7 Secrets to a Healthful Lunch

Meat(less) Monday: Recipes, nutrition tips and advice on food your body will thank you for. OK, maybe not completely meatless, but healthy, for sure. 

By: Shirley De Leon

If you’re one of the growing number of health-conscious people who wants to bring lunch to work or class, don’t stress. Preparing lunch is only a hassle if you’re used to eating fast food often. By making a homemade lunch, you have total control of what and how much you eat, more room for creative meal ideas, and better sources of essential nutrients.

Knowing what to include in your lunch boils down to these four items:

  • At least one fruit and vegetable
  • Protein
  • Unsaturated (good) fat
  • Whole grains

Together they keep you full and energized to make it through the workday. Whether it’s a pesto pasta salad with oven-baked sweet potatoes and white bean dip or Tuscan chicken sandwich with roasted red pepper soup and melon salad, your options for lunch are virtually limitless. Here are seven secrets to making a healthful lunch. 

1. Stick to three lunch items. (i.e. sandwich, soup and fruit)

2. The less processed, the better.

3. Swap refined carbs for whole grain whenever possible. 

4. A little decadence is OK. (i.e. 3 ounces of dark chocolate)

5. Fiber is your friend.

6. Wash your lunch down with water. 

7. Go meatless at least once a week, starting with this delicious wrap.

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps


4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of red onion

1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 (12-ounce) eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1/4 cup of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 (8-ounce) container of plain hummus

4 (1.9-ounce) whole-grain flatbreads

1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese


Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush onion, bell pepper and eggplant with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onion and bell pepper to pan. Cook for three minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Remove from pan.

Add eggplant to pan and cook for three minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Remove from pan. Coarsely chop vegetables. Mix vegetables with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, parsley and salt. Toss to combine.

Spread 1/4 cup of hummus over each flatbread, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Divide vegetables over each flatbread and top each serving with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Roll up wraps and cut diagonally in half.


Serve with stone fruit salad and dry-roasted almonds. (Peaches, nectarines and plums are in the stone-fruit family)

Omit the feta to make the wrap vegan.



    Photos courtesy of and Recipe courtesy of