Summer is here, which means long walks, farmers’ markets, picnics, and tons of delicious summer recipes! It’s the perfect time to sit outside, relax, and enjoy the weather while having lunch with your team. Light, refreshing, healthy food can also help employees feel revitalized and give them a positive push through the hot weather. From energizing smoothies and fresh seasonal salads to sweet and savory yogurt parfaits, the options are endless. Research mentioned in Harvard Business Review found that the more fruits and vegetables people consumed during their workday, the more motivated, engaged, and creative they tended to be. In short, healthy lunches for employees make them happier, and happy employees are more productive.
Here are 10 delicious lunch ideas to get the summer season started, give your team energy, and help them stay cool in the hot summer sun.
Refreshing Smoothies to Power You Through the Workday
There’s nothing better than a smoothie made with energizing, detoxifying, refreshing, and absolutely delicious ingredients! It is the secret to good health and wellness. Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast though. Blend one up the night before work and pack it in a thermos container that acts as a freeze pack, so you’ll have a cold, refreshing smoothie around lunchtime! You can also freeze smoothies for up to 3 months, pull one out that morning, bring it to work, and by lunch it will be thawed and ready to enjoy. Not to mention, one less thing to think about in the morning! If you need an afternoon pick-me-up with a boost of brain-power, this super greens energy smoothie is the one for you. From tropical fruit smoothies like pineapple, mango, kiwi, yogurt, and orange juice to green smoothies like spinach, kale, and celery, you’ll be able to beat the summer heat in no time!
Summer Quinoa Salad
Quinoa salad loaded with summer’s finest ingredients is a summertime classic. Perfect for those warmer months when you’re looking for something light, healthy, flavorful, and delicious! It makes a great meal prep dish for the week and can even be served as a side dish. You can add chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, fresh parsley, and basil to your quinoa! As one of the best “brain foods” out there, this complex carbohydrate is packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, which give a steady stream of energy to your brain. Since it is normally eaten cold you don’t need to worry if your office doesn’t have a microwave. It holds up remarkably well in storage as a result, you’ll never have to worry about wilted or soggy lettuce with this nutritious take on a salad!
Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad
This salad tastes like summer in a bowl. It’s sweet, salty, and peppery all at the same time while feeling fresh and tasting absolutely delicious! Among the many benefits of watermelon are improved blood pressure, strong kidneys, healthier immune systems and so much more. This salad is not only refreshing and healthy, but it’s super easy to make. Simply whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper, then slowly pour in olive oil. Then just put the arugula, watermelon, and feta in a bowl, and coat it with vinaigrette. You could even take it up a notch by including proteins like grilled steak, chicken, or shrimp. A simple, tasty salad to enjoy on your lunch break that your colleagues will be asking to try. Try this recipe for your next lunch break!
Smoked Salmon Panini
If you love smoked salmon on a bagel for breakfast, why not give it a makeover for lunch with this simple panini sandwich that is satisfying and full of flavor. It’s so quick and easy that you can probably make it with your eyes closed (Just don’t burn your fingers!). You’re going to need a panini press, capers, cream cheese, smoked salmon, and the leftover arugula from that delicious watermelon salad! And if you don’t have a panini press, you can grill your sandwich just the same. Simply weigh down the sandwiches with a baking sheet topped with heavy canned goods to get the press effect. You’ll have a crispy, hearty panini that not only satisfies your lunchtime cravings but has many health benefits to boot. Smoked salmon stands out in particular as a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can ease inflammation, preserve brain function, and lower triglycerides.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
How about something high in protein, low in sugar, tasty and appropriate for lunch or an afternoon snack at the office? Healthy homemade fruit and yogurt parfaits are perfect for an easy grab-n-go breakfast, quick snack, or after-dinner treat! To avoid your parfaits from getting soggy, wait until you’re ready to eat them before adding the granola. Fruit parfaits are super versatile because you can add any fruit; think strawberries, blueberries, bananas, raspberries, and mango (hello summer in a bowl!). Get creative and drizzle honey on top or sprinkle in some coconut for a sweet finish! No bake, no mess, no guilt, no stress. This is a perfect easy-to-make summer treat for both the workplace and home!
Summer Rolls Accompanied by Cold Sesame Noodles
Spring rolls are colorful, flavorful, and unbelievably easy to make. Not to mention refreshing delight, especially on a hot day. While making spring rolls may seem a little intimidating, you can definitely do it if you can roll a burrito! Plus, there are tons of YouTube videos you can watch to help you out. Fill a spring roll with any of your favorite ingredients or whatever you have in the fridge – the options are endless. Think veggies, lettuce, chicken, shrimp, and fiber-packed thin noodles. Serve it with peanut sauce to dip and for a bonus, add some cold sesame noodles on the side and your stomach will thank you later! Don’t worry about wasting ingredients because spring rolls can last 2-3 days in the fridge. They are best when fresh though so don’t be ashamed of eating them all at once. When something is as delicious and healthy as spring rolls are, we’d probably do the same!
The Ultimate Summer Pasta Salad
Summer pasta salads are pretty, oh so refreshing and the perfect go-to dish for lunch when the food lover in you runs out of ideas for what to make! You can customize your pasta in a lot of ways whether it is Thai rice noodle salad, mandarin chicken pasta salad, Greek pasta salad, pesto pasta salad, tuna pasta salad and more! With so many recipes to choose from, it’s easy to find a healthy, filling, and cold meal on a hot day. The best part: Pasta salad is leftover-friendly! Have extra noodles from last night’s dinner? No problem, toss in some colorful veggies with an Italian dressing and you’ve got today’s lunch. Versatility and convenience are key when you have a busy schedule and don’t need one more thing to think about in your day. When you don’t have Cater2.me scheduled that week, pasta salads can save the day! You can make a large batch ahead of time, and easily pre-package your lunch for the week!
Many farmers say that summer officially begins when the first crop of strawberries is ripe. They are a sign of summer and a staple at farmer’s market stands throughout June into July. If you like strawberries, you are in for a treat! This berry is fresh, delicious, seasonal and makes the perfect puree. You just need strawberries (the key ingredient), sweeteners, and lemon juice. Blend it all up and you’re done! You can just eat it like you would apple sauce and it’s also a great flavoring for milkshakes, smoothies and of course PB&J sandwiches (the perfect brown bag lunch). And don’t worry if you make too much, you can freeze it and make little ice cubes to chill your drink or add a pop of color and flavor to lemonade or sparkling water. Better yet, add it to your after-work summer cocktail when you get home from your day. Doesn’t get much yummier or relaxing than that!
No bread? No problem! Lettuce wraps are continuing to grow in popularity this summer. There are a lot of different options like turkey taco wraps, chicken shawarma wraps, Philly cheesesteak wraps, vegan wraps, chicken Caesar wraps, and more! Basically, anything you would place in a bread wrap can go in a lettuce wrap! So easy, and perfect for those days when you’d rather be outside than inside cooking all day. Lettuce is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. The best greens to use are sturdy head lettuces with thick ribs on each leaf (iceberg, bibb, Boston, and little gem). Pass on floppy thin, or wilted lettuces. If you’re thinking of making lettuce wraps for lunch, check out this delicious recipe!
Mezze: The Perfect Snack-y Meal for Summer
Everyone needs a mezze dish in their lives, it’s like an all-you-can-eat-buffet, just with appetizers and sides. Mezze is a popular way of eating all over the Mediterranean and the Middle East consisting of many delicious small plates. It is super easy to put together a mezze plate for yourself, but it is even more fun to have a Mezze party in the office and share in the yum. After all, mezze dining is all about gathering together and socializing. Mix and match small plates of veggies, dips, spreads, cheeses, with pita bread, olives, fruits, peppers and nuts. It’s Ah-mazing! The platter is so colorful that everyone at work will be asking for a bite. To make this recipe yourself check it out here!
There you have it! Healthy lunch recipes for work or on the go that not only will keep you cool as summer arrives, but will also have a positive effect on your overall well-being. And if you are looking for a turnkey way to bring seasonal summer meals like this right to your team, check out Cater2.me On-Site Ordering where we bring restaurants and food trucks into the workplace to make meals for your team prepared to order! Get started here to kick off your team’s summer in a fresh and unique way!