Power through your inbox with 21 work lunches that really pack a punch

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Chicken dinners are about to become your new go-to, pushing those takeout menus to the back of the drawer. This collection of 21 recipes is great enough to make you ditch the delivery apps for good. These dishes are perfect for anyone wanting to create a fuss-free yet impressive meal without the hassle of scrolling through endless restaurant options.

A blue muffin pan filled with breakfast muffins.
Cottage Cheese Breakfast Muffins. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

A fresh Caesar salad with chicken, croutons, tomatoes, and dressing, served in a large white bowl with a fork.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is your go-to for a lunch that keeps you focused and ready to handle anything the day throws at you. Ready in just 25 minutes, this dish features a hearty mix of pre-cooked chicken, croutons, tomatoes, and creamy Caesar dressing tossed with pasta. It’s a perfect meal for those days when you need something quick and filling with less effort. A great choice for meal prep, it stays fresh and keeps you from hitting that midday slump.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Garlic Butter Chicken Bites

A plate of garlic butter chicken bites.
Garlic Butter Chicken Bites. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

When you need a quick meal that packs a flavor punch, Garlic Butter Chicken Bites are here for you. You can make this meal in about 20 minutes using one skillet. The juicy chicken is seasoned, pan-fried and then tossed in a rich, creamy garlic butter sauce that brings a lot of flavors. These bites are not only easy to whip up but also keep you full and energized, making them a perfect choice for busy workdays when time is short but you still want a meal that’s hearty and delicious.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Butter Chicken Bites

Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad

A glass bowl of jalapeño popper chicken salad ingredients.
Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Spice up your lunchtime with Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad. This quick-to-prepare dish features cooked chicken breast, crispy bacon, and fiery jalapeños, all mixed with a creamy dressing. It’s ready in just a few minutes and perfect for those who like their meals with a bit of a kick. The bold flavors can help wake you up during a sluggish afternoon, ensuring you stay alert and ready to tackle any task. Plus, it’s great for prepping ahead, making your busy mornings a bit easier.
Get the Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Close-up of a creamy pasta salad sprinkled with paprika and garnished with chopped herbs in a white bowl.
Tuna Macaroni Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

This Tuna Macaroni Salad is a great go-to when you want something no-nonsense and ready in 40 minutes. It’s the kind of recipe that’s perfect for those just getting their feet wet in the kitchen. You’ll have it on the table for lunch, dinner, or that last-minute potluck invite. All you need to do is boil some pasta, throw in canned tuna, chopped eggs, mayo, sweet relish, and mustard. Mix it up, and you’ve got a meal that’ll make you forget about those takeout tabs you’ve got open.
Get the Recipe: Tuna Macaroni Salad

Reuben Bowls

A bowl of coleslaw with creamy dressing, garnished with green onions, served in a ceramic bowl with a fork.
Reuben Bowls. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Reuben Bowls are here to make your dinner decisions a whole lot easier. In just half an hour, you can have a meal that’s so good, you won’t even glance at a takeout menu. Brown some corned beef, toss it with coleslaw or shredded cabbage, stir in sauerkraut, and top with Swiss cheese. Give it a good drizzle of Thousand Island dressing — homemade or store-bought — and you’re all set. These bowls are a solid move for a quick, satisfying meal that hits the spot.
Get the Recipe: Reuben Bowls

Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad

Bowl of creamy dill cucumber onion salad in a bowl with spoons.
Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad is a refreshing choice for your lunch break. It combines crisp cucumbers and onions with a creamy, tangy dill dressing. This salad is quick to whip up, ready in just 30 minutes, and can be made the night before. It’s light yet filling, making sure you don’t feel weighed down as you dive back into your work. This dish is perfect for those looking for something quick and fresh to keep their minds clear and their bodies energized during their shift.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad

Broccoli Fritters

A stack of broccoli fritters on a plate.
Broccoli Fritters. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Broccoli Fritters are a quick and delicious lunch option that won’t let you down. They take about 35 minutes to make, combining nutritious broccoli with Parmesan cheese for a crispy, flavorful treat. They’re great for busy days when you need a meal that’s easy yet feels like a treat. Perfect for eating on the go, these fritters can be paired with your favorite dipping sauce for an interesting lunchtime, helping you power through your afternoon tasks.
Get the Recipe: Broccoli Fritters

Cottage Cheese Breakfast Muffins

Cottage cheese breakfast muffins on a plate with green onions.
Cottage Cheese Breakfast Muffins. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Cottage Cheese Breakfast Muffins are perfect for a high-protein lunch that keeps you going. These muffins combine eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese with a boost of cottage cheese, making them filling and nutritious. Ready in 30 minutes, they’re perfect for those looking to meal prep on a Sunday for a stress-free week. They’re great reheated and will keep you focused on your work instead of your hunger. Plus, they’re portable, so you can take them wherever your day needs you.
Get the Recipe: Cottage Cheese Breakfast Muffins

Bell Pepper Sandwich

Bell pepper sandwich cut in half on a plate.
Bell Pepper Sandwich. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

The Bell Pepper Sandwich is an innovative lunch option that keeps things light and hearty. Using bell peppers instead of bread and filling them with turkey, cream cheese, cucumbers, avocado, mustard, seasoning, and bacon, this sandwich is rich in flavors and textures. It only takes 10 minutes to assemble, making it a smart choice for those hectic mornings. Plus, it’s packed with protein and healthy fats to keep you energized and focused on your work, not your hunger.
Get the Recipe: Bell Pepper Sandwich

Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad Cucumber Boats

Bacon ranch chicken salad cucumber boats lined up on a plate.
Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad Cucumber Boats. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Power through your busy day with Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad Cucumber Boats. This dish combines canned chicken, crispy bacon, and creamy cheese with a homemade ranch dressing, all tucked into fresh cucumber boats. It’s a meal that’s quick to prepare, taking only 30 minutes or can be made the night before for an even easier morning. These cucumber boats are light yet sustaining, making them perfect for a busy workday lunch that keeps you going without weighing you down. They’re also a great conversation starter with their colorful and attractive presentation.
Get the Recipe: Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad Cucumber Boats

Canned Chicken Patties

Chicken patties with broccoli on a plate.
Canned Chicken Patties. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Canned Chicken Patties are your solution for a speedy yet filling lunch. Simple to make by mixing canned chicken with a few other ingredients and forming into patties, these can be cooked up on your stovetop in just 20 minutes. Pair them with a salad or some steamed vegetables for a complete meal. This dish is not only quick but also keeps you full and focused, perfect for days when you need a reliable lunch that doesn’t take much time or effort. It’s a practical choice that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or satisfaction.
Get the Recipe: Canned Chicken Patties

Big Mac Salad

A person holding serving spoons in a bowl of Big Mac salad.
Big Mac Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Dive into the flavors of a Big Mac with none of the heaviness with the Big Mac Salad. It features seasoned ground beef, crispy bacon, crunchy pickles, crisp lettuce, and cheddar cheese, all mixed with a special homemade Big Mac sauce. This salad is simple to put together and is perfect for preparing ahead of time. It’s a lighter choice that still satisfies your burger cravings and sparks conversation at the lunch table. Bring this salad to work, and it will quickly become a favorite request, keeping lunchtime energizing.
Get the Recipe: Big Mac Salad

Meal Prep Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice

Meal Prep Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Keep your afternoons productive with Meal Prep Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice. This meal features flavorful meatballs made from ground beef mixed with melted mozzarella, fresh parsley, and various herbs and spices, served over soft, steamed cauliflower rice. It’s a comforting yet light dish that keeps you energized rather than sluggish. Prepped in just 30 minutes, it’s a smart choice for anyone with a full schedule looking for an easy, hearty lunch.
Get the Recipe: Meal Prep Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice

Chicken Bacon Ranch Poppers

A chicken bacon ranch popper skewered by a toothpick.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Poppers. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Liven up your lunch hour with Chicken Bacon Ranch Poppers. These delicious bites are made with a hearty mix of chicken, bacon, eggs, cheese, and spices, then baked until golden brown. They come with a side of homemade creamy ranch for dipping. Perfect for making ahead, these poppers are convenient for grab-and-go situations and are guaranteed to make your midday meal a highlight. This recipe is great for anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious lunch quickly and without hassle, helping you stay alert and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Bacon Ranch Poppers

Avocado Tuna Salad

A bowl of avocado tuna salad with avocado slices and lemon slices.
Avocado Tuna Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Avocado Tuna Salad is great for a quick, nutritious lunch that keeps you powered up through a hectic day. With only five main ingredients — tuna, avocado, celery, dill, and lemon — this salad is simple to prepare. You can mix everything together the night before and let it chill, making your morning rush easier. The creamy texture of the avocado combined with the robust flavor of tuna serves a meal that’s not only filling but also keeps you sharp and ready for any challenge at work.
Get the Recipe: Avocado Tuna Salad

Greek Salad Meal Prep Jars

Low-carb Greek salad meal prep jars.
Greek Salad Meal Prep Jars. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Greek Salad Meal Prep Jars are perfect for a refreshing and light lunch that’s ready when you are. Layer cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese into a jar, and dress it with a simple vinaigrette. The dressing, a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper, adds a fresh and tangy flavor that complements the crunchy vegetables. Prepare these jars the night before for a stress-free morning. This salad is a great way to ensure you eat well even during busy days, keeping you feeling full and focused without slowing you down.
Get the Recipe: Greek Salad Meal Prep Jars

Zucchini Bites

A zucchini bite being dipped into a dipping sauce.
Zucchini Bites. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Zucchini Bites are a great choice for a quick, healthy lunch that keeps you energized. Made with shredded zucchini, Parmesan, and cheddar cheeses, these bites are seasoned with Italian seasoning and other spices and ready in about 30 minutes. They are light enough to keep you from feeling sluggish, yet hearty enough to prevent hunger pangs later in the day. Perfect for those days when your inbox is overflowing, and you need a meal that fuels your focus without taking too much time. Plus, they’re easy to share, making you the office lunch hero on busy days.
Get the Recipe: Zucchini Bites

Spicy Tuna Cucumber Boats

Spicy tuna cucumber boats on a plate.
Spicy Tuna Cucumber Boats. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Spicy Tuna Cucumber Boats are perfect for days when you need a lunch that’s as straightforward as it is nourishing. Scoop out the seeds from cucumber halves and fill them with a spicy mixture of cream cheese, tuna, and Everything Bagel seasoning. This dish is not only quick to prepare, taking just 10 minutes, but also keeps you feeling light and alert throughout the afternoon. It’s perfect for a busy day when you need food that’s fast yet flavorful, helping you stay on task without feeling weighed down.
Get the Recipe: Spicy Tuna Cucumber Boats

Thai Chicken Salad

Thai chicken salad with arugula, sliced onions, and red chili peppers.
Thai Chicken Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Thai Chicken Salad is the way to go if you’re looking for a lunch that’s both refreshing and filling. It features grilled chicken marinated in a combo of flavors, mixed with arugula, cucumber noodles, and green onions, all tossed in a tangy-sweet vinaigrette. Ready in about 20 minutes, this salad is great for a lunch break during a hectic day. It’s packed with nutrients to keep you going without the heaviness of a more substantial meal, keeping your mind clear and ready to handle any challenges that come your way.
Get the Recipe: Thai Chicken Salad

Mini Spicy Canned Salmon Patties

Mini spicy canned salmon patties in a serving bowl.
Mini Spicy Canned Salmon Patties. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Mini Spicy Canned Salmon Patties are quick to make and great for staying sharp through long work sessions. Using canned salmon, these patties can be spiced as you like and are ready in just 30 minutes. They’re pan-fried until golden brown and then drizzled with Lemon Dill Aioli for added zest. They’re a solid source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost brain function. This makes them a great choice for days when you need to stay mentally sharp and focused.
Get the Recipe: Mini Spicy Canned Salmon Patties

Bacon Tomato Avocado Cucumber Boats

A plate of bacon tomato avocado cucumber boats.
Bacon Tomato Avocado Cucumber Boats. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Bacon Tomato Avocado Cucumber Boats are a fast and delicious way to enjoy your midday meal. Prepared in just 10 minutes, these boats combine the creamy texture of mashed avocado with the fresh taste of tomatoes and the crunch of crispy bacon, all nestled in hollowed-out cucumber halves. They’re incredibly light, so you won’t feel bogged down as you dive back into work. Great for those days when time is tight, and you need something that’s quick to prepare yet keeps you full and focused on your tasks.
Get the Recipe: Bacon Tomato Avocado Cucumber Boats

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