Good Eats: 3 Busy Girl Lunches

Brown bagging it is one of the best ways to ensure that your midday meal is nutritious and easy on your wallet. But for busy working girls like your Team LC editors, there isn’t exactly time to whip up a gourmet spread on your lunch break. And since mornings can be hectic too (a topic we covered last week with our Busy Girl Breakfast ideas), one of the best timesavers I’ve found is packing my lunch the night before…

Today I’ll be sharing some make-ahead meal ideas straight from my lunchtime repertoire. Not only are these three dishes delicious, but they can all be prepared earlier in the week and kept in the fridge for a few days—ready to grab-and-go on your way out the door. Check out the recipes below:


Make a Mason Jar Salad.

There’s nothing less appetizing than a Tupperware full of soggy lettuce and wilting salad greens. Luckily, I have a little secret for keeping a salad fresh for hours after you prepare it—and that little secret is the mason jar (What isn’t a mason jar good for?). Start by pouring a splash of dressing in your jar, and then pack the rest of your salad in tightly so that most of your veggies aren’t coming in contact with the dressing (dressed lettuce spoils more quickly). Stick with heartier greens like kale and your salad will last even longer. When you are ready to dress your salad, just shake and serve. Here’s one of my favorite kale salad recipes to try

•    fresh lacinato kale, rinsed, dried, and chopped
•    toasted pine nuts
•    dried cranberries
•    grated Parmesan
•    grilled chicken (optional)
•    balsamic vinaigrette

•    Pour a splash of vinaigrette into your mason jar, followed by cranberries, pine nuts, grilled chicken,
and then Parmesan.
•    Shake, serve, and enjoy.


Try a tuna alternative.

Eating tuna salad at your desk is the ultimate office taboo. But my favorite “Chickpea of the Sea” recipe is delicious, lasts for days in the fridge, and most importantly, won’t have your coworkers scrunching up their noses at the smell. It’s packed with protein and it’s vegetarian friendly, too. Give it a try and I can guarantee it will be come a lunchtime favorite.

•    1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
•    ¼ cup mayonnaise
•    1 tablespoon mustard
•    1 1/2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar (can be found at Whole Foods and other health food stores)
•    2 teaspoons celery seeds
•    1/4 cup chopped celery
•    2 tablespoons sliced scallions
•    freshly ground black pepper
•    a couple sheets of dried seaweed, crumbled
•    whole wheat bread (to serve)
•    lettuce leaves (to serve)

1.    Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse two or three times to roughly chop.
2.    Add remaining ingredients and pulse two or three times more to incorporate.
3.    Spread onto your sandwich and enjoy!


Pack some pizza bites.

Like our other favorite quinoa recipe, these Quinoa Pizza Bites are low-calorie and high in protein and fiber. They store well in the fridge, so you can make a big batch on Sunday and nibble on them throughout the week. Mix in other “toppings” of your choosing from olives to sausage to spinach, and serve with pizza dipping sauce for a tasty, guilt-free meal.

•    1 cup uncooked quinoa
•    2 large eggs
•    1 cup chopped onion
•    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
•    2 teaspoons minced garlic
•    1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)
•    1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1 teaspoon paprika
•    1 teaspoon dried oregano
•    pizza sauce for dipping

1.    Place the quinoa and two cups of water in a covered pot. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes
or until quinoa is tender.
2.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.    Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl.
4.    Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (one heaping tablespoon
each), and press down gently to compact.
5.    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm with sauce
for dipping.

Which recipe are you going to try first? Do you have any ideas of your own?

Share them in the comments below!

Team LC

Photos and Original Recipes: The Daily Muse, The Kitchn, Popsugar Fitness
Categories: Good Eats, Ilana Saul
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  • Kellie Norton

    You had me at Quinoa Pizza Bites!! LOVE that idea!!


  • Mary – The Classy Cubicle

    Just like your similar post on breakfast for the girl on the go, these recipes are AMAZING! Quina Pizza Bites? Umm, YES. These are especially perfect for The Classy Cubicle readers that often don’t have a lot of time to think about healthy lunch options. Thanks Ilana!!


  • Ashley Rizzardo

    Oooh those pizza bites sound so good! I love these posts :)

  • Robyn {The Chic Image}

    The pizza bites look delicious! I’m interning in June and have been trying to think of what to pack for lunch that is easy but also healthy! Thanks for this post ~ I’ll definitely be using these ideas :)

    Robyn xox

  • Rachel

    Another great option – my Lightened Up Greek Chicken Salad. Can be made ahead of time and perfect on lettuce, tortillas or with crackers!

  • My Style Diary

    These recipes look great! Really want to try them out :)

  • NoHandStand

    These recipes look over seas budget… Lauren where is your moms’ beach outing courses….


    They are! You have to try them :)


    They are so delish!


    That sounds delicious!

  • megan magers

    love the mason jar salad, definitely need to try that! I actually make 3 salads at a time so im set for the first half of the week and another 3 salads mid-week to get me through. it takes about an hour to prep everything but is well worth the ability to eat on a grab-and-go basis! xo

  • kjandersen11

    The tuna alternative :) As I love tuna.

  • Raven Locks

    These are awesome! I pinned :) The first one is the most appealing to me. And it looks so easy to pack and carry.

    xo Azu

  • Micky

    these recipes look SO good! will try them out ASAP XX

  • Donna Hale

    I love the mason jar salads, I typically keep all my salad fixing in small tupperwares so I can mix and match daily. I usually make 2-3 on Sunday so I don’t have to worry about it. Great idea for those who are busy busy girls!

  • Romy Van Haecke

    Mason Jar Salads, such a great idea! Also the tuna alternative looks delicious. Awesome post.

  • Crystal Morales

    These are awesome ideas. Please post more!

  • PurpleFlamingo

    All these look amazing!


  • Lynnette

    Going to make the Tuna Alternative and Pizza Bites with my madre!

  • Ashley

    These are all great ideas! Find more here:

  • Melissa mould

    great post idea, being a busy person (work, blog, life, boyfriend etc) taking time to enjoy a little lunch and dinner is a real time for me to chill, so i’m always looking for tasty ideas :)

    Mel x

  • Albert Peter


    Thats great ideas

  • Jessica Galfo

    wow those pizza bites look AMAZING!!

  • Jessica Galfo

    also, would love to know what the team thinks of my maxi dress :)

  • Jessica Galfo

    also, would love to know what the Lauren Conrad Team thinks of my maxi dress :). I would love your thoughts!! xoxo

  • Elizabeth Pytlik

    Loooved the busy girl breakfasts, I’ve made all three items you listed, now I’m on to these. Thank you thank you! Keep these busy girl recipes coming!

  • Alyssa

    Yum! These look delicious. Definitely need to try to mason jar salad and the pizza bites.

    <3 Alyssa

  • Leanne

    Love that first idea!!! Looks delicious.

    Love from South Africa

  • mmoonniiccaa72

    Love all of these – and especially love the fact that they’re all vegetarian! It’s so hard to find good, healthy, easy to make vegetarian dishes!

  • Flor Garcia

    The tuna alternative look amazing! I have to try this asap!


  • Deanne Castro

    So yummy!

    For more on fashion and beauty, please check out my blog:

    Follow me on Twitter and Pinterest


  • Taylor

    I’m doing the Bikini Boot camp deal, and i was wondering if i substituted the plain yogurt for the mayo in the chick pea sammy, would that work?

  • Stephanie Surtida

    what a yummy & nifty idea!

  • Kelly

    The pizza bites sound delicious, can’t wait to try those out! Also, I love the idea of the salads in a mason jar, it would be such a cute idea for a picnic too!

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    \(O) //

  • hooleywithaz

    those pizza bites! healthy taco salad in a reusable container is great too. if you keep the cheese and salsa separate til lunchtime, the ingredients all stay fresh and it’s a little more fun than a regular garden salad, but still healthy!

  • Anel Perez

    The salad in a jar is a great idea! I’m curious to try the chickpea sandwich. Thanks!

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  • Rachelle

    Those quinoa bites are the best I’ve made them many times


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  • Dorie {Brooklyn Salt}

    The tuna alternative is brilliant and I love the mason jar salad…always good to pack your lunch in glass instead of evil plastic.


  • Dana Ivy

    OMG! Quinqua Pizza Bites = GENIUS! I want them right this second!

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    dana ivy – Check out my blog!!

  • holly cootes

    just made the pizza bites! they are so so so good. perfect alternative to pizza! xxx

  • Ashley H

    I LOVE the tuna alternative because I am allergic to fish!

  • Danielle irene

    I love the pizza bites but I could use some direction on when they’re done and they don’t stick together well when I make them. I don’t mind when I cook for myself at home, but jts a problem for taking it to work or sharing. Help?



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