19 Sugar-Free Lunch Ideas to Bring to Work
You may not think of lunch as being a particularly sugary meal, but between the honey in bread, high-fructose corn syrup in ketchup and salad dressings, and molasses in barbecue sauce, you’d be surprised how much of the added stuff sneaks into your midday meal. Avoid those pitfalls with these 19 homemade no-sugar recipes. The soups, salads, wraps, and bowls are quick, satisfying, and all-natural as far as any sources of sweetness are concerned.
Some people might balk at the idea of pairing avocados with peas, but don’t knock it 'til you try it. The legumes add some extra folate and magnesium to your lunch, and that brilliant green color is bound to lift a meh mood.
With salmon and quinoa in one bowl, this 15-minute lunch is all about getting in your healthy fix quickly. A homemade balsamic dressing ensures that you’re not getting any of the added sugar that can sneak into the bottled version.
Transform a humble can of tuna into a colorful lunch by adding veggies and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Bound with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, it’s not only healthier but much more protein-packed than what you’d find at your corner deli.
With olives, chickpeas, and feta piled onto a bed of veggies, there’s so much savory goodness going on here. Olive oil and hummus make sure you’re getting healthy fats without any of the sugar of a conventional dressing.
Sesame noodles at restaurants can often hide a ton of hidden sugar in their slightly sweet sauces. This one goes minimal, using nothing but peanuts, soy, and sesame oil as a coating for the zoodles. It’s a super-easy, no-cook way to satisfy a take-out craving.
Instead of added sugar, let fruit add some natural sweetness to your lunch. Here, juicy mango pieces team up with mild avocado and shrimp, plus jalapeños for a spicy kick, for a lunch that hits every taste bud.
Take your standard grilled chicken wrap up a notch by seasoning the meat with garlic and paprika, and adding avocado and just a touch each of cheese and sour cream. Be sure to check the ingredients on your tortilla to make sure there aren’t any added sugars hiding in there.
If you can’t decide between a sandwich and a salad for lunch, here’s your solution. With cubed bread tossed into a heap of vegetables and feta, this panzanella satisfies carb cravings and provides a significant portion of produce.
Most store-bought pasta salads use sugary dressings as an easy way to add taste. But this fresh version goes for much more wholesome ways to incorporate flavor: artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes for tanginess, Kalamata olives for a salty touch, and whole-wheat pasta for nuttiness.
Instead of a wrap, stuff your burrito filling into a baked sweet potato. With a garlicky avocado dressing drizzled on top, it’s an incredibly filling plant-based lunch you can easily pack for work.
Bound by eggs, butternut squash purée, and coconut flour, these pan-seared, herbed salmon cakes are the perfect, well-balanced gluten-free lunch. They’re also freezer friendly, so feel free to make a bigger batch to save for future convenience (hello, meal prep!).
Crammed with all sorts of green goodness from the avocado and pesto sauce, plus chickpeas and goat cheese for added protein, this is no wimpy vegetarian sandwich. Brown bag this for a lunch you’ll look forward to all morning.
Take time out of a busy day to warm up with this comforting bowl. While it’s brothy and light, the potatoes and white beans add just enough heft and creaminess to make it satisfying. Perfect with crusty bread for dipping too.
No mayo in sight in this egg salad—instead, trusty Greek yogurt steps in for the creaminess, while a dash of hot sauce takes the flavor over the top. This blogger uses Sriacha (which does contain 1g of sugar in a teaspoon), so to stay completely sugar-free use Frank's Red Hot or Cholula. Nestle a few homemade kale chips into the mix for added crunch and fiber.
A classic bulgur wheat tabbouleh gets a texture and taste upgrade with the addition of crunchy pistachios and pomegranate seeds, plus sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg. This recipe is a great example of how you really don’t need sugar to give a dish flavor; whole foods and spices do the job just as well, if not better.
Make this 30-minute recipe the night before so that lunch the next day is a no-brainer. With quinoa soaking up the broth and chickpeas adding more protein, there’s so much to chew on here that it’s actually more like a hearty stew than a soup.
Need a simple way to fit in several layers of the food pyramid at once? This recipe does the trick. With sautéed greens and sausage stuffed inside a sweet potato, you’re getting healthy fats, protein, veggies, and complex carbs in a three-ingredient meal.
Gotta love those super-efficient meals-in-jars. This one isn’t your straightforward chicken salad either; additions such as grapes and walnuts are simple, but make it just a bit more special.
A healthier spin on those instant ramen noodle cups, this portable noodle soup comes with fresh veggies plus tofu for some plant-based protein. Just pour in hot water when you’re ready to dig in.