What’s for Lunch? 3 Make Ahead Lunch Recipes

Simply amazing midday meal ideas. Plus, check out the winners of our Instagram “What’s for Lunch?” contest!

Brown-bagging it? These tasty recipes come together in minutes, or else can be made in advance to heat and eat. Voila! Lunch is served.

Chilly Weather Chili Bake
This classic comfort food is sure to warm up winter days. Recipe by Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC
Serves: 8
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 large green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. leanest ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 6-oz. can black olives, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 heaping tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ancho chili pepper
  • (or cayenne)
  • ½ cup stone-ground corn meal
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 4 minutes, or until onion and pepper just begin to soften. Add garlic, turkey, and salt, and sauté 6–7 minutes, or until no pink remains on turkey.
  3. Drain meat, if necessary, and add beans, tomatoes, olives, corn, chili powder, cumin, chili pepper, and corn meal, and mix well.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top, and bake uncovered 40 minutes, or until heated through.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 286 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 34g Sugar: 7g Sodium: 914mg Fiber: 8g Protein: 22g Cholesterol: 41mg

Paleo Zucchini Meatza
This hearty, Paleo-friendly pizza features a crust made entirely of meat! Recipe by Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb. lean ground bison (or leanest ground beef)
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbs. granulated onion
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, plus extra for zucchini
  • ½ tsp. black pepper, plus extra
  • for zucchini
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • (or grated,)
  • 1 12-oz. jar of high-quality
  • prepared pizza sauce (no added sugar)
  • 1–1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese (pastured), optional
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian herbs, such as basil, oregano, or flat-leaf parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In large bowl, combine ground meats, egg, granulated garlic and onion, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly to just combine ingredients. Do not overwork meat.
  2. Transfer mixture to 16-inch pizza pan. Gently press meat into circular pizza crust about ½-inch thick (it will shrink by an inch or two in diameter while cooking). Slide pan into oven, and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, drain extra juices, and set aside to rest. Slide oven rack into broiler position, and reset oven to broil.
  3. While crust is cooking, heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat, add zucchini, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes until zucchini reaches desired tenderness and has released most of its liquids. Drain liquids, and set aside.
  4. Top crust with sauce, and arrange zucchini over sauce. Top with cheese, if using, and broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Top with fresh herbs to serve.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 360 Fat: 21g Saturated fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 5g Sugar: 2g Sodium: 690mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 39g Cholesterol: 145mg

Tuna, Radish, Green Pea, & Frisée Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette
This lively combination of flavors and textures works well as a salad that’s a little out of the ordinary. Fresh sweet peas are best, but frozen and thawed peas work as well. Recipe by Lisa Turner
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios
  • ½ cup olive oil or pistachio oil
  • 2 small heads frisee lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup raw peas or thawed frozen peas
  • 1 small bunch red radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup ricotta salata, feta, or other hard, crumbly white cheese
  • 2 4.5-oz. cans solid white tuna
  • ½ cup pistachios for garnish
  1. In high-powered blender, food processor, or Vitamix, combine shallot, vinegar, mustard, pistachios, and oil. Purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. In large bowl, combine lettuce, peas, radishes, and cheese. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat leaves and toss to mix. Drain tuna, and add to salad; toss gently.
  3. Divide among four individual plates and sprinkle with pistachios. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 570 Fat: 43g Saturated fat: 7g Carbohydrates: 23g Sugar: 5g Sodium: 420mg Fiber: 13g Protein: 29g Cholesterol: 35mg

And the Winners  Are …

The results of the Amazing Wellness “What’s for Lunch?” Instagram photo contest are in! Last year, we invited readers to post photos of their favorite healthy meals to our Instagram page at #awwhatsforlunch.

The winning pics:

Avocado salad

 1st Place: Avocado salad. @lenaylee

“What’s for Lunch?” Instagram photo contest are in! 1st runner-up: Roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans and turkey burger topped with an egg and extra jalapeños. @orangeblossomink

1st runner-up: Roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans and turkey burger topped with an egg and extra jalapeños. @orangeblossomink

“What’s for Lunch?” Instagram photo contest are in! 2nd runner-Up: Beetroot, feta, and walnut tart. @ngiewerner

2nd runner-Up: Beetroot, feta, and walnut tart. @ngiewerner


Congratulations to all!

To view individual recipes: