homemade or the kind you find in the refrigerated section), and two 5 oz cans of tuna. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.

I usually either serve a big helping of vegetables on the side or convince my boyfriend that we should mix some in to the pasta dish. I think spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli are a nice addition, but feel free to use any vegetables you think will taste good. Serving with veggies adds additional fiber to keep you full and also helps keeps your pasta portion in check.

This dish tastes great both hot or cold, making it a great way to eat fish at work without having to worry about being the person who made the lunch room smell fishy.

Chickpea Broccoli Buddha Bowl


This recipe comes from the blogger Hummusapien, who also happens to be a fellow dietitian. My photo above does not do justice to the deliciousness of this meal. The best thing about this dish–you can use pretty much any vegetable you have on hand that tastes good roasted in the oven. I made a batch earlier this week and added cauliflower to the mix in addition to the other veggies called for in the recipe. If you’re short on time, try using precut broccoli or cauliflower.

I only discovered this recipe recently, but it’s safe to say my boyfriend and I are both undeniably obsessed. The peanut sauce is definitely what makes the dish. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I could eat it by the spoonful. Every time I eat this dish I find myself licking the bowl clean so as not to miss any last bits of the sauce. You can bring the peanut sauce in a container on the side to add after reheating, or if you want your sauce warm, save the extra tupperware and spoon it right over the dish when packing up your lunch. Sriracha optional, but not really.

I would love to hear your thoughts if you give any of these recipes a try. Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope you enjoy these meals as much as I do.

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