Healthy lunch ideas – one for each working day

Abbey Stanford profile photo
Specialist Health Editor at Bupa UK
19 August 2020
Next review due August 2023

Many people struggle with what to make for lunch. And perhaps more so at the moment, with more of us working from home or if your workplace canteen is closed. If you’re stuck for inspiration and looking for healthy, but filling lunch ideas, why not try some of these recipes?

There’s one idea for each day of the working week, and plenty of opportunity to use up leftovers to avoid food waste.

You can find the original recipes and their nutritional information by following the links under each one.

Cupboard essentials

Below is a list of some ingredients you’ll need for your week of lunchtime recipes. Don’t worry if you don’t have them all; it’s easy to use an alternative or simply not add them in.

  • Seasoning and dressings: olive oil, vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar
  • Tins, jars and bottles: sweetcorn, tomato ketchup, kidney beans and cannellini beans
  • Vegetables and herbs: chillies, onions, tomatoes, red pepper, tenderstem broccoli, avocado, lemon, salad greens and herbs
  • From the fridge: goat’s cheese, pesto and fresh pasta (alternatively, dry pasta)
  • Store cupboard staples: tortillas, quinoa, salt and pepper

Monday: Two-bean chilli

Bupa healthy lunch recipes - chilli


  • Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and wait a minute or so for it to heat up.
  • Then add a handful of chopped onion and some fresh chopped chilli. Depending on how spicy you like it, add as much or as little as you want. For one serving, I normally use around a quarter of one chilli.
  • Once the onion is golden brown, add half a cup of chopped tomatoes. You can also use tinned chopped tomatoes.
  • Add just over half a cup of vegetable stock, two squirts of tomato ketchup and a splash of chilli sauce (if you like it spicy). Chop some fresh parsley and oregano and add a pinched handful of each. Bring the ingredients to the boil, then turn down and simmer for around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir every so often. If you don’t have fresh herbs, just use a teaspoon of dried oregano instead.
  • You can also add some other vegetables, such as red pepper.
  • After 10 minutes, add a handful of cooked kidney and cannellini beans.
  • Sprinkle in some frozen or tinned sweetcorn and let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes.

Your chilli is now ready to enjoy! If you’re making it in advance, let it cool down before covering and popping in the fridge.

You can eat your chilli chilled or heated up, on its own or with a flour tortilla and a dollop of low-fat fromage frais. You can also add some chopped chives to the fromage frais for a little extra something.

Pulses such as kidney and cannellini beans are good non-meat sources of protein, which won’t break the bank. If you have beans left over, store them in the fridge in a sealable container. They’re great to throw into a salad later in the week.

Based on an original recipe from All Recipes.

Tuesday: Roasted red pepper and goat’s cheese wraps

Bupa healthy lunch recipes - goats cheese


  • Finely slice half an onion and chop one red pepper into strips. Spread them both onto a baking tray.
  • Drizzle over a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with some black pepper and a little bit of salt (to taste).
  • Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at around 180°C.
  • Halve some cherry tomatoes and set aside a portion of goat’s cheese. One portion should be about the size of a small matchbox.
  • Put the open tortilla wrap on a flat surface and line the centre with some salad greens. Add the roasted pepper and onion, the goat’s cheese and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
  • Fold the bottom of the tortilla wrap in first followed by the sides - you don’t want anything to fall out!
  • If you aren’t planning to eat it straight away, store in a sandwich bag or container in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy.

Based on an original recipe from All Recipes.

Wednesday: Pasta with pesto, tomatoes and broccoli

Bupa healthy lunch recipes - pasta


  • Bring a medium sized pan of water to the boil.
  • While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare a handful of tenderstem broccoli: wash them, and halve if you wish.
  • Add the broccoli to the pan and cook for around two minutes.
  • Then add a handful of fresh pasta. Check the back of the pack for cooking instructions.
  • When cooked, drain.
  • Put them into a bowl and add about 1.5 tablespoons of pesto.
  • Mix in around one tablespoon of pine nuts and then drizzle over half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
  • You can halve and add in any cherry tomatoes or salad that you didn’t use earlier in the week.
  • If you aren’t eating straight away, store it in the fridge until lunchtime.

For more information, go to the original recipe.

Thursday: Bean and chilli tomato salad

Bupa healthy lunch recipes - beans


  • Drain and rinse half a tin of cannellini beans and put them in a mixing bowl. You could also use any kidney beans leftover from the start of the week.
  • Chop a cup of tomatoes and add to the beans.
  • Place half a chilli, some fresh basil, a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of red wine vinegar in a food processor, blender or smoothie maker, and blend until smooth.
  • Add to the tomatoes and beans, season and mix.
  • Serve with fresh bread and salad greens. You could also add any leftover goat’s cheese.
  • If you’re not eating it straight away, box it up and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it.

Check out the original recipe.

Friday: Quinoa salad

Bupa healthy lunch recipes - quinoa


  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the quinoa. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet. Or, if you’re short on time, buy a microwaveable pouch of wholegrain rice with quinoa.
  • If you’re boiling quinoa yourself, rinse it in cold water and drain any excess water. Transfer it to a bowl.
  • Chop up some salad and veg. You can put in anything you like, including leftovers from previous meals. This might include tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, red pepper and fresh herbs.
  • You can make a tasty dressing by combining olive oil, with lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper.
  • Add half an avocado when you are ready to eat.
  • You could also add meat, fish or eggs for some extra protein.
  • If you’re not eating it straight away, box it up and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

For more information, go to the original recipe.

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Abbey Stanford profile photo
Abbey Stanford (she/her)
Specialist Health Editor at Bupa UK

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