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Take Your Lunch Break to the Next Level: Creative Summer Lunch Ideas for Work

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Summer Lunch Ideas for Work

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During summer, popular lunch options are salads, sandwiches, wraps, and cold soups. Many employees seek quick, easy, and refreshing meal ideas in the summer season.

That’s why this article will explore some summer lunch options that will satisfy your taste buds and keep you full until dinner.

Whether you work from home or the office, a summer lunch needs to be light and nutritious to keep your energy levels up for the rest of the workday.

The hot weather can make heavy and cooked meals unappetizing, and that’s where salads, sandwiches, wraps, and cold soups come in handy.

It should not only be delicious but also easy to prepare, store, and transport.

Quick And Easy Summer Lunch Ideas

1. Wraps And Sandwiches

Looking for quick and easy summer lunch ideas that you can bring to work? Try out these delicious wraps and sandwiches packed with wholesome goodness.

  • Wrap it up with a Mexican-inspired flavor! Fill a tortilla wrap with black beans, avocado, salsa, and grilled chicken or tofu for a protein-packed meal that is both nutritious and satisfying.
  • If you’re looking for something more classic, try a turkey and cheddar sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. Easy to prepare and perfect for on-the-go!
  • For a vegetarian option, create a hummus and veggie wrap with mixed greens, roasted red peppers, cucumber, carrots, and hummus spread. A tasty and healthy way to power through your workday.
1.1 Mexican-Inspired Wrap:

Ingredients:

  • Tortilla wrap
  • 1/2 cup black beans, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • Grilled chicken or tofu, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Lay the tortilla wrap flat on a clean surface.
  2. Spread the black beans evenly over the tortilla.
  3. Place the sliced avocado on top of the beans.
  4. Spoon the salsa over the avocado.
  5. Add the grilled chicken or tofu slices.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Roll up the tortilla tightly, tucking in the ingredients as you go.
  8. Slice the wrap diagonally into two halves or into smaller pinwheels.
  9. Enjoy!
1.2 Turkey and Cheddar Sandwich:

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 4-6 slices of turkey
  • 2 slices of cheddar cheese
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Tomato slices
  • Cucumber slices
  • Mustard or mayonnaise (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Lay the slices of whole wheat bread on a clean surface.
  2. If desired, spread mustard or mayonnaise on one or both slices of bread.
  3. Layer the turkey slices on one slice of bread.
  4. Place the cheddar cheese slices on top of the turkey.
  5. Add lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and cucumber slices.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place the second slice of bread on top to complete the sandwich.
  8. Cut the sandwich diagonally into halves or quarters.
  9. Wrap the sandwich tightly or secure it with toothpicks if needed.
  10. Your turkey and cheddar sandwich is ready to be enjoyed!
1.3 Hummus and Veggie Wrap:

Ingredients:

  • Tortilla wrap
  • 2-3 tablespoons hummus
  • Mixed greens or lettuce leaves
  • Roasted red peppers, sliced
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Carrots, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Lay the tortilla wrap flat on a clean surface.
  2. Spread the hummus evenly over the tortilla.
  3. Place a handful of mixed greens or lettuce leaves on top of the hummus.
  4. Arrange the roasted red pepper slices, cucumber slices, and grated carrots on the greens.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Roll up the tortilla tightly, tucking in the ingredients as you go.
  7. Slice the wrap diagonally into two halves or into smaller pinwheels.
  8. Enjoy your flavorful hummus and veggie wrap!

2. Salads

Cool and refreshing, salads are perfect for summertime lunches at work. Here are some quick and easy options to enjoy.

  • Make a simple and delicious quinoa salad with chopped veggies and fresh herbs. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions, and mix with diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and fresh parsley. Drizzle with a vinaigrette for extra flavor.
  • Looking for lighter options? Try a spinach salad with strawberries, mandarin oranges, and walnuts topped with a balsamic vinaigrette for an antioxidant-rich lunch option.
  • Or, mix things up with a tuna or chicken salad with mixed greens, boiled egg, and chopped veggies. Swift and convenient solution for getting the protein you need.
2.1 Quinoa Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette dressing (store-bought or homemade)

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water to remove any bitterness.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
  3. Once cooked, let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and chopped parsley.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  7. Adjust the seasoning or dressing as desired.
  8. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
2.2 Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Walnuts:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (store-bought or homemade)

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the fresh spinach leaves.
  2. Top the spinach with sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, and chopped walnuts.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the salad.
  4. Toss the ingredients gently to coat the spinach evenly and combine the flavors.
  5. Adjust the amount of dressing according to your preference.
  6. Serve immediately for a refreshing and nutritious salad.
2.3 Tuna or Chicken Salad with Mixed Greens:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of tuna or cooked chicken breast, drained and flaked/shredded
  • 4 cups mixed greens or lettuce leaves
  • 1 boiled egg, chopped
  • Assorted chopped vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dressing of your choice (e.g., ranch, vinaigrette)

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the tuna or chicken, mixed greens, chopped boiled egg, and assorted chopped vegetables.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drizzle the dressing of your choice over the salad.
  4. Toss gently to coat the ingredients and distribute the dressing evenly.
  5. Adjust the seasoning or dressing according to your preference.
  6. Serve immediately for a protein-packed and satisfying salad.

Remember, you can customize these salads by adding or substituting ingredients based on your preferences. Enjoy your refreshing and nutritious lunches!

3. Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie bowls are a fun spin on traditional smoothies and can be customized to your liking. Try these ideas for a healthy and refreshing lunch.

  • Blend up some frozen berries, almond milk, and spinach and pour into a bowl. Top with fresh fruit slices, granola, and chia seeds for added texture and nutrition.
  • For a tropical twist, blend together frozen mango, pineapple, and coconut milk. Pour into a bowl and add sliced bananas, coconut flakes, and macadamia nuts for a delicious, Instagram-worthy lunch.
  • You can also try a green monster smoothie bowl with avocado, spinach, and banana blended with almond milk. Top with pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and sliced kiwi for a vibrant lunch that will keep you energized all afternoon.
3.1 Berry Spinach Smoothie Bowl:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any other milk of your choice)
  • A handful of fresh spinach
  • Fresh fruit slices (e.g., banana, berries)
  • Granola
  • Chia seeds

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, combine the frozen berries, almond milk, and fresh spinach.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
  4. Arrange fresh fruit slices on top of the smoothie.
  5. Sprinkle granola and chia seeds over the fruit.
  6. Enjoy the vibrant and nutritious berry spinach smoothie bowl!

3.2 Tropical Mango Pineapple Smoothie Bowl:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Sliced bananas
  • Coconut flakes
  • Macadamia nuts

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, combine the frozen mango chunks, frozen pineapple chunks, and coconut milk.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
  4. Arrange sliced bananas on top of the smoothie.
  5. Sprinkle coconut flakes and macadamia nuts over the bananas.
  6. Indulge in the tropical flavors of the mango-pineapple smoothie bowl!

3.3 Green Monster Smoothie Bowl:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • A handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk of your choice)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Goji berries
  • Sliced kiwi

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, combine the avocado, fresh spinach, ripe banana, and almond milk.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
  4. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and sliced kiwi over the smoothie.
  5. Dive into the refreshing and nutrient-packed green monster smoothie bowl!

Feel free to adjust the ingredient quantities and toppings according to your taste preferences. Enjoy the creative and delicious smoothie bowl creations for your lunch!

Learn To Grill At Work

Grilling is not only a fun way to cook your food, but it’s also a healthier option since it requires less oil and retains the natural flavors and nutrients of your ingredients. With a portable grill and some basic ingredients, you can create some amazing dishes that will impress your colleagues and make your lunchtime more enjoyable.

a. Grilled Chicken Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (such as oregano, thyme, or rosemary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before grilling)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken chunks to the marinade and toss until coated. Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers.
  5. Grill the chicken skewers for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through and slightly charred.
  6. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

b. Grilled Veggie Quesadillas:

Ingredients:

  • Flour tortillas
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (such as cheddar or Monterey Jack)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: salsa, guacamole, sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush the sliced vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook for about 5-7 minutes, turning once, until tender and slightly charred.
  4. Remove the vegetables from the grill and set them aside.
  5. Lay a flour tortilla on a clean surface and sprinkle a portion of shredded cheese on one half of the tortilla.
  6. Arrange the grilled vegetables over the cheese and fold the tortilla in half.
  7. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and filling.
  8. Place the quesadillas on the grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy.
  9. Remove from the grill and let them cool slightly before slicing into wedges.
  10. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream if desired.

c. Grilled Shrimp Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before grilling)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the shrimp to the marinade and toss until coated. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Thread the marinated shrimp onto skewers.
  5. Grill the shrimp skewers for about 2-3 minutes per side until they turn pink and opaque.
  6. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

These easy grilling recipes are perfect for a quick and delicious summer lunch. So, give them a try and see how it transforms your summer lunches into a delightful experience.

Incorporating Leftovers Into Summer Lunches

One of the smartest ways to jazz up your lunch is by incorporating leftovers into the mix. This method will save you time, and money, and ensure that you have a meal packed with nutrients.

As a bonus, it’s also an eco-friendly way to reduce food waste. With that in mind, let’s explore how you can use leftovers in your summer lunches, with a focus on using leftover protein in salads and turning your leftover pizza into salads.

Using Leftover Proteins In Salads

Adding protein to your salads will make them more satisfying and filling. Leftover proteins such as grilled chicken, salmon, beef, tofu, and hard-boiled eggs are perfect for salads.

  • Slice or shred leftover protein and toss with a variety of greens such as spinach, kale, and arugula.
  • Use leftover grilled chicken to create a chicken salad by adding mayo, dijon mustard, and chopped celery. Serve it on top of lettuce or with crackers.
  • Mix leftover salmon with avocado, red onion, and a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing salmon avocado salad.
  • Add leftover hard-boiled eggs to your salad for a protein boost. They could be chopped, sliced, or halved and used as a garnish.

Making Leftover Pizza Into Salads

Pizza is a popular food that can be easily repurposed into a salad. Pizza toppings such as veggies and meat are perfect for summery salads.

  • Cut the leftover pizza into cubes and toss with your favorite greens and veggies such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and bell peppers.
  • Remove the pizza toppings from the crust and serve them over a bed of greens. You can even drizzle some dressing on top for added flavor.
  • Crumble the leftover pizza slices and sprinkle them on a salad for a crunchy pizza salad.

So, the next time you have some leftovers, consider using them in your salad for a delicious and filling lunch.

Tips For Storing Summer Lunches

Summer months call for perfect days of sunshine and sizzling barbeques. But as I said, preparing the ideal meal during summer can be a daunting task. The challenge is not only to finalize what to eat but also how to store it.

Keeping your lunch fresh, cool, and healthy can be tricky, but with a few tips and the ideal containers, you can look forward to healthy summer lunches.

Importance Of Proper Storage

Storing the food at the right temperature is crucial during summer. When food is left unrefrigerated, the bacteria in it can multiply quickly, leading to food poisoning.

  • Foods should not be kept out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
  • When outdoor temps hit 90°f or higher, food should not be out of the fridge for more than an hour.
  • Discard any food left unrefrigerated for more than the recommended time.
  • Prior to consumption, ensure that you wash all fruits and vegetables.

Ideal Containers To Consider

Choosing the right container is key when it comes to preventing your lunch from getting spoiled. Your containers should be leak-proof, easy to clean, and able to maintain the temperature of your food for an extended period.

  • Insulated lunch boxes or bags
  • Glass containers with lids
  • Mason jars
  • Stainless steel containers

When packing your meal, it’s essential to make sure that your container is well-sealed to prevent air and moisture from getting in and spoiling your meal.

With just a little bit of planning and proper storage tips, you can avoid getting sick from spoiled food during the summer months. Use the ideal containers to keep your food fresh, and be sure to follow food safety guidelines to protect yourself from any illness.

With these tips in hand, you can look forward to a summer of nutritious and delicious work lunches.

Frequently Asked Questions On Summer Lunch Ideas For Work

1. What Are Some Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Work?

Try a grilled chicken salad, veggie wraps, quinoa salad, and fruit salad with yogurt and granola.

2. What Meals Can I Prepare In Advance For Work Lunch?

Make-ahead meals such as quinoa salad, chicken wraps, and mason jar salads are perfect for work lunches.

3. How Do I Keep My Lunch Fresh During Hot Summer Weather?

Use a good-quality insulated lunch bag with an ice pack to keep your lunch cool and fresh.

4. What Vegetarian Lunch Options Can I Choose For Summer?

Vegetarian options such as falafel wraps, veggie burgers, and hummus and veggie sandwiches are great.

5. What Are Some Cost-Effective Summer Lunch Ideas For Work?

Try budget-friendly options like pb&j sandwiches, pasta salad, and rice and bean bowls for an affordable meal.

Conclusion

So there you have it: a variety of summer lunch ideas to take with you to work. Whether you’re looking for something quick and easy or something a little more substantial to help you power through your day, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Remember, it’s important to stay hydrated during the warmer months, so be sure to pack plenty of water along with your lunch. With a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy delicious and healthy lunches all summer long. So why not give some of these ideas a try and see how they work for you?

Who knows, you may just discover a new favorite lunchtime meal!

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