Lunch is quite possibly the hardest meal of the day for teachers.
Chances are, you’re not sitting down for a leisurely 45-minute quiet time for yourself or heading out to a local deli for a lunch with colleagues. Your down time is at a premium, and that’s even if you get ANY down time on a given day.
So we here at the NJ Teachers’ Lounge thought it might be nice to think of some ways to make that little bit of time a little more exciting. Variety is the spice of life, and what you bring for lunch is something that teachers still get to decide. So take control and get some new lunches going with this curated list of delicious options. Step away from the ham sandwich and spice it up!
As a teacher you don’t have much time to meal plan, and certainly don’t have time in the morning to cook. These recipes are great because you can make them ahead of time, or throw them together quickly when you are in a rush.
Chicken Caesar Salad with Penne: Simply chop romaine, halve cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and add cooked (cold) penne pasta, cooked (cold) diced chicken, and croutons. Your favorite dressing, or simply olive oil and vinegar will do. Throw this in a plastic bowl or mason jar for easy eating. This is a perfect meal because it includes everything. You won’t need a carb or fruit to go along with it.
Turkey and Guacamole Club Sandwich – Using your choice of roll, layer turkey, cheese (your choice), tomato, and a nice scoop of guacamole. If you want to add a slice of bacon, that would be delicious, but extra calories. There is no need for mayo or mustard with this sandwich. The guacamole packs a punch of flavor and adds in even more delicious protein.
Deli Boxes – All you need for this delicious box of goodness is 1 hardboiled egg (halved or not), sliced turkey, cubed cheese (your choice), cherry tomatoes, crackers, and almonds. It’s so easy, and so delicious. You can pick at it as you work, for a quick and healthy lunch option.
Spicy Tuna Wrap – A new take on an old favorite. What you need for this recipe is one can of tuna, 2 TBLS mayonnaise, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Sriracha sauce, 2 wraps, matchstick carrots, ½ avocado, ½ cucumber peeled and sliced. Mix tuna, mayo and sauces. Spread onto wraps, top with veggies and roll. Put into a sandwich bag and you are ready to go.
Turkey Taco Lunch Bowl – You can make this as simple or as complicated as you would like. To create this dish, you need ½-1 C cooked rice, corn (canned or cold cooked frozen), ground turkey breast with taco seasoning, and a generous scoop of fresh salsa (store bought is great!). This works great as is, or even thrown on a bed of lettuce and topped with a spicy ranch dressing.
Egg Salad Sandwich – The recipe calls for 7 hard boiled eggs (peeled and chopped),1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tsp ground mustard, 1 celery stalk (chopped), salt and pepper to taste, scallions (3 chopped, optional). Egg salad is a yummy and healthy lunch option especially if you put it over a salad or add lettuce and tomato to your sandwich. Make a sandwich, salad or simply eat with crackers and veggies.
Chicken Salad with Grapes – To make this you need, one pound chicken (cooked, diced), 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup red grapes (halved), ½ cup Craisins or dried cherries, ½ cup pecans (plain or the yummy store bought ones that are sweetened), 1 cup mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste. This is so delicious over a salad, and no dressing is needed. Pack along some crackers for extra munching.
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – To make this delicious pasta salad, you’ll need, cooked tricolor rotini pasta, cooked diced chicken, diced peppers and tomatoes, chopped spinach, and Italian dressing. Simply combine all the ingredients, and lightly coat with dressing. This is great in a bowl or mason jar.
Skinny Western Omelet Muffins – These are so easy, and so delicious. For these all you need are, nonstick cooking spray, 6 eggs, 6 egg whites, salt and pepper to taste, 4 slices finely chopped ham, 2 ounces reduced fat swiss cheese, ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, and ¼ scallions (optional). Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. In a bowl whisk eggs and then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well, and add ¼ cup mixture to each muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool, and refrigerate.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait with Hard Boiled Egg & Fruit Salad – This is so easy especially with a Bento box. All you need is a big scoop of your favorite fruit (berries are best), ¾ cup granola, 1 hard boiled egg (halved), and a cup of yogurt. Absolutely delicious lunch, that is sure to fill you up and satisfy you until dinnertime.
A few tips to keep in mind when preparing lunches for the week:
- Prep a day ahead, if possible.
- Make extra chicken for dinner to be used for the chicken salad, Caesar salad, pasta salad, etc.
- Hard boil eggs in advance (or purchase)
- Have fruit sliced, washed and ready to go.
- Bento Boxes are awesome and you really should try them!
Have any good lunch ideas? Let us know in the comments!
–Jenna Garvin has over 12 years experience as a freelance writer, blogger, and virtual assistant. She makes a living working from home and has even created a website to help train others who are looking to do the same. Her website Virtual Freelance Guide was created as a way to share her knowledge of those three great career opportunities with others.